Abstract: Eclipta prostrasta L. is a traditional Chinese medicine herb, which is rich in saponins and has strong antiviral and antitumor activities. An ultrasonic-assisted extraction (UAE) technique was developed for the fast extraction of saponins from E. prostrasta. The content of total saponins in E. prostrasta was determined using UV/vis spectrophotometric methods. Several influential parameters like ethanol concentration, extraction time, temperature, and liquid/solid ratio were investigated for the optimization of the extraction using single factor and Box-Behnken experimental designs. Extraction conditions were optimized for maximum yield of total saponins in E. prostrasta using response surface methodology (RSM) with 4 independent variables at 3 levels of each variable. Results showed that the optimization conditions for saponins extraction were: ethanol concentration 70%, extraction time 3 h, temperature 70 °C, and liquid/solid ratio 14:1. Corresponding saponins content was 2.096%. The mathematical model developed was found to fit well with the experimental data.
Practical Application: Although there are wider applications of Eclipta prostrasta L. as a functional food or traditional medicine due to its various bioactivities, these properties are limited by its crude extracts. Total saponins are the main active ingredient of E. prostrasta. This research has optimized the extraction conditions of total saponins from E. prostrasta, which will provide useful reference information for further studies, and offer related industries with helpful guidance in practice.