Herbal materials before being into their final products may be produced as liquid extracts or solid granules. Mixtures of these materials form the basis for the production of pharmaceutical ingredients. Business in herbal materials range widely from food supplements to medicine and to cosmetic products.
Herbal products can be sold either in whole herbal extracts or in pure phytochemicals as shown in the following Figure 1. In general, it has been found that whole herbal extracts are more effective than isolated phytochemicals due to the synergistic effect between the phytochemical components. Therefore, for the purpose of standardization, it is important to ensure that the herbal phytochemical profile is maintained.
Figure 1: Process for production of herbal product extract.
(Source: Ramlan A.A, Turning Malaysia Into A Global Herbal Producer: A Personal Perspective; Syarahan Perdana Prof, UTM 2003)