"Ask for it by name and accept no other"
What is a full spectrum liquid extract ?
A liquid extract is a concentrated liquid containing all of the herb’s chemical constituents dissolved in a solution of water and absolute ethyl alcohol. Nothing is added, nothing is taken away. Essentially the solution washes the various constituents from the herb leaving behind the indigestible fiber. A high quality liquid extract should retain the flavour and aroma as well as the phyto-chemical profile of the herb from which it is made.
Why is Alcohol used ?
There are four specific reasons. Firstly alcohol is the only naturally occurring edible solvent that will extract many of the compounds in a herb, some of which are poorly soluble in water or glycerin. Secondly alcohol is an excellent preservative insuring our products retain their natural vitality and effectiveness for a long shelf life. Thirdly alcohol; in sufficient concentration is anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-mold, and ensures a clean and healthful product. Fourthly; and perhaps most importantly, alcohol is part of the “herbal delivery system”. Pre-digested by the extraction process liquid extracts are easy for the body to assimilate and highly bio-available.
How much alcohol am I taking and can I evaporate it with hot water ?
Not much and No. Depending on the dosage and the alcohol content the actual consumption can be in the range of 1/50th to 1/100 of a 8 ounce glass of wine. A small amount of alcohol can be removed by adding hot water; however, the nature of the molecular bond (generally azeotropic) would require a still to separate them. Many liquid extracts could be damaged by adding hot water by evaporating non water soluble compounds ( essential oils etc) compromising the extract and leaving most of the alcohol. Some herbal compounds will metabolize in the presence of heat altering the therapeutic values.
How many drops are there in 1 ml ?
The number of drops in 1 ml will vary by approximately 30% depending on the specific gravity and the viscosity of the extract. For this reason our dosages are expressed in mls.
What about dosages for children?
Our products are labeled with adult dosages. You owe a duty of care to inform yourself; including consulting your health care practitioner if necessary, regarding whether or not a particular herb is appropriate. Generally most practitioners will follow “Clark’s Rule” dividing the child’s weight (in pounds) divided by 150 times the adult dose. (i.e. a 50 pound child would be at 1/3 of the adult dose)
What is the best way to take liquid extracts?
I prefer to hold the tincture in my mouth swishing it around a bit prior to swallowing. The cheeks and the area under the tongue have a lot of capillaries, or tiny blood vessels. This means that the extract can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream without needing to go through your digestive system.
This process is called buccal absorption and occurs at a rate of 4-4000 (depending on which tissue) times the absorption rate of skin. The sublingual mucosa (under the tongue) is relatively the most permeable. Many liquid extracts are strongly flavoured and if you must dilute them with water dilute as little as possible to make it more palatable. If you have to just swallow it that is fine also as ethyl alcohol is lipophilic and can diffuse across the cells that line the stomach wall. This is yet another part of the liquid extract “delivery system”. Indeed, ethyl alcohol is one of the rare substances that can be absorbed by the stomach. Most food is absorbed in the small intestine.
Are there other “herbal delivery systems” ?
There are a wide variety starting with your food and teas. We have stated elsewhere that consuming as many as possible as food and spice is wise.
It is our believe that liquid extracts represent the most effective delivery system. We also believe; in the Eclectic tradition, that high alcohol extractions are superior. With that in mind here is our understanding of various other formats or “delivery systems”.
CRUDE HERB TABLETS:
The herbs are dried, powdered, mixed with binders and fillers and sometimes anti-microbial agents and compressed into tablets. The required digestion can take hours to yield effects. The herbs continue to age in the bottle often reducing the therapeutic values. Not very practical for therapeutic use.
CRUDE HERB CAPSULES:
The herbs are dried, powdered, and encapsulated. In some cases the herbs are fumigated Digestion can take hours and the absorption into the body can be low. “Aging” continues within the bottle. Although popular with consumers they are not always practical for therapeutic value.
FREEZE DRIED HERB CAPSULES:
The herbs are frozen and the moisture is extracted. The herb is then powdered and encapsulated. Freeze dried herbs tend to be very hygroscopic (they tend to absorb moisture). The absorbed moisture degrades the herb quickly reducing the effectiveness. The shelf life where these products continues to represent therapeutic value is very short.
"STANDARDIZED” EXTRACT CAPSULES:
Standardized extract capsules are often extracted with toxic solvents (methanol, acetone and hexane). Once the herb is extracted certain marker compounds are concentrated to a pre-determined standard. Usually high heat/vacuum is used to remove the toxic solvents. Although the marker compounds are concentrated the synergistic compounds are minimized or eliminated which degrades the full spectrum properties of the herb. These products function more like pharmaceutical drugs and often have more side effects. Most herbs, in nature, have checks and balances built into their chemical composition. Eliminating or minimizing these compounds can reduce effectiveness and safety.
