Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Proportions for Making Extracts


  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#1 phase

phase

    Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 05:33 AM

Hello there! I just wanted to share a nice reference for making extracts with alcohol.

 

As a guideline, it works well to use:

  • 70-80 proof alcohol for extracting from leaves and flowers
  • 80-120 proof alcohol for extracting from barks, roots and seeds

If you're using a mixture of leaves/flowers and barks/roots/seeds, I think it works best to create the extractions separately in the appropriate alcohol percentage and then to mix the extracts together after.

 

Also, a nice formula for proportions in an herbal extraction is 3:1:2 of plant matter. So, for example, 3 parts raspberry, 1 part burdock, and 2 parts catnip. You can do 1:1:1, but I think it's effective to create extracts (and also tinctures) with a strong influence (3 parts), a weak influence (1 part), and a medium influence (2 parts).

 

Anyway, that's just my two cents. Does anyone else have proportions or guidelines that work well for them in crafting extracts?


  • 1

#2 bewitchingredhead

bewitchingredhead

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 693 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 08:26 AM

Yes I make a lot of them. :smile: I research the herb first to make sure alcohol extraction is the best form (it usually is, but there are some times in which that's not the case). By researching it I learn if the ideal percentage of alcohol for extraction. Some require 40-50%, while others benefit from 60 and up. Also, if you're using fresh herbs, the ratio should be higher for the herbs than if using dried herbs. 

 

This is all assuming they're for medicinal purposes that is. Usually the barks and roots require a higher alcohol content, but there are some that are aqueous based. It's best to know which method if you're using it for medicinal purposes. Personally, if I'm making combos I also like to check and make sure that they are compatible. For example, if you're wanting something for sleep you'd want to make sure that the active constituents in one herb doesn't cancel out the benefits in which you seek from another. A very crude analogy would be like the recreational drug use of "upppers and downers". You prob don't want to include an herb that has a stimulant effect w/a an herb used for sleep.

 

Also, sometimes the properties you seek in an herb might not be as potent if not used fresh. In general dried herbs are more potent, but there are some plants in which the ingredients you might seek will weaken drastically if not used fresh. Certain plants w/specific alkaloids lose a fair amount of them if used dried and not fresh. It depends on if you're making the extract for something specific as to how important that might be to you. 

 

Other things I consider when making combos- if I want to make a tincture for anxiety opposed to inducing sleep let's say, even though many of the same herbs contain both relaxant and sedative properties, I wouldn't want to use an herb that's stronger in the sleep/sedative category for something I might want to take daily for anxiety so I don't get sleepy. Same things for ones w/muscle relaxant properties and/or pain alleviators. If that herb also has strong sedative properties I might want to reconsider putting it in a combo for simple pain relief, muscle spasms, etc. That way if I needed to be alert I wouldn't have an issue using a tincture w/an herb that has stronger sedative properties. 

 

Also, just a disclaimer if you're using an herbal supplement for medicinal purposes- It's really important to make sure that they don't interact w/any prescription medications you might take. Many (if not most actually) medications come from the plant world initially until they're able to isolate and reproduce the synthetic properties. So not a great idea to take Bendadryl for example, w/certain herbs/plants that contain the same alkaloids. 

 

Herbs are very much medicines (in addition to magical uses of course) and it's important to know their properties and how you react to them individually first. That way if there's something you don't react well to, you won't have to figure it out after you've already taken it and/or combined it w/another herb. I'm not implying  you don't already know these things, btw- just adding to the topic. :smile:


  • 4
I see you're getting your degree in art of the obvious~myself
Without music life would be a mistake~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time~ H.L. Mencken
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves~ Galileo

#3 Aurelian

Aurelian

    The Devils Enabler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,553 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 11:09 AM

Solvent extraction 101!


  • 0
"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#4 Caps

Caps

    Phytokinesist

  • Moderators
  • 1,095 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 01:47 PM

Your estimates actually coincide with what I use, however, for certain plants I find it necessary to use 150+ proof alcohol.  That's what I use anyways, especially for the berries of nightshades, especially peppers and solanums.  Making an extract with 50 dried Bhut Jolokia peppers and 192 proof liquor is ideally the best way to get the high strength capsaicinoid extract....I believe that recipe has been tested at around 7-8 million SHU.  Keep in mind that's a lot of ghost peppers and it only produces around a tablespoon of oil.  The higher the alcohol content the more alcohol is able to evaporate without leaving behind other chemicals in the liquor.

