What is Extract Ratio ?
Extract Ratio is the ratio of herbal extract concentration. In the case of Pueraria mirifica (PM) the extract 10:1 requires ten kilograms of raw material to produce one kilogram PM extract. As extract ratios are unverifiable some companies have claimed they produce ratios of up to 200:1 purely for marketing purposes. Furthermore, extract ratios will depend on the herb. Tongkat Ali’s crude powder form is low-yield, high-fibre, requiring between 20-50 parts raw material to produce one part extract, whilst PM has a higher yield which
is only able to use five to ten parts to make the maximum one part extract. (It is not possible to exceed the maximum extraction capacity per herb. For example extraction from 20 PM’s produces 20:2 rather than 20:1). Extract ratio also depends on extraction method. PM extracted by Maceration Extraction may use ten parts raw material to produce one part extract, but Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) may use six to seven parts raw material to produce one part extract of the same concentration as 10:1 Maceration Extraction due to SFE’s advanced extraction technique. Hence extraction ratio does not determine the quality of the product, simply its HPLC quantitative analysis.
What is Standardized Extract and Marker ?
Due to the non-verifiability of extract ratio, the best method of quality control for herbal products is HPLC analysis. “Marker” is the term used for the active ingredients being analyzed. For instance, Turmeric uses ‘Curcumin’ for determining its quality and therefore Curcumin is the marker for Turmeric. A marker may not necessarily be the main active ingredient in the extract because some active ingredients cannot be found or extracted. For instance, the exclusive substance, Miroestrol, in PM, is currently unavailable to the commercial market for inspection. At the same time there can be more than one common marker analyzed during HPLC depending on the product and the supplier. This highlights that referring to the Marker is a better indication of the extract’s overall quality.