When sourcing he shou wu products, there are a few essential things to keep in mind. If we do not take heed of these then odds are we may find ourselves with an inferior product and thus not only waste our money, but also not get the effects and benefits we are looking for.
The most important to keep in mind when look for a he shou wu product is to make sure that the product is made from prepared he shou wu roots, not merely the raw herb. In Chinese Medicine, there are two forms of this herb and both have different uses, applications, and effects. The raw form is used primarily as a laxative and cleansing agent, while the prepared form is used as a tonic herb.
What does prepared mean?
The raw herb contains a chemical called emodin which is actually a strong laxative, hence why the raw herb is used as a medicinal and cleansing herb, and not a tonic. So basically the preparation process changes the nature and properties of the herb by removing this unwanted chemical, emodin, while also enhancing the kidney tonifying properties of the herb. Traditionally the herb is cooked with a mixture of black beans for 6-12 hours. Black beans are used because black foods in Chinese thought are believed to strengthen the kidneys and the water element. This is why many of the most powerful kidney tonics are in fact black herbs. So from this explanation hopefully now you can see why it is essential to ensure that the he shou wu you are consuming is made from prepared roots and not merely the raw herb. This processing is of course more costly and labor intensive so the cost of prepared products may be a bit higher, the old axiom you get what you pay for holds true here. Lastly, if the product does not clearly state that it is made from prepared roots, then it is most likely not.
Always be sure to read the label and ask questions to make sure you are getting the best choice.
Importance of An Extract
There are many companies offering he shou wu products in the marketplace. These products range from the bulk raw herb, to liquid tinctures, encapsulated ground herb, and concentrated powdered extracts. Out of these options the most potent and effective is the powdered concentrated extract. The delivery medium allows for the most active constituents to be delivered in the least space and in the most digestible form. Many of these extracts will have a ratio of 6:1, 8:1, or 16:1. This ratio means that eight or more pounds of whole herb have been concentrated into one pound of extract.
This is accomplished through a high tech process called spray drying. Basically you can think of these powders like concentrated and dehydrated teas because the herbs are extracted using hot water, just like a tea. However in this process the herbs are extracted at high concentrations, for example 8:1 or 10:1, from there the herbs are removed from the extraction liquid. The liquid is then dehydrated and concentrated down even further to make the pure extract powder. These few steps are critical for making the product so potent because they remove the difficult to digest fibrous plant matter and leave behind only the pure extracted active constituents. This is truly what makes these products superior to other herbal products. I say that because one on hand you are not having to deal with the usually difficult, if not impossible to digest plant fibers and on the other you are only getting the concentrated pure extract of the active goodies in the herb. Keep in mind many of the tonic herbs are quite fibrous and tough and more or less inedible unless extract in some form or another. There are of course a few examples to this like the goji berry or schizandra berry, but on the whole most herbs are quite indigestible due to their fibrous nature.
Its key to mention here that many herbal products on the market are merely just ground up and encapsulated raw herbs. As we’ve seen, many tonic herbs are actually quite indigestible to the human digestive system, so eating them raw, while physically possible, does not actually produce any tangible benefits. These products are fairly inexpensive and wide spread in the market place, which is actually quite a dis-service to the herbal consumer in most cases. Again, the axiom holds true here that you get what you pay for. While taking a raw herb, grinding it up, and putting it into a capsule is a very cheap and easy process for the manufacturer, it does very little for the reputation for the natural health field and for the health of the consumer. I believe this is one of the main causes why herbal products get such a bad rap in the mainstream. However now perhaps we can understand why. What I mean is that the natural health field gets a bad rap because most of the herbal products on the market are largely ineffective and impotent. This is likely because it takes a bit more time, energy, effort, and attention to make sure firstly, you are getting the correct form of the raw herb and secondly, processing it and extracting to in the most potent and effective way.
Points To Keep In Mind
Now that we have seen the importance of making sure we are getting prepared he shou wu roots as well as the importance of a concentrated extract, we should keep in mind that if a label or company does not clearly state these facts, then the odds are they are not true in that particular instance. These two factors are indicative of a high quality, potent, and effective product.
You can check out the 16:1 Prepared He Shou Wu Extracts here: https://hyperion-herbs.myshopify.com/collections/he-shou-wu-extract