When Sciences have identified some molecules that have a recognized property or which characterized specifically a plant, the plants can be processed in order to get a standardized plant extract.
The manufacturing process will concentrate or purify the identified molecule(s) (also known as markers) in order to comply with a fixed standard.
This kind of plant extracts will be greatly useful to manufacture a consistent product. By consistent, we understand a finished product that will have reproducible composition. We remind here that the quality (in terms of composition) of a whole plant can widely vary according to the environment where it grew, the climate, the harvesting period and so on.
Markers are chemically defined constituents or groups of constituents that can be used to control batch-to-batch consistency of the finished product whether or not they have any therapeutic activity. They are classified as follows:
- Active constituent marker: A known and generally accepted constituent or group(s) of constituents that contributes to therapeutic activity. The product can be adjusted by standardization to a level of active constituent marker that is reproducible - either to a level that is naturally found in the plant or to a more concentrated level in an extract.
- Analytical marker: A constituent or group(s) of constituents that serves solely for analytical purposes and does not contribute to therapeutic activity, to which the product is adjusted to achieve a reproducible composition.
Specifications for standardized products should include identity, quantity of declared components and impurities if any (e.g. degradation products) and testing for likely contaminants (e.g. incidental compounds, residual solvents).