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Chemist With Advice for Extractions  RSS feed

 
Posts: 15
Location: Charlotte, Winston-Salem North Carolina
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Medicinal plants have always interested me and partially drove my education towards chemistry. If you have questions about extracts or tinctures I am happy to assist with my knowledge or extraction and purification. Plus, I really want to be part of a network of healthy people.
 
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You seem like the person to ask. I have seen video of people using varied techniques to extract 'essential oils' from plants. Many of these have detractors who claim that whatever it is that is getting made, it isn't an essential oil. Given your background, you are probably in a better position than I am to determine what is and isn't the case. Do you know of any method for extracting essential oils from plants that can be done by an individual rather than in a more massive scale? I understand that it takes a great number of most plants to get a tiny bit of these oils, but I still wonder at doing it yourself when possible.
 
David Amos
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I would direct your attention to youtube. I have seen several videos I would consider good resources. (I know that is a pretty weak recommendation).

In my humble opinion, it is possible to extract anything and separate it out. Essential oil extraction is usually achieved by distillation. For example, you see a lot of chefs using rotoevaporators these days. For essential oils there are several methods that are feasible at home. I have seen a number of steam extractions of essential oils that appear easy. One of the largest obstacles for any successful extraction is controlling the temperature and pressure. For that I would recommend a temperature controlled hot plate stirrer combination. You can get these used pretty cheap. The boiling points of the oils can be found in multiple resources like the msds, crc, or probably like everything else now bing.

in any event, rather than droll on incoherently, take a look at amazon.com for essential oil distillers.

I will followup with some more later...gotta run.
 
pollinator
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Extracting essential oils is ancient chemistry. Even back in Democritus' time, when the theory of the atom was just a hypothesis, people were extracting essential oils from plants for a variety of uses. Of course, they couldn't order a rotevap by mail order, but they managed to make stills and condensers to obtain what they were looking for.

Don't let high priced technology distract you from the fundamental chemistry of extraction. It's a lot like cooking; both require attention to detail and good technique, not the latest kitchen or laboratory gadget.
 
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Although there are many ways to extract the medicinal goodness from our herbs, since essential oils has come up here are some pages I have come across in my research over the years.

Here is one system available:

http://www.crucible.org/distillation.htm (top unit in particular)

More information on using that particular unit:

http://www.crucible.org/essential_oil_distiller_operation.htm

Here is a larger system to consider

http://www.heartmagic.com/33Ldistiller/33LiterEssentialDistiller.html

Those would be for steam distillation. You can also do wet distillation with a less complicated setup.



 
David Amos
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Wow, what a great site, people here really know their stuff.

Warning, what I wrote below is pretty stream of consciousness.

I completely agree, distillations are ancient and can be done with just about anything. You could do it with everything you find in nature, clay pot, bamboo, banana leaf... I want to start distilling my city water personally.

How do you feel about the aqueous / organic phase separation extraction for essential oils first? I do not know the compositions of essential oils. I suspect there are heterogenous mixtures of compounds, but I also suspect that they are all pretty greasy and likely hydrophobic. By the way, ethyl acetate is a natural fermentation product.

As I write more about this I am a little concerned about going too deeply into the topic. Mr. Elliot, what are your thoughts?

I suppose I start crossing the line if I am to write about functionality and moeity modification. Is there even a line? I guess I could directly reference patents, those are all public. I am under the impression that I am not supposed to step by step explain chemical synthesis. Is that right? I am not sure, and I am an attorney also. I will tell you why I don't know also, because there are so many laws it is impossible to know when you are violating one and when you are not. More importantly, justice is supposed to be blind and with the ability to pick and choose laws for enforcement like items at a buffet the blindfold is off.

Aside from distillation you can attempt a chromatographic separation. The problem with most of those is the monetary or labor cost of the solid phase.
 
pollinator
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i've always wanted to get into this, but have gotten a little intimidated, admittedly, by the process. even just reading this thread here and i didnt understand most of what you all just said.
anyone got a dumbed down version? =)
simple herbal extraction for dummies
and why would there be legal issues to a step by step(easy style) explanation ?
because of patents?

well besides tinctures, i get that...but when it gets more complicated i get lost.

i do know a couple of people who have their home made set ups and do stuff like this. one of my friends calls them "hydrosol" and not an "essential oil". what is the difference?

ah well...just curious, not sure i will ever try it out....i tend to go for straight forward, more simple processes, and skip out on anything that seems to complicated or needs complicated equiptment.
 
