What is Qi, Ki, Chi?

First of all Qi, Ki and Chi are all the same word just variations of Chinese and Japanese and ways that the West has written it in (their/our) letters. In Chinese Mandarin its more or less pronounced like “Cheeeese” while taking a picture but without the “Z” at the end. 

In Chinese, the word is combined in endless variations to make other words and concepts. 

is how its written now in mainland China. 

is how it was written in China and still used in Taiwan. 

Here is a segment of an entire chapter on qi that I wrote for Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine (PMPH press):

Qi in ancient Chinese philosophy refers to an invisible and extremely fine substance that is in constant motion. The initial connotation for qi was that of a cloud floating in the sky. By observing the motions of the clouds (ascending, descending, accumulating and dispersing), Chinese philosophers formulated a concept that all substances in nature that have form are generated by a formless substance that is in continual and endless motion. This substance is qi. These early philosophers also perceived the existence and influence of qi in the body by observing the phenomena of human life such as the qi of breathing, hot qi over the body during exercise, and so on. After further considering cloud-qi and water-qi, as well as breathing qi and the hot qi of the body, additional general concepts of qi and its nature were formed. They postulated that qi begins as an extremely fine substance with no form and is in perpetual motion. As qi accumulates, it acquires form, and is thus responsible for creating all the physical manifestations we perceive in the universe.

PMPH Eisenstark FundamentalsThough physical objects and the extremely fine invisible substance moving around them are both forms of essential qi, the invisible form is considered the basic state of existence for essential qi. This version of essential qi is what is usually referred to as “qi”, while the qi that accumulates and is in a relatively stable and tangible state is named “form” (xíng, 形). Formless essential qi is extremely fine, and is in a constant state of dispersion and motion; it is considered “intangible” or “formless” because it cannot (usually) be seen with the naked eye. When this invisible and intangible essential qi accumulates, it becomes a stable form, which then can be seen and identified as a tangible “thing” or object.

These two states of essential qi are perpetually in a state of transition. As part of the process of life, the formless and intangible (qi) and the tangible (form) transform into each other. Formless qi accumulates and becomes a tangible substance just as tangible substances disperse and revert to formless qi. All things in the universe change from the formless to the tangible and then in turn from the tangible to the formless. Therefore, essential qi is both the starting point and the ending point of a thing or phenomenon within an endless cycle.

Formless qi connects everything as a coordinated and unified whole, which is in constant motion; it exists both within and without, filling the entire world of things. Formless qi penetrates into all forms, and activates the qi that has formed into an object. So, qi is not only a material or element that constitutes all things in the universe, but is also an intermediary through which all things in the world communicate, interconnect and interact with each other. As one of the universal things existing within this integrated whole, the human being also responds to changes in the order of things, however slight or subtle the change may be.” Now back to earth with more questions:


Checkout problems?

Most of the problems have been worked out. Make sure you select your country (even if USA) in both billing and shipping address in the little drop down menu on the ordering page.

If you have trouble with the checkout that is giving you zip code errors etc.. try making the screen size larger (like command + on a Mac). That way the fields align better. This is an issue that has been driving me and a number of customers nuts. Its a simple visual glitch. So until I can figure out how to fix it once and for all I am going to put up this little map.

If it isn’t working for you it may look like this:eagleherbsformcorrection

When OK it should look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.49.28 AM

info – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Gallbladder Channel

Are your herbs safe?
Yes, they are made by the biggest suppliers in China under impeccable conditions. Herbs are a multi-million industry for our supplier and there is no cutting corners nor hanky-panky that would jeopardize that. Most of the problems with Chinese herbs have come from small suppliers trying to make their way into the market with counterfeits.

Who are you?

My name is Doug Eisenstark and I’ve been in practice since 1996. Al Stone started the company 10 years ago and gave the company to me 6 years ago before he passed away. We are not Amazon but we are approaching half a million dollars in sales since starting up. We are kind of an old school type of operation but safe and caring etc… 

Are your herbs organic?
This is a difficult question because there is no trusted organic certification in China. 90% of Chinese Herbs are collected in the wild from fields or forests and therefore there are no standards (nor need) for organic production. Chinese herbs are for the most part resistant to bugs so there is little use for pesticides and since they are wild they aren’t artificially fertilized. But its not a perfect organic system so all of our herbs are thoroughly tested before they go into production for processing.


