People have been using medicinal herbs and oils to treat a wide range of ailments for thousands of years. Herbalism was truly the first medical science, and the entire pharmaceutical industry is based upon studying the efficacy of herbal extractions, and then creating laboratory versions that do essentially the same things. Whether pharmaceuticals are improving what exists naturally or sending medical science down a complicated, dangerous road is a debate for another day. But there's no debate about the efficacy of medical herbs. Do a quick Google search and you'll find thousands of pages of information, detailing the various herbal mixtures and the issues they treat. And with the alternative medicine industry topping billions of dollars a year, you'd have to admit the usefulness of these treatment regimens is now a universally accepted fact. So, how do you best deliver these valuable, life-improving herbs to your system?

For most of the long history of herbal medicine, the primary delivery system was smoking. Our predecessors would hunt down the proper herbs in nature, identifying them by sight and smell, grind them up, roll them in paper and they were off to the races. While it's certainly true you can achieve the desired affect this way, smoking is far from perfect, and brings a whole host of unwanted health complications. Enter vaporization, which really took off in the 1960s, when technology advanced to the point where desktop and portable vaporizers were high quality and readily available. Today, the technology has been perfected, making vaporization a viable option for anyone looking to utilize herbal remedies. Yet questions remain for many potential 'vapers', who simply need more information before taking the plunge.

If you fall into that category, today is your lucky day! Here at Herbalizer, we realize that knowledge is king, and an informed customer is a happy customer. That's why we are happy to provide this ultimate list of the core vaporizer FAQs. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Okay, so what is vaporization?

Simply put, vaporization is the process by which you extract the active ingredients in a plant material by using heat. Heat is applied to the liquid or the herb and gas is expelled, while the heat is controlled so combustion does not occur. That means no smoke, just the most complete and unchanged essence of the plant material, set free in vapor form.

Why is vapor better than smoke?

This is probably the most important question, because it's the real reason vaporizers have gained so much popularity. First of all, there's no denying smoke is damaging to your lungs. When you burn an herbal mixture or an oil, noxious gases, such as CO2 and CO are released. These slowly but surely burn your lungs and throat, stain your teeth, and create that terrible smell that cigarette smokers know all too well. With vaporization there is none of that damaging material created. Secondly, vaporizing herbs delivers a purer experience and more controllable affect. When you smoke an herbal remedy, you receive about 80% of the active materials. When you vaporize that same herb, you receive around 95% of the active materials. It's the most pure delivery system currently in existence.

How does temperature affect the process?

When you vaporize, you always heat the material at a temperature lower than combustion, which occurs around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is a bit more complex than just keeping it below that level. Vaporizing herbs at different temperatures directly affects the experience. At lower temperatures you'll experience an uplifting but modest effect. You'll also notice the vapor you exhale is almost clear. At a moderate temperature, you'll find the effect to be a bit more balanced. Most people vape herbs in this mid-range. At the higher end of the spectrum you'll have a more intense experience, which could be the best choice if your ailment is severe.

What should I expect the first time I vape?

People that are only used to smoking herbal remedies or utilizing essential oils through aromatherapy may be a little bit nervous the first time they use a vaporizer. That's okay! But it really isn't as complicated as you might fear. No matter the vaporizer you use, you shouldn't hear any sound when it is active. Desktop vaporizers with a balloon attachment will make a slight noise as the fan fills the balloon with vapor, but that's really all. As far as inhaling the vapor, it should be smooth and easy.

If the vapor feels harsh, or makes you cough, you're probably vaporizing at too high a temperature. When you exhale you will smell a slight odor, but it won't be anything like what you experience with smoking. It will be very light, and resemble something like popcorn that's a little bit burnt.

What are the common parts of a desktop vaporizer?

Each vaporizer is different, but you will find some similarities. Most of them include a 'whip' attachment, which is made of a wand, tubing and a mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is used when you want to inhale the vapor without a balloon. The tubing delivers the vapor to the mouthpiece. The wand is the piece that holds your herbal blend, usually with a screen attached, and connects directly to the vaporizer's heating element. If you want to use a balloon, it will attach directly to the mouthpiece. The balloon fills with vapor, and then you unscrew it from the mouthpiece and inhale from there. Many vaporizers also include attachments so you can use herbal concentrates, such as oils or waxes.

How do I prepare herbal blends for vaporization?

There are several approaches, so you should try them all to determine which experience you prefer. The simplest method is vaporizing the herb in its natural form. In this case, you'll want to grind the blend down, which will insure efficient vaporization and the best use of the materials. You can also utilize an essential oil or a wax. It is possible to make these concoctions yourself, but the easiest method is to seek out a local herbalist who has quality oils and waxes already prepared for your use.

How will I know I'm doing it right?

The simplest answer is, you'll know because you experience the desired effect! However, there is a process to follow. First of all, pack the vaporizer with your raw materials in a loose manner. You don't want it compacted, because it will be inefficient. Then, take a slow and steady approach while inhaling the vapor. Since you aren't burning the herbal materials there won't be any ash, but you will notice a change of color. Depending on your preference you can switch out the herbs for new material when it turns slightly brown, or wait until it becomes very dark. It just comes down to the effect you experience.

Okay, so what about the Herbalizer?

Glad you asked! There are some questions specific to the Herbalizer that we receive all the time. First and foremost, yes, you do receive a warranty with your purchase. It's a two year, Bumper-to-Bumper deal that will handle any issues that might arise, no matter how slight. As far as temperature goes, your Herbalizer will heat herbs and oils to within plus or minus five degrees Fahrenheit of your chosen temperature. That's a super specific control. You won't be able to heat higher than 445 degrees, as that is coming close to the level of combustion. You can set the temperature easily with a couple of buttons, and toggle from Fahrenheit to Celsius mode if that's your preferred system of measurement. When filling a balloon with vapor, expect the process to take between 45 and 60 seconds. If it fills more slowly than that, chances are the top screen in the bowl needs to be replaced. You'll receive a clean up brush with your purchase that will help you easily extract the old screen. To clean the rest of the Herbalizer, use either dish soap or isopropyl alcohol in small amounts, with a soft, dampened cloth.

Did we miss anything? Let us know! Click on the link below to ask us a question, and we'll get right back to you with an answer just as soon as we can.

  • June 05, 2016
  • Brandon Ward