Contents of this article
Comprehensive information on herbal extracts in herbal male enhancement pills
Before we begin examining herbal extracts, let us first demystify the term. An herbal extract is a formulation that is prepared to enable people to separate/extract active substances from plant matter in order to make them easier for the body to utilize – what is left after the fact is unimportant plant material which is mostly fiber. Herbal extracts are made for many uses including nutritional and medicinal applications. Methods of extracting useful chemicals from plants were developed centuries ago and they have been getting better over time.
Apart from herbal extracts, we also have tinctures. The main difference between the two is concentration – extracts are more concentrated.
Herbal extracts are categorized based on the method used to prepare them. The first type is liquid extracts. These are made by using water or alcohol to dissolve active ingredients from herbs. These extracts can have dry herb strength of one part herb to four parts solvent (1:4) or higher. Anything less concentrated than this can be called a tincture.
The second type is solid extracts. These are liquid extracts that have been concentrated by evaporation to eliminate most of the solvent. These extracts have a dry herb to solvent ratio of 4:1.
The third type of extract is powdered extract. They are similar to solid extracts but even more solvent has been removed. They usually have herb to solvent ratios of 10:1.
Understanding “herbal extract ratios” and concentrations
The confusion about herbal extract ratios and concentrations stems from the naming conventions that manufacturers adopt when describing their products. For instance, some companies might give concentration ratios that compare the amount of raw herb used to the amount of concentrate produced. You may think that a higher ratio means that the extract is more concentrated but that is not the case – there are other factors that affect the quality and potency of herbal extracts other than quantity of raw materials used.
For instance, the quality of the extract is affected by how long the extraction procedure took – some substances dissolve slower than others. The extract’s quality is also affected by the type of solvent used. The type of herb being used also has an impact on the effectiveness of the extraction process. If the herb has a lot of starchy (intercellular) material, it might block up the herb material and prevent intracellular substances from entering the solvent. In this case, a smaller herbal matter yields more potent extract.
Are Higher Extract Ratios Better?
If, for example, you make a kilogram of bilberry fruit extract, you will get many other substances in the extract other than the active ingredient. In order to get more of the active ingredient in the extract, you have to purify it to remove unwanted substances. The extract ratio therefore doesn’t tell the whole story – you can have a 50:1 extract ratio but the 1 kilogram of extract can have unwanted substances. Such a high ratio might also mean that not all the active ingredient was extracted from the raw material. Generally, a higher extraction ratio does indicate that the herbal extract is more potent. However, the manner in which the extraction was conducted can affect the correctness of this assumption.
Why herbal extracts are better than the original herb?
Herbal extracts are better than their source herb because of one main reason: concentration. If you decide to use the herb as it is without extracting its active ingredients, you need a lot more of the herb to get as much active ingredient as contained in an extract. Furthermore, you will lose a lot of active ingredient as a result of your body being unable to properly break down the herb in order to get to the active ingredient. The methods used to make herbal extracts have improved tremendously and it is now possible to get all active ingredients from herbs.
Another good reason to use herbal extracts rather than herbs is that with extracts, you are sure of the exact amount of active ingredient you take in. If you use herbs, it is hard to know how much of the active ingredients will be utilized by the body.