Making Herbal Pills

For these Herbal Pills, I used a modified Rehmannia 8 formula.  I took out the Rehmannia (ha, so I guess it needs a new name).  I took this out because I knew I could not powder it.  
Otherwise the formula includes:
Dioscorea - Shan Yao
Cinnamon - Gui Zhi
Eucommia Bark - Du Zhong
Poria - Fu Ling
Moutan Peony Root - Mu Dan Pi
Alisma Rhizome - Ze Xie
Dogwood Fruit - Shan Zhu Yu

To this I added:
Eleuthro - Ci Wu Jia
Tangerine Peel - Chen Pi
Kelp - Kom Bu

I found the latex part of the Eucommia did not grind up, so I would not use it again for making Herbal Pills.  I might substitute Epimedium (Yin Yang Huo), Cordyceps (Dong Chong Xia Cao), or Dipsacus (Xu Duan).  I used about a heaping Tablespoon of each herb powdered.  You can powder the herbs with a Vita-mix or a coffee grinder.  I used a coffee grinder as I have yet to purchase a Vita-mix, but will someday!  They are highly recommended as the coffee grinders burn out.  After powdering, I ran the herbs through a sieve to get all the chunks out and then ran the chunks through the grinder again.

So, all in all I used about 3/4c. total of powdered herbs.  To this I added just enough vegetable glycerin to make it all stick together.  You do not want to use too much or the pills will not form and keep their shape, so add a little at a time.  You want to end up with a thick batter, kind of like grainy clay.  I ended up using about 4 oz. of vegetable glycerin.  Once you start rolling the pills out by hand, if they seem to want to crack add a bit more glycerin until they stay in a solid ball. 

I say about because I tend to use the folk method a lot when working with herbs as I don't believe anything IS exact and though I appreciate science and measurements, I think it can become a bit of a religion and I don't like that rigidness.  There are too many variables and everything is constantly changing, so nothing is absolute anyway.  There is no true measurement.  Healing is not an exact science.  Health is balance within constant fluctuation.  So with many things I make, I relax a bit the ego's need for a semblance of control and just allow the process to occur.

Be sure to make the balls small enough to swallow.  You can roll these out while listening to something or chatting with a friend, or simply meditating.  The repetitive rolling into a ball is very Zen and they smell wonderful with the mix of Cinnamon, one of my favorite flavors, and Moutan, which I think smells like root beer.  Once you have rolled them all out and placed them - I used a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet - you want to dry them.  You can do this in the sun or in a warm, dry location.  I heat with a wood stove, so I put them near the stove to dry.  As soon as they are thoroughly dried, put them in a jar.  Just be sure they are totally dry so they do not mold once stored.  I will take 4 of these 3x a day, so this recipe will make a good month's worth at least. 


  1. This is a neat thing I'd never thought of! I'd always just seen the herbal pills that were powders put into the gel capsules. This is really fun to see. About how long would something like this be shelf stable before it began to...degrade? lose potency?

    1. I would think these pills would last at least as long as the herbs themselves. Dried herbs are considered to have good potency for a year or so (some think more). You would want to treat these pills the same as you would treat herbs: dry, dark, and cool.