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How herbal extracts are made: the factory tour

24/09/2012

A short time ago I was lucky enough to be invited to join a lovely group of herbalists for a tour of the Mediherb production facility at Warwick.

The impressive herbal medicine headquarters is where hundreds of raw herbs are received in great big hessian bags from the best quality sources ranging the world over.  Each herb is tested as a sample, before the herb is ordered in bulk and on receipt of the final order is once again tested again to identify that it is the correct herb, to satisfy quality standards with chemical markers and to ensure over all safety. Mediherb’s commitment to testing ensures that they do reject herbs that do not meet quality standards or are substituted with cheaper (sometimes toxic) herbs.

The herbs are then milled and transferred to the factory building of the site.  Here the raw herbs are mixed with ethanol as a solvent to make the herbal extract that will be used in your herbal liquid formula.  The extraction room is filled with large canisters operating like coffee percolators as the solvent works its way through the raw herb to drip the finished product out underneath.  It is at this point, the herbal extract is tested again, to ensure that the correct therapeutic compounds have been extracted and in the right quantities.

If the laboratory approves the extract it is then ready for the bottling line to become a finished product.

The herbal testing occurs at a state of the art laboratory offsite.  Again, this facility is very impressive and the range of equipment used to identify the herbs, ensure quality and test expiry dates is both extensive and fascinating.  Testing is also done here to the same high level for several other Integria ranges including Sunspirit Oils.

The whole process to produce the liquid extract can take at least several weeks  with many stages and people involved to ensure that the herb is preserved and retains its natural therapeutic properties at a high level.

So, next time you are taking your herbal tonic (or ‘jungle juice’, ‘rocket fuel’, ‘goop’ or whatever your nickname is for it), you can be grateful for the remarkable journey the herbs have made to find their way into a little bottle to bring you good health.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

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