The Problem with Capsules and Tinctures

capsules and tinctures - Linden Botanicals

Prefer capsules and tinctures to extracts? Your health benefits may be limited, and you may be overpaying.

Capsules and Tinctures

Let’s look at capsules and tinctures vs. loose-cut whole herb teas and herbal extracts.

Let’s say you want to try Cistus incanus, so you purchase a Cistus incanus tincture. How much Cistus incanus should you take each day? The answer is complicated. The amount should depend on your weight, your medical history, and the health issues you’re trying to address. In any case, the amount of Cistus incanus tincture you take almost certainly won’t come close to the amount you need.

Tinctures are often made by soaking a plant in alcohol. If you let the alcohol evaporate from the dropper, you might be left with 90 milligrams of extract. A one ounce bottle of tincture might hold less than 3 grams of active extract. By the dropperful, you’re taking insufficient amounts of Cistus incanus. In addition, you’re paying a premium for the privilege (up to 30 times the cost of Cistus loose-cut herbal tea).

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into capsules and tinctures. Let’s say you buy Cistus incanus capsules instead. Two capsules contain around 1 gram of ground plant matter. It takes about 13 grams of ground plant matter to make a daily herbal tea. That means you would need to consume 26 capsules per day. Even if those capsules contain an extract vs. ground plant matter, you may still need at least 8-10 capsules a day.

Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of capsules, and those capsules get expensive.

Smell Is an Immune Response Trigger

Can you smell your herbals? Probably not if you’re taking tinctures or capsules. When you can’t smell your herbals, you’re missing an important smell immune response trigger. As it turns out, the nose is an important sentinel against invasive elements, and smell can prime the immune system. In addition, stimulation of the brain via the nose can improve memory (as happens with sage). It can also enhance mitochondrial functionreduce stress, and possibly help protect you from illness.

That means you should consider drinking loose-cut herbal teas and herbal extracts instead of consuming capsules and tinctures.

Whole Herb and Herbal Extracts

Instead of capsules and tinctures, consider buying whole herb teas or herbal extracts. For example, if you want to make a slow brew decoction and see the plant’s stem, leaves, and flowers, you may prefer the loose-cut whole herb.

Extracts, in turn, are created by extracting active phytoconstituents from the plant matter and then drying the extract. Each plant has its own extraction method. Most of Linden Botanicals extracts are ratio extracts, which capture the full spectrum of what the plant has to offer. For example, a 20:1 ratio extract is created by using 20 kg of plant matter to get 1kg of extract.

Rather than offering hundreds of of herbal remedies, we sell only those herbal teas and herbal extracts that we believe best support immune system health, detox/cleanse support, energy support, mood support, joint health, stress relief, hormonal balance support, and cognition and brain health. The herbal teas and extracts we sell are some of the healthiest teas and extracts in the world, including Cistus incanus, Phyllanthus niruri, and Cistanche tubulosa.

The Problem with Capsules and Tinctures

We recommend that everyone do as much research on herbal remedies as possible — and do the math. Capsules and tinctures usually cost more (up to 10, 20, or 30 times more) than whole-herb teas and herbal extracts. Capsules and tinctures, while easy to consume, also don’t usually provide the serving sizes actually needed.

You can learn more about different botanical form factors by visiting the National Institutes of Health website or by checking out the hundreds of resources on our site.

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