According to the Nutrition Business Journal, ancient herbal remedies are making a strong comeback with more than US$17 billion being spent on botanicals world-wide. India is the largest market for herbal medicine products, with retail sales amounting to US$6.9 billion in recent years.

You may however, find yourself confused when making a purchase. There’s such a variety of makes and models of herbs remedies with each one claiming to be exactly what you need. How can you choose what’s best for you and what provides the best value?

Let me help you sort through the confusion. Herbal preparations can be found in four basic forms – extracts, tinctures, decoctions or teas, all of which can be very effective providing quality product is chosen.

Extract can be either in a solid or a liquid form. The active ingredients are concentrated by low temperature distillation so that the chemical nature of the extract is not altered. Or the extracts are made by evaporation.

Tinctures are typically made by using an alcohol and water mixture as the solvent. The herb is soaked in the solvent for a specified amount of time, depending on the verb. The solution is then pressed out, yielding the tincture.

Decoctions are made by leaving a plant in water for a certain amount of time before removing it. This disperses the active ingredients in the water.

Teas are made by boiling the herb in water.