How long does it take to get the herbs?

Orders can be processed that day but always within 48 hours of receiving the orders. Orders placed on the weekends or holidays will be processed on the following business day. We then mix groups of herbs into one bottle. We want to take the best care with your herbs and are constantly trying to stream-line our overall service. The exception we might have is when you order many bottles at a time and we have to order more herbs to fill the order. That might take us a few more days.

We almost alway ship USPS Priority because it really is the quickest way to go.


Do you sell herbs or formulas and what is the difference?

Formulas are a group of herbs after they have been put together. Often times we say herbs when we mean formulas. Its just a language thing.


Which is stronger? Capsules or Granules?

I am so glad you asked. We have a page here just for that very question.


Can these herbs be used with animals?
Yes, although we aren’t vets, apparently many of our customers do give them to their dogs and cats. And from the feedback we get, they (owners and pets) have been happy with the results.

Can you tell me when the herbs reach their expiration date?

No, not really. I buy some custom granules that list a 3 year expiry date but I think its pretty arbitrary. We try to keep our stock at Eagleherbs fresh and try to throw anything out over a year out. But the main problem is that once a bottle is opened it can clump up soak up moisture and then get hard. I’ve found things in my closet 10 years old that got this way and had to throw them away. Still I don’t think they go “bad” as much as unusable. 

Eric Brand, at Legendary Herbs where we buy our herbs says they remain effective for many more years. I am going to quote from something he wrote: “Testing results on the long-term stability of granules in sealed containers indicate that granules have a very long shelf life. Minimal changes have been noted in hundreds of products even after eight to nine years. While many manufacturers use a three-year expiration date on the U.S. market, five-year expiration dates are also common for the exact same products in other markets (such as the E.U.). Expiration dates are rarely based on actual evidence of degradation, and in general the expiration dates used for granules are shorter than necessary to reduce liability and encourage product turnover. From the perspective of efficacy and safety, most granules in sealed bottles can probably last for many years beyond their stated expiration dates.”


Does your company keep bears in cages?
No. Actually this isn’t a frequently asked question, I just want to emphasize that we don’t carry products from rare or endangered species. All our herbs are CITES compliant.


What is the dosage?
Its hard to say because I can’t generalize about your condition, age, weight etc… But generally the top end of dosage is 4 capsules 3 times a day or 2 teaspoons 3 times a day (granules). That being said, I like to have patients start off with a very small amount at the beginning and work your way up to a comfortable dosage. The trick is to take them, if they are making you feel uncomfortable then back off the dosage. Any time you start a new formula it may “wake up” the system and so at the beginning I like patients to take them well before bedtime.


Is it better to get these prescribed by a doctor in person?
Yes, it is. But Eagleherbs was started because we recognized that many people do not have access to a competent practitioner. Eagleherbs has numerous opportunities for consultation on our pages and through paid phone interviews. We also strongly believe that people should be allowed the opportunity to choose for themselves given some guidelines.

Why are you always so interested in how my body feels when I just have problems with my emotions?In Chinese medicine we don’t have a difference between mind and body (so-called body-mind split) in the same way that we usually have thought of it in Western traditions. So when we talk about balancing the body and mind or integrating the body and mind, in Chinese philosophy and medicine they have never been separated! Here is a  fascinating academic article about this. ->  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4253951/


Is Chinese Medicine a religious thing?

No, the religion has been filtered out over the years in most practices. We do have basic precepts like Yin and Yang but these are more scientific philosophies like gravity and atoms are in the west.


Do you have herbs that will help me with this ______ disease? Why don’t you just list the diseases the herbs are for?

