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Medicinal Herbs for Commerce Glossary

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tincture a liquid, usually made of a mixture of alcohol and water, in which herbs have been steeped; the medicinal properties of the herbs are infused in the alcohol and water solution. Tinctures are like teas only with the addition of alcohol, which is used for extraction and preservation.

extract an extract is the same as a tincture, but usually has a higher concentration of herbal material infused in the solution.

capsules typically contain powdered, dried herbal materials encased in a gelatin or vegetable-based gelatin shell.

bioactives are chemical compounds which naturally occur in plants and are purported to have a role in the medicinal action an herb has on the body; some companies require the raw materials they purchase to have minimum levels of these bioactives.

organic a method of cultivating which relies on rich, healthy soil and non-toxic fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides.

homeopathic a system of healing based on the administration of minute quantities of a medicinal substance.

cover crops a system used to build fertility in soils as well as add organic matter; these crops are often high nitrogen fixers, planted in the fall or early spring, tilled under before the fruits mature and before the cash crop is planted.

Jeanine Davis, NC Alternative Crops & Organics Program, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University. Reviewed 5/25/2022