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Proportions for Making Extracts

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Thinking here.....

 

Alcohol, water and glycerol (glycerin) are all polar. Whatever you are looking to extract from the plant/fungi has to be soluable in that, otherwise if it is a nonpolar compound it will just kind of "clump" and form a layer eventually, if you manage to get some in there. For nonpolar compounds, what nonpolar solvent do you guys use? I've always just used oils, but being in a lab lately and doing extractions of a solution with a non polar solvent got me thinking... do you first make some kind of suspension and then do the extraction..... ? or will it be extracted anyways....? 

Edited by Hecolyte

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Thinking here.....

 

Alcohol, water and glycerol (glycerin) are all polar. Whatever you are looking to extract from the plant/fungi has to be soluable in that, otherwise if it is a nonpolar compound it will just kind of "clump" and form a layer eventually, if you manage to get some in there. For nonpolar compounds, what nonpolar solvent do you guys use? I've always just used oils, but being in a lab lately and doing extractions of a solution with a non polar solvent got me thinking... do you first make some kind of suspension and then do the extraction..... ? or will it be extracted anyways....? 

 

The basic layman explanation has already been given. You have to be familiar w/the specifics of the actual plant/herb/flower/bark, etc. and to determine the best way to extract the materials/constituents you want from said plant/herb/bark, etc. Usually this is done by means of referencing research material (certain books, journals, i.e.) and/or personal memory of learned references (similar to memorizing the periodic table of elements. i.e.). I already gave a  brief explanation already when I mentioned knowing what percentage of alcohol is preferrable for extraction (it's not always higher for example), and the example of water soluble (polar for your point of reference) and fat soluble vitamins (non-polar, again for your point of reference). 

 

A more technical answer is that you'd have to know the molecular structure of the specific plant/herb/bark/flower from which you are wanting to extract before determining the best method. There are actually more than two types of solvents- polar, nonpolar and semipolar.  

There are many different variables as to how and what solvents can be used to extract certain solutes. The laws of thermodynamics for example- internal energy, entropy, and pressure, as well as temperature, can all affect solubility. Intentionally altering the polarity of the solute is one way pharmaceutical companies accomplish extraction- altering the pH of the solution for example. Another way to accomplish extraction is to mix solvents of different polarities to form an ideal sovent for the specific solute. Unless you really want a more scientific answer, it's easier to familiarize yourself w/what you need to know and have references handy. I can give you the boring chemistry lesson (unless you want me to balance equations that is  :tongue: ).

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I wasn't really needing a technical answer, more practical... Thought this thread was about extraction advice :smile:.

 

I don't know if this is correct, but for these things (things that I didn't think would be extracted using alcohol), in the past I've used warmed oil (I think the last one I used was grapeseed), put a generous amount of the macerated dried herb in the oil, sealed it up,  shook it every once in a while and strained it a couple weeks later... I guess I can just stick to oil for the nonpolar compounds, but was wondering about a different way since the alcohol ones seemed to last longer/not go rancid. Especially things like rose oil which are expensive even to make.... and if you use water or alcohol then you just get the aqueous rose water which is lovely but not the same.

Caps mentioned butane but then it wouldn't be edible  :-)

Edited by Hecolyte

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In case anyone is interested,  a friend of mine just wrote a book, "Making Tinctures: Beyond the Folk Method". I've known Thyme for quite awhile (we were in the same Master Herbalist class) and she's a really scientific-y type person. It's written for the lay person, though, with easy-to-follow instructions. (Ahem...you might know the person who wrote the foreword...)

 

As far as I know, it's only on Kindle at the moment.

 

Amazon UK

 

Amazon US

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I wasn't really needing a technical answer, more practical... Thought this thread was about extraction advice :smile:.

 

I don't know if this is correct, but for these things (things that I didn't think would be extracted using alcohol), in the past I've used warmed oil (I think the last one I used was grapeseed), put a generous amount of the macerated dried herb in the oil, sealed it up,  shook it every once in a while and strained it a couple weeks later... I guess I can just stick to oil for the nonpolar compounds, but was wondering about a different way since the alcohol ones seemed to last longer/not go rancid. Especially things like rose oil which are expensive even to make.... and if you use water or alcohol then you just get the aqueous rose water which is lovely but not the same.

