Common Questions About Herbs, Our Products, and Their Use
General product, process, and packaging questions
What is Pesticide Testing?
Gaia Herbs tests for pesticides using GC/MS/MS, which stands for gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. This piece of equipment is capable of testing 46 different pesticides, including organochlorines, organophosphates and pyrethroids.
How does Gaia Herbs identify their products?
Gaia Herbs conducts DNA barcoding to establish the identity of all raw material and to create a SRM (standard reference material) DNA herbal barcode library for raw materials. This process ensures that adulteration is not possible.
What is the Phyto-Cap made from?
Our vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Cap is made from cellulose from pine bark.
What is the source of your alcohol?
As of May 2015, Gaia Herbs uses 190 proof non-GMO sugar cane alcohol (organic and non-organic) for all products extracted at our facility in Brevard, North Carolina. The new labels will read “alcohol USP” or “organic alcohol USP” to allow for the flexibility to use a different type of grain-free alcohol in the future.
Prior to May 2015, Gaia Herbs used 190-proof alcohol derived from corn and wheat and labeled “grain alcohol,” and 190-proof Certified Organic, GMO-free alcohol from corn and sugarcane for all products that were labeled as Certified Organic in “organic grain alcohol.”
What is the source of your lecithin in your Liquid Phyto-Cap products?
In 2015 Gaia Herbs is transitioning over to non-GMO sunflower lecithin exclusively to replace our previous lecithin sourced from non-GMO soy and labeled as ‘soy lecithin (non GMO)’. The new labels will read ‘lecithin (non-GMO)’ to allow flexibility for using a different type of non-soy/non-GMO lecithin in the future.
Do your products contain gluten?
There are no gluten containing ingredients in Gaia Herbs’ products with the exception of Reflux Relief (made by Aboca for Gaia Herbs) which contains Barley (listed on the label). Our 190 proof grain alcohol (from wheat and corn) used for extraction, is distilled and certified gluten-free by the manufacturer. The distillation process eliminates proteins (gluten is a protein). Gaia Herbs’ oats (Wild Oats Milky seed) are grown on our organic farm and are not cross contaminated with any gluten containing grains, therefore they are also considered to be gluten-free. Our products do not go through a gluten-free certification process.
What is Gaia Herbs policy on GMOs?
Gaia Herbs Inc. is committed to using and supporting only non-GMO materials. Gaia never purchases GMO herbs and/or ingredients, with the exception of non-organic alcohol which cannot be reliably procured from non-GMO crops. Gaia does a purchasing review to ensure we eliminate the possibility of “hidden” GMO’s making their way into our products. We use a documented certified non-GMO source of soy lecithin, which is used as an emulsifier in some of our encapsulated products. All herbs propagated and grown on Gaia Herbs’ farm are certified organic and therefore GMO free. The seed used in all our certified organically grown crops is gathered here on our own farm or produced from other certified organic growers and is GMO free. In rare instances where we cannot obtain certified organic seed, we obtain seed from suppliers fully committed to non-GMO practices. Gaia also purchases as many organic and/ or ecologically harvested ingredients as possible to avoid any GMO. Gaia is currently and will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our products are non-GMO.
What does weight-to-volume ratio mean?
This is the most common way to measure the strength of a liquid herbal extract or tincture. The number on the left represents the amount of plant material used to produce the extract, while the number on the right represents the weight of the solvent used. Gaia’s ratios are between 1:1 and 1:3. The liquids in many other brands are between 1:4 and 1:10. A 1:1 ratio means that 8 lbs. of raw herb are used per every 1 gallon of alcohol. (One gallon of alcohol weighs 8 lbs.) A 1:2 ratio means that 8 lbs. of herb are used per every 2 gallons of alcohol, and a 1:3 ratio means that 8 lbs. of herb are used per every 3 gallons of alcohol.<br><br>
How long are herbal extracts good for?
Alcohol-based extracts have a 5-year expiration date and alcohol-free extracts have a 3-year expiration date. Our Liquid Phyto-Caps carry a 3-year expiration date. This is based on the date of manufacture. They do not need to be refrigerated to stay viable.<br><br>
Why does Gaia sometimes extract FRESH herbs and other times DRIED herbs?
