Herb Product Types

Many times herb product types are very confusing to people searching for the right treatments.

Most of the patients I have spoken with are under the assumption that capsules are the only way to go. This may or may not be correct. It all depends on the type of herb and how it may react to acid in the stomach. As a general rule organic herbs are best and should be standardized.
Herb tincture What is standardization? At the present time there are no FDA regulations in the US concerning theraputic levels for herbs OR consistency of product. Unlike the pharmaceutical companies which have strict standards to adhere to, there are none in the herbal community. One of the biggest proponents of standardization is Gaia herbs which is a company in California. Gaia has been pushing hard for standardization within the industry for years, and are known for their use of organics. At the present time, based on their standards I would highly recommend purchasing their products for herbal remedies.

These are the different herb product types:


Capsules are a gelatin shell that may contain glycering or water as a softening agent. Ground or powdered herbs are contained in them, but it is important to read the label as some contain preservatives and dyes.

Some herbs (devil's claw) are deactivated by acid in the stomach and therefore should have an enteric coating which allows for better absorption in the intestine and bypasses the stomach. Also, some herbs lose potency if presented only in a crushed or powdered forms and therefore an extract or tincture is better.


Extracts are concentrated preparations of herbs usually in a liquid form, where one part of the herb is combined with either water or alcohol. Some herbs can only be dissolved in alcohol.

Solid extracts are made after the chopped herb is dissolved in a solvent, the liquid filtered and then dried at low heat. The constituents left behind are put in capsules or tablets. Solid extracts are much more concentrated than liquid.


Granules are powdered herb held together with binders such as cellulose fiber, gelatine or even sugar. They are frequently found in Chinese patent medicines for digestive complaints.


Lozenges are also known as gragees, pastilles, and troches. They have a tablet-like appearance, but unlike tablets which are made by compression, lozenges are molded or cut from mixtures of sugar, gum, gelatin and a small amount of the herb.

Medicinal Spirits

Medicinal spirits or essences are the volitile oils of hrbs preserved in a mixture of water and alcohol. The most commonly used is peppermint which is made by dissolving the oil extracted by crushing peppermint leaves in alcohol. Other medicinal spirits can be made by distillation where the herb is pulverized and mixed with alcohol. After it stands a bit, the mixture is heated, evaporated, captured in a "still" and preserved in alcohol.

Anyone with alcohol related problems should avoid medicinal spirits.


Sugary syrups are used in herbal preparations when giving the herbs to children. Syrups usually consist of 2/3 sugar and the high sugar content makes it extremely difficult for bacterial growth to take hold.


Tablets are made by compressing granules or powders into a mold. They usually contain very small amounts of an extract suspended in a binder and may have colors added. Coated tablets are covered with dyes, fat, sugar and wax to protect the ingredients inside. This also protects them against moisture, heat and light (and any bad taste!)

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are prepared from single or mixtures of herbs. If for and acute condition they are almost always brewed from a single herb. For a chronic condition, a mixture is usually utilized.

Of all forms used for herbs, teas are the most gentle and have the slowest effects on the body. Unfortunately, absorption of active components can be a bit unpredictable in their results and onset of action.


A tincture is a mixture of alcohol, herb and water. When used for children, the alcohol is substituted with glycerine.

Read about more herbs at the Herb Dictionary Online.

Subscribe to Herbal Hints our monthly ezine. You will receive free tips on how to use different herbs, new recipes and learn about the "Herb Of The Month".




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Herbal Hints.

Return from Herb Product Types to Home Page

Sign up for the Herbal Remedies Information RSS feed..it's free!

Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Google




agave syrup

Home Page

Search Site

New Stuff

Herb Chart

Vitamin Chart

Herbal Remedies Shop


Description and Use

Herb Product Forms

Herbal Use Survey

Holistic Medicine

Holistic Schools

Herb Dictionary


Acne Herbs

Sex Herbs

Menopause Herbs

ADD Herbs

Cancer Herbs

Weight Loss Herbs

Depression Herbs

Ear Ache Herbs

Gout Herbs

Sinuses Herbs

Flu Remedy Herbs

Hair Remedy Herbs

High Blood Pressure

Kidney Herbs

Menopause Herbs

Thyroid Herbs

Pain Remedies

Yeast Infection Remedies

How To

Dry Herbs

Afford Herbs


Privacy Policy


About Me

Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detector

Return to top