All of our products are manufactured in our state-of-the-art, FDA-approved, cGMP-certified facility where they must meet stringent in-house standards before being tested a second time by a third-party lab. It’s all part of our commitment to producing supplements we know you’ve come to love and trust.
ABOUT THE PROCESS
We would like to describe the many steps we take to produce Healing Blends™ Global formulas. We ensure all of our manufacturers comply with our stringent process that include all local, state, and international GMP standards.
Beginning with the most advanced protocol for herb identification, this 4-step process ensures that you and your customers receive the highest-quality herbal supplements available. This process also allows for full therapeutic benefits in every herb to be extracted and be bioavailable.
1. Herb Selection and Identification
Since the beginning of the aristolochic acid controversy, proper herb identification has become a major issue for herbalists and manufacturers alike. Many of the aristolochic acid-related problems that occurred in the industry could have been avoided if the herbs had been properly identified before formulation. A sophisticated herb identification process was instituted at our manufacturer in 1995.
- Macroscopic inspection by experts to “weed out” commonly substituted herbs
- Microscopic examination to ascertain species authenticity
- TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography), a chemical “fingerprint” unique to each species
- Herbs Are Cooked (Extraction)
After each herb has been properly identified; they are thoroughly cleaned and prepared. They are picked through, washed, and agitated according to a specific protocol for each herb. After all foreign materials are meticulously removed the ingredients are assembled and cooked together in a vat called a rotary extractor. A continuous rotary motion thoroughly mixes the decoction liquid with strict control of the extraction temperature and timing. This unique extractor includes an essential oil-retrieval system for which our manufacturer holds the patent. This retrieval system allows the vat to capture and preserve the volatile oils, which are reintroduced later in the granulation phase. The oil-retrieval system has been recently upgraded to preserve even more volatile oils. When you open a bottle you can sense the difference.
- Evaporation (Concentration)
Once extraction is complete, a valve is opened in the rotary extractor and the decoction flows directly into a state-of-the-art, low-temperature vacuum evaporation-concentration system. This low-temperature system eliminates the damaging effects that high temperatures can have on formula potency.
- Laboratory testing
A battery of laboratory tests checks samples from each batch to assure potency and safety. These tests include:
- Microbial testing is used to screen for E. coli, salmonella, and various other possible bio-contaminants such as molds and yeasts. * HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) measures potency by substantiating the presence of active ingredients. * GC (Gas Chromatography) ensures safety by testing for the presence of over 200 potentially harmful substances such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
- ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry) is the future of non-organic (heavy metal) testing. Other systems in use today are sensitive to subparts per million (ppm), but the ICP-MS can detect elements in the subparts per billion (ppb) range and some elements in the subparts per trillion (ppt) range. ICP-MS technology is by far the most precise and sensitive available for heavy metal testing. Samples from every lot of our tablets are sent out to an independent laboratory here in the United States where they are tested for heavy metals by ICP-MS.
The appearance of our tablets may vary slightly from batch to batch. This is owing to natural variation in color, texture, and aroma in our source herbs. Herbs will vary season to season and year to year like any other plant crop. Our buyers work to get us the very best that is available for our formulas.
3. Lot Numbers and Shelf Life
Each bottle has a lot number for tracking purposes. To insure freshness, we try keep our lot sizes small and make each formula approximately once a year. The shelf life of our tablets is five years unopened. Once a bottle is opened one should minimize its exposure to moisture, heat, and light. Store formulas in a cool, dry place.
4. Concentration Ratios and Our Optimally-Extracted Formulas
Healing Blends Global uses the highest-quality herbs and nutriceuticals with the highest concentration ratios available. We again work very closely with our manufacture to ensure that every herb is at its highest quality and concentration to guarantee bioavailability.
Some manufacturers use a source-herb to finished-product ratio. For example, if 5 kg of herbs are used to make 1 kg of herb concentrate that would be considered to be a 5:1 concentrate. On first assessment one would think that the higher the ratio, the more potent the concentrate.
However, an examination of the process used to concentrate herbs reveals that creating an effective concentrate relies on many more factors than just the amount of herbs placed in the extraction vat. In fact, there is an optimal amount of herbs that should be in a given amount of water to get the best extract. If more than that are used it can result in a lower potency.
The reason for this is that when herbs are decocted certain ingredients are released quickly and others are released slowly. The timing of these releases is dependent on factors such as temperature and the nature of the solute (all water, part alcohol, etc.) and the herb being processed.
For example, an herb that contains a large amount of starchy materials (generally, intercellular material) will release that into solution and that will coat and block-up the herb material that remains, thus making it more difficult for the intracellular (inside the cells) ingredients to enter into solution. If a smaller amount of herbs is used, this thick, obstructing material will be minimized; hence, a larger variety of ingredients can enter into solution. Also, if the ingredients that are quickly released into solution fill the available space in the solute (the liquid used for extraction), this supersaturates the solution leaving little room for the more slowly released ingredients.
From this we here at Healing Blends Global can conclude there is an ideal ratio of water-to-herb used to get a well-balanced and effective extract. Exceeding that amount of herbs may give a very high extraction ratio but a very poor extraction. Furthermore, the process, including cooking temperature, volume of solute, cooking time, and so on can have a marked effect on the way certain ingredients are released into solution. Manipulation of these factors along with the optimum herb-to-solute ratio can lead to an herb extract that is unmatched. So, in fact a 3:1 ratio can produce a better extract than a 10:1 ratio. The optimum ratio is the one that derives the best mix of ingredients in the largest quantity possible.
Our manufacturer is dedicated to producing the most effective extract possible with the technology that is currently available. They manipulate all the extraction factors and then measure for extraction effectiveness using HPLC detection for known ingredients. The process is tweaked until the best procedure and herb to solute ratio is ascertained and that becomes the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for that product.