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percolator cone  RSS feed

 
tel jetson
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hey herbalists.  I've heard mention of a device called a percolator cone a few times recently and I'm interested to learn more about it.  what excited me was that it can reduce the time for tincturing from weeks to a day.  anybody know anything about this?  they were maybe historically used by pharmacists for something or other, and I believe it's possible to make them out of Perrier bottles, but that's about as much as I know.
 
John Rushton
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Location: Norman, OK
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I've never used one, and  I don't know the history.  But instructions for making and using one can be found in the book "The Herbal Medicine Cabinet: Preparing Natural Remedies at Home" by Deborah St. Claire.  What a fantastic book that is, btw.  It teaches methods for preparing almost every type of herbal preparation and extract imaginable, including some very complicated standardized extracts, of which this is one, and obscure extracts made from unusual substrates.

To quote from the book:

"You can make your own with a Perrier bottle.  Take it to a glass cutter and get the bottom removed then smooth the cut with fine sandpaper.  Sterilize it in boiling water and use a plastic cap from an Evian bottle with it."

I don't want to quote a whole page of text on how to use it, it's an eight step process involving loading the herb and solvent and packing it to varying degrees while tightening and loosening the lid to let it sit and eventually slow-drip from the bottle.  It does take a little more than 24 hours, perhaps more like 48 or so, but yes, you do only need to let it stand for 24 hrs before allowing it to percolate out.  This is a technique developed presumably by the Eclectics, designed to create an extract of standardized potency.
 
tel jetson
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any diagrams in that book?  sounds simple enough, but a picture would probably help me.  I suppose I'll request it from the library.

doesn't sound like it would lead to a very complete extraction, though, unless I'm misunderstanding the procedure.
 
John Rushton
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No diagrams, but if you read the book it should make more sense.  I've never tried it, so I can't speak to the potency.  I would love to know the results of any experiments anyone undertakes.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Wendy, of the Holy Scrap Hot Springs blog, posted instructions here:

http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2010/04/preserving_natural_plant_remed.html
 
tel jetson
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thanks, Joel.

I would say my standard three week maceration likely yields a more complete extraction.  is there something I'm missing?
 
Emerson White
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It's like a cheap coffee maker. I was expecting something like a soxhlet extractor.
 
tel jetson
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Emerson White wrote:
It's like a cheap coffee maker. I was expecting something like a soxhlet extractor.


that's closer to what I had in mind.  I've seen something similar to that without the condenser.  there was a downward pointing cone set in the top that was filled with ice water to condense the solvent.
 
John Rushton
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I'll take a stab, Tel, and suggest that perhaps the benefits to the original innovators was one of more standardized doses, than of pure potency? It could be useful to prepare a medicine in two days rather than two or three weeks in certain acute cases as well - though you can make a perfectly passable tincture in that amount of time too with enough agitation, even if not as strong as one allowed to macerate the full period.
 
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