Discover why liquid tinctures (like Elix Cycle Balance) are better than most pills, gummies, and powders.
Learn why pure extraction methods are the best choice for our bodies and for our planet.
Take a behind the scenes look at the Elix decoction process.
When it comes to choosing herbal supplements, we believe that selecting what’s best for our bodies and long-term health should also support our focus on sustainability. That’s why at Elix, our process of slow liquid decoction is as important as sourcing the organic ingredients that go into Cycle Balance.
Below we explore what makes decoction the best method for creating the most effective herbal supplements and why liquid supplements are better for you and for the environment.
Decoction is the process of extracting fluids from plants and herbs by boiling them in water. It is the oldest, cleanest, most natural way to get precious nutrients out of plants.
We pride ourselves in a very conscious decoction process to produce Elix liquid tinctures. We treat each plant individually, so some are boiled for several hours and others are boiled for as long as three weeks. Mint, for example, is delicate and fragile and can be extracted in about 3 hours, while a harder herb like Angelica Sinensis can take around 3 weeks. The various methods to extract phytonutrients (polysaccharides, etc) from Poria, a medicinal mushroom that we use, prove that different processes yield different levels of nutrients. A recent study by the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, found “the shape, size and thickness of the specification greatly affected the efficiency of extracting bioactive components from decoction pieces." We typically slice our herbs before decocting to help with the extraction process, as it helps yield more nutrients than just boiling the whole thing at once.
After decoction, the potent herbs are blended in proven synergistic formulas that best serve your needs. From a pharmacology perspective, the main therapeutic concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is herb formula, which treats various diseases via potential herb interactions to maximize the efficacy and minimize the adverse effects.
Our specialists do their best to extract every usable drop of nutrients from these precious herbs before discarding the plant and composting the remains. This process is much more expensive and time consuming than creating pills and powders, but we know you’re worth it.
Liquid Supplements and Bioavailability
Bioavailability refers to our body’s ability to absorb a substance in order to achieve an effect. Supplements enter the body in different forms and therefore carry different results for effectively treating specific areas of the body.
We’ve mentioned that liquid tinctures are more bioavailable than the majority of capsules, gummies, and powders. Since our bodies are mostly liquid, it makes sense that a liquid would travel most efficiently and effectively within the body. Liquid supplements are easier for the body to break down and act faster in dispersing their healing properties throughout the body. Comparatively, when vitamins and minerals are manufactured into pills, powders and gummies, they usually contain fillers that need to be dissolved before the nutrients get their chance. More on each of these below:
- Pills - Capsules are often pre-made in mass quantities so can’t be customized. Pills also have issues with bioavailability, and 40% of Americans have a hard time swallowing them. Unfortunately, supplements aren’t one-size-fits-all.
- Gummies - Supplements in gummy form feel fun and probably taste good, but they’re often made with inflated amounts of some nutrients over others to prevent degradation. So again, we have an imbalance or inaccurate dosage of nutrients. Gummies also contain sugar which is an inflammatory substance; it can actually do harm when we’re trying to do something good.
- Powders - Like pills and gummies, powders are easier to manufacture, but consistency again is an issue. It can be difficult to get an accurate dosage each time. Powders have to be mixed with liquid for absorption, and they are oftentimes mixed with unnecessary fillers and starches that don’ t benefit our long term health.
Traditional Chinese Medicine plays an important role in sustainable agriculture and food systems and offers a holistic approach to prevent diseases while making appropriate use of organic and herbal products, especially growth by small-scale family farmers. The preservation of Chinese medicinal herbs is as important as their natural health benefits are.
We believe that taking something good for us should also respect and preserve our planet’s natural resources. That’s why we begin by sourcing organically harvested whole herbs, focus on extracting the most nutrients from the plants using liquid decoction, and composting the remains as part of our commitment to sustainability. We also package in reusable glass tincture bottles and ship in recycled envelopes to cut down on potential waste - especially that resulting from single-use plastics. This is important because as the demand for TCM grows and plant supply weakens, protecting our natural resources is vital.
We’re confident that doing what’s good for our long-term health can also have a sustainable impact on Mother Earth. A good place to start? Read more about the proven healing herbs and botanicals we use in Cycle Balance.This article was reviewed by Dr. Liem Le.
Dr. Liem Le is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Nutritionist Integrative Medicine Department at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. He is a part of the teaching staff for the Masters program for the Functional Medicine and Human Nutrition program at University of Western States. Dr. Le is currently working on his fellowship in Integrative Medicine with the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine via a scholarship from the White House to complete the initiative.