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Authentic Chinese Herbal Medicine since 1969
Plum Flower® Herbal Teas



General Questions


Q: Can anyone order herbs and formulas from you?
A: Mayway only sells its products to health care practitioners, health related businesses and students of traditional Chinese medicine. Proof of licensure, certification, student identification, or retail resale number is required. Licensed practitioners including but not limited to Acupuncturists, M.D., N.D., Veterinarians, and Nurse Practitioners will have access to special products, custom prescriptions, and additional information regarding our products.

Q: If I can't order herbs from you directly, where can I order them?
A: Use our searchable directory to find a practitioner or retail dispensary in your area.

Q: How can I find out what a product is for?
A: By law, we cannot make claims about our products. Please check with your practitioner or retailer for more information. There are also books about Chinese medicine in libraries and many health foods stores that may have the information you need.

Q: Are your capsules vegetarian?
A: Yes all of the capsules used in our products are vegetarian.

Q: Are your veggie caps gluten free?
A: Yes, Our supplier has informed us that the hypromellose used to make the veggie caps is sourced is southern pine, cut from the southeastern United States. Their website states that their veggie caps are preservative, allergen and gluten free.

Q: My product is past its Best by Date (BBD) – can I still use it?
A: We do not recommend using a product after the Best by Date.

Q: Why don’t your bulk herbs have a Best by Date?
A: A Best by Date is indicative of the shelf life of a product. The shelf life is the length of time that herbal products are given before they are considered unsuitable for sale, use, or consumption. The stability of a product is dependent upon a host of factors: the product form; the nature of the individual ingredients and their rates of oxidation; the packaging and storage conditions, etc.

The FDA final GMP rule for dietary supplements does not require the establishment of product expiration dates. But it does stipulate that any expiration/best by date placed on a product label must be supported by data, reserve samples must be maintained for one year past the shelf-life date, and dating claims must be tested by either accelerated or long-term studies.

Mayway does not have stability testing data and does not make claims as to the shelf life of the herbs and herb powders it sells. Subsequently, Mayway does not provide expiration dates for these products.

Q: What does GMP stand for?
A: GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. GMP guidelines ensure that proper procedures are followed to insure that every batch of product meets the highest standards of safety and quality. For more information about manufacturing or GMP guidelines please see the Quality Assurance section of our website.

Q: Can children take your herbal products?
A: Many of our products can be taken safely by children. It is always the best practice to check with a licensed health care practitioner before giving one of our products to a child.

Product Questions


Product Claims

Q: As a Practitioner, can I include product claims on my Prescription labels?
A: Under the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) dietary supplements must not contain any information in the labeling or marketing of the product that makes health claims. Mayway complies to DSHEA regulations so you will notice that our website, labels and marketing materials do not have any health claims. We ask our practitioners who use the Mayway dispensary service to refrain from putting any information on the label that would be construed as a claim. Information on DSHEA regulations can be found at the FDA Website.

Examples of prescription label claims:

  • For lung infection. Take 3 times before meals.
  • Yeast infection formula
  • Ann's Headache Formula


Plum Flower ® Premier Quality™ Herbs

Q: If an herb has a higher grade (example: Shan Yao#1), does that mean it is of a higher quality, or just a different size or cut?
A: Higher grades almost always are a larger cut coming from a larger, more mature plant, so that usually also means it is of a better quality.

Q: Why do some herbs look radically different from what I have been getting in the past from Mayway and/or other suppliers?
A: Although in some cases it may be due to proprietary Plum Flower® cutting and processing methods (see question below), most likely it is due to the herb being of a different species. We decided that it was important for us to promote the use of the correct species of herbs as specified in the People's Republic of China's Herbal Materia Medica, as these are the herbs practitioners are taught to prescribe. In the U.S., many southern species have been substituted due to the large number of southern Chinese doctors, teachers, and importers of Chinese herbs. Although in many cases the actions and indications of the substitutes are the same, or very similar, in some cases they are only superficially alike, and thus potentially ineffective or even harmful. Please feel free to check with us whenever you are unsure.

Q: Why are some Plum Flower® Premier Quality Herbs drier than other brands?
A: Plum Flower® Premier Quality Herbs are processed using proprietary methods that allow us to avoid the prevalent use of sulfur dioxide fumigation, a preservative also used to artificially “enhance” the appearance of herbs. One of these proprietary methods involves special cutting and drying techniques. When these specialized techniques are combined with our meticulous vacuum packing and nitrogen injection process, they allow us to provide high quality, clean herbs without sulfur dioxide treatment or other preservatives. More details about how Plum Flower ® Premier Quality Herbs are processed can be found in this article, Herb Processing at the Mayway Hebei Facility.

Q: Do you have organic herbs?
A: We do not carry certified organic herbs at this time.

Plum Flower® Extract Powders

Q: How do I figure out a standard dose of concentrated extract powder?
A: Many practitioners use a standard dosage of 9g/day, which can be given as 3 doses of 3 grams. Some practitioners prescribe 10 grams a day, or 70g a week, both for mathematical simplicity. A range of 4 to 16 grams per day can be given based on the nature of the case. For more information, download How to Use 5:1 Powdered Extracts.

