Botanical Extraction Definition
Before defining botanical extraction, what exactly is a “botanical”? In a nutshell, botanicals are plants or substances derived from plants. Botanicals are often believed to improve one’s health, either internally or externally, in some way. This makes them of great interest to companies and consumers alike.
Botanical extraction is the process of separating particular elements of botanicals from the rest of the plant so their benefits can be reaped. How, exactly, does this occur? As it turns out, there are numerous methods of botanical extraction. Some of them involve a solvent that helps to isolate the compounds of interest from the rest of the plant, whereas others are solvent-free. To learn more about some of these botanical extraction methods, read on!
Methods of Botanical Extraction
- Cold Ethanol Extraction
One common solvent used in the botanical extraction process is cold ethanol. This is one of the easiest and cheapest methods for extracting botanicals. Generally, the plant matter is mixed with ethanol, then frozen at a low temperature for 24 hours. This isolates solid components, which can be easily removed with a vacuum pump, vacuum flask, filter, and filter paper. Finally, the plant extract can be isolated from the ethanol with a rotary evaporator. The main drawback of the cold ethanol method is that it does not always yield the greatest possible amount of product.
- Steam Distillation
Steam distillation is a common technique for isolating essential oils. In this method, steam is passed through the plant matter, then reliquefied using a condenser. This results in a body of water with essential oils floating on top, which are then easily extracted. Steam distillation is a great botanical extraction method for those looking to extract essential oils, but it is not necessarily the best system for extracting other types of compounds.
- Supercritical CO2 Extraction
Supercritical CO2 extraction is a botanical extraction method that involves the use of CO2 in a supercritical state, which means it behaves like both a gas and a liquid. Between two and four vessels are set up, and CO2 is released into the first vessel, which also contains plant matter. Each vessel is at a lower temperature and pressure than the previous one, allowing different elements of the plant to accumulate in each vessel. The final vessel will contain the desired product, often in an extremely pure state. Supercritical CO2 extraction is a popular botanical extraction technique in the cannabis industry.
Looking for Solvents for Botanical Extraction?
Are you interested in extracting certain elements from botanicals to create your own products? If so, you may be looking for solvents. Here at Extraction Grade Solvents, we offer a number of industrial solvents that can be used to aid in the botanical extraction process. Additionally, our team of chemists would be happy to help you with any questions you have. Please contact us here, or call us at 800-563-1305.