Benefits of making your own herbal capsules at home
Herbal capsules are very easy and economical to make.
- When you make your own, you control the quality of the ingredients.
- You can create herbal remedies specific to your personal needs, rather than relying on what a supplement manufacturer tells you that you need.
- You control the freshness and quality of the ingredients.
- You can create herbal supplements with no fillers, controlling for allergens.
- Homemade herbal capsules are an economical alternative to Health Food Store supplements.
Cost of empty herbal capsules
To create your own herbal capsules and herbal remedies you will need to purchase capsules. My local healthfood store carried capsules several years ago at 25cents a capsule. I’m happy to say that as the popularity of DIY herbal remedies has increased, the price of the capsules has dropped. You can get both gelatin capsules and vegetarian capsules.
Vegetarian or Gelatin capsules?
Dr. Mercola recommends vegetarian capsules in his herbal remedies. Vegetarian capsules are made from poplar trees and are a cellulose product. While gelatin capsules are made from beef gelatin. They are certified halal, and kosher, free of gluten, free of preservatives, and free of BSE and TSE. The choice is yours.
What size capsule is best for you?
There are several sizes of herbal capsules to choose from. The standard size “0” holds 500mg. of herbs. The standard dose is 2 capsules of “0” size.
“00”size holds 50% more herbs, about 750mg than the “0” size. The capsules are bigger so a little more difficult to swallow.
There are smaller capsule sizes, too. “1” size holds 400mg, or about 20% less than “0” standard, and is good for making capsules for children or for those who have difficulty swallowing. Other sizes include size 2 at 350mg, and size 3 at 200 mg.
The empty capsules are sold in bags of 500 or 1000 capsules, which will give you enough capsules for family use for at least a year. The size of capsule that you get will determine the size of encapsulation machine that you need to buy, so give some thought to the capsule size that will work best for your circumstance.
Where to buy the empty capsules
Your local health food store may carry empty capsules in smaller quantities. The price may be higher than buying online, so shop with a price list to ensure that you are receiving good value, before you purchase.
Amazon carries both vegetarian and gelatin capsules in 1000 and 500 count bags. I found them to be the least expensive of the various options.
Rose Mountain Herbs carries the vegetarian capsulesin bags of 1000, 500, and 100. These are also reasonably priced. They also carry organic herbs, so you may save on shipping cost by purchasing your capsules from them, when you purchase their quality, organic herbs to fill the capsules.
How to get the herbs in the capsules
Once you determine the size of capsule that will best fit your needs, you are ready to determine how you are going to fill them.
Fill the capsules by hand
One way is simply to prepare your herbal blend in a bowl and use the capsule to scoop the correct amount of herb into the bottom of the capsule, the larger end. And cap by hand. This method will work in a pinch. But it is time consuming. There is some wasted herb that clings to the outside of the capsule and to your fingers as you work. And since you can’t tap down the herb within the capsule, you don’t get a uniform fill rate. Your dosage in each capsule will vary.
Machines to help you fill the capsules:
There are two different capsule machines that help you get the herbs into the capsules and cap them. Each machine only fills one size of capsule, so determine the capsule size you want to use before purchasing the machine.
One option makes 50 capsules at a time. The Cap’M’Quik machine seems more efficient at first, because it makes 50 capsules at a time. To use the machine you separate the tops and bottoms of the capsules, and place the bottoms into the measured holes on the machine bed. Place your herb on top and brush it into the capsules. When the capsules appear to be full, you place a tamping gadget on top and push down. This compresses all 50 capsules at one time, allowing you to add more herb into the capsules. Tamp down again. Add more herb. Tamp again. So far so good.
The drawback of this machine is that each filled capsule has to be capped by hand, one at a time. It takes about 20 minutes to make 50 capsules. If you have any dexterity problems, this can be messy and awkward. You would be better off with option 3.
The Cap’M’Quick machine sells for $25 at Amazon.com
The Capsule Machine
Another option is “The Capsule Machine”. This is the model that I decided to purchase, after doing thorough research. It holds 24 capsules at a time. You will need to purchase the model that is specific for the size of capsules that you have determined that you need. The machine is smaller than the previous model and takes up less space in storage.
With this machine you will separate the capsules into top and bottom and place in the trays of the capsule machine. This is easier if you place the bottom and top into corresponding holes in the machine trays, methodically. Once you’ve filled all 24 holes in the top and the bottom trays, you fill the bottom tray with your herbal mix. There is a stiff but flexible plastic card included, about the size of a credit card, that helps you spread and fill the bottom capsules. Once they appear full, use the tamping tool to press the herbs firmly into the capsules. Add more herbs and use the card to spread it into the capsules. If you work with a tray underneath the machine, any spilled herb can be returned to the bowl that you mixed your herbs into, which prevents waste.
Once the bottom capsules are full of herbal mixture, and you can’t get any more herbs into them, simply place the bottom on a firm surface. Put the top over the bottom, and push down with even pressure. The top capsules cover the bottom capsules automatically. Pressure on the back of the top capsule tray removes the completed capsules from the tray. If you desire, you can further press top and bottom together before storing in a glass jar, ready to use.
I can make 100 capsules with this machine in about 30 minutes, just a little quicker than option 2, but with less hand strain.
The capsule machine is $14 on Amazon.com.
Both The Capsule machine and the Cap’M’Quik machine are made from heavy plastic and will last for many years of regular use. This makes them a good investment in your health.
The Capsule Machine filler plus 1000 “0” size Capsule Connection Gelatin Capsules
There are also professional capsule filling machines available in the $1,000 plus range.
Let’s recap the steps needed to make herbal capsules at home.
- Purchase the herbal capsules in the size of your choice and in the composition of your choice, whether gelatin or vegetarian.
- Mix your herbs according to your recipe for your chosen supplement.
- Using the filling method of your choice fill the capsules.
- Complete the capsules putting the top on the filled bottom – either by hand or by machine.
- Store finished capsules in glass jars away from heat and moisture.
With either machine you can make 100 capsules in about 30 minutes. Filling capsules by hand by scooping the herb into the bottom of the capsule takes a bit more dexterity and a bit more time.