Herbal Extracts are an herbal food or combination of foods, diluted in liquids such as distilled water and grain neutral spirits, that may be used as a "natural medicine." Grain neutral spirits are an alcohol distilled from grain and are also known as a neutral alcohol. Some people choose to make their herbal extracts with a cheap synthetic spirit made from things such as explosive ethylene gas. Unless you ask, you might not know from reading their labels.
Because we care about you and your health we use a neutral spirit made from food.
A frequently asked question is what herbal extracts are and why do they contain a natural or neutral alcohol. Herbal extracts are herbal plant foods that have been diluted in a liquid that dissolves and or suspends them. They are "natural medicines."
An herbal extract can be made with something which allows an herb to dissolve in it. This can include most common liquids, such as distilled water, vinegar, wine, glycerin (sugar and fat compound most commonly derived from animal tissue) or a neutral alcohol. When you put an herbal tea bag into a cup of hot water, the color, taste, and aroma which dissolve into the water make an herbal extract (or water extract). However, some parts of the herb in the tea bag do not dissolve in water. Water will not dissolve the oily, waxy, detergent, enzymatic or hormonal content of the herb. Vinegar, wine and glycerin will dissolve a small amount of this.
The fact is, a combination of distilled water and a neutral alcohol is the best fluid known for dissolving all parts of an herb. A water and 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. So don't overeat. This is a "natural medicine" made from an herbal food. 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. 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. This means the digestive system needs some help. When you take a look at the digestive canal of the adult, you see a tube or pipe about 26 feet long which is often clogged or very slow to empty due to debris or worse yet, if not eliminated, this putrid barrier film can itself be constantly reabsorbed back into the body. Not only is this barrier of debris bad for absorption of commonly eaten foods, but also herbal powders, herbal powders in capsules, herbal pills, and vitamin tablets. An efficient method is needed to get herbal foods absorbed through this barrier film and dissolve the barrier itself. Otherwise, herbs will not nourish and act like the health food books say they should. Herbal extracts solve this puzzle. Not only can they cross the debris barrier, they do so rapidly and help to dissolve the barrier in the process. This eliminates the problem of having to take "114 tablets and capsules per day to finally get something through the debris barrier and dissolve it." As a matter of fact, an herbal extract can be applied externally right over the area where required. This, of course, would be difficult to do with a capsule of powdered herbs or a tablet.
Depending on the quantity, a neutral alcohol performs different functions when introduced into or put on the body. In minute quantities (drops), it acts as a carrier for whatever is dissolved in it. The water, herb's) and alcohol in a finished product form an association or complex which can actually show up as a lower amount of alcohol than you started with. The dissolved herbal food substances in this kind of liquid are very easily absorbed by the body. In larger quantities, 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. A person can tell the difference.
Dr. William Donald Kelly, author of many books on natural ways to become more healthy, tells us that the human pancreas (principal digestive organ of the body) actually produces a small amount of a natural, neutral alcohol on a constant basis so that we will not freeze. As a further observation, most mouthwashes and deodorants utilize a fairly high percentage of alcohol which acts as a carrier for mouth and breath cleansing substances or deodorant. In many cases, these are extracts of cleansing and aromatic substances. The alcohol acts as a carrier. If a person can use a mouthwash or underarm deodorant, they can probably use an herbal extract without a problem. If they cannot use them without a problem, then they should probably use capsules, tablets or teas.
A fair question might be how much neutral alcohol should an extract contain? Roughly, a mixture of one-third neutral alcohol and two-thirds distilled water will dissolve enough of the herb so that a person gets the proper nourishment in a few drops of the extract. When you add more distilled water, then you need more extract to do the same thing. An extract could be made with so much distilled water that you would have to consume bottles of the extract to achieve the same nutritional value you could get in a few drops of a one-third neutral alcohol extract.
CLARITY OF EXTRACTS
Some of our 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 (eyedropper). 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 some. 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, but then the extract would not be as strong. This is part of your guarantee that we put as much herb or herbs as possible into your extracts. This same occurrence can also be observed in natural juices where some settlement occurs. Shaking the juice or herbal extract prepares it for use with its full taste and effect.
COLOR AND TASTE OF HERBAL EXTRACTS
Herbs come from nature, and just as no two apple crops from one year to the next, or even any two apples from the same tree taste exactly the same, so it is with crops of 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. It's something like your mother's potato soup. She can use her recipe and the same ingredients two days in a row and the soup is always different, but always good. Rest assured, all of our herbal products do measure up to our known and established standards of quality and excellence before they are approved for use. This is so you can rely on them and have what you expect from them when you use them.
With kindest regards,
Dr. Eugene C. Watkins B.S.ed., M.S., N.D.
The Center for Building Better Health Naturally, Inc.