There are two issues here. The first is that Chinese Medicine diseases are different from Western diseases. And our “diseases” often have very different approaches to them. So we may treat something that is very much like arthritis (in Western medicine terms) but have 6 very different approaches. Like diseases in Western medicine which have different drugs depending on the presentation.

The second issue is that of “disease-claims” that the FDA doesn’t allow us to do. This was laid out in the Dietary Safety and Education Act (DSEA) by the FDA. Basically what comes down to is that supplement sellers can make “structure-function” claims- our stuff helps aspects of your well-being but we can’t legally say or imply that we cure much. For example, we can’t label a formula HepCcure because even without saying so the name implies it. We try our best to keep to these regulations.

It’s pretty interesting stuff actually and you may find all kinds of hints about it on Eagleherbs. Al wrote a number of great articles (mainly for other practitioners) on this very subject as well as being a part of high level committees in the herbs community.  You can look at the articles here: DSEA tutorials


Should I believe everything I read on the internet?
No. (Abraham Lincoln said that.)


The big one: “What is Qi?”

hahahaha! Now you are going to get me in trouble! Qi is the basic concept of Chinese philosophy.  Read about it here.


Fang, Pian, Tang, Wan? Whats the difference? Again:   read all about it here.


Do you give discounts to students or practitioners?
No, although our suppliers have been extremely kind to us, they don’t sell to us for a substantial discount beyond what many students and practitioners can get for themselves. By giving a student or practitioner price we simply would be giving away our labor.


Can I call with a question?
Yes, but I really prefer emails when possible. With a phone call it may take some time to get back to you. And then there is the “phone-tag” thing.


Can I order over the phone?
(see above) Yes, kind of, maybe, would rather not.  Phone orders takes us more time to fill. If you want to call about your health problem(s) I don’t mind talking at length to you but I probably will refer you to the web-site to order if its possible for you to do so. We set up the ordering process as a computerized company so that from the time we get your order to when we send it out, all the production details such as payment and shipping are lined up to get it out to you quickly. Phone orders are essentially “hand made” at every stage.


Placebos, Nocebos, and Your Herbs

Placebos” and “nocebos“, describe how our brains comply with our health goals to generate rapid and profound changes.

The placebo response is a poorly-understood response by the body that generates temporary healing and/or the perception of progress in one’s health status. The key point is that there is sudden improvement (which is our goal) but the improvement wears off after a week. The nocebo response is the same thing, but instead of improvements, there are side-effects that arise, but do not last. Continue reading »

Ginseng root vs. Codonopsis root

Eagle Herbs formulas that call for ginseng (人参, 人蔘, rénshēn) often include real ginseng, not the cheaper alternative called Codonopsis pilosula (党参, dǎngshēn)*.

Codonopsis root is not a true ginseng, though it does roughly the same thing for the digestion as ginseng. It is cheaper which is good for those who want to save money, but it also requires a larger dosage to achieve the same effects as true ginseng.

I can’t say how long Codonopsis has served as a low-cost replacement for ginseng, but traditional formula recipes often call for Codonopsis, only ginseng. Continue reading »

Info – All About Herb Dosages

Wondering how much granulated herbs you should take? Good question! Although they can be powerful, herbs can be seen more as foods than drugs.

The label on the bottle gives you a good guideline as to the dosage but don’t feel like you have to follow them that exactly (but take your herbs responsibly).

The most important thing is to to take a dosage (and when) that feels right for you.

Here are some general rules:

A Big Dosage for Short-lived but intense issues: 3 little spoons (12 capsules) twice a day.

A Smaller Dosage for Lingering low-grade concerns: 2 little spoons (8 capsules).

The above guidelines represent the usual doses. If you don’t much care for reading or thinking too much about it, you’re done. If you want to fine tune things a bit, keep reading.

If you are very sensitive to medicines: start out low (1/2 little spoon or 2 capsules) once per day, and raise the dosage each day. When you get to the point where your concerns are being addressed, you’re good, you don’t have to go any higher than that. This advice is especially useful for those who are taking herbs for something that is induced or aggravated by stress.

