A Soxhlet extraction is a way of making tinctures that requires some specialized equipment but comes with some very cool benefits.
See it in action in the video here.
The standard way of making herbal tinctures involves letting the herbs soak in your alcohol solution for a period of at least two weeks, but often longer. How to make regular tinctures is described in the article How to Make Herbal Tinctures.
The Soxhlet extractor heats up a solvent (typically either alcohol or water) which turns into a gas. The condenser then cools this gas back into liquid form which drips over the herbal material. Once a volume threshold is hit, the liquid solvent drains back into the bottom flash where it is heated again and the cycle continues. This is usually done until the solvent runs clear, that is it no longer pulls anything from the herbal material.
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The benefits of a Soxhlet extraction are three-fold:
- Allows you to make a tincture in just a couple hours.
- Great for making dual extractions (using both alcohol and water)
- Allows you to make tinctures that stronger than what can be made in the regular way.
I’ll describe these each in a bit more detail.
Tincture in Just Hours
Because of the heat used, the drip method, and that this recycles your tincture can be done in just a few hours. No need to wait weeks or months of the menstruum sitting. Of course, this requires some specific equipment, which then takes setup and breakdown time, but it is quite fast in comparison.
Use pure alcohol in one complete cycle. Let it cool, then switch it out for pure water and do the same. Combine the alcohol and water and you have a dual-extracted tincture that will be about 50% abv, which tends to be a good amount.
Some components of herbs are best drawn out with alcohol. Others are best drawn out in water. If you only use one, you’re likely missing something. This is especially true which complex herbs such as the many medicinal mushrooms.
Good news! We’re going to have a dual Soxhlet extracted and spagyric mushroom formula coming soon!
Not only can you get a dual extraction but if you switch out the herbal material while using the same solvent, you can concentrate it. This can be done twice, thrice, five times or even ten times. The end product may be so strong it is pure black in color. Check out the 3X Maral Root Tincture that I prepared in this way. (Limited supplies coming to VIP members soon.)
In addition, this process is just plain fun. For whatever reason, I like the glassware. It makes me feel like a mad scientist…or a wizard concocting magic potions. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested you can find all the equipment you need at a variety of places online.