Gaia uses fresh herbs when the compounds and actives in those herbs are best extracted fresh. We look through the windows of science and tradition to determine the best extraction method for each specific plant. Gaia Herbs conducts analytical testing of raw material prior to extraction to verify its potency and purity. We have found that drying certain herbs can concentrate the active constituents, while other times certain herbs – such as Slippery Elm, lose their active principles (in this case mucilage) when dried. One of the major advantages Gaia holds is that we own and operate a 250 acre Certified Organic Farm which allows us to process fresh plant material immediately after harvest. We typically extract the following herbs when they are fresh: Wild Oats, American Skullcap, Slippery Elm, Alder bark, Marshmallow root, Nettle seed, and Black Walnut hulls.
What is the best way to store extracts and Phyto-Caps?
The best way to store extracts is in a cool, dry place, out of the sun, like a cupboard or pantry. They do not need to be refrigerated, but should be kept from high temperatures. The Phyto-Caps should not be refrigerated and should also be stored in a cool, dry place, away from extremes of temperature.
Why does this extract look different from the last one I bought?
Levels of chemical constituents vary quite naturally. Constituents are affected by growing conditions such as soil, weather, and altitude and by factors such as age of the plant, when it was harvested and where the seed came from. This means that each batch of extract will be slightly different. Extracts that are standardized will have consistent levels of the marker compound, but will require varying amounts of plant material to get that level. This may affect the appearance of the extract.<br>There is also the fact that liquid extracts are solutions, which means that the dissolved substance (solute) may fall out of solution, especially considering the high concentration of Gaia’s extracts. If this happens, you will see small particles of plant constituents in the extract. Vigorous shaking will often cause the solute to go back into solution.
Why does the extract inside the Phyto-Cap look separated or discolored?
Occasionally, some natural separation may occur with the Phyto-Cap products after encapsulation. This does not alter the quality of the product.
On your labels under suggested use what does “between meals” mean?
“Between meals” means that for optimal absorption, you should take the product away from food, either half an hour before eating, or 2 hours or more after eating.
Why is the Dry Herb Equivalent statement not included for some Liquid Phyto-cap products?
You may have noticed that the labels for some of our Liquid Phyto-caps® do not include the “Dry Herb Equivalent” comparison number we traditionally put under the Supplement Facts box on our cartons/labels. Due to the variability of bioactivity in these botanicals, it is difficult to assign a dry herb equivalent as the amount of raw material needed to meet our label claim varies batch to batch. To change our packaging for this voluntary comparison each time we make the product would significantly impact the efficiency of our manufacturing process. Therefore, we have decided to remove the dry herb equivalent reference from the cartons/labels for these items. Consumers can be assured, however, that the milligram extract amount reported in our Supplement Facts box, however, does not vary batch to batch.
What is the capsule size used for your encapsulated products?
Gaia Herbs uses a size 0 (zero) capsule for all their encapsulated products.
Terms used on our MeetYourHerbs traceability data pages
Harvest Protocol Validation
Gaia Herbs harvest protocol validation process ensures the high quality of our herbal ingredients, whether grown on site or purchased from outside suppliers. A Harvest Protocol form must be filled out, which details such things as condition of the plant material (fresh or dry); harvest & environmental conditions (harvest date, time, technique, weather conditions); 3 ) cleaning process; 4) drying processes, etc. and incorporates documentation of Certificates of Authenticity or 3rd party certifications.
Microscopy is a botanical identification technique that utilizes microscopes to identify samples or objects using structural features (cell types, mineral deposits, oil droplets) that cannot be seen with the unaided eye.
Organoleptic refers to any sensory properties of a product, involving appearance, taste, color, odor and feel. Our botanical specialists and laboratory scientists, trained in the use of such properties, use organoleptic testing to validate the identity of our herbal ingredients
Our Certified Organic, 250-acre farm (which includes an on-site, state-of-the-art validation laboratory and production facility) is also a “living laboratory”, where we study, observe, and learn from Nature. Located in the soutwestern Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina (one of the most divers bioregions of North America), Gaia Farm grows over 5 million plants each year, supplying approximately 25% of the herbs we us in production.
