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What is plant extract?

A plant extract is a substance or an active with desirable properties that is removed from the tissue of a plant, usually by treating it with a solvent, to be used for a particular purpose. Extracts may be used in various sectors of activities : Food and functional properties for foodstuffs (antioxidant, texturizer, etc…), Processing aids, additives – chemical replacers, pharmaceutical for therapeutic properties - preventive and/or curative – cosmetic for functional properties for beauty and well-being, etc...

What is the common criteria of standard extract?

A standardized herbal extract is a herb extract that has one or more components present in a specific, guaranteed amount, usually expressed as a percentage. The intention behind the standardization of herbs is to guarantee that the consumer is getting a product in which the chemistry is consistent from batch to batch. 

Herb-to-Extract Ratio

The herb-to-solvent ratio describes how much herb was used to make a specific amount of extract, which is the same as how much starting material is represented in the final extract. Fluid extracts represent a 1:1 ratio of herb to extract with traditional tinctures typically found in ratios of 1:5 or 1:10. Liquid extract ratios are often a measure of dilution. Partial or complete removal of the solvent from a liquid extract concentrates the extract into a semi-solid or dry form where the extract ratio now represents a concentration with the herb to extract ratio exceeding 1:1. 

For example, if the solvent in a liquid extract makes up 80% of the extract, its removal concentrates the extract by a factor of five and makes a final herb to extract ratio of 5:1. There is a practical limit to how much an extract can be concentrated because plant constituents take up space in solid form. Because of this, higher herb-to-extract ratios don’t necessarily mean a more concentrated extract. More likely, they indicate a semi-purified extract or an inefficient extraction.

What is the best time of day to take liquid herbal extracts?

In most instances, I suggest taking liquid herbal extracts between meals, apart from food. This way, the extracts will not have to compete with food in the stomach and the digestive process. Thus, the herbal constituents rapidly enter the bloodstream and immediately go to the areas where the support is needed. Some herbs, however, are better taken before meals. For example, bitter herbs tone up the stomach and promote the production of hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes. Others herbs, like sleep aids, are best taken one hour before bedtime to allow relaxation and a more restful sleep. Pay attention to the dosage notation under each herb in the Herbal Directory for specific directions on timing.

Why do some extracts taste so strong?

Don't let the strong taste of some liquid herbal formulas keep you from experiencing the healing qualities of those herbs. In our society, we are addicted to two tastes: salty and sweet. However, there are three other tastes that are equally important in maintaining health: sour, bitter, and pungent. These tastes, when taken as herbs or foods, initiate body responses that promote health. For example pungent tasting herbs, such as Turmeric, support healthy liver function. The bitter taste of other herbs stimulate healthy digestive processes and support fat metabolism. Sour tastes, even though they may not be pleasant, are needed by our bodies to encourage healthy intestinal microbiota. To ignore these important tastes actually deprive our bodies from an opportunity to achieve balance. If the taste of herbs is a deal breaker for you, consider the option of taking your liquid herbal extracts in the convenience of a softgel.