Steven Feil
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leila hamaya wrote:one of my friends calls them "hydrosol" and not an "essential oil". what is the difference?
Hydrosol normally is what is left over after separating out the essential oil. There are still essential oil in the water, but not a very high concentration. Some people just skip the essential oil part and just produce hydrosol. This is more like an infusion, if you understand that extraction process.
 
David Amos
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S3: I've seen ads for home distilling equipment in catalogs ("turn wine into brandy," "make your own essential oils"). Is it legal to buy and use a still like that?

Under Federal rules administered by TTB, it depends on how you use the still. You may not produce alcohol with these stills unless you qualify as a distilled spirits plant (see earlier question). However, owning a small still and using it for other purposes is allowed. You should also check with your State and local authorities - their rules may differ.

A still is defined as apparatus capable of being used to separate ethyl alcohol from a mixture that contains alcohol. Small stills (with a cubic distilling capacity of a gallon or less) that are used for laboratory purposes or for distilling water or other non-alcoholic materials are exempt from our rules. If you buy a small still and use it to distill water or extract essential oils by steam or water extraction methods, you are not subject to TTB requirements. If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture -distilling.

http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/faq.shtml#s3

That is from the Dept of Treasury. They would be interested in taxing it, if at all. I am not sure what the BATFE's stance on it would be, but I can tell you that they are interested in ethanol stills; which is the same tool used for essential oils. I think they are under the control of the Dept of Treasury though.
 
David Amos
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So that means you cannot chop up your plants and extract the oils with alcohol and then distill off the alcohol and collect it.

I suspected there was some nuance to the essential oil distillation.
 
Steven Feil
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What you CAN do is distill alcohol for burning in internal combustion engines. Let THEM prove that you are not doing that!
 
David Amos
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26 USC § 5002 - Definitions

(a) In general
For purposes of this chapter—
(1) Distilled spirits plant
The term “distilled spirits plant” means an establishment which is qualified under subchapter B to perform any distilled spirits operation.
(2) Distilled spirits operation
The term “distilled spirits operation” means any operation for which qualification is required under subchapter B.
(3) Bonded premises
The term “bonded premises”, when used with respect to distilled spirits, means the premises of a distilled spirits plant, or part thereof, on which distilled spirits operations are authorized to be conducted.
(4) Distiller
The term “distiller” includes any person who—
(A) produces distilled spirits from any source or substance,
(B) brews or makes mash, wort, or wash fit for distillation or for the production of distilled spirits (other than the making or using of mash, wort, or wash in the authorized production of wine or beer, or the production of vinegar by fermentation),
(C) by any process separates alcoholic spirits from any fermented substance, or
(D) making or keeping mash, wort, or wash, has a still in his possession or use.

(5) Processor
(A) In general
The term “processor”, when used with respect to distilled spirits, means any person who—
(i) manufactures, mixes, or otherwise processes distilled spirits, or
(ii) manufactures any article.
(B) Rectifier, bottler, etc., included
The term “processor” includes (but is not limited to) a rectifier, bottler, and denaturer.
(6) Certain operations not treated as processing
In applying paragraph (5), there shall not be taken into account—
(A) Operations as distiller
Any process which is the operation of a distiller.
(B) Mixing of taxpaid spirits for immediate consumption
Any mixing (after determination of tax) of distilled spirits for immediate consumption.
(C) Use by apothecaries
Any process performed by an apothecary with respect to distilled spirits which such apothecary uses exclusively in the preparation or making up of medicines unfit for use for beverage purposes.
(7) Warehouseman
The term “warehouseman”, when used with respect to distilled spirits, means any person who stores bulk distilled spirits.
( Distilled spirits
The terms “distilled spirits”, “alcoholic spirits”, and “spirits” mean that substance known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or spirits of wine in any form (including all dilutions and mixtures thereof from whatever source or by whatever process produced).
(9) Bulk distilled spirits
The term “bulk distilled spirits” means distilled spirits in a container having a capacity in excess of 1 wine gallon.
(10) Proof spirits
The term “proof spirits” means that liquid which contains one-half its volume of ethyl alcohol of a specific gravity of 0.7939 at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (referring to water at 60 degrees Fahrenheit as unity).
(11) Proof gallon
The term “proof gallon” means a United States gallon of proof spirits, or the alcoholic equivalent thereof.
(12) Container
The term “container”, when used with respect to distilled spirits, means any receptacle, vessel, or form of package, bottle, tank, or pipeline used, or capable of use, for holding, storing, transferring, or conveying distilled spirits.
(13) Approved container
The term “approved container”, when used with respect to distilled spirits, means a container the use of which is authorized by regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
(14) Article
Unless another meaning is distinctly expressed or manifestly intended, the term “article” means any substance in the manufacture of which denatured distilled spirits are used.
(15) Export
The terms “export”, “exported”, and “exportation” include shipments to a possession of the United States.
(b) Cross references
(1) For definition of manufacturer of stills, see section 5102.
(2) For definition of dealer, see section 5121 (c)(3).
(3) For definitions of wholesale dealers, see section 5121 (c).
(4) For definitions of retail dealers, see section 5122 (c).
(5) For definitions of general application to this title, see chapter 79.
 
