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New Technology of High Efficiency Extraction of Traditional Chinese Medicine by Membrane Method

  • Traditional Chinese medicine is a treasure in the splendid cultural of the Chinese nation for thousands of years. Its unique efficacy occupies a very important position in the field of medicine in the world. For thousands of years, Decoction of traditional Chinese medicine, mainly decocted in water, has been the main way of clinical medication of traditional Chinese medicine. At present, water decoction is still the basic extraction technology for most Chinese medicine manufacturers in China. The composition of water extract of traditional Chinese medicine is extremely complex, and the content of active ingredients is generally low. It often contains non-active ingredients such as starch, protein, mucus, pigments, gum, pectin, etc. and also contains toxic ingredients. There are about 7000 kinds of Chinese traditional medicine products on the market in China. Most of them still show the characteristics of "big, black and coarse". Especially, more than 80-95% of solid preparations are invalid impurities and excipients, and the effective ingredients account for about 3-20% of the product quality.


    Traditional extraction method


    The traditional refining methods are mainly chemical treatment, general mechanical filtration (such as plate frame, adsorption and high-speed centrifugation), water extraction and alcohol precipitation or alcohol extraction and water precipitation, solvent extraction, etc. The phenomenon of backmixing and even precipitation often occurs. The low active ingredients in the product make the dosage of the preparation large. There are also problems such as large solvent consumption, long production cycle, unstable product quality, high energy consumption during high temperature concentration, large amount of wastewater from production and extraction, and environmental protection burden. It is difficult to meet the needs of modernization and internationalization of traditional Chinese medicine.


    Membrane Separation by Extraction Method


    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 "removing roughness and preserving essence" of traditional Chinese medicine. Membrane separation technology has the characteristics of energy saving, environmental protection and high efficiency. It is internationally recognized as one of the most promising high and new technologies in this century. It has been well applied in food, medicine, chemical industry, water treatment and environmental protection. It is also considered as one of the high and new technologies urgently needed to be popularized in Chinese traditional medicine pharmaceutical industry.


    In recent years, a number of enterprises in Chinese traditional medicine industry have taken the lead in using membrane separation technology and achieved great economic and social benefits. In addition, the absorption of traditional Chinese medicines is achieved through the process of biofilm transport. The absorption rate is directly related to the size of effective components, which coincides with the separation principle of membrane separation technology, i.e. pore size screening. Therefore, a new refinement technology of traditional Chinese medicine with membrane separation as the core is established to break through the traditional "water-alcohol method". The integrated membrane technology is used to transform the production process of "solid-liquid separation, purification and concentration" in the traditional Chinese medicine industry, so as to realize the high efficiency, environmental protection, stability and intelligent control of the production of traditional Chinese medicine.


    Application of Membrane Integration Technology in the Preparation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Preparations


    Membrane integration technology of traditional Chinese medicine preparations is formed by microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration or reverse osmosis. The most widely used technologies are Chinese medicine extract, oral liquid, injection and so on. The application of membrane integration technology in the field of traditional Chinese medicine can increase the product recovery rate by 5-10% and purity by 20-50% or higher, or even shorten the production cycle by about half. It occupies a smaller area and reduces energy consumption by 30-80%.


    Preparation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Liquor

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


    Preparation of Pure Water

    Since 1975, the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) has stipulated reverse osmosis as a legal method for the preparation of water for injection in seven successive editions. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia (2005 edition) began to use reverse osmosis as a method for the preparation of purified water. Through rough filtration, ultrafiltration, electrodialysis and reverse osmosis, the impurities and harmful substances such as particles, pyrogens and inorganic salts in tap water can be removed effectively, stably and with low energy consumption.


    Comprehensive Utilization of Waste Resources of Traditional Chinese Medicine


    In the production of traditional Chinese medicine, the detergent of raw materials and the residue detergent or extract after extraction contain the target product or other active ingredients. Because of its low concentration and difficult recovery, it is usually discharged directly as wastewater. Membrane separation technology, as an economical purification method, can recycle and utilize the effective components.


    The Outline of Strategic Planning for the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2016-2030), issued by the State Council recently, 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 TCM is one of the few scientific and technological fields with original advantages in China and an important manifestation of scientific and technological competitiveness in the field of medicine and health in China. The key tasks are formulated as follows: promoting the transformation and upgrading of TCM industry and implementing the green manufacturing project of TCM. Membrane technology has the characteristics of energy saving, environmental protection and high efficiency. It is internationally recognized as "the key technology of green manufacturing". It is believed that membrane technology will inevitably play an increasingly important role in the pharmaceutical industry of traditional Chinese medicine.

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