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The principle ways of obtaining an extract (Melisa officinalis)

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The principle ways of obtaining an extract (Melisa officinalis)

Post by Agrimony on Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:02 am

Let us suppose then that the herb known as Balm, Lemonbalm, or
Melissa (Melisa officinalis) has been selected. After the selection of
the desired herb from which the true alchemical medicinal potencies
shall be derived, we shall now consider the principle ways of obtaining
an extract. They are as follows:

1. Maceration
The fresh or dried herb is soaked in water and left standing in
room temperature.
2. Circulation
The fresh or dried herb is circulated (percolated) . This is
accomplished by having a condenser over the flask which lets
the moisture condense and drip back into the bottom container.
It then repeats this process which is also known as reflux.
3. Extraction
The fresh or dried herb is put in a thimble and both are placed
in a Soxhlet Extractor for extraction.

The above three ways are chiefly employed to obtain the extract or
the tincture.

Either of the three procedures can be used to obtain an extract.
Water, Alcohol or Ether may be used as extraction media (menstrum).

A tincture derived from a distillation with water does not
contain as much of the essential essence of the herb as the macerated
herbal extract obtained by immersion in alcohol or ether. To obtain all
possible essence, including the oily substance inherent in the herb,
the latter method, that by extracting it in an extraction apparatus
(Soxhlet or other), is preferable.

After the extraction of the essence, the herb will remain as a dead
residue from which the life has been taken in the form of the liquid
essence in either one of the above described three methods.

These feces, as they are called, or in alchemical language, "Caput Mortum,"
meaning dead head, are then taken and burned to ashes.

This is now the "Calcination" operation
This is accomplished by taking the residue and placing it in an earthenware or
porcelain dish which is placed over the fire. The contents of the dish
are burned to a blackness from which state they will gradually
change to a light gray color. After these ashes have become light,
they should be placed into a mortar and ground to a fine powder
with a pestle.

The two principles of Essence and Salt have now been presented.
However, before taking the next difficult step of joining the Essence
to the Salt( and thus producing an alchemical manifestation), a few
words dealing with what the Essence and Salt represent should be
carefully noted by the reader.

(1) The Essence (Quintessence) or active force in the vegetable
kingdom is the same in all plant life.
(2) The Salt or ashes to which any plant can be reduced differs
from one plant to another.

In the herbal process, the separation of the Sulphur from the Mercury
(Essence) is not as essential as in the mineral work. Therefore,
the beginner will not use the three alchemical substances separately,
but will use Mercury and Sulphur combined and Salt separately.

The first two (forming one liquid in the herbal extraction) are joined to
the Salt, and from this combination, the alchemical medicine or elixir
is then produced. In this way, from any herb an elixir can be made
by art that is more potent than either the tincture, extract, or Salt
taken alone, as is commonly prescribed by present-day therapeutics.

Frater Albertus.

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