4:1 is a reference to the strength of the evaporated decoction (alcohol and/or water) from which the concentrated herb powder is made: 4 parts of botanical to 1 part native extract, as the certificates of analysis say.
A standardized herbal extract is an herb extract that has one or more components present in a specific, guaranteed amount, usually expressed as a percentage. The intention behind the standardization of herbs is to guarantee that the consumer is getting a product in which the chemistry is consistent from batch to batch. Standardized extracts are usually in a base of the whole herb powder.
In most cases, ratio 4:1, 5:1, 10:1 herbal extracts are not as potent as standardized % herbal extracts, although, since concentrated, ratio extracts are usually more potent than whole herb.
10:1 is more powerful than 4:1, and 4:1 is more powerful than straight herb powder. More powerful means that you take less. The rule in herbalism is to start with a small experimental dose. Upon determining that you have had no negative reaction, you can increase the dose.
Our herbal extracts are produced in GMP compliant facilities. Certificates of analysis are available for all our herbs.