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How to use Soxhlet's extractor?

Hello, I bought 30 grams of a six-year-old ginseng on the internet. I have a sox-wheel and my questions are:

  1. How long to extract. The recommended 1 hour is a bit low compared to a few weeks of lustration. Do I know that it's done?
  2. Is extraction yields significantly higher than the yield?
  3. How many teaspoon drops or better. Should I try my first experience with ginseng?


Hello and you, Mr. Jindrich!

Question 1. - How long to extract

The answer to this question will be somewhat longer with your kind remission. You can do it yourself - who asks you to know :-). In essence, Soxhlet is nothing more than a solvent recycling elution column. Column extraction time generally depends on four factors:

  1. The rate of diffusion of the extractant into the solvent
  2. Granulometry of the extracted material
  3. Quality of the extractor construction
  4. Temperature

Let's look at them point by point:

1. Specific rate of diffusion of the extracted substance into the solvent

It depends both on the ratio of the extractant's affinity to the extracted material / its affinity to the solvent and on the diffusion velocity of the substance in the solvent of the soaked extracted particles, which in turn depends on the molecular weight of the extractant, the viscosity of the solvent and the internal pore size of the extracted particles. The property of the Soxlehet extractor is that it allows theoretical 100% extraction even if the ratio of affinities is very poor, ie the extracted substance is much more likely to remain bound in the material than dissolved in the solvent - it only lasts longer. In the case of ginseng, fortunately, you do not have to worry about these problems - the active substances in gins are not tightly bound, their molecular weight is low (max 100 Da) and those less polar dissolve at least a little in that pure water, not to mention mixtures Water and alcohol.

2. Granulometry of extracted material

The finer the grinding, the faster the diffusion out of the particles, but the greater the flow resistance of the column. The role of particle shape also plays a part. I'm not a specialist in laboratory methods but I remember a simple rule from cell biology that at body temperature, diffusion at micrometer distances occurs in fractions of a second, tens of millimeters in seconds, and hundreds of micrometers in minutes. In our specific case of ginseng root there are three possibilities - to fill the slices there as they are, to grind them roughly (to be split) or to grind to a fine powder (which is usually done on a coffee grinder with rotating knives, as I have already written in another answer On our site ). In this particular case, it would probably be technically optimal to grind as gently as possible with regard to the flow rate of the cartridge, but if you do not do it on an industrial scale, you do not have to do that - it is almost as good to use the slices as they are.

3. Quality of extractor design

For an ideal column and an ideal solvent, the elution time is asymptotically approaching the solvent flow rate with a column (= cartridge) that I would estimate for a regular larger Soxhleth in order of minutes. However, we use Soxhlet to overcome difficult extractions, so we expect that we will need dozens of flows. The flow rate of the cartridge is limited by both the distillation power of the Soxhleth and the flow rate of the cartridge itself (limiting the smaller of the two values). Another problem is the regularity of the flow - if, for example, the distillate drops in the middle of the cartridge, the core of the column is rummaged quickly while the edges are lagging behind. These parameters depend on the construction of your extractor, so you have no chance to influence them.

4. Temperature

A special note deserves the temperature. The working temperature of the normal Soxhletes is right at the boiling point of the solvent used under the given pressure, and can only be controlled by varying the pressure. At higher temperatures, faster diffusion and better extraction, but lower temperatures are needed for sensitive substances. For ginseng, you do not have to worry about this again - Panaxosides can easily survive long cooking in water and the boiling point of the alcohol mixture is even lower.

So to sum it up:

Ginseng , and especially red ginseng , is so easy to extract for the extraction that we can handle it without any calculations on a low quality extractor. By carefully reading the extraction page , you may notice that I do not say "hour" but "at least an hour". I expect an hourly elapsed extractor offset the elution column by several times the effective length of the extraction cartridge, which should be enough for red ginseng. I do not want extraction time longer than an hour to prescribe. Panaxosides are very stable, but some of them are slowly decomposing by removing sugar and malonyl residues. It is not clear if this breakdown is good or bad. In Asian recipes, long ginseng cooking is recommended, but red ginseng has already had a long stew during its production. That's why I do not want to prescribe another long cooking anymore. For multi-weekly leaching, this takes place at a lower temperature of 80 ° C. We know that at around room temperature, the rate of normal reactions increases roughly twice as the temperature increases by ten K. At 20 ° C it is about 256 times slower than at 100 ° C - therefore, instead of hours, we have to be lying for weeks at room temperature.

How do you know it's done?

The color of red ginseng is lost during licking. Fully sliced slices increase, lose taste and aroma and get a grayish-white color that does not change with further leaching. They are called ginseng cakes and usually still contain immunostimulatory polysaccharides.

Question 2. - If extraction is better than leaching

Almost or no, but better, it is to use the alcohol mixture instead of pure water - it is easier to dissolve non-polar substances and panaxosides that have lost their sugar from their skeleton. And if you use alcohol and do not want to lie for weeks, you have to boil at the boiling point, which you can not do in a mug on the plate, because you will soon evaporate not only the majority of alcohol, but you will also find most of the volatile fragrance substances delivering ginseng its typical aroma . For this reason, you need to brew alcohol in a confined space, that is, in an extractor in which solvent vapors are condensed and recycled.

Question 3 - How many tinkers to get to ginseng

I personally recommend to a regular user a daily dose of 5-6g of red ginseng. At this dose, it is possible to clearly distinguish the effects of ginseng, which can be subjectively assessed by the user: mental activation, improvement of erection , or reduction of pain , inflammation and autoimmune conditions . More precisely, the user will clearly know whether or not ginseng is involved in the case, and because, like any other medicine, ginseng does not always work. For greater effect and greater certainty, considerably higher doses can be used - ginseng as a model adaptogen does not even harm the physiological state of the unbalanced organism.

When it comes to dosing the liquid extract, you must know how much tincture you have prepared (how many grams of drug do you have in 100ml). For example, if you have 25g of dry ginseng in a 100ml extract, you must take 20ml of tincture to get the equivalent of 5g ginseng in a dry state. Alcohol in milliliter doses is said to be beneficial. If you want to be absolutely sure you are only familiar with ginseng, you can of course use water leach. The required dose of ginseng depends on your metabolism and weight. Follow your feelings with ginseng.


| 31.1.2009

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