 

another option, but only if you don't intend to eat or smoke it is using butane.  Butane extraction is becoming ridiculously common...I just don't recommend smoking it or eating it like some people do with a certain plant. 


Edited by Capsicum, 19 October 2014 - 01:52 PM.

"It is the still and silent sea that drowns a man." - Old Norse proverb

"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war."

#5 Mountain Witch

Mountain Witch

    Practical b/witch

  • Moderators
  • 3,825 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 02:09 PM

If you're making a compound tincture (using more than one herb) it's best to do the maceration/extraction individually & then combine them.

 

There's precious little information out about making tinctures scientifically so what you need to research is which chemical compound you want out of the herb & then find out whether that is alcohol- or water-soluble. That determines the proportions of alcohol & water in the menstruum (liquid used for extraction). For example, if you want the mucilage out of marshmallow, that's water soluble so you want a higher proportion of water - i.e., a lower proof alcohol will be better. The glycosides in hawthorn are soluble in either so the proportions aren't as critical.

 

The other thing to remember is that fresh herbs have water in them so you need to take that into account when making your calculations. 99.9% of the time I use dried because the end result is more predictable.


For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel

You can access my blog and get autographed copies of my books through my website


#6 Caps

Caps

    Phytokinesist

  • Moderators
  • 1,095 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 02:21 PM

Awww, mods don't have rep point buttons ;)


"It is the still and silent sea that drowns a man." - Old Norse proverb

"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war."

#7 ArcticWitch

ArcticWitch

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 708 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 03:07 PM

Many thanks to those who have contributed their knowledge to this thread.  I use a double extraction (alcohol for 4 weeks, strained, then boiled in water for 90 minutes) on nearly everything- and never once thought of using a higher proof than 80.  Looks like I've got some experimenting ahead of me now with this new info!


  • 0

#8 Mountain Witch

Mountain Witch

    Practical b/witch

  • Moderators
  • 3,825 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 03:14 PM

AW, boiling actually is bad for extraction - the heat kills a lot of stuff. (Hence, when you're making a 'tea', the water should be still steaming but not a rolling boil). 'Tis much better to let everything sit in a prepared menstruum for however long it takes (shaking every day or so to keep everything mixed up) - and that's not a prescribed period. The tincture should smell  like the herb you're extracting when it's done. Mine take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months (or more). A friend of mine (also a Master Herbalist) has found it takes up to five months to completely extract Milk Thistle, for example. It's not only dependent on the herb but the batch of herbs - the chemical composition can vary from plant to plant - even those grown in the same bed.


For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel

You can access my blog and get autographed copies of my books through my website


#9 ArcticWitch

ArcticWitch

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 708 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 04:21 PM

AW, boiling actually is bad for extraction - the heat kills a lot of stuff.

 

Hmmm, I usually use boiling only on fungi and root extractions (which I've done as many of this year as delicate herbs).  Herbs so far I've only done 80-proof extractions.  I like your tip about the extracting being 'done' when the solution smells like the herb.  That being said, what if an herb doesn't have a particularly notable smell?  I let some yarrow soak for a month and couldn't really smell it, but strained/bottled it anyway.


  • 0

#10 Mountain Witch

Mountain Witch

    Practical b/witch

  • Moderators
  • 3,825 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 05:31 PM

 That being said, what if an herb doesn't have a particularly notable smell?  I let some yarrow soak for a month and couldn't really smell it, but strained/bottled it anyway.

 

Hmm...every herb has an aroma to me - even yarrow (which, to me, has a hay-like odor, although faint). I know I have a "good smeller", though. Hubby can't smell certain things & is always amazed when I open a window in the middle of winter to let the house air out from something he's done that either simply irritates me or gives me a headache.

 

I guess if you can't smell it, then you have to use your own judgement. Color is another indication. The liquid should never be completely clear - it should be colored to a certain extent. This, too, depends on the herb you're tincturing.


For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel

You can access my blog and get autographed copies of my books through my website


#11 hawkwind

hawkwind

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 08:17 PM

Holy shit! I just use dried herb with certain oils for healing. You guys are seriously advanced in this area! Man you guys are like listening to chemists. I don't have that kind of no how. If I lived by you guys I would be like Red need this and that could you make me some and I'll pay you?lol. :ninja:


  • 0

#12 Gyreleaf

Gyreleaf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 162 posts

Posted 19 October 2014 - 09:03 PM

I was always taught if in doubt use fresh plant material and the highest percent proof you can get/afford.