Finally, some data for those who are trying to translate doses from a raw bulk prescription such as is more common in China or Chinatown pharmacies. The herb extract powders at Eagle Herbs are 5:1 concentrations. This means that it took 5 kilograms to produce 1 kilogram of extract powder. So, should you get a prescription for 5 grams of an herb per day, we would translate that to 1 gram of extract powder per day.

I’m sure we’ll be adding more instructions to this page as the need arises.

In general, a higher dose is better for symptoms that are short-lived and intense (or “acute”). A lower dose is better for problems that are low-grade but long- lasting (“chronic”). A lower dose can also be better when using a formula as a preventive or to maintain health. If there is a specific issue you’re hoping to resolve, you can take as much as is described on your herb’s label. See below for when to take your herbs in regards to a full or empty stomach.

CAPSULES: Although the number of capsules for a dose may seem like a lot to take, it should be understood that you’re taking the herbal equivalent of freeze-dried coffee as opposed to a drug that would be far more concentrated.

POWDER: As for how you want to get the powder into you, that’s up to you. One option is to simply dump the powder on to your tongue and then wash it down with some water. The other option is to stir it into some hot water and drink it like a tea. Either is fine. Your formula may have a less than desirable taste. If you find the tea is too yucky, just water it down, that usually helps. If you find that this formula is working for you, you might want to do so before your herbs are completely gone. Some problems take longer than one bottle’s worth of herbs to fix, but you should see some improvement all the same within a week or two.

Your formula is best taken: before meals (empty stomach) after meals (full stomach) whenever you like, but you’ll get more efficient absorption if taken between meals. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Do not use if either the seal is broken or missing.

If you have any questions, you can add them to the comment field below or simply contact us.

  • 50 grams powder (capsules only): 4 to 14 days.
  • 100 grams powder (capsules or powder): 8 to 25 days
  • 200 grams powder (powder only): 19 to 56 days

Pregnancy and Herbs

man with babies

Herbs and pregnant women get along just peachy. China’s population is a good proof of this. However because pregnant women are “taking herbs for two”, we should be particularly careful with anything given to women while pregnant.

Those who have a history of miscarriages or other pregnancy issues should be particularly careful not to take herbs without expert advice. That being said, those with pregnancy issues are exactly the women who can most benefit from Chinese herbal medicine.

If there is one message that this page hopes to convey, it is simply this: consult your locally licensed Chinese medicine professional before taking any of the herbs described on this page under the caution or contraindicated sections. Those listed under the beneficial list are generally okay.

These are guidelines only. We’re trying to be a little more cautious than perhaps we need to be on this page. If you’re seeing a well-regarded Chinese medicine practitioner whom you have reason to trust, all of these herbs are okay to take, but only when they’re prescribed especially for you and your particular needs as assessed by someone knowledgeable about your case and the herbs being used. Continue reading »

Chinese Herbs and Breastfeeding

Herbs rarely get into the breast milk.

Many new mothers have this very legitimate question. Is it okay to take herbs while breastfeeding?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: there is only one herb that I personally know of that may enter the breast milk. The herb in question is Da Huang (Rx. Rhei). That’s rhubarb root for those of you who enjoy baking. We don’t want to give your nursing baby any of this herb and so you should avoid it until you’ve weaned your little one. It isn’t poison or anything, but can give your infant diarrhea. (Chen & Chen, Art of Medicine Press, 2004)

There may be, over time more herbs that are added to the list of herbs that can enter the breast milk and we’ll do our to stay on top of this concern. There are oodles of herbs that are thought to be worthy of caution, but none that have been actually observed to cause problems.

Continue reading »

Capsules or Powders?



Capsules or Powders?

At Eagle Herbs, we offer Chinese herbal formulas in both capsules and extract powders (also called “granules”). The herbal material inside of the capsules is identical to the extract powder. We actually start out with the powder, then optionally put it into capsules.

You don’t need to eat/drink the actual granules. The active ingredients are sprayed on to the granules. If you put the powder in water and stir occasionally for 10 minutes, the liquid that comes up is the actual “good stuff”. Just drink the liquid and discard the “mud” at the bottom.

