Holistic Herb is a relatively new company that promises that its advanced technology will raise the game of the UK CBD industry. Their range is small and features low strength oils, CBD sprays and capsules.
With a focus on safety and bioavailability, Holistic Herb claims to have developed unique equipment and processes that make their oil one of the most effective available today. Known as Holland & Barrett’s “premium CBD product”, Holistic Herb, 8.1mg oil, is featured on other online stores but is most commonly found in the high street health food shop.
As with many of the items stocked at H & B, the packaging looks smart and functional. The oil itself is a light straw colour and has an intriguing scent of tangerine. The 8.1mg refers to a dose of three drops of CBD which makes the whole 15ml bottle equivalent to about 800mg of regular CBD. It isn’t clear if this is a broad-spectrum oil but the details on the bottle claim that it contains 0.000% THC and delivers ‘total bioavailability’.
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Who is Holistic Herb?
Currently, their products are sold exclusively through Holland & Barrett. They sell a range of CBD oils, we’ve tried most of them so we can answer once and for all is Holland & Barrett CBD oil is actually any good? Holistic Herb was created as a result of founder Gary surviving a life-changing motorcycle crash in 2010. Faced with a long rehabilitation from his many injuries, he turned to CBD to supplement the traditional medication he was already taking. To this day, he uses it to minimise the lasting effect of the accident and has consequently become a dedicated advocate of its beneficial effects.
Following years of research and development, Holistic Herb has improved on existing technology and has developed techniques to remove THC from the CBD extract entirely. They have also developed a method of micro-emulsifying the CBD to make it water-soluble and more bioavailable. Bioavailability refers to the amount that passes through your digestive system and reaches your bloodstream.
Holistic Herb says that when you swallow a standard CBD oil, only 8% enters your bloodstream. But when you consume their premium oil, about 90% reaches your blood, making it extra potent and beneficial (please note that there is no evidence that this is true, a standard oil is believed to have up to 35% bioavailability).
Third-Party Lab Tests
Neither Holistic Herb nor Holland & Barrett publish 3rd party lab results for their CBD products. With such bold claims about the superiority of their oil, I would have expected them to display the evidence proudly. The packaging states, ‘double strength’. But, with no proof of its content or effect, this comes across as vague.
The issue of no lab certificates is something I’ve previously discussed with Holland & Barrett, regarding Jacob Hooy’s CBD oils. In that instance, they claimed that a third party had analysed the oil, but ‘proprietary information’ on the certificates meant that they couldn’t be published.
The details that I could find about this oil revealed that the CBD extract comes from hemp flowers and leaves. It is then combined with hemp seed oil and E433 which is used as a stabiliser. In the absence of the results of the third-party analysis, I would like to see much more detail about Holistic Herbs processes to be comfortable with their bold claims.
Holistic Herb Ease of Use
The oil is contained in a 15ml glass bottle with a child-safe cap. It’s easy to use or reseal and kept the oil without a leak throughout the two weeks I used it. I’m always grateful for a child-safe cap because it offers reassurance against tiny hands. They also make a better, leak-proof seal.
The dropper has a tapered end that does the job but delivers drops continuously whether you squeeze the top or not. This makes it tricky to get the oil to your mouth in time. I found that the best way around this was to hold the bottle close to your mouth, then load up the dropper, so you don’t have far to move it.
The instructions on the bottle are straightforward and recommend placing three drops under your tongue, three times a day. For people who haven’t used CBD oil before it would be useful to have a suggestion of how long you should hold it under your tongue. Most brands recommend between 60 and 120 seconds.
The directions for use state that you should place the oil under your tongue but all the information about improved bioavailability refers to swallowing it. It would be good to see an explanation of exactly how micro-emulsified CBD works. Particularly if it improves the bioavailability of CBD when taken sublingually (under the tongue).
This is an easy-to-use oil and when handled with care you can take it under the tongue with little wastage.
Holistic Herb CBD Oil Taste
I enjoyed the flavour of this oil, it has a strong taste, but it was strangely like a blend of tangerine and walnuts. It still has a bitterness to it but it’s not as unpleasantly intense as many others.
This is a potent oil, throughout a couple of weeks, it reduced my regular tension headaches and dramatically improved my sleep. When taking the recommended amount, I felt the appropriate effect without having to increase the measure.
Value for Money
For £35.99 you get 15mls of ‘double strength’ oil which is the equivalent of a 10ml bottle for £23.99. This is an excellent price for a potent premium oil and makes it a good deal cheaper than its competitors like BioBloom, Bud & Tender and Blessed CBD.
The drawback here is the lack of real information. If you take everything at face value, you’re getting a bargain. But, time and time again, it’s shown that those companies that don’t provide evidence for their claims often have something to hide.
If there were details on the cannabinoids contained, the method of processing and a detailed set of 3rd party lab tests then this could be up there with my favourite oils. As it stands, it’s a potent oil at a reasonable price so, with reservations, I think it’s good value.
Would I Buy Again?
No, whilst it was quite a potent oil, the lack of transparency regards the lab testing and how much CBD is in the bottle combined with unproven claims of 90% bioavailability mean we cannot recommend Holistic Herb premium CBD oil.
If you are looking for full-spectrum CBD oil, I am happy to recommend Eir Health 30 (read the review here). It outperforms Holistic Herb for effectiveness, value for money, ease of use and has publicly available lab reports too.
You can also see a list of the top-scoring oils from our testing, these can be found in our best UK CBD oils article. As the product only uses hemp grown without fertilisers and pesticides it cannot be included in our best organic CBD oil reviews either.
Holistic Herb's 8.1mg oil is potent, has 0.000% THC and excellent bioavailability. With 3rd-party lab tests and more information about the processes involved, this could be a genuinely great oil. The flavour is strangely pleasant with a hint of citrus and walnuts. The bottle comes with a child-safe cap, but the dropper itself drips continually. Each drop delivers the equivalent to 2.7mg of regular CBD.
Third-party lab results
Ease of use
Value for money
Claims to hold 0.000% THC
Micro-emulsified CBD for greater bioavailability
No third-party lab certificates
Lack of information about its greater bioavailability