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Pine Extraction

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Since the growing season for some more commonly used herbs has not quite yet begun (though we have begun our seedlings indoors already), I decided to do this first extraction using a readily available material: pine needles. Excellent source of vitamin C, and not bad in a tea or mixed with juice (it has almost a bitter lime flavor). Though be wary of your subspecies, as certain conifers can induce cramping in females, as well as miscarriages.

I used the needles from a loblolly pine. (

I prepared semi-dry pine needles by cutting them into tiny pieces and breaking them open using a mortar and pestle. These were placed inside a paper filter, and using a soxhlet extractor with 250mls of ethanol on a hot plate, was allowed to come up to temperature. The ethanol started really boiling at roughly 95 C.

I think the color is just really beautiful.

When the entire soxhlet apparatus is connected, while securing it with claw clamps, it has a tendency to kink slightly to one side or the other as you tighten the screws, which creates an air gap beneath the flask and the hot plate. A good way I've found to really get your flat bottom flask straight and level on the hot plate is to use a flashlight, and put your eye on its level to make sure its really making even contact.

Another tip, because I tend to make this mistake: if using a stirrer, put it in your flask before you put everything together... =(

I feel that the soxhlet extractor is a really enjoyable way to make a really clean tincture, one that maximizes the potential of the extraction.

One concern I have is burning the tincture after the first time it siphons down into the boiling flask. It may have been an unnecessary precaution, but I kept my temperature low throughout. This made the entire process take a really long time. (Over four hours.) My next plan is to perform this extraction again, and really kick up the heat to reduce the time. I plan to compare the two products and see if a higher temperature causes the tincture to burn.

If anyone has any experience with this, I wouldn't mind the feedback.

Thanks very much in advance. =)

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