View Full Version : Leeching ashes with a soxhlet....

06-24-2013, 08:15 AM
Hey all,

Title says it all really, going through the process of incineration it seems that most herb mass wants to remain in a carbonized state, am looking to blast at them with a good bunsen burner soon but the best way to work is to use a soxhlet to leech the salts using the phlegm left over from distillation... problem I've faced is that the ash/carbon doesn't want to stay put, it flows over into the boiling flask when it refluxes, either that or it blocks the flow and upsets the whole thing completely... am yet to try using one with a thimble glass or silicone and am wondering if thats where I'm going wrong as I tried with a filter and then with a home made sieve holding the ashes, neither being successful and to be honest I don't see how a thimble will help, a glass one would surely let the ash through although I can see it'd let the solvent flow back into the flask easier, whereas a silicone thimble would block the thing...?

Generally wanted to get a feel of how people use Soxhlets to leech in general, are they really the bees knees for leeching?


06-24-2013, 05:35 PM

Why do the ashes need to be present at all?

The salts you want will have leeched into the water and you retrieve them by evaporation...
am I missing something?


06-24-2013, 06:47 PM
Ummmm... well, the salts are caught up in the ashes so they'd need to go through the soxhlet to be obtained... could leech them normally using a 2L bottle but its not the same.

At one point I was trying to use a herbs mercury as a solvent, taking the condenser of the soxhlet and attaching a 90 degree bend to then run what would evaporate into another condenser downward to be retrieved. Definitely possible but I'm never keen on loosing such a precious substance so I haven't returned to the idea, yet.

Issue is discussed here,


I don't use the site, was just looking for information and found it.

06-24-2013, 10:03 PM

Are you mixing extracting the potash salts or extracting the alkaloids?

through the process of incineration

You wouldn't incinerate to extract something such as DMT.

Or are you trying to get the potash of the same plant to use as the alkali in the process?

You use a solvent such as Naphtha for the extraction and this should separate out without the
starting material, but don't incinerate your starting material from which you want to extract your


06-25-2013, 10:34 AM
Its a tincture of onion and wine, I've gone through the whole process and have incinerated the mass and am now looking to extract the salts from the ashes I'm left with. From my (limited) understanding I'm to put the ashes into the extractor and use the soxhlet to obtain the salts but as the ashes are fine it either clogs the extractor or wants to wash through to the solvent/phlegm in the boiling flask.


I don't use DMT, was looking for an answer and came across the site where the same problem is discussed... generally how to use fine substances in an extractor.

06-25-2013, 02:12 PM
I am not familiar with the process you're attempting, but is there no way to leech the product
you're trying to extract into a solvent then filter the the liquid and extract your product from the
filtered solvent?


06-25-2013, 02:52 PM
Aha I see the purpose of using the Soxhlet...

If you just immerse you starting material in a solvent then the solvent quicky becomes
saturated and thus does not allow further solution of the product you are trying to extract.

Using a Soxhlet you are always passing fresh solvent over your material and hence better extraction.

I don't know if you have already looked, but Wiki has a good explanation of the setup.

Soxhlet Extractor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soxhlet_extractor)

The thing is that the Soxhlet is normally used to extract materials such as fats, waxes, sterols and
fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K); wouldn't incineration destroy these?

Also it would appear you sandwich the material between the thimble and a top filter so that your
ashes cannot move; make sure the return syphon is covered by the thimble...possibly put something
between the thimble and the syphon return hole so that it doesn't block... and slow down your process
so that the Soxhlet has time to syphon off before it starts to re-fill; perhaps you have too much heat.


06-26-2013, 03:23 PM
Sounds like an idea, would need a larger extractor considering the space taken up by the extra filter but it should work. Its a common suggestion in many books to use a soxhlet to leech the ashes although in reality I hardly see the diffrence between leeching as per normal and using one... have heard the outcome is of a more pure constitute.