Certified Organic Farmers
Starting close to home with Appalachian regional growers and expanding to bioregions around the world, we work with Certified Organic growers that specialize in crops that we do not grow on our own farm or that supplement our supply. These growers adhere to the same standards for organic cultivation that we do at Gaia Farm. Certified Organic Farmers supply nearly 35% of the herbs that we use in our products.
Land Steward Harvesters
This term represents Gaia’s network of ecologically sensitve wild crafters who gather native herbs in the wild and sell them directly to us. Providing nearly 25% of our raw material each year, these individuals must steward the land upon which they harvest promotiong ethical and sustanabile practices.
Ecologically Harvested is a term that describes all herbs sold by Gaia Herbs that are not certified organic. Ecologically harvested herbs include herbs that are harvested in their natural habitat, (ie: wild harvested) according to specific guidelines for harvesting these herbs (ie: away from roads and industry, as well as guidelines to avoid overharvesting). Our term, Ecologically Harvested, also includes herbs that are grown in managed woodland areas, fields designated for specific herbs, and herbs that are grown by indigenous growers, such as Kava Kava. All ecologically harvested herbs pass pesticide and heavy metal testing as well as microbial testing, prior to release.
Gaia Validated Partner
These partners represent our trusted wholesalers and brokers with connections to farmers and wild crafters around the world, beyond our own direct relationships. We require that these partners – and the individuals they represent, uphold the Gaia Principles of Purity in order to ensure the purity of these raw materials and have a positive effect on the planet and the communities where the herbs are sourced.
Many of our herbs trace to our own Certified Organic farms in North Carolina. We’re tracing our non-Gaia Farm-grown herbs to geographical regions within the US and to bioregions within other continental land masses—like Amazonia or Northern Africa—because those are more meaningful to endemic habitats where the herbs naturally occur or to places where they have been grown traditionally for centuries. For example, our Kava Kava traces to the Pacific island archipelago region of Oceania and our Maca traces to the Andean region of South America.
Why are some source names proprietary?
Over our nearly 25 years in herbal manufacturing, Gaia Herbs has cultivated and developed key relationships with certain growers and ingredient suppliers that are proprietary in nature. As botanical supplements have gone more and more mainstream, it has become quite challenging for Gaia Herbs to source premium-quality certified organic and ecologically harvested raw botanical materials beyond what we grow ourselves. We recognized when we developed MYH that this program could also be used by our market competitors as a sort of “yellow pages directory” to our supply chain. To prevent much larger, much better financed companies from threatening the integrity of our supply chain, we have had to keep certain vendors’ names proprietary for the time being. This will change over time due to investments we are making in building our own internal horticultural supply capacity for most of these ingredients. We welcome other botanical supplement manufacturers to match Gaia Herbs’ transparency commitments and we welcome the scrutiny of consumers and practitioners to assure that Gaia Herbs’ degree of transparency remains unsurpassed.
HPLC stands for High Performance Liquid Chromatograpy. This technique is used to separate plant extracts into individual chemical constituents, which can then be used for identification purposes (qualitative analysis) or to measure the amount of chemical or chemicals present in the extract (quantitative analysis). HPLC is used to identify raw materials and determine biomarker concentrations.
The NeoGen Soleris instrument monitors total bacteria, yeast & mold, and E.coli analyses in an automated platform. Raw materials and finished products are processed and added to Soleris – specific vials that contain microbial growing medium. If the introduced sample contains microbes, they begin to grow and cause a color change in the growing medium solution. The instrument detects the change in color and assigns a “fail” to that sample. If no color change occurs, then the sample is assigned a “pass”.
GC/MS stands for Gas Chromotography/Mass Spectrometry. At Gaia, the primary role of the GC/MS is the testing of all raw herbs for a wide array of pesticides. GC/MS utilizes a combination of gas phase and liquid phase separation of the raw herb extract. This method separates all chemical constituents and then analyzes by them the equally powerful Mass Spectrometer, which allows the lab to search for individual pesticides in the raw herb.
UV-VIS stands for Ultra Violet – Visible Spectroscopy a process that uses light absorption in the visible range and adjacent ranges of the color spectrum to detect a class of phyto-chemicals of herbal materials. This technique is used for determining the concentration of biomarker(s) in extracts without chromatographic separation.
A biomarker is a chemical within a plant extract that is used to either identify a plant extract (i.e. a chemical or group of chemicals that are specific to that plant) or to gauge the medicinal quality of an herb (i.e the biomarker is known to be the biologically active ingredient or medicine).
