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Application of membrane integration technology in the processing of traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the treasure of the splendid culture of the Chinese nation for thousands of years. It has unique effects and occupies a very important position in the field of medicine in the world.For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine decoctions based on decoction in water have been the main method of clinical use of Chinese medicine.At present, most Chinese medicine manufacturers still use water decocting as the basic extraction process.
The composition of the water extract of Chinese medicine is extremely complex, and the content of medicinal ingredients is generally low.The composition of the water extract of Chinese medicine is extremely complex, and the content of medicinal ingredients is generally low. It often contains non-medicinal ingredients such as starch, protein, mucilage, pigment, gum, and pectin. It also contains toxic ingredients, which results in large amounts of Chinese medicine preparations,strong hygroscopicity and difficulty in preparing quick-acting dosage forms.

In recent years, there are about 7000 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine products on the market in China. Many products still show the characteristics of "big, black and coarse". In particular, more than 80-95% of solid preparation products are invalid impurities and excipients, and the effective ingredients account for about 3-20% of product quality.Traditional refining methods mainly include chemical treatment, general mechanical filtration (such as plate and frame, adsorption and high-speed centrifugation), water extraction and alcohol precipitation or alcohol extraction water precipitation, solvent extraction, etc. There are many problems, such as high solvent consumption, long production cycle, unstable product quality, high energy consumption during high temperature concentration, large amount of extraction wastewater and environmental burden, which are difficult to meet the needs of modernization and internationalization of traditional Chinese medicine.In order to realize the modernization of traditional Chinese medicine, high-tech technology can be applied to improve the quality of traditional Chinese medicine products, and obtain the effect of "discard the dross and select the essential " of traditional Chinese medicine.

Membrane separation technology has the characteristics of energy saving, environmental protection and high efficiency. It has benn recognized internationally as a major high-tech with the most promising development in this century. It has been widely applied in food, medicine, chemical industry, water treatment and environmental protection. It is also regarded as one of the high and new technologies urgently needed to be promoted in Chinese traditional medicine pharmaceutical industry.In recent years, there are also a number of enterprises in China's traditional Chinese medicine industry who have taken the lead in adopting membrane separation technology, which has obtained huge economic and social benefits.In addition, the absorption method of traditional Chinese medicine is realized through the biomembrane transport process, and the absorption rate is directly related to the particle size of the active ingredient of the medicine, which coincides with the separation principle of membrane separation technology, namely, the pore size screening effect.Therefore, a new type of traditional Chinese medicine refining technology with membrane separation as the core is established to form a breakthrough in the traditional "Hydro-alcohol method"; the production process of "solid-liquid separation, purification and concentration" in traditional Chinese medicine industry is transformed by integrated membrane integration technology, so as to realize the high efficiency, environmental protection, stability and intelligent control of traditional Chinese medicine production.

1. Application of Membrane Integration Technology in Preparation of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Through a variety of membrane combination methods such as microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration or reverse osmosis, a traditional Chinese medicine preparation membrane integration technology is formed. The most widely used membrane integration technology is traditional Chinese medicine extract, oral liquid, injection, etc. the application of membrane integration technology in the field of traditional Chinese medicine can improve the product yield by 5-10% and the purity by 20-50%, or even higher; the production cycle is shortened by about half, the floor area is smaller, and the energy consumption is reduced by 30-80%. 

2. Preparation of traditional Chinese medicine liquor

Membrane separation technology is used in the preparation of traditional Chinese medicinal liquor, which has a good effect on improving the stability and clarity of medicinal liquor.A company broke through the traditional Chinese medicine purification and separation method, built the first Chinese medicine extraction refining concentration production line with membrane integration technology as the core at home and abroad, reformed the traditional method of "solid-liquid separation, purification and concentration", and realized the upgrading of traditional Chinese medicine industry.Using ceramic ultrafiltration membrane to treat traditional Chinese medicine, the transfer rate of effective components is 20% higher than that of traditional alcohol precipitation process; the transfer rate of further purification by organic membrane is 80-97%; 80-90% of solvent is removed by nanofiltration membrane; the production cycle is shortened from 12 days to 2 days, energy consumption is reduced by 10%, resource utilization rate is increased by 15%, and labor productivity is increased by 30%.

3. Pure water preparation 
Since 1975, the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) has specified reverse osmosis as the legal method for the preparation of water for injection in seven consecutive editions. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia (2005 Edition) began to use reverse osmosis as a method to prepare purified water.Through coarse filtration, ultrafiltration, electrodialysis, reverse osmosis, etc., impurities and harmful substances such as particulates, pyrogens, and inorganic salts in tap water can be removed effectively, stably and with low energy consumption.

4. Comprehensive utilization of waste resources of traditional Chinese Medicine
In the production of traditional Chinese medicine, the washing liquid of raw materials and the washing liquid or extraction liquid of medicine residue after extraction contain the target product or other effective ingredients. Due to their low concentration and difficulty in recovery, they are generally discharged directly as wastewater.As an economic purification method, membrane separation technology can be used to recycle the effective components.
The State Council recently issued the outline of strategic planning for the development of traditional Chinese medicine (2016-2030), which regards the inheritance and innovation of traditional Chinese medicine as an important aspect of the national science and technology strategy. It is clearly pointed out that traditional Chinese medicine is one of the few science and technology fields with original advantages in China and an important embodiment of scientific and technological competitiveness in the field of medicine and health. The key tasks are to promote the transformation and upgrading of Chinese medicine industry and implement green manufacturing project of traditional Chinese medicine.Because membrane technology has the characteristics of energy saving, environmental protection, and high efficiency, it is recognized internationally as "key technology for green manufacturing". It is believed that membrane technology will inevitably play an increasingly important role in the Chinese medicine pharmaceutical industry.

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