Best way to take Tonic Herbs?

So what is the best form of tonic herbs to take?

Firstly, let’s take the focus back to what matters to you most:

Is it being ‘traditional’?

Or doing what some guru told you to?

I hope not.

I bet you’ve signed up to be part of this group because you want the same thing for yourself that I do:


As I see it, there are three things you want from the herbs you choose:

1 Potency. You want it to work.

2 Convenience. You want it to be simple and easy to take.

3 Price. You want to pay as little as possible while getting as much as possible of 1 and 2.

So, before we go anymore into which herbs to try and why, let’s compare the different ways to take them.

For now, I’ll give you my honest evaluation of all the different forms of herbs out there, and the pros and cons of each.

Btw, if you’re a little skeptical that I might be biased here, let me reassure you. We actually sell every form of herb that exists: capsules, extract powders, whole herbs and tinctures.

So relax, I’m not just trying to get you to believe that ‘mine’s the best’ or anything, just straight up giving you my perspective, especially as I wish someone had sat me down and laid this all out for me when I got started years ago.

So, let’s compare:


The Different Forms of Herbs

1 Whole Herbs (called Raw Herbs in Chinese Medicine)

What is it?
Basically, it’s a whole herb that you need to extract yourself. With some herbs, like say chamomile tea, this is pretty simple, you just add hot water and in two minutes it’s done.

~ Tends to be pretty powerful way of taking herbs.

~ Tends to cost more for equal quality (logically it costs more to ship 100kg from China than 10kg of a 10:1 extract of that same herb).
~ Preparation, especially of the most beneficial herbs like Reishi, or Ho She Wu, tends to be messy, smelly, time consuming and complicated, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
~ More likely to be wastage if you prepare more than you consume.

The final scores?
Potency 5 out of 5 (so long as the original herb is good of course)
Convenience 0 out of 5
Price 1 out of 5


2 Herbal Tinctures

What is it?
Basically, these are herbs extracted into alcohol.

~ Can be cheaper than whole herbs. In a few cases, like with Pine Pollen, alcohol extraction frees up constituents that would otherwise be unavailable.

~ In my experience, these are almost universally less potent, for the price, than powder extracts.
~ For some people, any amount of alcohol is detrimental, including recovering alcoholics and people with sensitive livers.

The final scores?
Potency 3 out of 5,
but variable depending on herb/brand
Convenience 5 out of 5
Price 2 our of 5
tend to cost significantly more than powder extracts


3 Capsules or Tablets

What is it?
A capsule is where a herbal extract powder has been put in a gelatin or cellulose mini container (a pill). A tablet is the same except the extract powder is crushed into a pill instead.

~ Very easy to use.

~ Basically, by taking an extract powder and turning it into a pill, you’re making it
1. usually a lot more expensive for the same amount of extract
2. Harder for your body to digest, so you’ll absorb less over all, depending on how good your digestion is.

The final scores?
Potency 4 out of 5,
if the brand is outstanding (loses one point for being harder to digest.)
Convenience 5 out of 5
Price 1 out of 5


4 Herbal Extracts

What is it?
Basically, the herb is hot water extracted into a tea for you, then the water is boiled off, leaving just the active ingredients, usually bound up into a powder to make it easy to use.

~ Relatively easy to use. If fresh, potency is excellent, although if not, not so much. Usually the best value for money option.

~ Inferior brands are fairly weak. Still requires a little preparation (although no more than instant coffee.)

The final scores?
Potency 5 out of 5, assuming a top quality brand, like Lion Heart Herbs or Jing Herbs
Convenience 4 out of 5, not quite as easy as taking a pill, but close.
Price 5 our of 5



OK, I guess it’s probably fairly obvious by now what I prefer, and what I use myself every day?

Still, I wanted you to see why I prefer it. And in some cases, I’ll use the other forms, like with Pine Pollen Tincture.

To find out more about why I consider extracts the best way,  Click Here

I’d love to hear your perspective. Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions below:

Elwin Robinson

Elwin Robinson is the Founder of Lion Heart Herbs, Europe's #1 Educator on the Taoist approach to Health, and #1 Supplier of High Quality and Affordable Taoist Tonic Herbs to the World.

Elwin is also the Founder of Complete Detox Academy, Taoist Health Academy, the Health Coaching Institute and High Energy Academy, as well as the author of 'the Easy Exhaustion Cure' and 'the 4 Step Safe and Effective Detox Action Plan'.

Elwin is highly Enthusiastic about empowering people to feel Energized, Joyful and Alive, Naturally and Sustainably, and has worked over 5 years with over 1000 clients towards this goal. Elwin is particularly passionate about working with clients who are highly committed to reaching high levels of Health, Energy and Wellbeing, by natural and sustainable means.

Elwin has always been interested in Health since childhood. With a mother who had cancer 4 times, and a father with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Elwin is determined to get to the Root Causes of what really creates Disease, and what it really takes to have Outstanding Health and Wellbeing. After suffering from Health Challenges all his life, Elwin became determined, in 2007, to 'Get his Energy back or Die Trying', and, with this level of Resolve, made rapid progress, after a few false starts, which led him naturally, organically, after many requests, to dedicate himself full time to helping others get the kind of Results that he had achieved.
This entry was posted in How To guide, Tonic Herbs.


  1. sistah July 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Is there any way i can send a money order for herbs? Every time I try on the net they forget to add euorpean charge

  2. Owen fox September 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Thanks Elwin a nice informative short article easy to read quickly! Thank you! 🙂 Blessings to u!

  3. Karin H September 13, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Does the powder dissolve completely when you add water, like powdered coffee?
    And do you carry the combos like Rejuvenate and Serenity in tea form any more? I don’t see them. Sometimes I like puttering with tea fixings. 🙂

    • lionadmin September 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

      Yes, it dissolves completely in hot water, just like powdered coffee.
      We don’t do the whole tea anymore, just too many people having problems with it, but the extract version really is a better option in so many ways, even environmentally (10 times less shipping than unextracted form) that I’m proud to just focus on the extracts.

  4. Alice October 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    How do you prepare your loose tea leaves?


    • lionadmin October 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      we don’t really do loose teas very much any more Alice. However, I’m happy to answer the question, but it depends entirely on which loose tea?

  5. Alice October 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm #


    Its this one I am interested in:

    Is it also more cost effective, and potent, compared to its instant powdered tea equivalent?