Biomarker concentration refers to the amount of a biomarker present in a given quantity of raw material (herb) or extract.
This stands for Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. This machine is the centerpiece of Gaia’s heavy metals testing. This powerful technique is capable of observing a wide range of metal at quantities as low as nanograms of metals in a sample. The ICP-MS allows Gaia to obtain precise and sensitive data for all materials in a high speed manner. The plasma vaporizes all the material and breaks it down to the atomic level. The mass spectrometer is then able to detect all atoms of interest.
How Gaia Herbs moves beyond "standardization"
The term “standardized” in botanical extracts refers to delivering a consistent, measurable concentration of a recognized phyto-constituent in a botanical dietary supplement product. This is necessary because the natural variability in herbal products—due to geographical, seasonal, horticultural, and post-harvest handling factors—causes natural variability in the quality and potency of finished herbal products. Herbs like Milk Thistle, St. John’s Wort, and Echinacea are often standardized to guaranteed marker compound concentrations to provide the end consumer a therapeutically meaningful dose. However, “standardization” can also mean that herbal products provide these marker compounds at the expense of the natural array of phyto-chemistry that nature has co-evolved into the herb. This can occur with herbal products that have been overly refined, purified, or even “spiked” with marker compound. Gaia Herbs uses only safe, ingestible, non-GMO grain alcohol and water as our solvents in our liquid extract manufacturing. We use only low-temperature/low-pressure methods to concentrate our herbal extracts to their desired marker concentration levels, ensuring that the full spectrum of available phyto-chemistry remains in a fluid state throughout the manufacturing process. This full-spectrum array is then validated using state-of-the-art laboratory analytical techniques like HPLC and GC/MS to ensure the finished product retains this composition.
Alcohol in Gaia's Herbal Extracts
How is dosage determined?
Consideration is given for the concentration of the extract and for the specific use of the extract. If an individual is heavier or has a more robust constitution, the higher range of the suggested use may be consumed. Contrarily, if a person weighs less or has a more fragile constitution, the lower range of the suggested use should be consumed. Please keep in mind that not all brands of extracts carry the same concentration.
How much alcohol am I taking in a dose of liquid extract?
When consuming herbal extracts with a small amount of warm water, the amount of alcohol is very low indeed. Comparably, 40 drops of an extract containing 60% alcohol in 2 ounces of warm water will be equivalent to consuming about 1/100 of a glass of wine!
Can I remove the alcohol if I put the extract in boiling water?
You can reduce the amount of alcohol by boiling about 3 ounces of hot water, put this in a glass, then add the drops to the hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes. This will evaporate off approximately 60% of the alcohol. If you are sensitive to alcohol, you can take our Liquid Phyto-Caps or our liquid alcohol-free extracts.
How much water should I take with my liquid drop extracts?
About 2 ounces of water.
What is the appropriate dosage and duration of treatment for herbal medicines?
The recommendations for dose and duration of treatment found on our labels and in our literature are general recommendations. Your health care professional will need to be consulted for your specific needs.
Are alcohol-free herbal extracts as concentrated as the alcohol extracts?
Not for all companies! In fact, only the most reputable companies capable of extracting first with USP grain alcohol, then distilling off the alcohol and testing the finished product with High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) instruments can claim that their alcohol-free products are as concentrated as the alcohol extracts. Many companies extract the herbs for their alcohol-free products with vegetable glycerin. Unfortunately, vegetable glycerin is not a good solvent and cannot effectively extract the same constituents that grain alcohol can extract.
Can I combine several extracts or formulas and take them together?
Because herbal preparations have specific constituents that target specific receptor sites within the body, it is important that they be taken thoughtfully. Unless specifically indicated, it is best to take one herbal preparation apart from another by allowing at least 20 minutes to pass. Many herbs do combine well together and in fact are enhanced when combined. Herbal compounds that are scientifically formulated enable the formula to produce a result that is specific and desirable. It takes much knowledge to properly combine herbal preparations together. When unsure whether 2 or more single herbs or preparations may be combined, ask your herbal professional.
Can I use herbal extracts safely during pregnancy?
