Health News & Articles:
What is a Standardized Herbal
Extract? It is not a Herb!
What is the difference between a "Standardized Herbal
Extract" and a "Herbal Extract"? There is allot of confusion between the two
terms "standardized herbal extracts" and "herbal extracts".
A "herbal extract" is sometimes also referred to as a tincture, or liquid herbal
extract. This is a preparation where a whole herb is steeped in alcohol, water
or a combination.
A "standardized herbal extract" is a measurable marker substance that is
extracted from the herb. This
marker may be an active ingredient, or just one that is easily determined, but
often, it is a compound that has been used in scientific research. Sometimes the
wrong marker chemical is identified and used as the "active" ingredients. For
Johns Wart is usually measured for hypericin, though it is now thought that
hyperforin is the more active substance.
These products have generated both controversy and confusion among consumers and
professionals. Unfortunately herbal
manufacturers have done more than anyone to cloud the issue with new jargon and
proprietary names, In fact standardization means different things to different
people. The word "extract" is also confusing, since this term traditionally is
associated with fluid extracts, which are highly concentrated tinctures made
from the whole plant.
Is a Chemical a Herb?
One well-known manufacturer tells us in its consumer literature that in
standardized extracts "active compounds are natural compounds found in an herb
that is proven to be responsible for its healthy benefits." Morphine is from
opium, but it is not a herb! Citric acid is not an orange, and isoflavones are
not a soy bean! An active compound is in fact an isolated chemical, and
no longer belongs to the plant kingdom, but to the molecular world.
Unfortunately, cheaper brands, like those routinely available now in pharmacies,
corner stores and even airports, are usually standardized, yet do not contains
herbal supplements contain "standardized herbal extracts" which is the
chemical market that has been extracted using solvents such as acetone. These
chemical derived compounds may contain residues which themselves could act as
toxins on the body. "Standardized herbal extracts" are normally listed as :
Blueberry Leaf Extract, Green Tea Extract, Bilberry Extract or Grape Seed
Herbal-Medi-Care does not use standardized herbal extracts, as we believe that
it is best to use the whole herb. There are hundreds if not thousands of active
ingredients in the whole herb that have benefits researchers still do not fully
understand. A herbal extract is an isolated component of only one of these
compounds present in the whole herb.
Disadvantages of Standardized Herbs;
Thousands of natural compounds and co-factors in the herb are lost.
This may reduce their effectiveness, broad scope and subtle effects, and
eliminate compounds that could be essential and valuable.
Standardized extracts may use solvents or acetone to extract the active
ingredients (leaving residues) then destructive heat to evaporate them. Their
nature is closer to pharmaceutical drugs than herbal medicine. They may be
less gentle, with a greater tendency toward side effects.
Confusion and errors occur regarding just what is the active ingredient or
substance that is used as a marker for standardization. For example, St. Johns
Wart is usually measured for hypericin, though it is now thought that hyperforin
is the more active substance.
Products may contain only one isolated ingredient, the remainder of the product
being an inert filler and not the rest of the plant.
Only a small number of plants are standardized. If different standardized and
traditional whole herbs are used together, the one may overshadow the other or
have unpredictable results.
Herbal-Medi-Care Herbal Supplements.
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