• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

Herbal Extract Powders?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 4
Location: Kentucky
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello!  I am having a hard time grasping the concept of herbal extract powders.  I am hoping someone here might be able to point me in the right direction.  I am very new to herbs and botany...I'm finding it to be a rather dense subject to try to self educate in, lol!

Here are the things specifically I don't understand:

1)  How do some herbal extract powders magically become water or oil soluble when the herbal powder isn't? (Ex: Aloe Vera Powder vs Aloe Vera Powder Extract)

2) I see how the liquids used to make the extract would be ultra concentrated, but I don't understand how the powder could be concentrated as well.  Wouldn't soaking the herb in alcohol/water deplete the herb of it's nutrients?  If liquids are drained off, wouldn't the remaining plant material be kind of devoid of medicinal properties?  Is the liquid somehow evaporated and the plant matter reabsorbs the nutrients?  That doesn't sound right.

3)  I'm noticing that a combo of water and alcohol is used to make extracts.  Even if the liquids were evaporated, wouldn't the powder be compromised by the presence of water since it would introduce opportunities for bacteria to take hold?

4) Does anybody know of any reading material, books, or websites that talk about the entire powder extract manufacturing process more in depth?  Everything I have found so far has been aimed toward liquid extracts and I really need to know more about powdered.

Please forgive me if this is inappropriate for this forum--You all just seemed to know your stuff and I just had to ask!  Sorry if these are silly questions--but I really don't get it!  Thanks for your time!

 
pioneer
garden master
Posts: 1979
Location: USDA Zone 8a
369
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fascinating subject that I want to learn more about, too.  Thanks for posting.  I am sure you will find an answer to your questions also.

Am I correct in my thinking?  When making a dry herb extract, a person would take a herb, dehydrate it then grind it into a powder.

Using Aloe Vera as an example:  To get a powder, you must dehydrate something.  Mountain Rose Herbs says they use the whole leaf.  "The type of Aloe Vera sold by Mountain Rose Herbs is made from the entire dehydrated leaf, cut or powdered."  They says it is "Aloe Vera Leaf Powder"

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/aloe-vera-leaf-powder/profile


Maybe another way to make the extract is to only dehydrate the "gel"  So would the "Aloe Vera Extract Powder"  be made from the gel?

Which would be more effective?  And do these have different uses?

This guy says the extract powder is more concentrated:

 
Marla Watson
Posts: 4
Location: Kentucky
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Anne Miller wrote:

Am I correct in my thinking?  When making a dry herb extract, a person would take a herb, dehydrate it then grind it into a powder.

Using Aloe Vera as an example:  To get a powder, you must dehydrate something.  Mountain Rose Herbs says they use the whole leaf.  "The type of Aloe Vera sold by Mountain Rose Herbs is made from the entire dehydrated leaf, cut or powdered."  They says it is "Aloe Vera Leaf Powder"

Maybe another way to make the extract is to only dehydrate the "gel"  So would the "Aloe Vera Extract Powder"  be made from the gel?

Which would be more effective?  And do these have different uses?



Thanks for the video--I like that he touched on the manufacturing process, specifically evaporation.  I know to make an herbal powder, one would dehydrate and grind it into a powder like you said. However, this process doesn't make it soluble in water and I'm not sure how/when/why the solubility changes.  And some extract powders I'm noticing are soluble in water, some in oil, and some in fat so i think it varies by plant material and extraction process.  Some powdered extracts are 100% soluble and others, like mango, are only 90% soluble so some undissolved particulates would be left over.  You may be right about the aloe vera--I did order some aloe vera powder from Mountain Rose a few weeks ago and it never dissolved in water at all.  It just made dirty stinky water that smelled like dirt! lol  But if go out and find aloe vera extract powder, the website says that it is soluble...but it isn't telling me if it was the whole plant or just the "gel" part of the plant.  Some companies are so vague in their descriptions that I can't tell if I'm looking at powdered herbal extracts or just ground herbs--or really what the true difference is.

Since you are interested in this as well, I'll post up some links of some products/information I have found online that have piqued my curiosity in powdered extracts.

New Directions Aromatics has some interesting extracts as well as additional information posted on each item under "Technical Documents" tab on each item, the solubility chart is especially interesting.

