Our Story

Based in California since 2007, Five Flavors Herbs cultivates a unique and specialized approach to holistic healing. Founded by Benjamin Zappin, professional herbalist and acupuncturist, and Dr. Ingrid Bauer, MD, MS, Five Flavors Herbs bridges the therapeutic traditions of East and West. Focused on sustainable, local, and ethically wild-harvested botanicals, Five Flavors Herbs formulates herbal products that provide superior care for individual patients and reliable tools for practitioners and purveyors.

Our standard-bearing manufacturing capabilities, beloved community pharmacy, and FDA registered plant laboratory produce effective medicines and tonics used by renowned practitioners and clinics nationwide. Our formulas integrate the best of science-based phytotherapy with millenniums old healing traditions to ensure the most effective, high impact products possible.


Chinese Medicine and Western Herbalism

The five elements and the correlating five flavors were first documented over 2000 years ago in the Yellow Emperor’s Medical Classic and are important theoretical and practical components of a sophisticated system of balancing the body. When each element is equilibrated, health and wellness prevail. However, when an element becomes imbalanced, the result often presents as illness and disease. While common flavors share the names (bitter, sour, salty, pungent, and sweet) with those that we perceive on our palate, flavors in the Chinese methodology are used to communicate the therapeutic effect that each of them encompasses. The botanical world gives us the full palate of five flavors suited to mitigate illness. With the skillful application of these five flavors, the body is able to return harmony and health.

Western herbal practice can include a confluence of European alchemical traditions, indigenous understandings of native plants, and modern science and medicine. Expressions of western herbalism range from DIY health care using weeds from vacant lots, to successful treatment of complex illness. With delivery systems as diverse as a creating a fresh plant poultice to administering encapsulated molecular isolates, Western herbalism is both beautifully simple and technologically advanced. Uniting plants and people with deep reverence for our interdependence informs our formulations and daily work at Five Flavors Herbs.

Integrating Traditions for Wellness

At Five Flavors Herbs, we integrate the principles of both lineages, formulating remedies with both Chinese and Western herbs for end-users and practitioners alike. Modern health concerns require a modern approach to healing, one that combines the knowledge of many systems of medicine, integrating traditional and scientific. While we utilize a strong understanding of the biochemistry of a plant and the physiologic effects these complex compounds exert on the body, it remains valuable for us to keep as a frame of reference traditional considerations for therapeutic action.

In many of our proprietary formulas we select Western herbs to apply to traditional Chinese formula structures based on traditional use and modern research, and the energetic compatibility of the Western medicinals with the formula. This practice of using Western herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine is part of our esteemed lineage and an important offering we provide to  practitioners, educators, botanists, and our teachers. With decades of clinical experience and training to call on, we understand the unique therapeutic effectiveness of western herbs, which we bring to our formulation process using a five flavors medicinal framework.

"We designed our YinOva Center pharmacy with specific formulation goals in mind. Working with Five Flavors has given us the quality and the flexibility we need to provide our clients with excellent herbal support. We have great confidence in their impeccably sourced and carefully processed herbs. Along with excellent, personalized customer service we are very happy to be working with Ben Zappin and his team."
- Noah Rubinstein, L.Ac., Clinic Director The YinOva Center