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Soxhlet Extraction

Ms. Mounika Ray, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy.

Extraction is a process of isolation of chemical components from a natural origin to an accessible solvent. There are many devices used for extraction process among which soxhlet apparatus is most commonly used instrument. This apparatus is used for extraction of many volatile and nonvolatile components from plant origin. In this process, same organic solvent is circulated through the extractor several time for continues extraction, which is later collected in the round bottom flask as a condensed liquid.

Soxhlet apparatus:

This apparatus is a specially designed body attached with a side tube and siphon tube. The lower end of the extractor is also attached to a distillation flask and mouth of the extractor is fixed to a condenser by the standard joints. Fixing condenser with a distillation flask is known as Extraction assembly.

The raw plant parts or its powder form can be used for the extraction process, where it is packed in the apparatus in the apparatus directly or in a thimble of filter paper or fine muslin cloth. The diameter of thimble corresponds to the internal diameter of soxhlet extractors.


As soxhlet apparatus is one of the ancient device used for the extraction it has wide application area. This process is mostly used in solid-liquid extraction of various field like environment, food and pharmaceutical technology. This is a widely accepted method in drug extraction in various references and standard literature. Cosmeceutically, this method can also be used for extraction of many volatile oils that can be used for beautification and also skin care. Despite of development of technology of extraction, soxhlet extraction still holds its position in extraction science.


  1. J. Chem. Educ.2007, 84, 12, 1913 Publication Date:December 1, 2007 https:// 1021/ed084p1913
  2. Kevin M. Jones, Iain A. Smellie, and Iain L. J. Patterson . An Easily-Assembled Soxhlet Extractor to Demonstrate Continuous Extraction. Journal of Chemical Education201794 (6) , 819-820.


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