Plant extracts industry is concurrently on one edge industry of the pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, agricultural industry. Exports of Chinese plant extracts in many years ago had been exceeded the medicine exports. Plant extracts and their products (herbal medicine or food supplements) have broad market prospects in Europe and United State, has developed into an annual sales of nearly 8 billion dollars in emerging industries. Overall plant extracts are intermediate products, the use are very widely, mainly for pharmaceutical raw materials, health food, tobacco, cosmetics raw materials or accessories. The plant extraction of raw materials species are also very much.
Plant extracts is the raw materials and components of the modern herbal, but some plant extracts were directly as medicine. Many European countries are accustomed to called herbal medicine as natural medicine, meaning those from nature, for the treatment of diseases without chemical treatment drugs, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine should contain in it.
Plant extracts producing is inextricably linked with the process of the development of the Chinese herbal medicine, first is extracted by hydroalcoholic methods or the alcohol-water-based extract; second is using modern separation techniques and detection techniques refined and quantified. Both the two production methods have their own advantages, mainly for various plants. Wherein the second use the modern separation techniques purified extract, using fine and perfect equipment, and often used in extracting a substance that the conventional method is difficult to extract, such as lycopene, etc., these substances occupies position in the medical, health is increasingly high. thus the method has broad prospects for development.
Pharmaceutical equipment used in the production process of the plant extract, Chinese earliest use extraction apparatus is a simple cooking equipment, generally use water-extraction method. As technology advances, gradually use water + solvent extraction method. This method is widely used in China. Such as the extraction process of traditional Chinese medicine, often include: extraction-refined-enrichment-preparation processes. Extraction is to bear the brunt of the critical process. Extraction processes and equipment determines the quality of the extract, and basically determines the quality of the product components. The main apparatus includes the distillation equipment, mixing equipment, extraction equipment and drying apparatus. About the second separating method, now it mainly uses high performance liquid chromatography, i.e. high performance liquid chromatograph. Due to equipment limited, the yield is less.
Despite the overall pharmaceutical exports are not satisfactory, but the market still has a larger space. And as the economy recovers, as the future industry, plant extracts industry must be able to get a better development.