David Amos
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26 USC § 5005 - Persons liable for tax

(a) General
The distiller or importer of distilled spirits shall be liable for the taxes imposed thereon by section 5001 (a)(1).
(b) Domestic distilled spirits

(1) Liability of persons interested in distilling
Every proprietor or possessor of, and every person in any manner interested in the use of, any still, distilling apparatus, or distillery, shall be jointly and severally liable for the taxes imposed by law on the distilled spirits produced therefrom.
(2) Exception
A person owning or having the right of control of not more than 10 percent of any class of stock of a corporate proprietor of a distilled spirits plant shall not be deemed to be a person liable for the tax for which such proprietor is liable under the provisions of paragraph (1). This exception shall not apply to an officer or director of such corporate proprietor.
(c) Proprietors of distilled spirits plants
(1) Bonded storage
Every person operating bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant shall be liable for the internal revenue tax on all distilled spirits while the distilled spirits are stored on such premises, and on all distilled spirits which are in transit to such premises (from the time of removal from the transferor’s bonded premises) pursuant to application made by him. Such liability for the tax on distilled spirits shall continue until the distilled spirits are transferred or withdrawn from bonded premises as authorized by law, or until such liability for tax is relieved by reason of the provisions of section 5008 (a). Nothing in this paragraph shall relieve any person from any liability imposed by subsection (a) or (b).
(2) Transfers in bond
When distilled spirits are transferred in bond in accordance with the provisions of section 5212, persons liable for the tax on such spirits under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, shall be relieved of such liability, if proprietors of transferring and receiving premises are independent of each other and neither has a proprietary interest, directly or indirectly, in the business of the other, and all persons liable for the tax under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, have divested themselves of all interest in the spirits so transferred. Such relief from liability shall be effective from the time of removal from the transferor’s bonded premises, or from the time of divestment of interest, whichever is later.
(d) Withdrawals free of tax
All persons liable for the tax under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, shall be relieved of such liability as to distilled spirits withdrawn free of tax under the provisions of section 5214 (a)(1), (2), (3), (11), or (12), or under section 7510, at the time such spirits are so withdrawn from bonded premises.
(e) Withdrawals without payment of tax
(1) Liability for tax
Any person who withdraws distilled spirits from the bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant without payment of tax, as provided in section 5214 (a)(4), (5), (6), (7), (, (9), (10), or (13), shall be liable for the internal revenue tax on such distilled spirits, from the time of such withdrawal; and all persons liable for the tax on such distilled spirits under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, shall, at the time of such withdrawal, be relieved of any such liability on the distilled spirits so withdrawn if the person withdrawing such spirits and the person, or persons, liable for the tax under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, are independent of each other and neither has a proprietary interest, directly or indirectly, in the business of the other, and all persons liable for the tax under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, have divested themselves of all interest in the spirits so withdrawn.
(2) Relief from liability
All persons liable for the tax on distilled spirits under paragraph (1) of this subsection, or under subsection (a) or (b), or under any similar prior provisions of internal revenue law, shall be relieved of any such liability at the time, as the case may be, the distilled spirits are exported, deposited in a foreign-trade zone, used in the production of wine, used in the production of nonbeverage wine or wine products, deposited in customs bonded warehouses, laden as supplies upon, or used in the maintenance or repair of, certain vessels or aircraft, or used in certain research, development, or testing, as provided by law.
(f) Cross references
(1) For provisions requiring bond covering operations at, and withdrawals from, distilled spirits plants, see section 5173.
(2) For provisions relating to transfer of tax liability to redistiller in case of redistillation, see section 5223.
(3) For liability for tax on denatured distilled spirits, articles, and volatile fruit-flavor concentrates, see section 5001 (a)(5) and (6).
(4) For liability for tax on distilled spirits withdrawn free of tax, see section 5001 (a)(4).
(5) For liability of wine producer for unlawfully using wine spirits withdrawn for the production of wine, see section 5391.
(6) For provisions relating to transfer of tax liability for wine, see section 5043 (a)(1)(A).
 