Caps mentioned butane but then it wouldn't be edible  :-)

Well damn- could have saved myself a lot of typing/explanation lol!! My apologies- it is about extractions but I thought since you brought up more technical info regarding chemistry and being in a lab (most people using traditional folk method type extractions don't even know what polar/nonpolar compounds are, hence my confusion I suppose) you were looking for a more technical answer. :smile:  

 

What exactly do you mean by "rose oil"? Are you referring to rose essential oil? That's almost impossible to extract at home. Or are you referring to an oil in which you add roses to aid in the smell and/or possibly enchance it magically? You can't really extract the essential oil from roses via maceration of any type. It has to be extracted primarily via steam distillation (so water basically) or solvent based-via hexane and alcohol. Or even a third way, CO2- but that's obviously not feesible in the absence of really nice chemistry lab. :tongue: Of course if you're looking to consume it- then I don't see why you couldn't macerate roses in an edible carrier oil of some sort though-or if you're just looking to add the "essence" of it to something, not actually attempt to extract it.  

Edited by bewitchingredhead

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I have a question/problem concerning this topic...

I shoved as much lavender into a jar as I could with grain alcohol and let it steep.

Then I strained it and left it out for the alcohol to evaporate.

 

I ended up with... resin is the only word I can think of that it resembles.

I wanted to use the extract for soap or candles but I really just have about a teaspoon of sticky resin.

 

What did I do wrong and what can I do with the resin?

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The extract is the alcohol bit. Do you mean the lavender resembles a resin?

 

Yeah the instructions to make an extract that I followed said to allow the alcohol to evaporate and what was left was supposed to be the extract/oil. But all that was left was a sticky condensed lavender resin.

 

I can post a photo if that would help...

Edited by Faolana

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Sure! I'd try a different recipe. I use about a half cup dried lavender to 1.5 to 2 cups alcohol. Let sit for 3 to 4 weeks and shake every once in a while. Strain and use a cheese cloth to squeeze liquid out of the lavender. That will be your extract. The liquid.

Edited by Kalinia

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I know where you where coming from Faolana. I have done similar oil extractions for experimentation. It only works with some plants and I have never found it reliable or the product useful. That's not what they are doing here. They are extracting with an alcohol carrier.

 

I don't do extracts for soaps or candles, but believe you want to do a neutral oil carrier. Like grape seed oil. I think my daughter uses half a jar of  dried lavender. Fills two thirds with grape seed oil(be sure it covers the lavender). Then she leaves it in a sunny window for four weeks. Then strain and the oil is your product. It should leave you with a oil that has taken on some of the properties of the herb.

 

I've done this with cloves for tooth pain, but never lavender or for soaps or candles. So, if anyone knows better please correct me.

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You can melt resin into a carrier oil using a gentle bain marie. Fold a clean cloth into the bottom of a pan. Put your container of resin on the cloth and add oil to it, leaving space at the top. Loosely cover the container. Pour cool water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the side of your oil container, and turn the heat on low. Keep the water in the pan just below the simmering point for perhaps twenty minutes, and you should find that you have a lovely batch of lavender oil. I have used this method with pitch.

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I have a question/problem concerning this topic...

I shoved as much lavender into a jar as I could with grain alcohol and let it steep.

Then I strained it and left it out for the alcohol to evaporate.

 

I ended up with... resin is the only word I can think of that it resembles.

I wanted to use the extract for soap or candles but I really just have about a teaspoon of sticky resin.

 

What did I do wrong and what can I do with the resin?

 

May I ask where you found these instructions? And ... did you use fresh lavender or dried?

 

The reason I'm asking about the instructions: I've never heard of allowing the alcohol to evaporate for a fluid extract. The way I was taught, it's essentially just a stronger tincture (1:1 ratio vs. 1:4, 1:5, etc.) There are older methods using heat, alembics, etc., similar to distillation and something similar is used commercially but for "home" preparations, it's not. (And there's another, 2-step process that uses glycerin but we won't get into that.)

