Most people would agree that supplements are a more preferable way to fill nutritional gaps. It’s always best to go natural. But what is the best way to gain the nutrients from an herb? Is it the herb itself, or one of its processed iterations?
It is an extensive ordeal to grow herbs and process them into a quality product. The operation calls for farming techniques as well as a lab to test the quality of the herbs harvested. When you put it all together, herbal extracts use a standardized amount of the herb’s active ingredients meant to provoke change in the human body, hopefully for the better.
Whole Herbs vs Standardized Herbal Extracts
An herb is considered “whole” when its chemical properties have not been altered by humans. In a whole herb, the arrangement of the chemical compounds made by nature is left alone. When an herb is fashioned into a standardized extract, the active components of the herb are separated from the surrounding structure of the plant and condensed. This process makes it easier to take and they are more bioavailable. In general, this is why herbal extracts are more effective than herbs alone.
In what is referred to as the supercritical extraction process, the herb is cooled using CO2 before being put under extreme pressure. The herb is then reheated and C02 is used as a solvent to extract active plant ingredients without denaturing them. In the relaxation stage, pressure is lowered which returns CO2 to a gas state, allowing the separation of the extract from the CO2. Next, CO2 is separated from the herb using gravity and a process called “under-pulling.”
The significant difference in potency is why herbal extracts are more effective than herbs alone. However, some people will argue it is better go the more natural route of whole herbs, because a plant in its natural state is better equipped to act in harmony with the body. In a way, standardized herbal extracts aren’t far away from modern medicine. Both use laboratory methods to isolate certain ingredients which usually come from plants.
Herbal Extracts by Gaia Herbs
If you do choose to go the route of herbal extract, it is important to get a quality product from a well-reputed brand. Gaia Herbs is a company known for their sustainable methods and quality supplements. Gaia Herbs are grown on a 250-acre farm that is fertilized organically. They consider themselves a “living laboratory” since there is an on-site lab for quality testing of their resources.
Gaia Herbs offers a variety of herbal supplement to meet the needs of their customers. In addition to standardized extracts, which earn their name from the constant level of active component in the product, powdered extracts come from a method of evaporation. Solid extracts, or concentrated fluid extracts, are a syrupy substance derived via evaporation to remove liquids. Lastly, liquid extracts provide a dry herb strength ratio of 1:4 or stronger, while tinctures arrive at a 1:5-10 ratio using alcohol or water methods.
Some of Gaia Herbs’ most popular products are their herbal extracts. Take Holy Basil Leaf, which supports a healthy response to stress and helps balance cortisol thanks to a holy basil leaf extract. Then there is Turmeric Extreme which utilizes an organic turmeric root extract to help modulate pathways that affect the heart, joints, liver, and cellular health. Plant Force Liquid is an incredible concoction that has an ecologically harvested acerola fruit extract which may help supply oxygen to red blood cells.
Hopefully you now understand why herbal extracts are more effective than herbs alone, according to some. Whether you choose the route of a whole herb or herbal extract, Gaia Herbs has what you need to support a healthy lifestyle. Their product ingredients are sustainably sourced so you can rest assured your patronage is having a positive ripple effect. More importantly, you can be on the path to being a better, healthier you.