Any plant body and this includes herbs has the usual components in any living organism like fiber, protein, carbohydrates, chemicals of various types – medicinal and non-medicinal, and fats. An extract of a plant would inevitably not contain those components that cannot be liquified and converted into an extract.
It is the synergistic action of various parts of a herb that are believed to be responsible for a medicinal property. In herbal medicine, multiple herbs are used to strengthen a synergistic action of multiple bioactive compounds contained in various herbs.
The role of non-digestible components of plants in human health is now well understood. Indigestible fibers in plants help in creating a healthy environment in the gut where microbiota can thrive. We now also understand that a healthy gut is critical to good health.
An extract of a herb is likely to exclude fibers and other plant body components. Food technology, though, has made it possible for us to include fibers in juices that we can consume to obtain full benefit from a fruit.
It will therefore depend on the technology used to create an extract that will in some measure determine if the full plant body of a herb or its extract will be more beneficial. Plant bodies can also contain harmful to health compounds. In the process of creating an extract, such chemicals can be excluded.
A natural herb will contain all components that are found in nature. An extract would always not fully reflect what we get from nature. Your need will, therefore, determine your choice – herb or an extract.
The world of herbs and natural products is complex and fascinating, You can check the selection here to know more.