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Topic: Fun natural products to extract?  (Read 33262 times)

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Offline pantone159

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Fun natural products to extract?
« on: March 09, 2006, 11:43:50 AM »
I am on the lookout for natural products (e.g. herbs, spices) that could make interesting chemistry experiments.
There are various places on the web that sell a variety of herbal things and I figure some should have interesting chemistry.

Examples:
Spearmint has (R)-(-)-carvone, while caraway seed has (S)-(+)-carvone, these mirror images smell different to most people.
Red cabbage is a pH indicator.
Turmeric/curcumin is also.
Tea contains caffeine.  (I am working on extract it now...)

Any other suggestions?


Offline joeflsts

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2006, 07:44:04 PM »
Mark,
Let me know how your caffeine extraction goes.  I did this not to long ago with okay results.

Joe
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 07:45:03 PM by joeflsts »

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2006, 04:33:21 AM »
I am getting a headache trying to search this forum for a past post on extracts of herbs. That link would have a discussion about the poisonous effects of herb and spice concentration. Someone else fine the link and post it.

Offline pantone159

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2006, 01:37:21 PM »
I did find this thread:
http://www.chemicalforums.com/index.php?board=9;action=display;threadid=3049;start=msg12617#msg12617

And I have to admit that I didn't search before I posted my question  :-[

Pelle

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2006, 07:26:48 PM »
How about steam-distilling spices/herbs and then doing separation of the compunds in the essential oil?

Fennel
Anise
Basil
Thyme
Nutmeg
Black pepper
Estragon
Rosemary
Lavendel
Cardamom
Dill
Parsley
Coriander

I could tell you loads more, but these are common and easy to get and work with. Some glassware and a vacuum source is a big plus... ;)

At pharmacies around here you can get a mix of essential oils to make your own "glögg", which is  a kind of spiced wine you drink warm at christmas time.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2006, 07:27:17 PM by Pelle »

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2006, 08:14:22 PM »
Mark Kness thank you

Offline science2000

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2006, 01:02:27 AM »
What's the solvent of choice for chemically extracting extracts from natural things? Denatured alcohol or acetone? (I could make chloroform...but, pass!)

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2006, 01:07:28 AM »
science2000 -
None of the ones you mentioned seems particularly tasty.

Offline science2000

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2006, 03:13:22 PM »
I and probably most people here don't have a lab full of exotic solvents. I do have a bathroom and garage chemicals. ;D
« Last Edit: March 13, 2006, 03:13:48 PM by science2000 »

Offline mike

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2006, 06:21:42 PM »
What about extracting eugenol from cloves? :)
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline pantone159

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2006, 02:46:31 AM »
What's the solvent of choice for chemically extracting extracts from natural things?

I think that steam distillation is ideal, but I don't have the glassware now.

Alcohol (190 proof stuff sold as "Everclear") is my first choice solvent, less toxic than alternatives.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2006, 04:04:18 AM »
Mark Kness - What about using 160 proof grain alcohol as in vodka?

science2000 – The solvents you mention might make the extracts toxic which I believe is not the goal of essential oil extraction for human utilization.



Pelle

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2006, 07:06:06 AM »
I think that steam distillation is ideal, but I don't have the glassware now.

Yes, steam distillation can be pretty ideal. I highly recommend you get some glassware and equipment for that if you already have space for a lab. It's more fun too. ;)

Just remember that essential oils and natural extracts are far from often suitable for consumption. Sometimes they are pretty toxic. I guess you already knew that, I just want to remind you and anyone who reads the thread about it.

Offline Borek

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2006, 07:33:52 AM »
I highly recommend you get some glassware and equipment for that if you already have space for a lab.

I don't suppose Mark wants to get arrested ;)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2006, 07:36:25 AM by Borek »
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Offline pantone159

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Re:Fun natural products to extract?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2006, 01:51:31 PM »
I don't suppose Mark wants to get arrested ;)

Texas does have stupid glassware laws.  If I ever speak of a 'flask', that is a hypothetical comment.  I really would mean a beaker that is shaped like a flask.   ;)

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