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Frequently Asked Questions

Here at RidgeCrest Herbals, we're always happy to answer your questions. Some of the most common ones are answered here. If you don't find the answer to your question, please call us at 1 (800) 242-4649, or email it to us at


Are herbs safe?

Herbs are the second safest form of medicine known to man. (The very safest is homeopathy.)

People sometimes think that herbs are safe because they're "natural," but that's NOT TRUE. Hemlock (Conium maculatum), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), and the Death Cap mushroom (Amanita phalloides) are all 100% natural, but they're also very deadly poisons.

Herbal medicines are safe not because they're natural, but because they've been used for thousands of years, with millions of people, and their beneficial properties and potential side effects are generally very well known. Thousands of years of experience aren't to be lightly dismissed, especially when compared to a handful of supposedly "scientific" studies.

Keeping herbal medicine safe requires good formula design and specification. This means proper growing, harvesting, drying, and processing, as well as proper manufacturing and packaging. Failure in any of these steps can affect the safety of the finished product. So it's very important to know the sources of your herbs, and understand that the people who supply them are taking the same precautions that you would take in sourcing them for yourself.

At RidgeCrest Herbals we take our own products every day, and we give them to our own families. We take every precaution to assure that they're both safe and effective, and that they're always of the same consistently high quality that we would expect as customers.

Why do you use such complex formulas?

Every medicine we take has at least one effect that we desire, which is why we take it. But that effect can vary greatly from one individual or condition to another, and a medicine that works well for one person, may not work so well for another.

Each medicine or ingredient may also have unwanted side effects, which can also vary from one person to another -- so one person may get great benefits with few side effects, while another gets only side effects but no real benefit, even though they took the same product at the same dosage.

A good over-the-counter medicine is one that works pretty well for most people and hopefully has few serious side effects. This one-medicine-fits-all, or "silver bullet" approach, has been the basis of Western medicine for the last hundred years or more.

Complex formulas are different, and though they're common in Oriental medicine, they're less familiar here. Complex formulas use small doses of many ingredients, rather than large doses of one or two. Although people still react differently to each ingredient, complex formulas are more effective for a greater number of people -- people who don't respond much to one ingredient are likely to respond better to others. And because the dose of each ingredient is smaller, there's less chance of serious adverse reactions, side effects, and drug interactions.

Well-designed complex formulas -- like a complex diet -- simply work better than large doses of one or two ingredients. RidgeCrest Herbals products are complex; our simplest formulas have four or five ingredients, and some have over forty. Complex formulas are more expensive to create and manufacture than simple ones since we have to test dozens of ingredients, not just one or two. But the results are worth the extra effort.

What is a Synergistic Formula?

No herbal tradition has all the answers. Because they developed in different parts of the world with different climates and plants available, each ancient culture developed unique solutions for various concerns. Some of these disciplines, like traditional Chinese medicine and Eclectic medicine, overlap in many ways, and round each other out. Others, like homeopathy and herbs or nutrition, reinforce each other, making for real synergy -- where a combination is more than the sum of its parts.

Our multi-disciplinary approach develops this potential synergy and pulls the most effective treatments from each culture to benefit our formulas.

What is a Nutritional Supplement?

Many health conditions are caused or made worse by nutritional deficiencies. Our modern western diet is not varied enough to provide good nutrition for most people.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the nutritional value of many fruits and vegetables is less than half what it was in 1948[citation?], when they started keeping records, because of mass production techniques and soil depletion. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other nutritional supplements can contribute greatly to good health, especially when tailored to individual conditions and needs. Our products combine both herbs and vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to provide a well-rounded solution to the needs of our customers.

What is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is probably the most comprehensive system of natural medicine in use today. TCM is one of the oldest medical systems, with literature dated as early as 2500 BC. It's also the most widely practiced natural medicine, used regularly by over two billion people worldwide. Traditional Chinese medicine is well documented, with many good reference books, even in English. TCM is also eclectic, borrowing useful ingredients and methods from many other cultures. In fact, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have studied and classified over 10,000 natural medicines from all over the world -- much more than any other discipline to date.

Traditional Chinese medicine ingredients have been combined in many ways over a long period of time, so their characteristics when combined are very well known. In fact, most TCM medicines are complex formulas, not single herbs, and many such formulas have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. RidgeCrest products often begin with traditional Chinese medicine herbal formulas, though we often modify them for modern over-the-counter use.

By using only the best quality ingredients, with extensive testing both before and after manufacturing, our TCM-based formulas are among the safest and most effective botanical formulas available anywhere.

Some people, when referring to traditional Chinese medicine, are speaking specifically of a streamlined version of classical Chinese medicine that was developed during the time of Chairman Mao. While this is the most accurate use of the term, most people conflate classical Chinese medicine (pre-Mao) and traditional Chinese medicine, and we use the terms interchangeably as well.

What is Eclectic Herbalism?

America has always been a crossroads for many different influences. Native Americans had many herbal solutions. European settlers brought their own solutions with them as they came to the Americas.

By the early 1800s, American herbalists were also studying herbal solutions brought by natives of Central and South America, Asia, Africa, and even Australia. As they adopted herbal solutions from many different sources, these herbalists began calling themselves Eclectic -- a term that means "choosing what's best from various sources or systems." For over a hundred years the Eclectics were the recognized leaders of medical science until herbal medicines were mostly replaced by pharmaceutical drugs in the 1920s and 1930s.

RidgeCrest Herbals remains strongly influenced by the Eclectic approach. Our botanical formulas are drawn not only from all branches of herbalism, but also from modern nutritional science. We continue to search the world for the most effective natural methods and ingredients, and new ways to use them together.

Does licorice raise blood pressure?

It can. When consumed in large doses, natural licorice -- or more specifically, the compound glycyrrhizin found in licorice -- has been found to have a significant hypertensive effect, which causes an increase in blood pressure. Our ClearLungs® Classic formula contains 36.2 mg of Chinese licorice, while it takes over 400 mg of European licorice to effectively raise blood pressure.

You should always consult with your physician before making changes to any blood pressure regimen.