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Mintage Journal of Pharmaceutical & Medical Sciences
Vol 7, Suppl 1, 2018 ISSN: 2320-3315

Research Article


KMCH College of Pharmacy, Kovai Estate, Kalapatti Road, Coimbatore-641048, Tamil Nadu,
Received - 01.02.2018; Reviewed and accepted - 20.02.2018

Soxhlet extraction is also known as the hot continuous extraction process the main advantage of this method is complete extraction in minimum amount of solvent. Aim and
Objectives: This review is focused on various pre extraction process of plant materials for soxhlet extraction and the working principles, advantages of soxhlet apparatus.
The objective of this review is collection of diverse literature and documented the soxhlet extractor used by researchers. Conclusion: In this review concluded that the solvent
selection, drying of the plant, size reduction, size separation of the plant materials is important for the extraction process and this review is useful to the appropriate usage of
soxhlet apparatus in phytochemical research.
Key words: Methanol, Particle size, defatting, Pre-extraction, Hot continuous extraction
In 2000 BC people ate the part of plants to cure the disease, 1850 heating source like heating mantle. The heating temperature is
AD drink the portion of the plants, and after 1940 AD they swallow built on the solvent employed to extraction. Due to heat the
the synthetic pills for treatment but in 2000 AD again peoples start solvent in the bottom flask vaporizes into the condenser and then
eating the part of the plant to cure the diseases because synthetic drip back to the sample thimble. When liquid content reaches the
pills produces the unwanted effects in the human. [1] Nowadays siphon arm, the liquid contents emptied into the bottom flask
phyto-medicines are essential for the cure diseases. The again and the process is the end of the process is indicated the
Researchers particular compounds responsible treatment. The clear solution in the siphon tube. The benefit of this system is
isolated compounds are manufactured into pills or various possible that instead of many portions of warm solvent being
formulations for dispensing. So that isolation of the passed through the sample, just one batch of solvent is recycled.
phyoconstituents is essential for current research in medicine. In This method is not suitable for thermo labile compounds as
the isolation of compounds from diverse medicinal plants, extended heating may lead to degradation of compounds.[43]
extraction is the first step in isolating the phytoconstituents from This method maintains a relatively high extraction temperature
the plants.[2,42] Various techniques employed in extraction with heat from the distillation flask. No filtration of the extract is
processes are maceration, infusion, Digestion, decoction, required and the displacement of transfer equilibrium by
Percolation, Soxhlet Extraction, fermentation, counter‐current frequently carrying fresh solvent into contact with the solid
extraction (CCE), ultrasound extraction and Supercritical Fluid matrix.[3,4]
Extraction (SFE). This review is mainly focused on the various
features of the soxhlet extraction technique. Pre-extraction preparation of plant samples for soxhlet
Soxhlet extractor
The first step of studying medicinal plants is the creation of plant
A Soxhlet extractor is a piece of laboratory apparatus designed in samples to preserve the phytoconstituents in the plants earlier to
1879 by Franz von Soxhlet. The construction of the soxhlet extraction. Plants materials like leaves, stem, barks, roots, fruit
extractor is shown in the figure.1. and flowers are then used for the extraction. The following criteria
are essential prior to the extraction.
Selection and collection of plant materials
The selection and the collection of plant material are important in
making efficient phyto constituent isolation. The disease free and
healthy plants only selected for the plant extraction which is
protected from weeds and insect. And the numerous factors
involved in the collection of the plant materials. NRCS (Natural
resources conservation service) Plant Materials Program created
the guidelines for the collection of plant material, which includes
the collection of seed and vegetative collections.[5,44] This
guideline explains the relevant collection time, collection
techniques, processing and storage of plant materials.
Drying of plant materials
The drying process is important for the extraction of plant
Fig. 1: Soxhlet extractor materials, the fresh plant materials are having the active enzymes
which is produces the active constituents intermediates and
The soxhlet extractor setup consists of a round bottom flask, metabolic reactions in the plant materials, so that the drying is
siphon tube, distillation path, expansion adapter, condenser, important for the pre-extraction preparation of plant
cooling water inlet, cooling water outlet, heat source and thimble. materials[7,45]. Many of the researchers are drying the plant in air
In this method, powdered sample is enclosed in a porous bag or dry process under the shade in the dark room because the
“thimble” made from a strong filter paper or cellulose, which is overheat can losses the volatile substances from plant materials
placed, is in thimble chamber of the Soxhlet apparatus. Extraction and some of the light sensitive constituents may losses in light
solvent is taken in the round bottom flask and heated by using condition. And some of the dry methods like Microwave Drying,

