Numerous producers of dried extracts often provide powders. Granulation is an extra step. The main reason for this measure is to make it easier to consume the product by swallowing the loose material with a sip of water. Powders ten to cling to the mouth. While traditional formulas can be obtained in capsule or tablet form, specially designed formulas are available only in loose form.
A tea can be made from the granules as easily as from the powdered extracts. Even though it may appear that the powder are dissolving in the hot water, the fact is they are only suspened. If allowed to sit for a few minutes, the residue of the carrier (used for all such extracts) will be seen at the bottom of the cup. A tea is no more assimilable than the basic product which is a water-based extract sprayed onto a a carrier. It immediately reconstitutes in the stomach as an herbal tea when water is consumed. If a tea is desired, adding boiling water to a cup containing the appropriate amount of granules, stir, and let sit for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
The granules are essentially equivalent to a decoction made from crude herbs. The typical ratio of crude herb weight to granules is 4:1, meaning that a dosage of granules of three gram at one time (a common recommendation in the West) is about the same as making a decoction from 12 grams of crude herb. In Japan, it is common for Kampo practitioners to recommend only 2.5 gram of granules, three times daily. A price comparison between decoting crude herbs and using the convenient granules shows that they are similar in overall cost. A practitioner who prescribes crude herbs will typically give out about a pound of herb materials for a one week supply (seven days, 60 grams each day). This is an average practitioner cost is $3 for the materials when using an an-house pharmacy; less than half the cost for the equivalent of more than half the daily herb dosage.
Natural materials vary in their content of coloring matter from one batch to the next, so that the color of the extracts may vary significantly. This usually has no influence on the medicinal qualities of the herbal extracts. Some herbs yield large amounts and other small amounts of solids in the extract. When combined with the carrier, this results in different densities. Hence, a bottle of oyster shell extract may be only one-third filled, while a bottle of cinnamon twig extract will be completed filled.