New paper explores issue of excessive dilution of botanical extracts

Data from published literature and analytical reports suggest that some commercial botanical extracts used in dietary supplements do not contain much or any of the botanical ingredient thatโ€™s on the label, Dr. Gafner told NutraIngredients-USA during a video interview.

“In industry, itโ€™s also called fairy dusting, so that means you have a lot of excipient and a little bit of ingredient and sometimes thereโ€™s none to be detected,” he said.

It is important to stress that this is not a safety issue as the diluents and excipients being used are safe and legal.

“I want to emphasize that excipients are necessary in most cases for the proper functioning, the proper manufacturing of a capsule or a tablet,” Dr. Gafner said. “So, itโ€™s not about adding excipients. These are perfectly safe. Itโ€™s adding excipients to the extent that you donโ€™t have any botanical, or not much to speak of in the product.”

The issueโ€‹

Writing in HerbalGramโ€‹ number 140, Dr. Gafner, Loรฏc Loffredo, James Kababick, Stacy Wise and Roy Upton, explained: “Experts in dietary supplement analysis have determined that this occurs mainly because of two schemes used by deceptive suppliers. First, certain suppliers excessively dilute native plant extracts with undeclared amounts of excipients and are ambiguous in disclosing the plant-to-extract ratio.

“Second, whole herbs are extracted to obtain specific fractions or compounds that are considered to be therapeutically beneficial and are provided to select markets. The marc (leftover or spent biomass) may then be re-sold without disclosure that it is pre-extracted material.”

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