Plant Extracts Explained
Liquid Production Phaze
Traditional plant extracts are produced using the root, stem or leaves of the plant; the selected raw materials are then processed in alcohol, water or other solvents under heat and pressure. The strength and quality of traditional extracts are determined by factors such as; the weight of raw materials used and the color of the extract when it is in its liquid state.
Because the chemical makeup of a herb will vary slightly depending on a variety of factors such as; environment, the age of the plant and the time of harvest, standardization via chemical analytical equipment has been introduced allowing better control over production quality.
Standardized plant extracts are produced in much the same way as traditional plant extracts, but rather than using color or weight to govern the strength of the finished extract, standardized extracts use modern chemical analytic equipment to ensure that the extract has one or more components present in a specific amount, usually expressed as a percentage, ensuring that the consumer receives a consistent product from batch to batch.
Standardized extracts are not necessarily more concentrated than traditional extracts, but they do guarantee that the extract will have a set level of potency every time, without sacrificing any components, this makes them easier to dose and safer to use.
Regardless of the extract method used, the liquid extract will need to be filtered and then processed using a spray drying machine to create a fine dry powder. Plant extract powders produced in this manner will absorb moisture when exposed to atmospheric humidity, to stop this from happening plant extracts are stored in airtight containers, and processed in humidity controlled environments to reduce the chance of damaging the plant extract.
Before a plant extract can be used for human consumption, it must be sent for safety testing; this ensures that the extract is free from harmful bacteria, poisonous metals, and chemicals. Safety testing should be carried out by independent experts such as SGS or Intertek respectively.