 

Especially if you used grain alcohol (which is nearly all alcohol & very little water) & dried herb, it surprises me not that you were left with a sticky mess after the alcohol evaporated. That would be the constituents of the lavender gooped up with what little water was available. Fresh herb has some water in it to help but you'd probably still end up with a gooey mess.

 

Salvage your goop by using Christine's oil method. Then start a new batch using a better method. (You might have better luck using vodka or another spirit that has more water in it.)

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May I ask where you found these instructions? And ... did you use fresh lavender or dried?

 

The reason I'm asking about the instructions: I've never heard of allowing the alcohol to evaporate for a fluid extract. The way I was taught, it's essentially just a stronger tincture (1:1 ratio vs. 1:4, 1:5, etc.) There are older methods using heat, alembics, etc., similar to distillation and something similar is used commercially but for "home" preparations, it's not. (And there's another, 2-step process that uses glycerin but we won't get into that.)

 

Especially if you used grain alcohol (which is nearly all alcohol & very little water) & dried herb, it surprises me not that you were left with a sticky mess after the alcohol evaporated. That would be the constituents of the lavender gooped up with what little water was available. Fresh herb has some water in it to help but you'd probably still end up with a gooey mess.

 

Salvage your goop by using Christine's oil method. Then start a new batch using a better method. (You might have better luck using vodka or another spirit that has more water in it.)

 

I got it from nowhere reputable, apparently (haha). http://www.condoblues.com/2011/07/how-to-make-lavender-essential-oil.html

And I used dry lavender I picked myself last summer.

I'm pretty sure I used grain alcohol instead of vodka because my then husband (now ex, thank gods) kept drinking it instead of leaving it for me to use (and I probably thought it would somehow work better).

 

I'm going to try Christine's suggestion and I just picked up The Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook, so I'll try a new batch following instructions in there. Sounds like I just fubarred my first try. Classic newbie!

Edited by Faolana

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I got it from nowhere reputable, apparently (haha). http://www.condoblues.com/2011/07/how-to-make-lavender-essential-oil.html

 

That is one of the oddest recipes I've ever seen. I'm honestly not certain what the results would be called! It's not "essential oil" nor is it an "extract". It wouldn't even really be an "essential oil extract". I'm guessing s/he used vodka to have some liquid-ish result.

 

BTW, the book you just picked up is excellent.

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I read the link just now, and the writer pretty clearly got precipitate gunking up their "oil" without realizing what happened. Your experiment worked perfectly and yielded the same result as the original writer's but it doesn't do what they think it does. It happens. I dunno what else to say

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That is one of the oddest recipes I've ever seen. I'm honestly not certain what the results would be called! It's not "essential oil" nor is it an "extract". It wouldn't even really be an "essential oil extract". I'm guessing s/he used vodka to have some liquid-ish result.

 

BTW, the book you just picked up is excellent.

 

Yeah I think it's literally just the resin from the flowers themselves. I'm actually excited to see what happens with the bain marie.

I read through the thread before I posted and someone mentioned that book so I had it on the way already! It's amazing.

 

I read the link just now, and the writer pretty clearly got precipitate gunking up their "oil" without realizing what happened. Your experiment worked perfectly and yielded the same result as the original writer's but it doesn't do what they think it does. It happens. I dunno what else to say

 

Yeah I'm just a newb. At least I know I can follow directions correctly, even if they're the wrong ones! Thank you for your help.

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Christine, thank you for passing your method of reconstitution a long. I may have to experiment around with that when I get the lab back in working order in the new house. It sound like it should have some interesting possibilities down the road.

 

Mountain Witch, I had the same question “Where did the recipe come from?”. When I first came across the idea, it was a hypothetical conversation with brewers and moonshiners on lessening ABV in vanilla bean extract. Then a few mentions in some alchemical processes. Its basically still tar. These seemed unlikely hot topics so I googled “how to make essential oil”. This recipe was the first two links then at least five not far after that. Seems to me like a bad aromatherapy article has got folks hopes up.

 

Anyway, I'm glad you all worked it out.

 

I do still have one question. My candles are candle flavored, and that's not like to change. But, outside of essential oils is an alcohol carrier best for candles and soap? I would think you would want something fat based. I'm just in the dark on the subject and wondered if anyone had an opinion.

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