Although there are many herbs that are safe to use during pregnancy, it is recommended in all the information in this book that herbs should not be used during pregnancy. We do this because we believe that if you are pregnant and wish to use herbs to maintain a strong and healthy pregnancy that you consult a naturopathic doctor, licensed herbalist, or licensed holistic health practitioner qualified to guide you in the safe use of herbs during pregnancy.
How long should I take an herbal extract?
The nature of the condition should determine the length of use of the herbal extract. If the condition is acute or is of a superficial nature, the extract may be used for a shorter period of time, such as 1-3 weeks. If the condition is chronic or deeper, then it is appropriate to use the extract for 3-4 months or longer. There are always exceptions, and it is wise to always follow the recommendations provided on the label. Regardless of how long the extract is used, please consider the following rule of thumb: If an extract is to be used for more than 1 week, then take 6 days on and 1 day off. If an extract is used for more than 6 weeks, then take 6 weeks on and 1 week off, with a day off each week. If an extract is to be used for more than 6 months, then take 6 months on and 1 month off, with a day off each week. The periodic time off from using the herbal extract allows for the full benefit of the herb to be fully integrated into the constitution.
Why is there alcohol in herbal extracts?
Pure grain alcohol is used to prepare herbal extracts because it functions very well as a solvent and as a preservative. The properties of alcohol enable it to effectively mobilize the constituents that are active in plants from with the plants’ cell wall and bring them into solution. This is simply a process of predigesting the plant. In this way, when the extract is ingested, there is 100% absorption and 100% bioavailability. This is so important, especially if one’s digestive functions are impaired or one needs a response from the herbal preparation quickly. Liquid herbal extracts work quickly. Because they do not need to move through the first pass of the liver for digestion, they enter the bloodstream immediately and affect their receptor sites within the body within minutes after consumption. Pure grain alcohol also acts as a wonderful preservative. A liquid herbal extract will remain stable for over 5 years, while crude herb capsules and tablets tend to degrade very quickly. Effectiveness of herbal tablets and capsules containing dry crude herbs is minimal.
How do you make your alcohol-free extracts?
Gaia Herbs makes its Alcohol-Free products from the same extracts that we make within our regular line of products. Once the extract is complete, we then remove the alcohol using low-heat and low-vacuum and replace the alcohol with pure, kosher, vegetable glycerin. Our alcohol-free herbal extracts contain the same concentration (with the exception of Kava Kava and Milk Thistle) as our regular extracts. We do not extract with glycerin because glycerin is not an effective extracting menstruum for most plants. We do not flavor our alcohol-free extracts because the flavoring agents used in many commercial glycerin-based products will disguise the chemistry of the herb and thus one may not benefit fully from the therapeutic value of the flavored glycerites.
What is the source of Gaia Herbs' glycerin?
Gaia Herbs’ glycerin is derived from the following oils: GMO-free rape seed oil, palm oil and coconut oil. Our glycerin is a distilled product and therefore ensures that it does not contain any protein derived allergens. This product is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) certified for use in organic products and is manufactured in Europe.
Why is there alcohol in liquid extracts?
Gaia Herbs uses pure USP grain alcohol and organic corn alcohol to extract its herbs. Alcohol is a superior solvent and preservative of the vital constituents of the plant. Using alcohol to extract our herbs enables the herbal product to concentrate significantly beyond the crude (raw) herb powder state. Alcohol also is a superior carrier for the herb to pass through the cell membrane for complete absorption. The amount of alcohol used for the extraction of an herb will vary depending on the herb.
PlantForce™ Liquid Iron – common questions about this product
PlantForce™ Liquid Iron is Gaia Herbs’ new iron supplement. Liquid is considered to be the ideal delivery method for iron supplementation because it allows the mineral to be easily and rapidly assimilated throughout the body.
Q: What is the source of the 10mg of iron in this product? Is it from plants?
A: The 10mg of Elemental Iron comes from Ferrous Gluconate. There is also naturally occurring Iron from plants, but this has been lower than 1 mg in all of our testing. “PlantForce™” refers to the way in which the product synergistically combines the highly absorbable iron with sensibly chosen, plant-based ingredients that naturally contain food-bound iron, as well as a full spectrum of complementary co-nutrients. These botanicals facilitate the absorption of iron, which enables blood to carry life giving oxygen to the cells, helping people feel more energetic, vibrant, and alive.
