What are Herbal Extracts?
Herbal extracts can come in many different forms. However, they do have one thing in common. They all contain phytochemicals (plant produced compounds) that have been extracted from the structural material of the plant that produced them. They generally come in liquid or powder form.
Why use an extract over just the dried herb?
Consuming whole herbs allows one to intake all the nutrients that the plant or herb can provide – which is excellent! However, in dried herbs there may be slow absorption with indigestible fibers and phytochemicals that are not active. An herbal extract is not only going to activate these fibers and phytochemicals, but it is also going to contain a concentrate amount of the nutrients and medicinal compounds.
What is this better? Well, herbal extracts (especially liquid extracts) allow the body to absorb at a much faster rate which means seeing benefits faster. In addition, because herbal extracts activate those fibers and phytochemicals the body absorbs so much more of the medicinal properties, which means not only faster benefits but more effective.
Benefits of Using Herbal Extracts:
- Once the phytochemicals are extracted from the plant, they are much easier for the body to absorb.
- By consuming an extract over the whole herb results are seen much faster.
- They are much more convenient to consume.
Types of Herbal Extracts:
Generally, extracts are categorized by the solvent that is used to make them. A solvent (from the Latin solvō, “loosen, untie, solve”) is a substance that dissolves a solute, resulting in a solution. Water, alcohol, glycerin, and vinegar are just some of the most common solvents used. Different qualities in different solvents will attract different phytochemicals from an herb. Therefore, for various plants/herbs different solvents (or combinations of solvents) will be used for maximum extraction potential.
Different Extraction Processes:
Liquid extracts are prepared by soaking the herbs in either water, alcohol, vinegar, glycerin or a combination of some or all of these ingredients. The liquid solution pulls all of the medicinal properties out of the herbs and can either be used like that or may be diluted. Check out Vera Herbal’s herbal extraction process HERE.
Powered extracts are very commonly either put into a capsule or sold as loose powders to be added to your favorite smoothie, drink, or food. The powder is extracted by soaking the herbs in a solvent and then evaporating it, leaving just the concentrated powder. Powder extracts are definitely among the most used herbal extracts.
Essential oils are often used for beauty and medicinal purposes. In aromatherapy or massage (two of the most common uses) just a couple drops is all that is needed. Essential Oils are obtained from fruits or aromatic herbs through the process of steam distillation.
Spagyric is an ancient alchemical process used by few. It involves the three philosophical principles Mercury (Spirit), Sulfur (Soul), Salt (Body). The separation and recombination of all three. Spagyric is a superior method of extraction because it combines the energetic, spiritual and physical of the plants. Plus, it maintains the true full essence of the plants extracted. To learn more about this process Click HERE.
This is just a glimpse into the world of herbal extracts. Interested in learning more? Comment below with what you found most interesting here and what you would like to see more of!