Chinese herbals are more and more popular, and there are many herbal products to choose from for humans. Should we choose the whole herbals or Herbal Extraction? Which is better for humans?
It’s easy to get confused about which herbal product is right for you. It’s tricky problem because medical experts are divided on the question. You should better know the difference between whole herbals and herbal extraction.
The whole herb is usually dried and packaged or processed and preserved in alcohol or other solvents. It contains all the components of the plant and has been used by many cultures for hundreds of years. In fact, modern medicine was derived from whole herbs.
The medicinal properties of herbs are learned through empirical observation, and this information was inherited to now by generation to generation. Although the effects of herbal remedies have not always been formally and scientifically researched, complete herbal remedies have a long track record proving their safety and efficacy.
The active ingredients of herbs is different depending on a variety of factors.
Firstly, the environment in which the plant grows has an impact on the composition of the herb. The time of year, the soil in which it was grown, and the weather all affect the overall quality of the final product.
Second, methodology comes into play. For example, the age of the plant at harvest, the exact part of the plant used, and the processing technique all have an impact.
Herbal Extract is a way of scientific and high value to get the natural herbal active ingredients. All-natural active ingredients are obtained through the steps of concentration, filtration, and drying through ethanol, methanol, water, carbon dioxide, and other substances.
Liquid extracts (aka tinctures)
Herb extract is extracted from leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, and the bark of plants by CO2 and ethanol, and filtration and concentration to get the liquid.
Dry powder extract
Extracted herbal ingredients are extracted from plant leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, bark, resin, wood heart, etc. It was filtered with water, ethanol, and methanol concentrated and dried to obtain a powder.
Essential oil is a general term for volatile aroma-containing substances obtained by extraction from spice plants. Essential oils are extracted from leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, barks, resins, wood hearts, and other parts of plant by steam distillation, cold pressing, liposuction, and solvent extraction. Essential oils are volatile substances.
Liposomes are made from lecithin and ceramide. They have the same bilayer structure as that of skin cell membranes. Liposomes have excellent moisturizing effects on the skin, especially those coated with moisturizing substances such as hyaluronic acid, Liposomes such as polyglucoside are more excellent moisturizing substances.
Liposomes are artificial membranes. The hydrophilic head of the phospholipid molecule in water is inserted into the water, and the hydrophobic tail of the liposome extends to the air, and after agitation, spherical liposomes with bilayer lipid molecules are formed, with diameters ranging from 25 to 1000 nm. Liposomes can be used for transgenic, or prepared drugs.
Using the characteristics of liposomes that can fuse with cell membranes, the drugs can be delivered to the interior of cells easily.
Pros and Cros of Whole Herbs
The herb in natural form—leaves, stems, and/or roots—is dried and then either cut and sifted (to be used for tea) or ground and milled into a powder. Powders are either packed inside a capsule or sold loose so you can add them easily to a juice or smoothie.
Since you’re consuming the entire herb, you get its full spectrum of plant chemicals, called phytochemicals. That’s a good thing as the herb’s phytochemicals work in synergy together. We don’t always know how a single plant chemical performs on its own. Besides, the preparation process is relatively simple and whole herbs also tend to be less expensive than other forms.
Whole herbs are generally not standardized which means they haven’t been tested to determine how much of certain chemical components they contain. It’s hard to judge quality and potency.
Whole herbs also have some indigestible plant fiber and less active phytochemicals than extracts. As a result, you won’t absorb everything and it’s less potent and you’ll likely need to take a lot more of the herb to see a benefit.
Pros and Cros of Herbal Extracts
Herbal extracts are substances extracted from the plant using different solvents—some combination of water, alcohol, chemicals, or other liquid that works to draw out beneficial plant components.
Extracts can contain the full spectrum of plant chemicals—it’s typically highlighted on the packaging. And it’s much more common to standardize extracts to a marker of potency and consistency.
Standardization is typically done by measuring the amount of at least one or two phytochemical compounds that have been researched and identified as having beneficial effects at a certain level.
If these compounds are present at the expected levels, the remaining phytochemicals in the plant’s matrix are likely where they should be as well. The amount of the measured compound is usually written as a percentage on the label. For example, a supplement containing Andrographis might say that it’s standardized to contain at least 33% andrographolides (substances known for their immune-supporting abilities).
There are four main types of extracts:
Liquid extracts (aka tinctures) pros and cros
To make liquid extracts, the whole herb is soaked in a solution that’s more than just water—typically it’s a mix of water and alcohol. It can also be done with vegetable glycerine or apple cider vinegar. The solution pulls crucial plant chemicals out of the herb, and it acts as a preservative.
THE PROS: They’re very concentrated that you only need to take a small amount—15 to 30 drops—to get the benefit. As they’re taken directly under the tongue, they enter the bloodstream faster than other methods. You may notice its effects sooner, though it really depends on the herb.
THE CONS: They often have a very strong, bitter, unpleasant taste. If you’re taking multiple different liquid extracts, you can end up taking in a lot of alcohol, which is a problem for some people’s digestive health.
Dried powdered extracts pros and cros
Powdered extracts are made by soaking the herb in a solvent that is later evaporated. What’s left behind is a concentrated powder of plant chemicals that’s typically mixed with some whole herb powder to add consistency and sold in capsule, tablet, or powder form.
THE PROS: Dried powdered extracts are by far the most potent herbal preparation—they’re even stronger than liquid extracts. They are also easy to take and portable, making them the most versatile option.
THE CONS: Some companies use harsh chemicals in the soaking solvent that can be unsafe for consumption. You can avoid these by buying from a reputable company that tests to ensure the solvent chemicals are fully evaporated.
Essential oils pros and cros
These are made by steam distillation of the plant, which removes its oil-based chemicals into a very concentrated liquid. Essential oils are typically inhaled (for aromatherapy) or used topically. A few specific oils can be taken orally.
THE PROS: Essential oils are very potent, which means you can see benefits with just a few drops at a time.
THE CONS: Because they are so strong, essential oils can be toxic to mucus membranes—another reason to use them in very small amounts. Never ingest any essential oil without consulting your healthcare provider first.
Liposomal blends pros and cros
Liposomal blends are a relatively new preparation. They are phytochemical compounds combined with liposomes (fat), which encapsulate the chemicals. They’re sold as either a capsule or tincture.
THE PROS: The coating of fat helps protect the stomach from irritation, and it improves the absorption of phytochemicals in the intestines.
THE CONS: They’re trendy and thus expensive. Plus, adding fat leaves less room for the herbs, which means you may not get a high enough dose. If you’re concerned about absorption, taking your supplement with healthy fat, like coconut milk, can create essentially the same effect.
Focusherb produces many whole herbs standardized extracts, whatever you choose, you’re sure to get a reliable product. We will follow the science to achieve maximum utilization of herbs. Contact us by email@example.com