Herbal extracts have been traditionally used to maintain, restore and improve health. But which is the best way to experience the medicinal benefits of an herb – capsules, teas or liquid extracts? Capsules may be convenient and teas may be easy to make but a liquid herbal extract offers benefits that these do not.
Tablets and capsules lose the potency of many of their active ingredients both in production and storage. Herbal tablets are prepared with fillers, binders and other materials necessary to compress the ground herbs into a tablet form. Herbal capsules tend to be better than tablets because they dissolve more easily in the stomach and do not contain the extra binding materials, however, if the body is not digesting and assimilating well, the potential therapeutic benefits of an herbal extract are diminished. Herbs in a capsule and tablet form also loose potency faster as they are exposed to oxygen.
Liquid Herbal Extracts tend to be more potent and offer a greater concentration of the plant’s medicinal properties. Their absorption occurs more quickly allowing the herbal properties to enter the bloodstream with minimal digestive effort.
Benefits of Taking a Liquid Herbal Extract:
- They are absorbed more easily.
- They are easy to take.
- They have a longer shelf-life.
- They offer a greater concentration of the plant constituents.
- They can be mixed in water, juice, or tea.
- They allow the aroma and taste of an herb to be experienced.
- May provide quicker benefits.
Some herbs will not release their innate healing properties without a strong solvent such as Alcohol to extract its medicinal benefits. Alcohol has proven to work better than water for the extraction process of the plant’s active herbal constituents (parts of the plant that have an action on the body). It also protects the extract from bacterial growth, enhances the potency of the herb, preserves without refrigeration, extends shelf-life and brings out the aroma and flavor of the herbs.
Most liquid herbal extracts can have a shelf life of up to 2 to 4 years. Store the liquid extract in a cool, dark place and shake well before each use. Always mix the dose in water, juice or tea to avoid irritating the mouth. Sip slowly and savor the flavor and aroma – an integral part of the plant’s therapeutic benefits. And don’t forget to check with your doctor – some herbs are contra-indicated when taking prescription drugs.