Herbs have been used in their whole form for centuries to support health and wellbeing, but, thanks to advances in science and technology, it’s now possible to target a herb’s active ingredients in a specific, guaranteed amount.
And while we’re fans of all types of botanicals at DailyNutra, we do prefer to use standardized extracts. To find out more about herbal extraction and why we prefer the method we use, read on!
What exactly is a whole herb?
The cheapest and least potent type of herbal supplement is the whole herb supplement. This is exactly what it says it is--a supplement containing all the constituents of the plant, including fiber and all other non-active plant material.
It’s simple and inexpensive to make a whole herb supplement.
First, the plant parts containing the active ingredients (usually the leaves, roots, or flowers) are dried, then they’re ground into a fine powder and put into capsules.
Other than selecting the plant parts, nothing is done to concentrate the active ingredients, and, because of this lack of extraction, whole herb supplements tend to be low in potency.
On top of that, it’s difficult to get uniformity of product with whole herb supplements, as factors such as when and where it was grown, the soil in which it was grown, and the time of year it’s harvested impact what goes into each capsule.
This makes it difficult to know just how effective each batch is.
This leads us to...
What exactly is a herbal extract?
Plants contain hundreds of compounds that can be used together to add potency to a supplement.
By extracting a selection of these and other naturally occurring compounds, the potency of the supplement is increased, sometimes making them up to 100x more effective than whole herb supplements.
These are often considered “full-spectrum”, due to the wide array of plant substances extracted without a specific target with this method.
Traditionally, these herbal extractions were put into a tincture, a liquid base containing alcohol, glycerin, and occasionally oils, and there are still many liquid-based herbal extractions on the market.
However, we prefer the more modern convenience of encapsulation, so all our herbal extracts are dried powder put into capsules.
And now for our favorite method!
What exactly is a standardized extract?
A standardized herbal extract is an extract taken from a herb that has one or more active ingredients present in a guaranteed amount, usually expressed as a percentage.
What does this mean?
It means you’re guaranteed to get the same potency of active ingredients from batch to batch. This is very different from full-spectrum extracts, where the range of constituents can vary depending on the batch.
And why are we committed to standardized extracts?
Well, as stated above, herbal raw material varies due to factors related to geographical location, the season, the way the plant was harvested, etc.
By using standardization, we ensure that each of our supplements is uniformly effective and that what is stated on the label is exactly what’s in each capsule.
This ensures the end result more closely matches the scientific studies backing those active ingredients.
In turn, by isolating the component shown by science to have the desired health benefit, that component is then concentrated and far more effective.
How do you extract the active ingredients?
While some companies use toxic extraction methods using substances such as harsh chemicals such as acetone, we mostly use hot water and food-grade ethanol to extract our herbs. This method of extractions means our supplements don't contain potentially harmful solvent residues.
Standardized extracts are potent and consistent.
As we’ve shown, not only are standardized extracts the most consistent and reliable way to take herbal supplements, they’re also the most potent.
It may not be the easiest or cheapest method, but then again, here at DailyNutra, we’re committed to making the best possible supplements!