Soxhlet Extraction – How to Make Herbal Tinctures Strong and Faster with a Soxhlet Extractor



This is a soxhlet extractor for soxhlet extrations. And what a Soxhlet Extractor allows you to do is make a tincture in one day. And allows you to make stronger more powerful tinctures than the traditional method.

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So what is that traditional method for people that may not be familiar? You fill up some sort of glass vessel, such as this with roots or whatever you’re working with. The herb and then you pour alcohol over it. Then you let that sit for at least two weeks and you can go much longer. You shake it up in order to allow the solvent of the alcohol to extract whatever you’re working with. But here like I said this can be done in a single day because of the use of heat and the setup that we’re working with here.

So what happens, let me explain each of the things that’s going on here. We have a hot plate. This allows you to apply the heat, the bottom flask here, working with pure alcohol,see the alcohol moving. It moves a little bit different than water but it’s just about coming to a boil now. It’s getting there. You can see some bubbles tarting to form. The heat applied to the alcohol causes it to boil. It comes up and it’s coming through this side. A little chamber here. You can probably see some of he alcohol running down. So just when the the gaseous alcohol hits the air. The colder temperature. Some of it’s gonna turn back to liquid and drip back down. But much of it’s gonna come into this chamber and it’s probably hard to see. But there’s an inner chamber here that then runs up in this spiral in the condenser here. Now what this is doing is this has cold water. You see these two tubes running off into this bowl here. Ihave ice packs along with a pump. And the water, it gets pumped up in one chamber. And comes out and down and just flows back into the bucket. So it’s continually pumping cold water in here. And depending on how long this runs. I’ll need to change those ice packs out. But it’s really cold here and so that hot gaseous alcohol has all these spirals to go on. And it’s actually opened up at the top here if it could escape but because of the cold water it turns the gas back into liquid and it drops down. This middle piece, is the actual Soxhlet Extractor. Here I’m working with Maral Root. So the Maral Root, the alcohol drips down and you can see it’s starting to build up. It has this much alcohol in there and some of its running in this side tube. You can note that because of the yellow color, that’s the alcohol. Drawing out the components from the Maral Root that make it something that we want to take. And eventually as this fills up because of pressure in this small tube it runs back down here and drips into the bottom flask. You can see that has already occurred because of the golden color that we have down here. So what this thing does is the alcohol is back here with the different components and it continually runs like this. Heat evaporates the alcohol, it condenses down into liquid, goes in here and ends up at the bottom. You keep running this until the Maral Root is spent. There’s no more really any color coming off of it. All the colors staying at the bottom because that’s all the components that aren’t able to evaporate with the alcohol. What’s evaporating off is just the pure alcohol so it’s going to come through until there’s nothing left of the Maral Root. What’s really cool is that you, how you can make this a stronger tincture. Is, if we stop the system, pull out the spent Maral Root. We save that for later for our Spagyric work, although in a traditional tincture.

Even a traditional Soxhlet would just be discarded but we add more in. And then repeat the process using the same liquid so you can make it stronger and more concentrated tincture doing this. And that’s one of the very cool things about a Soxhlet extraction. Of course we are applying heat here so depending on what you’re working with. There may be some heat sensitive things that you don’t want to destroy in this process. It’s not going too high of a temperature but certainly that can happen. So benefits and drawbacks to doing it each way.

Many people have asked, my soxhlet extractor came from eBay.

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