Extractions Lab: Our Projects

There are several ways to extract medicines from plants (Tobias calls the beneficial extractions phytomedicinals) that have been used for thousands of years. Concoctions, decoctions, herbal teas, percolation, soxhlet extracts, macerations, sonification, and other methods have been used as the essential go-to for treating illnesses and maladies of all kinds. Historically, one of the most common ways to create a tincture has been to combine medicinal herbs in containers, shaking them by hand daily over the course of several weeks to extract their useful and varied constituents. Today, we do not always have the benefit of time. One of Tobias's common methods of extraction is using a soxhlet device which reduces extraction times that would normally take weeks down to a day or two (video below).

Click here to book a session for an analysis of customized herbal extractions that can benefit you.

This video shows an extraction of Scutellaria baicalensis using the soxhlet method in Tobias's extraction lab. The beautiful golden colour of the phytomedicines are visible within the device as high-quality consumable ethanol alcohol condenses at the top of the device (wrapped area) due to continuous cooling. The condensed (and potent) ethanol (near 100% at this point) drips slowly into the natural plant material, drawing the beneficial phytochemicals into the flask below with each cycle. As the alcohol is condensing, it is always pure rather than circulating already-extracted chemicals. We know all the plant material has been extracted when this no longer has any colour.

"When we borrow the antibiotic compounds from plants, we do better to borrow them all - not just the single solitary most powerful among them. We lose the synergy when we take out the solitary compound. But most important, we facilitate the enemy, the germ, in its ability to outwit the monochemical medicine.

The polychemical synergistic mix, concentrating the powers already evolved in medicinal plants, may be our best hope for confronting drug-resistant bacteria."  

 

- Stephen Harrod Buhner, Master Herbalist/Author

All medicines are not made equally. When you purchase a tincture, medicinal ointment, or other plant-based medicine they can be mixed, diluted, and cut down with any number of constituents which affect their working ability. In Tobias's lab, purity and potency are the top priorities.

When you use an extraction from Tobias, you know exactly what you are getting.

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These jars are examples of tinctures made in the traditional method of soaking, shaking, and waiting for several weeks before the beneficial phytomedicines are fully extracted into the liquid. This can be a preferred method depending on several factors, including heat sensitivity of active components which preclude them from extraction methods using high temperatures.