Q: What is Elemental Iron?
A: Elemental iron is the amount of iron in a supplement that is available for absorption.
Q: What is the Recommended Daily Intake of Iron?
A: The chart below summarizes the Recommended Daily Intake of Iron as set forth by the National Academy of Sciences. It lists Iron as Elemental Iron.
Q: Are the ingredients in PlantForce™ Liquid Iron Non-GMO?
A: Yes, all of the ingredients are non-GMO.
Q: Are the ingredients in PlantForce™ Liquid Iron Gluten Free? Yeast Free?
A: There are no Gluten or Yeast Containing ingredients in PlantForce™ Liquid Iron.
Q: Can Liquid Iron cause dental staining?
A: Ferrous Gluconate, an ingredient in Plant Force Liquid Iron, may cause temporary dental staining in some individuals, specifically people with weaker dental enamel. This effect is not commonly reported. To reduce this possibility, it is recommended to dilute each dose in 2 ounces of water or orange juice and drink it through a straw. Also, taking the product just before a meal and brushing the teeth right afterwards with a non-abrasive toothpaste can help avoid this problem. You may also clean your teeth once a week with baking soda to treat any tooth staining.
Why do you have low-alcohol products for Milk Thistle and Kava Kava rather than alcohol-free?
Due to the higher concentration of Gaia Herbs’ process, the constituents of Milk Thistle and Kava Kava will not stay in suspension in a pure glycerin solvent. They will precipitate out and give uneven doses of the herb. We allow a minute amount of alcohol (<8%) in these extracts to keep the extractives in an even suspension, allowing for a consistent dose.<br><br>
Can Thyroid Support be used with a hypothyroid medicine like Synthroid?
No. It is advised to avoid using herbs if you are using a prescription medication for the same condition.
Can the Cholesterol Vital Maintenance formula be used with a prescription cholesterol medicine?
They should not be used together. You should consult with a professional health care practitioner if you are currently on cholesterol medication and wish to change to an herbal formula.
Can Chaste Tree Berry (_Vitex Agnus-Castus_) be used with hormonal therapies?
Chaste Tree Berry helps regulate the menstrual cycle through its influence on the pituitary gland, so it is contraindicated to take this herb with birth control pills or other hormones that also influence hormone balance.<br><br>
Many formulas contain licorice. I have high blood pressure. Does this pose a problem for my condition?
Licorice is added to many formulas, as a harmonizer, in a very small amount, less than 10% of the formula. This is not enough licorice to raise your blood pressure.
What is the equivalent dose of Green Tea to equal 1 cup of green tea, and what is the caffeine content?
Based on the average of 80 to 106 mg of polyphenols per 1 cup of green tea, 35 drops of the liquid drop extract is approximately equal to 1 cup of green tea. This contains approximately 8 mg of caffeine. One Phyto-Cap is equal to 1 3/4 cups of green tea and contains approximately 20 mg of caffeine.<br>
How do I read the expiration date on your products?
The expiration date is printed on the bottom of the carton, adjacent to the lot number for encapsulated products. Liquid products have the “Best By” date printed next to the supplemental facts.
Are your Kava Kava products made from the root only?
Gaia Herbs uses only the Kava Kava root and no above ground parts of Kava Kava, for all Kava Kava products. Specifically, Kava Kava has a root stump and lateral roots, we use the lateral roots. The roots are imported whole (no powdered material is used) from the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, we have a close business relationship with the native growers there. Full Spectrum Profile is a proprietary term meaning that we do not alter (add or remove) any of the original compounds from the herb (roots in this case) used to make the product.
How much caffeine is in a 99.9% caffeine-free Herbal Energy Plus shot? Is it equivalent to a cup of decaf coffee?
Lab analysis of a recent batch of our Herbal Energy Plus shot found that there was less than 10mg of caffeine occurring from the Organic Green Tea extract. A cup of decaffeinated coffee contains on average 5-10 mg of caffeine. For a reference; the shots contain about 64 Grams of total weight with the herbs and the base. If you were to take 0.1% of this 64 grams you would have 64 mg. As you can see our analysis shows that the caffeine content (0.1%) is well below our claim and our operating procedures for producing each batch have very little variance, ensuring consistency from batch to batch.
