Tablets and Excipients
Banyan Botanicals takes pride in being able to offer the highest quality products. Banyan Botanicals’ popular tablet line has been a part of Banyan almost as long as the company has been in place. We thoughtfully chose tablets as opposed to capsules because Ayurveda believes that digestion begins on the tongue with the taste of the herbs. Tablets allow a person to taste the herbs, whether it be a quick taste on the tongue before swallowing with water, or the full process of chewing and breaking down the tablet in the mouth to get a deeper sense of the tastes.
What Are Excipients?
Excipients are basically all of the “extra stuff” in tablets aside from the herbs. You may notice these inactive ingredients are listed on Banyan labels as “other ingredients.” They are a necessary part of the tableting process and serve the following functions in our tablet line.
- Binders. Without binders, the herbs would just crumble apart into powder, making it much more difficult to take the herbs. Binders hold the herbs together.
- Flow Agents. As the herbs move through the machinery, it is easy for some of the herbs to stick to the equipment, or worse, to each other, making the mixture not consistent throughout. Flow agents prevent that from happening so that one tablet is essentially the same as all of the other tablets in the bottle.
- Coatings. A couple of our tablets, such as the Turmeric tablets, are more susceptible to falling apart or sticking to each other with exposure to moisture. A coating helps hold the tablet together without sticking to other tablets in the bottle.
- Fillers. Some companies use these bulking agents to fill out the tablet shell. You’ll be happy to know that our tablets generally require very low levels of this type of an excipient. We work closely with our tableter who works diligently to minimize the amount of fillers needed, allowing for the overall low amount of excipients in our tablets.
What Excipients Do We Use?
First and foremost, we want to point out that our major excipients are organic, gluten-free, and GMO-free.1 This is a priority in our company and we have worked hard to provide that quality for you.
You may notice that we use only two to three excipients per tablet. Our exceptional team has creatively and aggressively found ways to minimize the amount of excipients required. We are constantly investigating ways to further decrease this number. Further, we have used strict standards to ensure that the excipients we use are of the highest quality. The following is information on the major excipients that we use.
Gum acacia, sometimes known as gum arabic, is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of the acacia tree. Gum acacia is used as the binder and also acts as an emulsifier. Gum acacia is 100% natural, is light in color, and odor free, keeping the overall properties of the tablet as close as possible to just the herbs.
Gum acacia is nontoxic and determined to have GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status by the FDA. Normally, when used as an excipient the doses are low enough to not cause any side effect. That said, some may be more sensitive and experience mild side effects at lower doses.
We started using gum acacia when we removed maltodextrin (please refer to the section on maltodextrin below). It was determined to be the best organic alternative.
Rice flour is a hypoallergenic and naturally occurring agent that does a great job of allowing us to use potent herbal ingredients that are only needed in very small amounts in each tablet. It works as a fantastic filler in the tablet especially when we are working to incorporate these important ingredients.
The other benefit of rice flour is that it has enabled us to move away from using silicon dioxide as a flow agent. The usage of silicon dioxide prevented us from being able to provide you with 100% organic tablets. Further, as a mineral, it is considered harder to digest than rice flour.
Maltodextrin is a processed starch, usually derived from corn, potatoes, tapioca, or rice. It is considered gluten-free, but recently, studies have found that people with gluten sensitivity may have some level of sensitivity to maltodextrin. Further, we have found that maltodextrin has a high glycemic index, meaning it can cause spikes in blood sugar, and people with diabetes should avoid consuming this.
While maltodextrin was once considered the best organic binder, Banyan has chosen to proactively eliminate maltodextrin as an excipient for the reasons previously listed. There may be a few exceptions, based on the properties of the herbs, where simply using gum acacia does not provide a high-quality tablet. Because we use such a small amount, it should be acceptable for most people.
Silicon dioxide is a mineral. It is used as a flow agent and fills irregularities in the tablet. Since it is a mineral, it cannot, by definition, be genetically modified or be considered organic. While silicon dioxide is a commonly used excipient because of its effective properties, we have found an excellent, organic alternative in rice flour, and for this reason, we have been able to remove silicon dioxide from almost all our tablets.