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Updated December 12, 2007

Definition: Standardization is used in herbal medicine to try to make extracts of the same herbs as similar to each other. It involves measuring the amount of chemicals or compounds that are believed to be active and ensuring that each product has the same amount or concentration.

For example, the dose of black cohosh is usually based on the amount of the compound 27-deoxyactein.

Many herbal products on the market are standardized, but some are not. There are some known problems with the standardization process. In some cases, sometimes the product is standardized to a compound that's later found not to be the active ingredient, or to be one of several. Also, different companies use different markers or different amounts of the same markers.

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