Fruit Extracts:  https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/products/fruit-extracts/
Botanical Extracts:  https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/products/botanical-extracts/
Solubility Chart: https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/msds/MoreInfo_FruitExtractsSolubilityChart.pdf

I've also found powdered extracts at the following vendors.  Some sell the same type of herb, but herbal powders and herbal powder extracts are sold as different products.  The following vendors do not mention solubility so I don't know if/when the extracts are soluble:

https://www.znaturalfoods.com/Extract-Powders
https://www.nutricargo.com/herb-powders
https://www.rawforestfoods.com/powdered-herb-extracts/

This video also goes into a little more detail about how extract powders are made.  Starting to get the impression that a lot of chemistry is involved so there won't be any DIYing at home! lol:



I'll be sure to come back to this thread and update if I find anything else about the science or manufacturing process of making herbal extract powders. 
 
author
Posts: 76
Location: Pleasant Hill, Oregon
31
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use to own an herbal company. We made only whole herb extracts with water, alcohol, and oils. The powders we used were almost always whole herb powders.  However, I did purchase some solid extracts, and even one evaporated, extract powder over the years. Companies making extracted powders may use different methods. However, basically, an herb is extracted into a liquid medium and then the herb is removed and the resulting liquid is evaporated off the particulate matter left. Most of us think of things like teas (water) or tinctures (alcohol/water) as being used as the liquid mediums. Indeed the mediums of water and alcohol go get used. However, when I tried to find a Ginkgo extract that used only alcohol as a medium to make a powdered extract it proved to be hard, although I did find one. Most companies were and are using all sorts of chemicals to extract the herbs. Then machinery is used to evaporate or dehydrate the liquid (they want to remove the chemicals and in some cases even reuse the chemicals again.) There is a small amount of chemical usually left in the end herbal product, unfortunately.  Now this would be similar to you making a super strong tea in your kitchen and then you strain out the herb and put the strong tea back on your stove and you allow your tea water to evaporate. It will become more concentrated as the water evaporates. Of course you do not have the equipment a professional extract maker may have. In this case the water goes into the air. Additionally, you have to watch your pot carefully as the product could burn as the moisture evaporates and the product becomes thicker. This is where fancy equipment comes in. However, I have examined solid extracts as well as herbal powders that smell and taste burnt, so I think that some products do get sold on the market that are indeed burnt.  I found that you had to inquire of every manufacturer to find out what equipment they were using, what their particular process was, and especially important to me was were they using water and alcohol or a less desirable chemical as their extractive medium.
 
Marla Watson
Posts: 4
Location: Kentucky
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Sharol Tilgner wrote:I use to own an herbal company. We made only whole herb extracts with water, alcohol, and oils. The powders we used were almost always whole herb powders.  However, I did purchase some solid extracts, and even one evaporated, extract powder over the years. Companies making extracted powders may use different methods. However, basically, an herb is extracted into a liquid medium and then the herb is removed and the resulting liquid is evaporated off the particulate matter left. Most of us think of things like teas (water) or tinctures (alcohol/water) as being used as the liquid mediums. Indeed the mediums of water and alcohol go get used. However, when I tried to find a Ginkgo extract that used only alcohol as a medium to make a powdered extract it proved to be hard, although I did find one. Most companies were and are using all sorts of chemicals to extract the herbs. Then machinery is used to evaporate or dehydrate the liquid (they want to remove the chemicals and in some cases even reuse the chemicals again.) There is a small amount of chemical usually left in the end herbal product, unfortunately.  Now this would be similar to you making a super strong tea in your kitchen and then you strain out the herb and put the strong tea back on your stove and you allow your tea water to evaporate. It will become more concentrated as the water evaporates. Of course you do not have the equipment a professional extract maker may have. In this case the water goes into the air. Additionally, you have to watch your pot carefully as the product could burn as the moisture evaporates and the product becomes thicker. This is where fancy equipment comes in. However, I have examined solid extracts as well as herbal powders that smell and taste burnt, so I think that some products do get sold on the market that are indeed burnt.  I found that you had to inquire of every manufacturer to find out what equipment they were using, what their particular process was, and especially important to me was were they using water and alcohol or a less desirable chemical as their extractive medium.



Thanks so much for explaining that to me--I think it finally clicked for me.  For some reason I thought the original plant matter somehow reabsorbed the concentrated liquid and was somehow chemically changed--I did not even consider the particulates in the liquid.  It seems really silly to me now, lol!  I guess the same principals apply as they do to the quality of essential oils when compared to liquid extracts.  The solid matter part was confusing.

I am still interested in purchasing solid extracts, so if you know of any companies that are more transparent about manufacturing processes, I would love to check them out.
 
crispy bacon. crispy tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!