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The extraction of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) was carried out with different solvents to obtain valuable components and natural agents rich extracts. Further aim of this study was to compare the raw materials that were gathered at the beginning and the end of the blossoming.

For the laboratory Soxhlet extraction of St. John's wort four different solvents (n‐hexane, ethyl acetate, 2‐propanol, ethanol) were applied. Increasing the polarity of solvents higher extraction yields were achieved (43–360 g/kg). Pilot plant experiments were performed in a 5·10 3 m3 volume Soxhlet extractor with ethanol and in a 5·10 3 m3 volume high‐pressure vessel at 313K and 45 MPa with supercritical CO2. The extract samples were analyzed by UV‐visible spectrophotometry and high‐performance liquid chromatography methods.

The effective extraction of both main compounds (hypericin and hyperforin) was achieved. The sample gathered at the end of the blossoming extracted with nonpolar solvent (sc‐CO2) at mild temperature (∼313K) provided stable hyperforin rich extract. The sample gathered at the begining of the blossoming extracted with polar solvent (ethanol) at mild temperature (∼313K) provided stable hypericin rich extract.

Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) is among the favorite herbal drugs, and is the only herbal alternative to classical synthetic antidepressants, in the therapy of mild‐to‐moderate depression. Several studies describe that the active ingredients in St. John's wort are hypericin and hyperforin, which inhibit the reuptake of monoamines, including serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine, as well as the amino acid neurotransmitters γ‐aminobutiric acid and glutamate. The results from this study can be used for produce a stable hyperforin‐rich extract and a stable hypericin rich extract. These extracts can be utilized for a production of food supplement herbal preparations which standardized on both main compounds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemical and Environmental Process Engineering, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, H-1521 Budafoki út 8 Budapest, Hungary 2: Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Szeged, H-6720, Eötvös utca 6. Szeged, Hungary 3: Gradiens Ltd, H-1143 Ilka utca 11, Budapest, Hungary

Publication date: 01 April 2012

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