However, if you are traveling or just need to take them to work, capsules will do the same work.

I believe that the powders work more quickly. They’re also cheaper for you because there is no labor cost associated with putting the powder into capsules. (Truthfully I can’t figure out if we make more money with the capsules because of the intracacies of the capsule making and the cleaning time etc)



However, if you ARE sensitive to funky tastes, if you think that you will not take the herbs if you have to taste them, I would encourage the use of the capsules. For example, bitter herbs like Huang Qin, Long Dan Can and Huang Lian can get real “real” real soon after drinking (“compared to Huang Lian, my life is more bitter” is an old Chinese saying).

Or perhaps you plan on traveling, working with the powders can be messy. When they get on the floor and interact with humidity in the air, they can get stuck in carpeting. They can be messy whereas capsules can fall on the floor, but be easily seen and cleaned up.

There is another reason that I prefer the use of powders, and that is dosage. It has been said by many of the more experienced practitioners of Chinese medicine that the most common reason for an herbal formula not doing what it needs to do is under-dosage. We’re simply not giving people enough of a dose to get the job done.

The reason that I bring this up in the issue of herbs vs. capsules is that I can tell a patient to take 2 little spoons of a powder 3 times daily. It goes down okay, it is doable. However, that much powder translates to about 12 capsules, three times a day.

This means that one will need to take 36 capsules per day, and this number is simply too high for most people to accept, not that I blame them, I don’t like the feeling of capsules sitting in my stomach either. But 2 little spoons of an herb extract powder is not a problem.

Again: You don’t need to eat/drink the actual granules. Just put them in water and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. The liquid that comes up is the actual “good stuff”. Just drink the liquid and discard the “mud” at the bottom.

So these are the differences between capsules and extract powders. If you’re not sure whether or not you can handle the taste of a given formula, order it in capsule form. When you get your herbs, just twist open the capsule and put the powder into some hot water or directly on to your tongue.

Try it a few times actually. Many of these formulas have a tendency to grow on you. They’re acquired tastes, but once you’re enjoying the taste, you’re on your way.

Be well, be VERY well.

written by Al Stone and Doug Eisenstark

When to Choose Herbs Over Drugs



Herbs and drugs both have their place.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

At EagleHerbs we really don’t have a problem with drugs. There are times when they’re the right choice, and times when well…

It’s exactly the same with herbs. We work with about 350 herbs and each one has a particular situation in which it most shines.

We assume that besides coming here to Eagleherbs.com you are taking care of yourself. Getting a check-up never hurts if you feel something is wrong. At least then your 1. husband 2. parent 3. wife 4. doctor 5. friend 6. child etc… won’t be bugging you about getting it “checked out”.

When we line up the right herbal formula with a given condition, the results can be extraordinary. But it is important to look at the root cause, not just the branch symptoms.

For example: following list of chest pain scenarios illustrates how each herb has a specific context well beyond the symptom of “chest pain” or “angina”. Continue reading »

How to Improve Chinese Herb Tea Taste


Some people find it difficult to get the herbs down in tea form. This is completely understandable. Chinese herbs produce some really funky tastes.

However, with a little bit of cleverness, you CAN make your tea taste better. It’s all about the concentration sweet spot. Continue reading »

The Path of the Zhong Yi (Chinese internal medicine doctor)

Al Stone, L.Ac., DAOM Chinese Herbs

Al Stone, L.Ac., DAOMAl’s original statement:

I’m Doctor Al Stone, a licensed acupuncturist in the state of California with a doctorate level education (DAOM) in Oriental medicine.

I am a “Zhong Yi” or practitioner of Chinese internal medicine using herbs exclusively.

Since 1995, I’ve maintained a strong presence online and have worked with individuals all over the world to help folks get the best herbal formula for their unique issues.

Customized formulas is the most valuable service we provide here. While there are some premade one-size-fits-all formulas available, my training and experience is actually focused on custom crafting an herbal formula that exactly matches your particular needs. Continue reading »