Understanding Herbal Extracts

May 29th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Hanna Kroeger

Too often herbal extracts are subjected to excessive chemical processing, which renders them deteriorated and incomplete. We’ve touched on the purity of Kroeger Herb Products’ Complete Concentrates in a recent blog post but are still asked questions as to why these supplements are so reliable, safe, and effective. Take a look for answers to frequently asked questions and learn why Kroeger is putting the natural back in herbs.

Schizandra berries are sticky & difficult to get in a capsule but Kroeger doesn't add any flowing agents to the berry!

Schizandra berries are sticky & difficult to get in a capsule but Kroeger doesn’t add any flowing agents to the berry!

Aren’t all Herbal Extracts Natural? Unfortunately most companies use harsh toxic solvents in the extraction process such as acetone, denatured alcohol, or hexane which are not natural. When herbal extracts are created with these solvents, their purity is stripped and the potency of the herb is affected. What makes Complete Concentrates so different is that through a water (or in the case of Milk Thistle and Echinacea, water and food grade alcohol) extraction process, no solvents are introduced and you’re ingesting a product that is safe and toxin-free.

Do Solvents Evaporate off Herbs During Extraction? Solvents do evaporate from the herbs but there may be a residue left. Think of it this way: Imagine eating spinach soaked in nail polish remover (a common solvent in herb extraction) then letting it dry…would you want to eat it? Now imagine eating spinach soaked in water and allowing that to dry. Is the water soaked spinach more appealing to eat? Many of the solvents used in extraction methods are toxic not only to people but also the environment.  Add to the list of frustrations with solvents, unlike excipients or fillers they are not required by law to be listed on labels and companies who use these toxins want to keep it that way.

This symbol of purity is found on each bottle of Kroeger's Complete Concentrates. Click here to see their entire line!

This symbol of purity is found on each bottle of Kroeger’s Complete Concentrates. Click here to see their entire line!

What are Excipients? After the extraction process herbs are liquid and are often sticky, posing a problem when a company wishes to encapsulate the herb. The easiest solution to this problem is to add a carrier substance for that liquid to be sprayed on. These carrier substances, or excipients, add another ingredient to the label for companies that choose to use them (like magnesium sterate or maltodextrin). In the case of Kroeger’s Concentrates, the liquid extract is sprayed back onto the herb which has been through the extraction process or on fresh herb so that nothing new is introduced to the product.

What do Flowing Agents Do? During encapsulation, especially with sticky herbal extracts, some companies prefer to add flowing agents to absorb excess moisture and speed up the capping process. While this saves production time costs, many flowing agents are synthetic and dilute the extract while adding further ingredients to your label. Look for the addition of rice, wheat, corn, whey, or other powdered substances; these flowing agents are not needed and are negatively impacting the potency of the herb.

What is a Filler? What do Fillers do? An average capsule has room for about 350-500 milligrams of herbs. Using only extracted herb is excessive and expensive so to cut corners, many companies add ingredients to the capsule to fill space. While some of these ingredients (rice powder for example) may have some sort of nutritional value, if a company is touting the purity of their concentrated products, there is no need for a filler to be included.

What does Full Spectrum Mean? Kroeger’s Complete Concentrates are a full spectrum product which means that the constituents of the herb are present in their natural ratios. When a concentrated herb is full spectrum, all of the constituents are concentrated at the same percentage.

If you have any other questions about Kroeger’s line of Complete Concentrates, let us know! We’re happy to share any information we can and hope you see now why this line of concentrates is superior to other products on the market. Paying attention to labels and understanding what methods were used in creating an herb is just as important as knowing what ingredients are going into your system.



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