Principles and Mechanisms Involved in Crude Drug Extraction by Maceration, Percolation and Infusion

The general principles and mechanisms involved in maceration, percolation and infusion for the extraction of the crude drugs are same as to those for the extraction of soluble constituents from solid materials using solvent, which is generally referred to as leaching. The processes of leaching may involve simple physical solution or dissolution.

The extraction procedures are affected by various factors, namely the rate of transport of solvent into the mass, the rate of solubilization of the soluble constituents by the solvent, the rate of transport of solution out of the insoluble material.

The extraction of crude drugs is mostly favored by increasing the surface area of the material to be extracted and decreasing the radial distances traversed between the solids (crude drug particle).

Mass transfer theory states that the maximum surface area is obtained by size reductions which entail reduction of material into individual cells. However, this is not possible or desirable in many cases of vegetable material. It has been demonstrated that even 200 mesh particles contain hundred of unbroken cells with intact cell wall. Therefore, it is pertinent to carry out extraction with unbroken cells to obtain an extract with a high degree of purity and to allow enough time for the diffusion of solvent through the cell wall for dissolution of the desired solute (groups of constituents) and for diffusion of the solution (extract) to the surface of the cell wall.


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