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Specific Techniques for Creating Different Botanical Formulations

Written by Shawn Tucker

There are different techniques used to make products from plants. Each technique has its own process as well as its own benefits and drawbacks. The different techniques are also used best for different purposes.

 

Tincture

Tinctures are popular due to their ability to be homemade. Directions are easily accessed online and the procedure to prepare it involves just a maceration step of raw materials in a mixture of ethanol and water. After a certain amount of time plant derived parts such as leaves, roots, seeds and flowers are filtered out. The remaining separated liquid is the tincture.

Tinctures can be added to foods or taken by placing few drops under the tongue. The oral method of taking tinctures should be used with caution, as some people report burning depending on the ingredients of the tincture and its concentration.

 

Infusion

The process involves the heating of plant material with the extraction solvent that can be water, ethanol, oil, milk etc. However, because of the high temperatures, thermolabile molecules can be degraded.

In some cases such as with cannabis , heat is the catalyst for the conversion of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Depending on the medicinal benefits of the plant and the kind of contained molecules it is possible to choose between an infusion over a tincture.

 

Distillate

The distillation process usually involves the heating of an ethanolic mixture of the plant extract.
The formed vapour is recondensed and depending on the applied temperature is possible to fractionate the extract, leaving behind unwanted substances or removing the more volatile ones.
Through distillation is possible to purify an extract.

 

Extract

Through te extraction process is possible to isolate substances from plants. Both infusions and tinctures are kind of extractions, where a solvent is responsible for the removal of valuable bioactive molecules from the plant matrix. In order to maximize the extraction it is possible to repeat the process multiple times on the same plant material. The final extract can be further purified through distillation or techniques such as column chromatography among others.

 

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Shawn Tucker

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