Tincture Handbook: Part 14 - Herbal Powder Extracts (Ratio and Standardized)

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: September 8, 2022 23:52

powder extract is made by extracting an herb into a single-step or dual-step or multi-step fluid extract which is then spray dried and flash dried to form a soluble powdered form of the fluid extract.

Powder extracts are not to be taken solely as a powder but used by manufacturers in making supplements, such as being pressed into tablets, packed into capsules, or dissolved into syrups, liquids, or tinctures.

Step-by-step Powder Extract Process:

  1. Heated extraction of the herb in closed stainless steel tanks with purified filtered water
  2. Optional additional heated extraction step with purified filtered water
  3. Optional additional heated extraction step with edible alcohol, ethanol
  4. If more than one liquid extract is done, they are combined
  5. The liquid extract combination is reduced by condensation into a syrup
  6. Optional essential oil trap is used during reduction to retain evaporated volatile oils
  7. Syrup is combined with trapped oils and a compound like food starch that prevents clumping of water and lipids when spray-dried
  8. The syrup in then spray dried and flash-dried to remove all moisture by diffusing the syrup into droplets with a spray nozzle of heated non-reactive nitrogen gas.

Pros and Cons of Powder Extracts Compared to Fluid Extract Tinctures

Advantages of powder extracts over extraction tinctures:

  1. Affordable costs of powder extracts
  2. Reduction of labor involved in making supplements with powder extracts
  3. No knowledge necessary to understand extraction process
  4. Ease of use in serving sizes and dosages

Disadvantages of powder extracts compared to extraction tinctures:

  1. Initial heating over 120* F (50*) which alters composition of constituents
  2. Stainless steel reacts with herbs compared to non-stick, glass, and porcelain surfaces
  3. First step is water which is backwards to using alcohol first in extraction tinctures for preservation of fragile and volatile constituents
  4. Heating step during reduction and condensation of liquid extract into a syrup
  5. Heat degrading the fragile constituents and volatile oils during spray drying and flash-drying

Understanding Powder Extract Ratios

Powder extract ratio is a numerical and unit representation of 'starting herb weight' liquid extracted and finally dried into a 'powder weight'.

For example: 4 pounds of an herb is liquid extracted and then dried into 1 pound of powder extract, thereby creating an powder extract ratio of 4:1 which is read as "4 pounds into 1 pound".

Understanding Standardized Powder Extracts

Panax Red Ginseng Standardized Ginsenoside Powder Extract 

Standardized powder extracts come from modern technology that focus the extraction process on an active constituent in the herb as a marker for potency which is designated by a percentage (%) of content within the powder.

For example: Ginsenosides are a main constituent of ginseng that are used marker constituent to standardize the powder extract which may come in 2%, 3%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 50% or more.

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