Safety and Contraindications
Are there any herb/drug interactions that I should be concerned about when using herbs?
There certainly may be interactions between prescription drugs and herbs. We suggest that if you are currently using a prescription drug that you consult your medical doctor or a naturopathic physician before taking herbs. Throughout history and in cultures all over the world, herbs have been used safely as medicine. Herbal medicines have produced relatively few incidences of harm when used intelligently and as recommended. Also herbal medicines have a long history of producing effective results without the harmful side effects that prescription drugs produce.
Do you test for heavy metals, and do you do microbial testing?
Yes, we test every finished product for mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. We also test every product for E. coli, salmonella, yeast, and mold as well as total bacteria count.
If I have known allergies, should I be concerned about any allergic reactions from taking herbs?
Allergic reactions to herbs are rare, but they do happen. One of the few herbs that occasionally cause allergic reactions is Lomatium. It may cause skin rashes in some individuals and is best avoided if you have a sensitive constitution.
Why does Maca Powder have a Cal Prop 65 warning on the label?
California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, more commonly known as CalProp 65, is a 27-year-old law that solely applies to the State of California. According to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Cal Prop 65 “was intended to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals.” Through this law, companies are required to place a warning label on any product sold within California, if it exceeds the perceived safety levels the State has set for various elements. California’s OEHHA website also states that a “Proposition 65 warning does not necessarily mean a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements.”
What chemicals are in Gaia Herbs’ Gelatinized Maca Powder?
As with all Gaia Herbs’ products, no chemicals are used in the making of our Gelatinized Maca Powder and no chemicals are found within this material. The State of California identifies lead, which is a mineral that can naturally occur in certain soils, as a chemical.
What is the safe limit for daily lead intake?
Gaia Herbs’ evaluates all of the ingredients in our products for both safety and efficacy. This includes, among other things, testing for various elements that fall under the Cal Prop 65 law. California, through Cal Prop 65, has indicated the safe level for lead as 0.5 mcg/day, which is 20 times less than the 10 mcg/day limit that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated as safe for consumption. Each of the other 49 States has adopted the EPA’s heavy metals guidelines as their own safety indicators. This means that only California perceives safety concerns with the amount of lead found within Gaia Herbs Gelatinized Maca Powder.
Gaia Herbs uses Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry(ICP-MS) to test for the presence of heavy metals. ICP-MS is a scientific instrument that measures approximately 75 elements that are often found in water, sediment and soil. ICP-MS is known for its speed, precision and sensitivity in detecting these elements. The lead that was found in Gaia Herbs Gelatinized Maca Root Powder was in the range of 0.5 mcg to 2.0 mcg/day, which is less than 20% of the daily allowance the US FDA has indicated as safe for our citizens. All of the Maca Powder that Gaia Herbs’ tested on our ICP-MS equipment exceeded the CalProp 65 levels for lead.
Why is this warning on Gaia Herbs’ Gelatinized Maca Root Powder packaging?
Gaia Herbs has placed this warning on our labels for the sole purpose of being in compliance with CalProp 65, which only applies to products sold within the State of California.
Why doesn’t Gaia Herbs have one label for California and another for other states?
One of Gaia Herbs’ core values—which are posted in every employee’s office—states that Gaia is committed to “purity, integrity, and potency, in products and messages, from seed to shelf.” As part of this commitment, we feel it’s important to have one label, rather than selling the same product differently in California than we do for the rest of the country.
Why did Gaia Herbs launch this product, even with the Cal Prop 65 warning?
Product safety is of the utmost importance to Gaia Herbs. In fact, another of our Core Values—which are posted in every employee’s office—states that we will “do no harm to plants, animals, or humans.” Before we decided to produce and sell Gelatinized Maca Powder, the product was thoroughly tested to ensure its safety.
The amount of lead—a mineral that is ingested daily by each person— found in this product, falls well within the FDA’s guidelines for daily lead intake. A cup of organic carrots may contain up to 12 mcg of naturally occurring lead. This is significantly greater than the 0.5 mcg-2.0 mcg found when testing our Maca.
If Gaia Herbs had found this product to be harmful in any way, we would neither have produced it, nor sold it to our customers. Gaia Herbs fully stands by the quality and safety of our Gelatinized Maca Powder, a product that some of our own employees consume daily.
