Ask an HerbalistFeb 2, 2022

What’s the difference between whole herb and standardized extracts?

We love talking about herbs and herbalism, and we especially love answering your questions about those topics. That's why we brought in our team of herbal experts to respond to some of the most common questions and concerns we hear.


Our herbalists have decades of combined experience working with herbs — and the people who take them. They answer your most pressing questions, in our regular column “Ask an Herbalist.”

 

What’s the difference between whole herb and standardized extracts?

There is not necessarily any difference between whole herb and standardized extracts. Any extract, including a whole herb or broad spectrum extract, can have constituents quantified and thus be standardized. Some standardized extracts, however, use processes and/or solvents to isolate phytochemicals. In the more extreme cases, these extracts can become so highly concentrated in a single phytochemical or phytochemical group that they exclude the many other constituents that make up the whole herb. Carried too far, these extracts begin to resemble single entity drug isolates rather than broad spectrum herbal extracts.