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Weighing Benefits of Tinctures vs. Dried Herbs

antique scale weighing dried herb with liquid tincture

Wondering what delivery method is the best? 4 things to consider…

Weighing the benefits of tinctures vs. dried herbs is something we don’t always consider. But you should!

BIOAVAILABILITY

Tincture:
Best Bioavailability. In order to have good bioavailability, the medicinal benefits must reach the bloodstream. Fresh plant tinctures have a more complete and consistent absorption rate. The body uses as much as 98% of synergistic ratios of a plant’s chemical compounds, delivered to the blood stream through mucous membrane in the cheeks, tongue, esophagus and stomach. Liquid herbal tinctures made with alcohol bypass the long digestive process and enter the bloodstream rapidly.

Dried Herb Capsules:
Lesser Bioavailability. Since dried herbs in capsule form have to permeate the GI tract for absorption, it must pass through the intestinal wall before reaching blood circulation. Some sources speculate only 50% may be available to be used by the body. Many, many variables can diminish the amount of absorption such as poor digestion, the rate of gastric emptying, the emulsifying effect of bile for the absorption of fat-soluble plant constituents, or even the amount of calcium (from dairy products or supplements) present in the intestinal wall can form an insoluble complex.

CAPTURING CONSTITUENTS

Tincture:
Best Full Spectrum. Tinctures made with alcohol (ethanol and water) can extract all the compounds and active ingredients, including those that are not water-soluble.

Dried Herb:
Not Full Spectrum. Unless you have freeze-dried herbs, there will be oxidation of important phytochemical compounds, and especially antioxidants. When heating dried botanicals for a tea or decoction, the water-soluble parts of a plant may emerge but with diminished medicinal value. Additionally, the non-water-soluble components of the plant will, of course, not be present.

QUANTITY

Tincture:
Less is More. Though tinctures may be more expensive, the dosages are generally very small.

Dried Herb:
More isn’t More. If after knowing all the pros and cons, you still want to go the dried route, you’ll likely need to take a lot more dried herb in more than one smoothie or lots of capsules to see any benefit.

SHELF LIFE

Tincture: 7+ years if stored away from sunlight, in a cool, dry environment.
Dried Herbals: 2 years if stored away from sunlight, in a cool, dry environment.


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