David Amos
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The good news though,

Corporations are exempt.



That is the law according to google and the ones in charge. I am not saying that I conducted an exhaustive legislative search and welcome anyone to take the next step and run with it, or maybe I will.
 
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I used to be a "health and beauty" buyer for our local food co-op. There were many companies that tried to sell me essential oils and the research I did made me think some were of significantly higher quality than others.

It would be nice to have the skills to do this, but the time and equipment and effort that I would put in would be considerable and I still wouldn't get oils of tip top quality. Essential oils are relatively expensive but they are also powerful. I just buy them.

I do make a lot of tea and infusions/tisanes/etc. Right now I am about to make an elderberry syrup in hopes of warding off the many viruses going around. Do you have any advice to make it more potent or better in some way?

The recipe I usually use is: Put a cup of dried elderberry in a small sauce pan with a big knob of raw gingerroot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil then simmer for a good while. Strain, squooshing all the goodness out of the berries. Pour in a lot of good local honey, raw if possible. Stir well. Keep in the fridge. Take one to five tablespoons per day. If it's five, space the doses out evenly.

I make a lot of mint, nettle, catnip and chamomile tea. I've gone through phases with astragalus, valerian and hibiscus. Any advice on water extraction is welcome.
 
Steven Feil
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Matu Collins wrote:I make a lot of mint, catnip Any advice on water extraction is welcome.
Mint (and catnip is a mint) like to be made with a cold infusion. Put the herb in a container with an appropriate amount of cool water and let it steep for several hours to a day. You will actually see the mint oil on the surface of the water! Lemon Balm is a REALLY good candidate for this.
 
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Consider an microwave essential oil extractor from the Essential Oil Company. It's on my list of home-scale things to try. Less messy and costly than a chemistry set.
 
John Elliott
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Dawn Phoenix wrote:Consider an microwave essential oil extractor from the Essential Oil Company. It's on my list of home-scale things to try. Less messy and costly than a chemistry set.


Welcome to Permies, Dawn, but I'm afraid I have to give a thumbs down to a microwave extractor. A real chemist revels in the "mess" and complexity of a chemistry set, and the cost is always worth it. To use a microwave to cut corners, well that would be like looking in the kitchen of a Michelin 3 star restaurant and seeing them popping frozen TV dinners into the microwave.
 
Steven Feil
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Dawn, that is what would be referred to as a WET process. My understanding is it is not as good a process as the steam process where the plant material is suspended above the steam column.

You actually do not need their kit to do this. If you check on youtube I am sure you will find lots of ways to accomplish this type of process without spending nearly 200 dollars.
 
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Steven Feil wrote:Although there are many ways to extract the medicinal goodness from our herbs, since essential oils has come up here are some pages I have come across in my research over the years.

Here is one system available:

http://www.crucible.org/distillation.htm ; (top unit in particular)

More information on using that particular unit:

http://www.crucible.org/essential_oil_distiller_operation.htm

Here is a larger system to consider

http://www.heartmagic.com/33Ldistiller/33LiterEssentialDistiller.html

Those would be for steam distillation. You can also do wet distillation with a less complicated setup.



[/qu


Once upon a time I used a 'soxhlet extractor':
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soxhlet_extractor
Google shopping has them way cheaper now. Twenty years ago I think mine cost around $400.

Then there is the old way:
https://www.clawhammersupply.com/blogs/moonshine-still-blog/116582532-how-to-make-essential-oils
https://www.essentialoil.com/collections/distillation-equipment
http://rainierdistillers.com/essential-oil-stills/
https://www.olympicdistillers.com/essential-oil-stills/

..and the DIY approach:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Essential-Oil-Extractor-Distiller/
https://apothecarysgarden.com/2014/09/20/how-to-build-and-use-an-essential-oil-still/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/578782989581374478/

 
The moth suit and wings road is much more exciting than taxes. Or this tiny ad:
Complete Wild Edibles Package by Sergei Boutenko (1 HD video + 10 eBooks)
https://permies.com/t/70674/digital-market/digital-market/Complete-Wild-Edibles-Package-Sergei
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