Capsules, teas, oils, powders, and the list goes on! As far as the list of herbal supplements is concerned, there is no definite end. But at the basic level, the herb is developed in a couple of ways in the form of whole herbs or herbal extract powder. So, what are the reasons why one is better than the other? The answer would be dependent upon the benefits that you seek. To obtain better clarity, it is better to understand the pros and cons of whole herbs with a list of whole herb extract preparations.
It is pretty much as it sounds like, as the herb is available in a natural form. This may be in the form of stems, leaves, or roots. It is dried and cut or shifted to be used for tea and on the ground, which is then milled to a powder. The packaging of the powder is available in the form of a capsule or sold loose. You can easily create a juice or soothe.
Since you happen to consume the entire herb, you are bound to avail the entire spectrum of plant chemicals termed as photo-chemicals. This is a good thing, as the photo-chemicals are known to work together in synergy. Even a single plant may not provide the desired results on its own. Since the preparation process is relatively simple, whole herbs tend to be expensive in comparison to other herb forms.
The whole herbs are not standardized, which means they have not been tested to ascertain the chemical components they contain. Therefore, it is difficult to judge its efficiency and quality. Hence, you will not absorb everything and be less potent. To witness the benefit, you need to consume a lot of the herb.
They are extracted from the plants by resorting to the use of various solvents. In some cases, it can be a combination of water, chemicals, or other forms of liquid that taps into the benefits of the plant components. Extracts are embedded with the full spectrum of plant chemicals and this is mentioned on the package. It is common to standardise extracts as an indicator of efficiency and potency.
The process of standardisation is undertaken, where you measure the least amount among the photochemical components that have been identified and are subject to research at a specific level. If you witness the presence of these compounds at a specific level, the remaining photochemical that is part of the plant matrix would be at the specific level as well.
On the label, the amount of the measured compound is written. Below are four popular forms of extracts.
For its formation, the entire herb is soaked in a solution which is more than water. Typically, it is a mix of water and alcohol. But this can be undertaken with apple cedar vinegar or vegetable glycerine. Such a solution pulls out the crucial herbs from their roots as it serves as a preservative.
Since it is concentrated, you need to take only a small amount, which is 15 to 30 drops, to obtain the benefit. It is to be taken directly under the tongue. It is known to enter the blood stream faster than the other methods, so you may notice its effects sooner. Once again, it is dependent upon the herb. They are known to have a strong, unpleasant, and bitter taste. In addition, if you are taking multiple herbal extracts, you may end up consuming a lot of alcohol. That may pose an issue with your digestive health.
Dried powder extracts
The dried powder extracts are formulated if you soak the herb in a solvent that evaporates later. What tends to remain behind is a concentrated powder of plant chemicals that is to be mixed with the entire herbal powder. It adds an element of consistency and is sold in tablet, powder, and capsule form.
Coming to the dried powder extracts, they happen to be a potent form of herbal preparation. In some ways, it is stronger than the liquid extracts. They are easy to consume and are portable, making them a versatile option. Watch out for chemicals that use harsh chemicals in the soaking solvent that may make it unsafe for consumption. All these things can be avoided if you purchase it from a reputed company that tests whether the solvents are fully evaporated or not.
It is undertaken by the steam distillation of a plant. The process churns oil-based chemicals into a concentrated liquid form. Normally, these oils are inhaled for aromatherapy or used tropically. Even a few special oils are consumed orally.
These oils turn out to be potent, which means that you can witness the benefits with just a few drops. On the flip side, since they happen to be strong, these oils may turn out to be toxic to your mucus membranes and this could be another reason for using them in small amounts. Another important point to consider is that you should never ingest an essential oil without consulting your healthcare provider.
This is a relative new type of preparation and they are photochemical compounds with liposomal. It aligns with the chemicals and is sold in the form of a capsule. Due to the coating of the fat it prevents the stomach from irritation and the absorption of photochemical in the intestines improves.
Coming to the flip side they are trendy and are on the expensive side. The moment you are adding fats means that there is less room for herbs indicating that the dosage amount may be high. If you really have a concern about absorption then it is better you take your supplement with a healthy fat like coconut milk which is going to provide you with the same effect.
To sum up things there are certain ways by which you can prepare herb powders, the above list taps on the popular options.