Herbal Extracts

Herbal Extracts

For thousands of years, our ancestors have relied on nature to find a cure for whatever it is that’s ailing them. And this makes absolute sense. Ailments, such as diseases and illnesses, are freaks of nature so what better way to treat them than to apply a hefty dose of nature? Even modern science can attest to that fact. And today, herbal healing methods still play a key role in modern medicine.

Many people might regard our persistence with herbal medicine as something that symbolizes our need for nature. We’ve always had an interdependent relationship with our surroundings and this is the best way for us to invoke that connection. It’s only bad fortune then, when this fragile representation is often stepped over in the face of something more concrete – sales. According to New Hope communications in 1997, the total herb sales were at $ 4.4 billion. This report is not only based on the sale of the more popular herbs, such as St. John’s Wort, Ginkgo Biloba, Echinacea, Garlic, and Saw Palmetto, but also specifically on their use in the form of herbal extracts. So why do people prefer herbal extracts to plain herbs?

Herbal extracts first came to be when scientists called for a uniform formula to use in clinical trials. Basically, there are two types of herbal extracts. The first one is based on the marker compound, that is, the herbal extracts are identified and quantified through a specific chemical compound. The second type focuses more on the active constituents present in herbs which are then formulated and concentrated to form herbal extracts.

Herbal Extracts based on Marker Compounds

Formulating herbal extracts based on marker compounds is basically establishing that a specified amount of a marker compound in present in the finished product. The marker compound is a biochemical constituent that is characteristic to the plant. And this means that marker compounds don’t necessarily have to represent the active constituents. Thus, herbal extracts based on marker compounds may not contain all the beneficial active constituents contained in a plant. This can result in the disregard of other beneficial compounds, such as cellulose or fiber.

How herbal extracts are treated may vary, but generally, they follow a list of some of the better known extracts. Artichoke herbal extracts, known for cynarin, contains 2-5% of this substance. Chamonile herbal extracts contains 1.2% apigenin and 0.5% essential oil.

Herbal Extracts based on Active Constituents

Active constituents are chemical substances to which all the beneficial effects of an herb are attributed. Some herbalists protest herbal extracts based on active constituents as this practice may encourage other properties and uses of herbs to be disregarded. Herbs, such as turmeric and milk thistle have several properties and limiting all these to just one active ingredient is basically limiting the herb’s influence on health.

KEYWORDS “Herbal Extracts” – 15 (density = 3.2%)