For yarrow I have found taste to be a good way of telling when its ready if not the smell.

Does anyone have any advice for using vinegar instead of alcohol?

Edited by Gyreleaf, 19 October 2014 - 10:12 PM.

  • 0

#13 Mountain Witch

Mountain Witch

    Practical b/witch

  • Moderators
  • 3,825 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 12:37 AM

Does anyone have any advice for using vinegar instead of alcohol?

 

I don't make tinctures with vinegar but I'll happily make a vinaigrette salad dressing - or a hair rinse. For that I use the "folk method": pack as much chopped-up herb (dried or fresh - depends on the time of year & what I've got growing) as I can into a jar & top it off with ACV. (Be sure to leave enough room at the top to be able to shake it.) Strain after 2 weeks or when it smells right.

 

If you're thinking of a medicinal application without alcohol, you're better off making a glycerite using vegetable glycerin. Substitute the glycerin for the alcohol & make as you normally would. Just be aware that, although glycerin is a solvent, it's not as good a one as alcohol so your preparation won't be as potent.


For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel

You can access my blog and get autographed copies of my books through my website


#14 bewitchingredhead

bewitchingredhead

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 693 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 05:29 AM

If you're making a compound tincture (using more than one herb) it's best to do the maceration/extraction individually & then combine them.

 

There's precious little information out about making tinctures scientifically so what you need to research is which chemical compound you want out of the herb & then find out whether that is alcohol- or water-soluble. That determines the proportions of alcohol & water in the menstruum (liquid used for extraction). For example, if you want the mucilage out of marshmallow, that's water soluble so you want a higher proportion of water - i.e., a lower proof alcohol will be better. The glycosides in hawthorn are soluble in either so the proportions aren't as critical.

 

The other thing to remember is that fresh herbs have water in them so you need to take that into account when making your calculations. 99.9% of the time I use dried because the end result is more predictable.

That's actually exactly what I do... Primarily bc I make (and personally use) a fair amount of tinctures and I think it's more effective for non-herbalists; especially regarding the second part I bolded....thank for the extended/more thorough explanation of what I was trying to convey!  :thumbsup:  :vhappywitch:  If you combine several herbs in one tincture utilizing alcohol extraction, yet one is water solvent- then it's kind of a waste. 

 

Also, from a medicinal POV it makes more sense. You always want to take the least amount of medicine that's effective for you. More isn't always better. Sometimes it can even be worse- like combining bendadryl, ambien an xanax to help you relax and sleep. It's likely to work, but it's also very likely to cause respiratory depression too. Plus there's always a chance you might experience an allergic reaction and it's best to know from what specific herb/plant/medication. Hence why I like to add/try new ones one at a time.  

Awww, mods don't have rep point buttons :wink:

 

LOL- You took the words right out of my mouth....or actions right out of my hands rather! That's the first thing I went to do after reading MW reply and was like, "well shit- I forgot they don't have rep buttons'  :tongue: 

Holy shit! I just use dried herb with certain oils for healing. You guys are seriously advanced in this area! Man you guys are like listening to chemists. I don't have that kind of no how. If I lived by you guys I would be like Red need this and that could you make me some and I'll pay you?lol. :ninja:

LOL! Well I'm pretty sure MW is an herbalist- her knowledge is vastly greater than mine. I used to be a pharmacy tech for a number of years, in addition to a lab tech and a few other jobs in the medical field. The hubby is also surgical assistant, but still in school to become a PA.  I became increasingly irritated as years went by w/how drugs/medications are treated, marketed, etc. They'll (the pharmaceutical industry) change a tiny molecular structure to a medication that's about to go over the counter and remarket it as a new drug...or even in recent years, change (add) a new condition/disease/ailment that can be treated w/an existing medication and reapply for a patent to keep it out of the publics and/or competitors hands.

 

And don't even get me started on the DEA's drug schedule. Federally marijuana is a schedule I drug- that means (according to the government) it serves no medicinal use at all and is highly abusable, worthy of prison time, etc. Yet cocaine is a schedule II drug- yep that's right. It's still used in medicine (as in pure cocaine- straight from a lab)- more frequently than people might realize actually- but it's actually highly physically addictive and causes more severe problems compared to marijuana, yet it's listed as a schedule II drug just like percocet, adderall, and a wide list of others (now including vicodin even). However, naturally it's not actually prescribed to patients (it's used primarily as an anesthesia in a hospital setting). So it's illegal for US to possess and use, but bc it's still recognized as having medicinal value, it's a schedule II drug.   :soapbox: 

 

If you're really interested in some herbal remedies for your MS- would you mind sending me a list of your pertinent medical history- particularly any prescription and non-prescription medications you currently take (even vitamins and of course any other herb/plant), if you have any other preexisting conditions, and if you have any known drug allergies. I'll then gather the info I mentioned in the shout box, send it to you so you can look it over and tell me what you think. Then we'll go from there. I usually try to stick w/medical journals for major references (there are some good ones believe it or not for herbal remedies), but I'll also include info from reputable herbal sources, literature, etc. Then you can make an informed decision.   