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Oven Drying, Silica Gel or Salt drying and freeze drying process Size separation/sieving
also used for the drying of plant materials.
The size separation is important for efficient soxhlet extraction.
Grinding and size reduction Uniform powdered particle size provides maximum extraction as
the solvent can pass uniformly through the powdered particles
Grinding and size reduction is the essential for the soxhlet packed in the thimble. The very fine powder and very coarse
extraction process because smaller the particle size greater the powders are not suitable for effective extraction. The very fine
surface area of the powdered particles. Large surface area powder may produce the beds during extraction and very coarse
improves the contact of the powdered particles with the solvent powders delay the extraction process.[9] The size separation is
used for extraction.[8] and hence efficient extraction takes place. done by the sieving method and the determination of particle size
Various grinding and milling methods are employed for size by the sieving method, microscopic method etc.[10] Various
reduction. Such as Hammer Mill, Fixed Head Mill, Plate Mill, researchers used the various particle size ranges for various plant
Roller Mill and Cutter Mills. materials in soxhlet extraction process which is mentioned in the


S.n Name of the Plant Part of the plant Sieve mesh number/ Particle size Researcher
o material range / Type of powder
1. Zanthoxylumrhetsa(ROXB.) DC Stem Coarse powder Gopalasatheeskumar et al. [2]
2. Tecomastans, Muntingiacalabura Leaves Sieve mesh 40 Boopathiet al. [4]
3. Bougainvillea glabra Leaves Coarse powder Elumalai A et al. [11]
4. Angelica archangelica Whole plant Sieve mesh 40 Kumar et al.[12]
5. Barleriaprionitis Leaves Fine powder Bhavna H et al. [13]
6. Cucumismelo Linn. Peels Coarse powder/sieve mesh 120 Dhanaji D et al. [14]
7. Vignamungo Linn Seeds Sieve mesh 22 SaleemAhmed et al. [15]
8. Erythrinafusca Stem bark Sieve mesh 20 [38] SubalDebnath et al. [16]
9. Rumexhastatus Roots Sieve mesh 40 Shakuntalaet al. [17]
10. Gardenia latifolia Leaves particle size- 0.3mm Vindhyaet al. [18]
11. Merremiaemarginata Whole plant Coarse powder PurushothPrabhu et al. [19]
12. Passiflorafoetida Leaves Fine powder Mangalaet al. [20]
13. Cordiasubcordata Lam. Bark Sieve mesh 40 PandiSelvi A et al. [21]
14. Euphorbia hirta L.[39] Stems Coarse powder Sanjay Ret al. [22]
15. Eclipta alba Aerial parts Sieve mesh 40 Patel MB et al. [23]
16. Clitoriaternatea Linn Leaves Sieve mesh 60-120 Shital S. Chavan et al. [24]
The size of the particles stated as a number which corresponds to the mesh screen size of a sieve. The screen size indicates the number of
openings in the mesh screen per inch. In Table.2 mentioned the sieve number and particle size.
Table 2: Types of Particle Size Ranges of Powder
S. no Mesh Sieve Number Description Term(Powder type) Particle size
Microns Millimeters [40]
1. 2 - 10 Very Coarse > 1000 >1
2. 20 - 40 Coarse 3551000 0.35-1.00
3. 40 - 80 Moderately Coarse 180-355 0.80-0.35
4. 80 - 120 Fine 125-180 0.12-0.18
5. 120-200 Very Fine 90 - 125 0.09-0.12
Selection of solvent for soxhlet extraction main solvent like alcohol or aqueous extraction was performed.
Some of the plant materials the defatting is essential because the
The selection of the solvent for soxhlet extraction is based on the waxy substances produce the emulsification process with the
phyto constituent isolation process. The solvent should be easy to solvent and interferes the extraction process. [54] Methanol is the
remove and inert. Normally the solvent selection is based on the semi polar solvent which can extract many of the
increasing polarity order like the order of acetone, petroleum phytoconstituents and water is the polar solvent which is cheap
ether, ethyl acetate, chloroform, methanol, ethanol and water.[46- solvent and nontoxic.[25] Numbers of polar constituents are
50,53] The petroleum ether is commonly used for the extraction of isolated by water and which is also suitable for the animal studies
the steroids and fixed oils, and also used for the removal of the and human studies. The solvent suitable for phytoconstituents is
chlorophyll from the leaf powder; some of the researchers uses set out in the table 3. And some researchers extracted plant
petroleum ether for defatting of the plant material. After defatting, material by using soxhlet method which is shown in the table 4.

Table 3: Selection of Solvent for Active Constituent Extraction for Soxhlet Extraction [26]
Non polar solvent Semi polar solvent Polar solvent
Examples Petroleum ether, chloroform, Diethyl Ethanol, Acetone Water
Phyto constituents Alkaloids Tannins Anthocyanins
Terpenoids Polyphenols Starches
Coumarins Polyacetylenes Tannins
Fatty acids Flavonols Saponins
Flavonoids Terpenoids Terpenoids
Sterols Polypeptides
Alkaloids Lectins

