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I want to make extracts of Black seeds. I do not posses any professional equipment, I just want to ask if it's possible to make extracts by soaking the seeds in ethanol for a long time and then evaporating it. Will the dissolved extracts evaporate with the solvent?

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  • $\begingroup$ How about identifying and checking the boiling point(s) of these "essential oils" and compare them to ethanol? $\endgroup$ – Karl Sep 10 '16 at 7:58
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The primary compounds of potential theraputic interest are all far less volatile than ethanol. Ethanol based tinctures are sold and even have available MSDS, so at least some of the oils of interest are soluble. In looking at the chemical structures of the predominant oils of nigella sativa I would guess that they should all be fairly soluble in ethanol. In some ways it seems that pure acetone (available at pharmacy) might make a better solvent and is even much more volatile even than ethanol. If you used acetone, be certain to dry it via heating and time such that there is no scent of acetone remaining. This shouldn't be difficult.

Anyway, to answer your question: ethanol should be a good solvent and it should not be difficult to remove the majority of the ethanol from the far less volatile oils just by drying in air for sufficient time (until you don't smell alcohol).

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Ethanol itself may or may not make a suitable solvent.

Use caution when experimenting with denatured ethanol for such purposes. Denatured ethanol (alcohol) is tempting to use for home chemistry because of its low cost and availability. However, the alduterants used to denature the ethanol may not be volatile. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol . Then the extract would be denatured black seed oil. FYI

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  • $\begingroup$ I read that some US government laboratories suffer from too many hoops to jump through to order impurity free 96.5% or 99+% alcohol for in-house use that they have decided to standardise on 90+% Everclear spirits which has water as the major adulterant. This is a reasonably safe source of food safe (when diluted) ethanol. Random alcohol (is denatured unless otherwise indicated and) has various compounds that are either harmful or objectionable for human consumption. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Feb 14 '17 at 19:47

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