Choosing Excellent Herbal Extracts for Optimal Health

Choosing a quality herbal extract is the key to resolving health issues affecting the body. A good quality herbal extract should have:
o Strength
o Clarity
o Color and Taste
An often asked question is what herbal extracts are and why do they contain a natural or neutral alcohol. Herbal Extracts are an herbal food or combination of foods, diluted in liquids. The liquids used are:
o Distilled water
o Vinegar
o Wine
o Glycerin (sugar and fat compound most commonly derived from animal tissue, yet, vegetable sources can be obtained)
o A neutral alcohol
o Grain neutral spirits.
Herbal extracts are herbal plant foods that have been diluted in a liquid which dissolves and or suspends the herbs. Herbal extracts can be applied externally or used internally to heal any area of the body in crisis. Good quality extracts use distilled water and grain neutral spirits. Grain neutral spirits are an alcohol distilled from grain and are also known as a neutral alcohol. These extracts effectively pull from the herb its medicinal properties better than the other liquids listed above. The other liquids cannot dissolve the entire herb, as well as, distilled water and grain neutral alcohol. A water and grain neutral alcohol extract provide an herbal food in a “predigested” form. It should be noted that when you get the full strength of an herbal food, a little goes a long way. The concept of moderation is the key. Extracts are intended to be used to supplement the diet with herbal foods in an easily absorbable form.
Foods of a nutrient value need to be absorbed and assimilated to allow the body to make the most of what is being eaten. Most people are not even aware that they may be carrying around as much as ten pounds of rather disgusting debris coating the surfaces of their digestive canal: stomach, small and large intestines. This debris forms a barrier between the food which is eaten and the absorption of the needed nutrition. Not only is this barrier of debris bad for absorption of commonly eaten foods, yet also herbal powders in capsules, herbal pills, and vitamin tablets. Herbal extracts solve this puzzle by being used externally, as well as, internally. These extracts cross the debris barrier rapidly and help to dissolve the barrier in the process. This eliminates the problem of having to take hundreds tablets and capsules per day to get something through the debris barrier and dissolve it. Depending on the quantity, a grain neutral alcohol performs different functions when introduced into or put on the body. In minute quantities (drops), it acts as a carrier for the herb. The dissolved herbal food substances in this kind of liquid are very easily absorbed by the body. In larger quantities, grain neutral alcohol acts as a stimulant. By the glassful, alcohol acts as a depressant to body functions and an intoxicant. This constitutes abuse rather than use and a person can tell the difference.
Some liquid herbal extract products are naturally “cloudy” in appearance due to the character of the herb or herbs dissolved or suspended in them. No matter how long they set, they will never appear completely clear. Note: these dissolved or suspended particles make the product do what it is supposed to. Occasionally, there will be some settlement of the herb or herbs dissolved or suspended in the liquid around the sides of the bottle or on the pipette (eye-dropper). The explanation for this is that, with some herbs or combination of herbs, their particles float in the extract liquid during the filtering process and later settle. Temperature and pressure changes can and do influence this occurrence during and after making an extract. Also, it should be noted that herbs and good herbal extracts contain some natural oils, and some of these oil droplets may appear on the surface of the herbal extract. Both the particles and natural oil droplets could be removed, yet, the extract would not be as strong. This is part of the guarantee that as much herb or herbs as possible goes into the extracts.
Herbs come from nature and just like any two apples from the same tree do not taste exactly the same, so it is with herbs. This is part of the endless and wonderful variety which nature provides for you. You may, therefore, notice slight differences in color or taste from one year to the next. A good quality herbal product should measure up to a company’s known and established standards of quality and excellence before they are approved for use. Be sure you are familiar with the quality standards of the company from which you purchase your herbs. By asking this is, you can rely on those standards and have what you expect from the herbal products when you use them. Don’t forget to use this article as your guide.