An extract refers to herbal-product ingredients that result from the treatment of solvent to a plant source and causes its active components, or mixture of multi-components to dissolve. Extraction results in active components being released from their herb sources and transformed into liquids, powders or solids.
Selection of solvents for extraction should be based on factors, including:
- Characteristics of the solvent
Water and alcohol are popular solvents in herb extraction but they differ in polarity. The polarity of water can dissolve inorganic chemicals, protein or ions in living cells. The non-polarity of alcohol and other organic solvents can extract organic molecules contained in herbs
- The purpose of extraction
The extraction could be optimised for various active components of the herb or just a targeted one. For instance, extraction using ethanol will produce extracts with a different composition of active components than using water.
- The amount of extract
It has been reported that extraction using hot water produces more extract rather than cold water.
The solvent extraction method is advantageous in terms of economy and is easy to operate. The disadvantages are that it needs longer extraction times, large quantities of solvent and a further process of evaporation to recover the extract. Recent research and developments report that new methods of extraction with high temperature and high pressure on water, ethanol or carbon dioxide are more advantageous than solvent extraction.
Extraction methods can be pressurised liquid extraction (PLE), subcritical water extraction (SWE) and supercritical fluid extraction (SFE). They produces high yields of herb extracts in high selectivity, faster process and are environmental friendly.
The herbal extracts have functions as both nutritional ingredients and as pharmaceutical. ‘Nutraceutical’ refers to “a food (or part of food) that provides medical or health benefits, including prevention/treatment of disease”. With the increased awareness of ‘natural’ products, herbal extracts are a key ingredient in the food & beverage, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
Trans Chem has an extensive network of overseas suppliers, some exclusively, and attend all International Trade shows constantly sourcing new and innovative products and suppliers, so if you can’t find the raw material you need in our Product Library, contact us and we WILL source that product for you.
Aside from APIs, Trans Chem actively sources Amino Acids & Vitamins, Chelates & Minerals, Cosmetics & Personal care ingredients, Excipients, Food & Beverage ingredients, Stockfeed & Animal Nutrition, Nutraceutical powders & fluids, Veterinary Pharmaceuticals & Animal Health, Herbal Extracts and other key ingredients.