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Table 4: Various Plant Materials for Soxhlet Extraction Plant name Part of the Solvent for extraction / Active component Medicinal Researche
plant Percentage yield uses r
1. Bougainville Leaves Methanol Steroids, Flavonoids, Glycosides Analgesic, Elumalai A
a glabra Terpenoid Antipyretic et al.
and Anti-
2. Clitoriaterna Leaves Petroleum Steroids, Analgesic Shital S
tea Linn Ether Glycoside, Flavonoids, activity Chavan et
(3.95% w/w) Tannins, al.
3. Sida Leaves, Ethanol Carbohydrates, Glycosides, Anthelmintic Lavanyaet
cordata flowers, fruits Alkaloids, Flavonoids, al.
4. Hygrophilad Aerial parts Petroleum ether, Cardiac glycosides, Tannins, Anthelmintic EmdadHos
ifformis Benzene, Chloroform and Steroids,FlavonoidsSaponins sain et al.
Ethanol [27]
(4.26, 3.25, 1.85, 9.17%
5. Zanthoxylu Stem Benzene, Flavonoids,Glycosides, Alkaloids, anti in- Parthiban
mrhetsa Ethanol, Water Aleurone, Starch,Amino acids, flammatory et al. [28]
Lignin, Volatile oil,Fats, Fixed oils,
Mucilage, Pectins,Proteins,Steroids,
6. Tecomasta Leaves Petroleum ether, Carbohydrates, Glycosides, Tannins, Anti-microbial Boopathi et
nsandMunti Ethanol Flavonoids, Steroids, activity al.
ngiacalabur Saponins, Terpenoids.
7. Eclipta alba Aerial parts 50%Ethanol [41] Voside, Saponin, ß Avonoid, Tannin, Antianaphylac Patel MB
Alkaloid,Coumarins. tic et al.
8. Euphorbia Stems Petroleum ether (3.38%), Steroids, Alkaloids, Flavonoids Anti-Allergic Sanjay R.
hirta L. Ethyl acetate (2.58%), Triterpenoids Arote et al.
Methanol (4.42%) Water
9. Cordiasubc Bark Ethanol - Anti-asthmatic PandiSelvi
ordata Lam. (18.5% w/w) activity et al.
10. Alternanthe Stems 50% Methanol (20% Alkaloids, Glycosides, Terpenoids, Antiasthmatic Mamillapall
rasessilis L. w/w) Tannins, Flavonoids, Steroids, iVani et al.
Amino acids, Proteins [28]
11. Passiflorafo Leaves Methanol - Antidepressan Mangala et
etida t al.
12. Carissa Leaves Petroleum ether, Tannins, Anti- Neeli Rose
spinarum Chloroform, Ethanol Flavonoids,Alkaloid,Steroids. inflammatory Beck et al.
Water (1.12%, 0.61%, [29]
5.63% and 9.88% w/w)
13. Centellaasi Leaves Methanol Polyphenolic content, Triterpenoids, Anti- MeenaVan
atica (13.3 %) Flavonoids. inflammatory galapati et
al. [30]
14. Merremiae Whole plant Ethanol Flavonoids, Terpenes, Anticancer Purushoth
marginata Alkaloids Prabhu et
15. Gardenia Leaves Ethanol Terpenoids, Flavonoids, Phenols, Cytotoxic Vindhya et
latifolia Glycosides, Phytosterols, Tannins, activity al.
16. Rumexhast Roots Ethanol Anthraquinone, Glycoside, Antidiarrhoeal Shakuntala
atus Tannins,Flavonoids activity el al.
17. Anthocepha Flowering tops 70% Ethanol Tannins, Antidiarrhoeal AshrafulAla
luscadamba Alkaloids, Saponins, Flavonoids, activity m et al.
SterolTriterpenes [32]
18. Erythrinafus Stem Bark 70% Ethanol - Anti‐epileptic SubalDebn
ca activity ath et al.
19. Vignamung Seeds Ethanol extract Alkaloids, Carbohydrate, Glycoside, Nootropic Saleem
o Linn Phytosterol,Tannins,Saponins,Pheno activity Ahmed et
ls,Proteins al.
20. Cucumisme Peels Petroleum ether, Carbohydrate, Flavonoids, Saponin, Anti- Dhanaji D
lo Linn. Chloroform, Tannins[52] hyperlipidemic Ghanwat et
MethanolDistilled water activity al.
(8.2, 10.1, 4.2, 8.5% w/w)
21. Barleriaprio Leaves Methanol Alkaloids, Flavonoids, Steroids, Antihypertensi Bhavna H.
nitis . Saponins,Tannin,Phenolic ve activity Marya et
compounds al.
22. Aeglemarm Leaves Ethanol - Anti-obesity Randhir
elos activity Singh et al.

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23. Canthiumco Leaves Chloroform, Steroids, Alkaloids, Glycosides, antioxidant DinakarSa

romandelic MethanolDistilled water Saponins, Flavonoids, Phenolic property smal et al.
um (6,4,5.10% w/w) compounds, Tannins, Triterpenoids, [34]
Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats[50,51]
24. Aervalanata Stem Distilled water. Phenolic compounds, Saponins, Anti-ulcer RajithaIndu
Flavonoids, Tannins kuri et al.
Phyto sterols [35]
25. Angelica Whole plant Methanol - Anti-anxiety Kumar et
archangelic (12.8%w/w) Activity al.
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