Glycerin is not an effective solvent for most herbs. The extraction is sometimes done with toxic solvents ( methanol, acetone, hexane ) which are then driven off by high heat/vacuum and replaced with glycerin. The amount of processing, extraction, removal of solvent and re-dissolving alters some of the constituents. Some glycerinates are manufactured by “reconstituting” freeze dried or standardized extract powders. Shelf life is uncertain.
FULL SPECTRUM LIQUID EXTRACTS:
Liquid preparations using hydro-alcoholic solutions for extraction. If manufactured without heat they retain the phyto-profile of the whole herb. All of the synergistic and balancing compounds found in the herb are represented in the final product. Easy for the body to assimilate and highly bio-available. Best if standardized to mg. of herb per ml. of finished extract.
What does Certified Organic mean?
The majority of our herbs are Certified as Organic. This means a independent third party has examined the land use (typically for 3 years), the production; including the growing and any processing (i.e. chopping, slicing, drying etc), and certified that the production methods are organic. Some of our herbs are not cultivated and are wild harvested. We rely; in these cases, on our suppliers to insure ethical harvesting. Bee products such as propolis are not certifiable as you can not control where the bee goes. These products also require additional laboratory testing.
What about GMOs?
There are NO GMO herbs currently in production. This phenomena exists solely in food production. Certified Organic registration does not allow GMOs.
What about herb-drug interaction?
Our products are licenced by Health Canada and carry regulatory required cautions. Some herbs may exaggerate or negate the effects of certain drugs. Herbs that potentiate (exaggerate) the effect of drugs may be a useful way to decrease your dependency on the drug, possibly diminishing dosage or weaning yourself off the drug entirely. This should only be done in consultation with your health care practitioner.
What about Gluten?
Our products are gluten free. Gluten is a protein present in the grain of barley, oats, rye, triticale, wheat, kamut, spelt or any grain hybridized from these. (Source: Health Canada FDR section B.24.018) None of our products contain any of these items. We do not process any of these products in our facility.
What about allergens?
It is possible to be allergic to certain herbs. Our labeling carries the Health Canada cautions were required. In addition to the products listed under Gluten ? Our allergen statement advises that our products DO NOT contain:
almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts: peanuts; sesame seeds; barley, oats, rye, triticale, wheat, kamut, spelt or any grains hybridized from these; eggs; milk; soybeans; crustaceans of any kind; shellfish of any kind; fish of any kind; mustard seeds And that these products are not present in our facility.
What is an NPN?
All Natural Health Products sold in Canada require a product licence before being marketed. Obtaining a licence requires submitting to Health Canada detailed information on the product including; medicinal ingredients, source, potency, non medicinal ingredients and recommended use. Once a product licence application has been assessed and granted market authorization by Health Canada, the product label will bear an eight digit product number preceded by the distinct letters NPN. The product licence number on the label assures consumers that the product has been reviewed and approved by Health Canada for safety and efficacy. All of our Natural Health Products have been assessed and approved and carry an NPN on the label.
What about packaging ?
All of our cardboard boxes and packing paper; for shipping, are “Certified Fiber Sourcing” by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard promotes responsible forestry practices. Its requirements include measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value. The standard is for any organization in the United States or Canada that owns or manages forests. SFI fiber sourcing certification goes beyond certified forests to address the 90 percent of the world’s forests that are not certified. Program Participants must show that the raw material in their supply chain comes from legal and responsible sources, whether the forests are certified or not.
Our products are packaged in amber glass with glass droppers for easy dose calibration. Although more expensive; heavier to ship and subject to breakage, we are concerned that certain herbal products could interact with plastic and adsorb certain compounds from the plastic into the product. This helps assure that “what is on the label is in the bottle” and nothing more. Our glass is recyclable. Our labels are printed on paper with vegetable based inks.
What does the extract ratio mean?
We have always labeled our products with an extract ratio. (ie 1:4 1:2 etc.) This indicates the weight of herb per volume of finished product. This must be expressed in metric to be meaningful. A 1:4 extract means 1 gram of herb is contained in 4 ml of finished product or 1 kilogram in 4 litres. Our dosage unit is expressed as 1 ml so in the case of a 1:4 extract there are 250 milligrams of herb per 1 ml. In the case of a 1:3 extract there are 333 milligrams per 1 ml. In the case of a 1:2 extract there are 500 milligrams per 1 ml.