  • 0
I see you're getting your degree in art of the obvious~myself
Without music life would be a mistake~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time~ H.L. Mencken
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves~ Galileo

#15 bewitchingredhead

bewitchingredhead

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 693 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 06:47 AM

Oh and to add to the info regarding herbal supplements, vitamins, and some medications- some are fat soluble in the body, whereas others are water soluble. So if you don't eat something w/a little bit of fat (preferrably a healthy fat) for instance, you're basically wasting your time taking vitamins A, D, E and K bc they need to be consumed w/a bit of healthy fat. Consequently, bc they aren't water soluble they also pose the risk of potentially building toxicity in the body bc any excess isn't as easily gotten rid of, unlike water soluble vitamins. They dissolve in fat and are stored in tissue, so taken in excess they can become toxic bc they aren't excreted right away. Whereas water soluble ones, any excess is generally excreted right away.

 

Then there are some vitamin and minerals that work synergistically- vitamins D, K along w/calcium and magnesium are good examples (which is why they're often paired together when purchased as a supplement and/or fortified in a food/beverage), as is vitamin C and iron. Medications and herbs can work in similar manners as well. Many herbs contain nutrients, so knowing what those are can be extremely effective as well. 


  • 0
I see you're getting your degree in art of the obvious~myself
Without music life would be a mistake~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time~ H.L. Mencken
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves~ Galileo

#16 bewitchingredhead

bewitchingredhead

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 693 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 07:11 AM

Many thanks to those who have contributed their knowledge to this thread.  I use a double extraction (alcohol for 4 weeks, strained, then boiled in water for 90 minutes) on nearly everything- and never once thought of using a higher proof than 80.  Looks like I've got some experimenting ahead of me now with this new info!

Whoops- yeah that's a no go on the boiling. Any loose herbs I use for daily teas are packed loosely in a container in my teapot and I once the teakettle whistles I pour the water into the teapot and let the herbs steep (they taste better that way too IMO). 

 

Now for a root or bark, if I'm making a tea (not a tincture)- I do boil and simmer them. It's called a decoction. The idea is to eventually evaporate most of the liquid. For the most part, any hard part of a plant/herb/tree like the roots, barks, twigs, and even nuts you make this way. Usually you get the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a specific amount of time (covered). Depending on how strong you want it to be is roughly determined by how much of the root/bark used in addition to how much water, and how much of it you want to evaporate. 

 

I think barks generally require a higher percentage of alcohol than herbs for extraction. You gotta love the south and their moonshine!  :laugh: 


  • 0
I see you're getting your degree in art of the obvious~myself
Without music life would be a mistake~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time~ H.L. Mencken
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves~ Galileo

#17 phase

phase

    Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 07:33 AM

I adore the comments on this thread! What a lovely gift to be able to share and learn from other witches! I intended this to be a brief summary of quick-and-dirty extractions, but it has evolved into a useful reference thread!


  • 0

#18 Christine

Christine

    Marsh Wiggle

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 449 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 08:29 AM

Speaking up for the double extraction here, there are certain instances-- I'm specifically working on a fungus-- when you do want to process the material first in an alcohol and then via decoction, in order to get the necessary properties into the medicine. The tincture and the decoction have different properties, and have to be combined.

 

Oh and thanks for bringing it up, now I remember that I need to go gather some more of that material right about now.


  • 0
Don't drink from the river, drink from the well.

#19 bewitchingredhead

bewitchingredhead

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 693 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 10:38 AM

Yeah I have no clue when it comes to the fungus extractions! Learned something new- and I love learning new things!


  • 0
I see you're getting your degree in art of the obvious~myself
Without music life would be a mistake~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time~ H.L. Mencken
When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves~ Galileo

#20 hawkwind

hawkwind

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts

Posted 20 October 2014 - 01:22 PM

Hey Red, I will pm you my info and stuff. I really appreciate your kindness and help! :thankyou:


  • 0