EXTRACTS

What are EXTRACTS?

The plant contains phytochemical constituents and these phytochemical constituents are beneficial to the human with their efficiency for disease treatment, health enhancement and for beauty. In order to obtain the optimal amounts of active ingredients from herbs, the herbs are processed/ extracted in various solvents to release the active phytochemical compounds from the plant. These active phytochemical compounds containing products in various forms are known as extracts.

For example, the extracts made with alcohol are known as tincture.

The following general guidelines may be useful for harvesting plant material for extraction:

Guidelines for extracts

The harvested plant materials should be dried to remove moisture and reduce the volume and also pulverized to increase the surface area for efficient extraction and better yield.

Herbal Extracts

Traditionally, herbal extracts are prepared by boiling the leaves, roots, or the entire plant in water using a method known as a decoction. This method is very time-consuming and may not be much effective in extracting the active ingredients from the herbs.

Methods for  producing Extracts

There are more advanced extraction methods and some of them are as under:

  1. Supercritical fluid extraction
  2. Soxhlet extraction
  3. Microwave-assisted extraction
  4. Sonication extraction
  5. Steam-distillation extraction
  6. Hydro-distillation extraction

Among them, the supercritical fluid extraction method is one of the extraction methods where high yield, good quality can be achieved, the ability to perform extractions at near-ambient temperatures, which prevents thermal degradation of the phytochemical’s constituents. The solvent used in this process is carbon dioxide.

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