Liquid Extract Strength

The strength ratio listed on liquid extracts is a weight to volume ratio (gram:ml)

1:1   = 1 gram (1000 mg) per 1 ml (20 drops)
1:2   = .5 grams (500 mg) per 1 ml (20 drops)
1:4   =  .25 grams (250 mg) per 1 ml (20 drops)
1:5   =  .2 grams (200 mg) per 1 ml (20 drops)
2:1   =  2 grams (2000 mg) per 1 ml (20 drops)

Note: Simply because a company used 1 gram of plant to 1 ml of alcohol does not mean you are necessarily getting 1 gram worth of plant matter per 20 drop dose - this depends on how readily the active constituents of a plant dissolve in alcohol.

Also, Fresh Extract and Dry Extract strengths cannot be compared. Fresh Extracts will often appear to have a stronger ratio because the company must compensate for the water mass of a fresh plant by adding more of the plant. Thus, a 1:5 Dry Extract is frequently stronger than a 1:1 Fresh Extract, depending on the plant in question.  Herb Pharm extracts tend to follow Pharmacopoeia guidelines for selecting fresh or dried plant, Gaia tends to follow a "fresh is better" approach; there is most likely validity to both arguments.

Gaia brand extracts use a method known as "double maceration" - a 1:1 extract from Gaia is a 1:2 extract in which the plant material is replaced with fresh plant material after the first extraction. This may or may not make an extract stronger depending on the plant and the solubility of the plant's active constituents.

In summary, it is nearly impossible to tell how strong an extract will be until you try it yourself.  "Standardized" extracts, in which a company tells you the concentration of active constituents (most companies will only test their product once despite seasonal crop variations), are not necessarily stronger than a normal extract.  The best advice we can offer is to find a brand you like and stick with it.

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