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,” says Dr. Rawls. “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.
Liquid Herbal Extracts
To make these, the whole herb is soaked in a solution that’s more than just water—typically it’s a mix of water and alcohol, but 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,”
Powdered Herbal Extracts
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 used in manufacturing of capsule, tablet, or powder instead of natural Herbs.