Specific Herb Questions


Q: How are "Chao" Gui Ban and “Chao” Bie Jia prepared?
A: “Chao” preparation refers to the stir-fried method. Both Gui ban and Bie Jia are prepared according to the 2010 Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China. First the shell is steamed in a pan for 45 minutes. It is removed from the steaming vessel and placed in hot water. The skin and muscle are removed by a hard-brush immediately, washed clean and dried in the sun. The clean dried shells are then “stir-baked” with sand according to the method for “scalding” until the surface becomes yellowish. The method for scalding requires that the sand be put into a pot and heated to a high temperature. The clean shell is added and stirred constantly until it turns a yellowish color. The shell is removed, and the sand is sifted out. While the shell is still hot it is dipped or “tempered” in vinegar to until it becomes “crisp”. The shell is then removed, dried and then broken into pieces. The pharmacopoeia indicates that 20 kg of vinegar is used to process 100 kg of Gui Ban or Bie Jia.

Q: What is the difference between red and black Reishi/Ling zhi?
A: Red Reishi is Ganoderma lucidum, and Black Reishi is Ganoderma sinensis. They are different species, so their properties may be slightly different. Consult a Chinese Materia Medica. However, research conducted by the Hong Kong Baptist University TCM department indicates that red Ling zhi/reishi contains more spores than the black Ling zhi/reishi. Christopher Hobbs mentions that “the red color variety is generally recognized as the most potent and medicinal.” - Hobbs, C., Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture. Summertown, TN, Botanic Press, 1986.

Q: How is the Reishi/Ling zhi that you sell grown?
A: Our Reishi is grown on a wood pulp growth medium, either inside of a plastic bag or glass bottle to retain moisture and keep the mushroom from drying out. The whether the moisture retention system is a bag or a glass bottle depends on which Reishi/Ling zhi supplier we received a particular batch from.

Q: How is your Shu di huang processed?
A: Shu di huang/rehmannia root-prepared is made by first taking clean dried Sheng di huang/raw rehmannia root and mixing it thoroughly with yellow rice wine. It is then placed in the steamer and steamed until it becomes blackish and shiny. It is then taken out, dried in the sun until it is about 80 percent dried and then cut into thick slices or pieces. After slicing it is dried thoroughly. 30 kg of yellow rice wine is used for every 100 kg of clean dry Sheng di huang.

Q: Is Ci wu jia the same as Wu jia pi?
A: No. Ci wu jia is Eleutherococos senticosus root and Wu jia pi is Acanthopanax gracilistylus root-bark. They are from different plants, have different properties, and are not medicinal substitutes.

Q: Is your American ginseng/Xi yang shen cultivated? Wildcrafted? Organic?
A: Our American ginseng is cultivated in Wisconsin. We are seal members of the Wisconsin American Ginseng Board, and the Board has stated that organic American Ginseng is not commercially feasible as Ginseng takes years to grow and requires different types of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides throughout its growing stages. To grow it organically for commercial purposes would be cost prohibitive.

Q: What herbs are not for sale?
A: There are a number of reasons why certain herbs may not be available. Please see this comprehensive article on herbs that are restricted along with the reasons for these restrictions: Restricted Herbs and Resource List



Q: Which of your products contain potential allergens?
A: Download these PDF files of herbs and products that contain allergens or ingredients that can be problematic for people with food sensitivities. Feel free to print these for yourself or your patients with allergies to help them avoid reactions.

Tree Nuts

Q: Are these allergens listed on your labels?
A: Yes, as of 2006 we added labels on all our affected products that identify food allergens including soy, tree nuts, and wheat. Although we do not identify ingredients known to cause food sensitivities including cuttlefish, gluten and sesame on our labels, we do provide information about them here on our website. Please see the PDF files referred to in the question above.

Ordering & Service Questions


Q: I'm sending a package directly to my patient; can you send me the bill?
A: Yes. We have a drop shipment service for all of our products, including our extensive Mayway Herbal Dispensary, which allows you to create your own bulk or concentrated extract formulas to send directly to your patient. Your account will be charged, and the invoice will go directly to you. This service is free for orders containing formulas from the Herbal Dispensary, otherwise there is a $5 drop shipment fee.

Q: Do you offer free shipping?
A: Yes. Free UPS Ground Shipping is available for orders over $150 placed from anywhere in the continental United States. In addition, Customers in UPS zones 6, 7 and 8 who wish to receive their orders faster will receive a discounted shipping price when they upgrade to 3 day service!*

* Some restrictions do apply: available to customers in continental United States only. AK and HI customers please contact us for special rates. Free shipping and upgrade does not apply to orders with books, herb ID kit, soaps, shampoos, accessories (powdering machine, herb pots, cookers, mortar & pestle, cutters, scales), or orders with more than 5 units of bulk herbs/powders.

Q: Will I be called when my back-order comes in?
A: Yes. We are happy to call you when a back-ordered product comes in. When placing a back-order please specify if you would like it to ship immediately when available or be called prior to shipping the order out.

Q: Will back orders be sent to me without shipping and handling?
A: If the product in question is a Plum Flower® or Min Shan® Brand product there is no shipping or handling fee applied. If the product is from local distributors and not something we import, we do apply the shipping charge as we have little control of that inventory. We never charge handling fees on back orders.

Q: What do "W", "P" and "C" refer to in your catalogue?

  • "W" - stands for whole bulk herbs
  • "P" - stands for powdered bulk herb
  • "C" - stands for concentrated extract powder.
All of these are various types of herbal products available in our Plum Flower® single herb section


Q: If I have a bulk herb formula, how do I translate it into an extract powder formula?
A: Creating a concentrated extract formula is different from creating a bulk herbal formula. In fact, it is more like making pills or tinctures, because it requires using a ratio of herbs. For more information, download How to Use 5:1 Powdered Extracts for instructions on how to determine these ratios and how to calculate the number of grams for each herb in the formula.