Synergy is an extremely important concept when combining herbs for targeted natural supplements. An
effective combination can produce positive or potentiating synergy that can deliver more powerful
results. Synergy also influences the interactions and effectiveness of various components within single
An understanding of various types of synergy will demonstrate how it can impact the effectiveness of
herbs and herbal formulas.
A positive or potentiating synergy occurs when two or more compounds interact in a way that helps
increase the effect of an herb or herbal formula. One compound may enhance the absorption of a
compound that produces the desired effect. Or it may improve effectiveness by protecting the active
element from being broken down.
One compound in a formula may inhibit the absorption of another compound, or the interaction may
result in one compound changing another to render it inactive – desirable if an herb includes any toxic
components. Another inhibiting synergy occurs if a compound inhibits an enzyme required to activate
A stabilizing synergy occurs when one compound keeps another from breaking down, perhaps only until
it reaches a certain area in the body. For example, mucilages can protect other constituents from being
broken down by stomach acids, so the element can move into the intestine intact. Marshmallow is one
mucilage that we use to protect flavonoids in our Children’s Sinus Support™.
This form of synergy depends on the interaction between constituents in the plant and the physiological
processes of the body. For example, a plant could have a compound that lowers blood pressure, or it
could have a compound that raises blood pressure. Adaptogens would contain both, as they work to
balance and normalize the body, whatever condition the body is in. This illustrates why ginseng works
best as a full spectrum extract, to make sure that all the active constituents are present.
Another physiological synergy example is an herb that may contain both an antimicrobial compound and
a compound that inhibits bacteria from pumping the antimicrobial compound out of their cells. Herbs
that would be included in this category would be Oregon grape, golden seal, and barberry root.
Single Herb Synergy
Herbs are a mixture of chemicals. Whole plant or whole plant part extracts or dried herbs deliver the full
spectrum of all the constituents in the proportion that they naturally occur within the plant.
Although one constituent is often dominant, it is the combination of components that determines its
range of action. Isolated extracts can actually be much less desirable; for example, isolated berberine
kills all bacteria, but a full spectrum extract of barberry root, golden seal or Oregon grape will not
As multiple substances are produced during a plant’s life cycle, harvesting is often timed to reap the
greatest supply of the constituents that will help achieve the desired results.
Redd’s Targeted Natural Supplements
We create synergy between healing traditions and modern science with our targeted natural
supplements. We select the purest, high-quality natural ingredients from around the globe and create
unique formulas that maximize their effectiveness to offer fast-acting support and whole-body balance.
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