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Whole Herbs V Standardised Extracts

Whole herbs are natural, safer and more therapeutic.  That's why we use them.

Synthetic extracts are are designed by men. They are typically packed with additives, are more likely to cause an adverse reaction (although still rare with well known herbs), and do not have the same broad benefits.

Drug company researchers and academics started playing around with extracts in 1992.  It's nothing to do with  herbal medicine.  Medical herbalists never ever use extracts, and neither do we. 

If you want to enhance your well being with a herb, you want all of the herb, not just one nutrient.  We take the view (as do medical herbalists), that the whole herb has greater therapeutic properties - the whole is greater than the sum of the parts - synergy. 

Within each herb lies “biological intelligence” - hundreds, even thousands of nutrients can be found. So much so, laboratories are still a long way from identifying all of the nutrients in any particular herb.

Whilst each herb will have significant amounts of particular compounds known to be responsible for their health properties, the action of these nutrients will be enhanced and supported by the others.  Each nutrient has a role to play. And often, isolating just the active aspect(s), renders this active part less effective because it is missing the natural, and essential co-factors.

Herbs also contain significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, all with metabolic roles.


Whole Herbs are Safer

Adverse reactions with well known herbs are very rare. But they are far more likely with extracts because within each herb, there are natural “buffers” that ensure active constituents are well tolerated by your body.

Whole herbs of course, also have a far longer track record having been used for thousands of years in their natural form.  In short, whole herbs are safer.

A Closer Look at Standardisation

We are often asked if certain products contain a certain percentage of a particular nutrient.  There can never be a clear cut answer without turning to complicated, time consuming laboratory analysis. This costs many thousands of pounds, and simply could not be repeated for each and every batch, and each and every harvest.  That’s why you wont see extremely specific nutritional assays when it comes to whole herbs.
This sort of analysis is largely the domain of cash rich, pharmaceutical companies; the gold standard of clinical analysis is thought to be one developed by PharmaPrint Inc and runs to £250,000 PER herb.
In comparison, a standardised product can give you set percentages. In such products, the active ingredient(s) is isolated and concentrated, and the synergistic elements are not included in the end product.  There is absolutely no natural medicinal balance.


Traditional Harvesting to Superior Standards

An array of factors influence the final nutritional make up. These include soil conditions, the time of year, weather conditions during the growth period, the processing of the final product, and any chemicals during cultivation. (All Seventh Wave herbals are grown to organic standards, and therefore not exposed to chemical fertilisers etc). Due to superior growth conditions and harvesting techniques, all Seventh Wave whole herbs  are naturally packed with active nutrients.


Industry Standards (or Lack of them) and Quality

It is important to note, that it is absolutely possible to standardise inferior raw materials! Many cheap herbals on the market are grown in poor conditions.  And it is somewhat ironic that there are no industry standards for these standardisation processes. A good example, Echinacea, can be standardised to echinocosides, polysaccharides or polybutylides; in many cases, no manufacturer really knows which approach is best. Even if two manufacturers happen to be in agreement which "marker" may be best, one might standardise to 5%, and another to 8%. Furthermore, the actual methods of extraction can vary tremendously from the harsh chemical approach to a natural, gentle method that protects the constituent being extracted.
In comparison, whole herbs are natural and totally balanced form with greater healing potential.

Ensuring Perfect Quality Herbals Every Time

As with all of our products, they are 100% additive free for maximum absorption.  Mother nature provides all of the nutritional co-factors which facilitate and enhance the action of each other, the health benefits of whole herbs are exactly as nature intended.


Why Additive Free?

This is so important to our range. And we are in fact the only UK brand to make our own brand range natural, and totally additive free.  It really is a lifestyle choice, and lets face it, when you are trying to get healthier, why would you add potentially toxic and allergenic additives into the mix.  When it comes to herbal medicine, we feel it is the only way.  You can view our additive free herbal range here


Herbs Under Threat From EU Herbal Directive

As you can see, we are totally committed to the best herbals, in their safest and most effective form.  But following the implementation of the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) in April 2011, we slowly lost stocks of the purest herbals on the market in a "sell through" period.  This Directive is being challenged in the British and European courts and you can read more on this here

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