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The Benefits of Liquid Herbal Extracts

The Benefits of Liquid Herbal Extracts

Ever wonder which is the best way to take herbs – capsules, tea or liquid extracts? While capsules are convenient and herbal teas are easy to make, liquid herbal extracts offer some benefits no other method of ingesting herbs can.

This is because when you ingest a liquid herbal extract, it is quickly and easily absorbed, digested, and utilized by the body. The minute the liquid extract touches your tongue, it is instantly absorbed into the blood stream; the body goes to work right away to utilize the action of the herbs. Because they are extracted in alcohol, the herbs are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly.

Benefits of Using Liquid Herbal Extracts:

  • They allow for optimal absorption
  • They bring about changes in the body much quicker than other methods of taking herbs
  • They have a long-shelf life
  • They allow you to get to know the taste of the plants
  • They are more concentrated
  • Many different herbs can be combined to make a customized formula
  • They can easily be taken in water, juice, or tea
  • They are convenient and easy to take

Why Alcohol Extraction?

With most plants, alcohol is a better solvent than water for extraction of the constituents of the plant. Constituents are parts of the plant that have an action on the body. Alcohol preserves the constituents for many years and allows for easy absorption of the liquid extract by the body. The alcohol protects the extract from bacteria and fermentation and does not require refrigeration. Because alcohol extraction is superior to water extraction, it also makes the herbal medicine stronger than other methods of taking herbs such as capsules, decoctions, or infusions. Alcohol extracts also bring out the aroma and flavors of the herbs, allowing the user to get to know the herbs they are taking. The taste and aroma of an herb have their own therapeutic benefits. For example, bitter herbs stimulate digestion. The flowery aroma of other herbs may promote a sense of wellbeing.

How to Take Liquid Herbal Extracts

The preferred method is to add the suggested number of drops to a little bit of water. 6-8 ounces of water, juice or tea will be sufficient. For those who don’t mind the strong taste, or the sting of the alcohol of a liquid herbal extract, they can be taken straight from the dropper. Be sure that you shake the extract well before each use.

If you are sensitive to alcohol you can put the drops in a small glass and pour boiling water over it. Most of the alcohol will evaporate. You can then add a bit of agave syrup or honey to enhance the flavor.

If the water becomes a cloudy white, do not worry; this is very common with bark and resin extracts.

How to Store Liquid Herbal Extracts

Most liquid herbal extracts have a long shelf-life of up to 2 years on average. To ensure your liquid herbal extracts maintain their quality, be sure to store them in a cool, dark place. A dry cupboard, away from the stove, microwave or refrigerator is best. Never touch the dropper to your body, especially the tongue, as this may contaminate the blend with bacteria. Make sure the cap is screwed on tightly after each use.

If you have never tried a liquid herbal extract, try one today and feel the difference.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    can i mix different liquid extract so that i drink all at once? eg..more than 2 tinctures?

    • Dear Kebonye,

      Liquid herbal extract of single herbs can be combined. For example, Vitex, Maca and Milk Thistle liquid herbal extracts can be taken together. That said, it is often not suggested to combine multiple liquid herbal extracts that combine several herbs.

  2. Avatar

    If one is attempting to make their own herbal liquids for vaporizing, is a tincture made from alcohol extraction better/safer than using vegetable glyceryn? Do you have any other tips for home projects for herbal vaping? Thank you.

    • Dear Jason,

      When vaporizing herbs for medicinal use, I have learned that using a dry herb vaporizer with dry plant material is best. Beyond this we do not have information about vaporizing herbs at this time.