To ensure they’re potent, safe, and effective, it takes multiple steps. 

At Mab & Stoke, we have access to top herbalists, phytochemists, and sourcing experts. In this new article series, we tap into their knowledge to bring you answers to some of the most common questions surrounding plant medicine. 

The expert: Bill Chioffi, an herbalist and sourcing expert based in Asheville, North Carolina

The answer: It all starts with carefully procuring the raw plant materials and testing them for purity, integrity, and potency.

Step two is the extraction process and there are a few different methods. Take ashwagandha root, for instance. It’s paired with a liquid solvent which breaks down the plant cell walls and releases the valuable phytochemicals into the solution. Elderberries, on the other hand, will be freshly pressed into a juice.

Either way, the next step is typically for the liquid to be dried into a powder. There are a number of ways to do this but most commonly it will be spray dried. Essentially, the liquid will be aspirated into a fine mist and sprayed into a heated chamber. It’s almost like an air popper for popcorn—by exposing the material to high heat for a very short time, the moisture is removed and the solid matter, which is your plant extract, falls down the chamber in little granules. Alternatively, it could be sprayed onto a smooth metal or glass surface where it’s quickly dried and scraped off into a powder which is then formed into a cake. (Sometimes a natural excipient, such as acacia gum, will be used to ensure the extraction contains the correct starch and soluble fiber content.)

When the materials get to the manufacturing facility, they will be properly formulated or compounded together (think: blending a few different extracts together to create Calm or Focus Mab Sticks). Finally, there’s always a finished product quality test before it gets packaged. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.