How can a USDA Certified Organic product require the CalProp 65 warning?
Gaia Herbs’ 100% USDA Certified Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder is derived from plants that are organically grown and sustainably cultivated high in the Peruvian Andes, which is the primary, natural habitat for this herb. For centuries, Peruvians have been consuming Maca from these same Andes Mountains. Once our organically-grown maca is harvested and dried under the intense Andean Sun, it is then bottled—using environmentally-friendly, plant-base Earth Bottles—in a USDA Certified Organic facility.
Heavy metals, including lead, can be found directly in certain soils and then transferred into plants, even when the herbs are grown in an organic environment. This soil can, in fact, have naturally-occurring lead as part of its natural composition.
Supreme Cleanse Kits
Can I take vitamins and other supplements while cleansing?
Although it is best to discontinue the use of supplements while cleansing, there would be no harm in continuing to use supplements while doing these cleansing programs.
Should I fast while cleansing?
It is not recommended to fast. Eat simple, wholesome foods consisting of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plenty of warm water.
How will I know if it is working?
You will feel an increase in well-being and energy, improved digestion and elimination, and notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin.
Does the Daily Cleanse Fiber in the Supreme Cleanse kit act as a laxative?
No. This is not a laxative formula. Its primary function is to improve the digestive and eliminative processes of the body.
Can I use my prescription medications, such as birth control and high blood pressure medications, in conjunction with the cleanse program?
This would be best to discuss with your physician. Although the cleanse programs are very safe and gentle, in order to anticipate any possible side effect or interaction, it would be in your best interest to discuss with your health practitioner the use of prescription medications during a cleanse program.
Can I do a cleanse program if I am sick, have the flu, etc.?
No. This is not a good time to cleanse, since the body is stressed with an illness. Wait until you have recovered.
Can I continue to use the program for longer than 2 weeks?
You may continue the Supreme Cleanse Kit program for up to 4 weeks. It can be used at the beginning of each season.
How does the Supreme Cleanse Kit work? Which areas does it cleanse?
The Supreme Cleanse Kit works by supporting the natural elimination and detoxification mechanisms of the body. The herbs support digestion as well as optimize the healthy functioning of the liver ( which filters and cleanses the blood ), the lymphatic system (which transports toxins away from the blood ), the intestines, and the kidneys. This is not a laxative kit, so diarrhea is not expected.
Can I take the Daily Cleanse Fiber in something other than water?
You can take the powder with lemon or lime juice sweetened with stevia. You can also take the powder in a small amount of water and follow this with a glass of lemon or lime juice or herbal tea, unsweetened or sweetened with stevia.
Can the cleanses be used during pregnancy and lactation?
No. Pregnancy and lactation are not the time to cleanse; it is a time to nourish the body.<br><br>
What kinds of foods can I eat while cleansing, and can I eat meat?
Each person will have their own dietary needs to take into consideration. But as a rule, eat wholesome, fresh, unprocessed whole grains and vegetables, organic if possible. The healthier you eat, the deeper the cleanse will work. The less processed the food is, the better. Meat can be eaten, preferably at lunchtime. It is best to avoid red meat and eat fish, organic chicken, or turkey. Drink warm water throughout the day to facilitate the cleanse.<br><br>
Can I use the Supreme Cleanse Kit during my menses?
It is much better to cleanse at a different time, rather than during the menses.
Will I experience any side effects from taking these cleansing formulas?
Some people may notice a little bloating initially, while others may feel a little nauseous or have headaches. You may experience mild diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms result from the increased elimination of toxins from the body. If these symptoms are excessive, simply reduce the dose to 1/3 of the recommended dose and gradually build the dose to the full dose as the program becomes more comfortable.
The Gaia Farm
How does Gaia Herbs recruit farm laborers?
Gaia Herbs Farm Crew comes from Mexico on H2A Visas. An H2A Visa allows foreign national entry into the United States for temporary or seasonal agricultural work. There are several requirements of the employer in regards to this Visa such as housing, meals, tools and supplies, worker’s compensation insurance and transportation costs. Each year, Gaia Herbs works with the Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to receive approval for the H2A Visa process. We strive to have the same farm crew members return each year.