(19)
(11)EP 3 032 958 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 14752557.0

(22)Date of filing:  31.07.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A23F 3/22  (2006.01)
A23F 3/34  (2006.01)
A23L 27/10  (2016.01)
B65D 85/808  (2006.01)
A23F 3/30  (2006.01)
A23L 5/00  (2016.01)
A61K 8/97  (2017.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2014/002112
(87)International publication number:
WO 2015/014497 (05.02.2015 Gazette  2015/05)

(54)

EDIBLE PRODUCT COMPRISING RECONSTITUTED PLANT MATERIAL

ESSBARES PRODUKT MIT EINEM REKONSTITUIERTEN PFLANZENMATERIAL

PRODUIT COMESTIBLE COMPRENANT UNE MATIÈRE VÉGÉTALE RECONSTITUÉE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 02.08.2013 US 201361861541 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
22.06.2016 Bulletin 2016/25

(73)Proprietor: SWM Luxembourg s.a.r.l.
5326 Contern (LU)

(72)Inventors:
  • RAGOT, Philippe
    5720 Aspelt (LU)
  • PONS, Esther
    F-33600 Pessac (FR)
  • MOMPON, Bernard
    F-56000 Vannes (FR)
  • ROUSSEAU, Cedric
    F-72000 Le Mans (FR)

(74)Representative: Jones Day 
Rechtsanwälte, Attorneys-at-Law, Patentanwälte Prinzregentenstrasse 11
80538 München
80538 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2014/134254
GB-A- 2 007 079
WO-A2-2012/056141
US-A- 3 428 053
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Field



    [0001] The present invention generally relates to edible products comprising fibrous plant products and plant extracts applied thereto. Also described herein are corresponding methods for producing said edible products and their use in at least one of food, food supplement, medicinal, cosmetic, well-being, nutraceutical or phytotherapeutical applications. The plants used may be all plants comprising one or more substances of interest for an edible product.

    Background



    [0002] Today, materials originating from a plant are used in many applications. Such materials are consumed, e.g. as food, food supplement, medicine, for cosmetic reasons or simply for pleasure (taste, color, shape). Native or processed plants can be consumed in different forms, e.g. fresh, dehydrated, cooked, fermented or concentrated (extracts). It is known that food quality has a major impact on health and that plant based materials provide many essential nutrients. It is, for instance, recommended to eat five fruits and vegetables a day to receive a sufficient amount of essential substances such as proteins, sugars, lipids, amino acids, vitamins, polyphenols and aromatic derivates, as well as soluble and insoluble fibers.

    [0003] People tend to complement or even substitute direct vegetal product consumption (vegetals in their original form) by plant-based material in form of pills, capsules, gums, drops, powders or the like to receive sufficient essential substances. Plant-based material is consumed not only as food supplement but also as nutraceutics, for beauty (e.g. anti-aging), health or traditional medicine/phytotherapy.

    [0004] Nature is a source of medicinal products for millennia, with many useful drugs developed from plant sources. However, the quality and concentration of substances and functionality, e.g. color, taste or humidity of plants, varies depending on the origin of species (seeds), the geographic localization, seasonality, the nature of the soil, growing conditions, harvest date, etc. Further, natural plants can comprise undesired substances or be contaminated, e.g. with bacterial loads, pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins and toxic substances. Still further, the desired substances from a natural plant can in many cases not be easily extracted during digestion, e.g. the lycopene trapped in the skin of tomatoes.

    [0005] WO2104/134254 A1 relates to an infusion product for making a beverage. More specifically, it relates to a plant-based composition for making a beverage and to a herbal and/or vegetable composition or bouquet garni.

    [0006] WO2012/056141 A2 relates to a method for producing articles impregnated with at least one plant extract from at least one plant.

    [0007] There is still a need to improve products originating from plant materials, e.g., for nutraceutical or phytotherapeutical or food supplement use. In particular, it is desirable to control the amount of substances originating from plant materials as well as conditions and time needed to achieve a desired effect.

    Summary



    [0008] The present invention provides an edible product comprising a layer of fibrous plant product and two or more layers of plant extract; wherein each layer of plant extract comprises one or more substances, and wherein each layer of plant extract comprises different substances.

    [0009] In one embodiment, the fibrous plant product and/or the plant extract comprise substances from one or more specific parts of one or more plants.

    [0010] In one embodiment, the plant is selected from one or more of the group consisting of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables, or spices.

    [0011] In one embodiment, the plant extract is applied to the fibrous plant product as a fluid or a gel or a slurry or a powder; wherein the plant extract comprises one or more substances from one or more types of plants of the fibrous plant product; and/or wherein the plant extract is soluble or dispersible or water-soluble.

    [0012] In one embodiment, the fibrous plant product and/or the plant extract comprises a blend of different plants.

    [0013] In one embodiment, the fibrous plant product comprises at least 30% or 40% or 50% or 60% or 70% or 80% or 90% or 100% by weight of fibrous plant product from one plant.

    [0014] In one embodiment, the plant extract comprises at least 30% or 40% or 50% or 60% or 70% or 80% or 90% or 100% by weight of plant extract from one plant.

    [0015] In one embodiment, the product is a sheet or a tablet or a pellet or a granule.

    [0016] The present invention also provides a kit of parts comprising the product of the invention.

    [0017] The present invention also provides use of the product according to the invention as a nutraceutical, a phytotherapeutical, or a food supplement.

    [0018] The invention relates to an edible product comprising plant materials as raw materials. In particular, the edible product may comprise a fibrous plant product and a plant extract. The fibrous plant product may comprise solid parts of a plant and the plant extract may comprise substances extracted from a plant. The fibrous plant product may form a layer on which the plant extract is applied to. Alternatively, the fibrous plant product can have any shape like pieces, sheets or powder and the plant extract can be applied likewise to the fibrous plant product. According to the invention it is possible to first separate substances from one or more plants and combine one or more of the remaining or separated substances subsequently.

    [0019] In the easiest case one plant is separated into a plant extract and a fibrous plant product. Subsequently the fibrous plant product and the plant extract are combined to obtain a reconstructed or reconstituted version of the original plant with improved properties. For example, certain substances of the original plant may be easily water-soluble and others not. In this way one can accelerate or even control the release or extraction rate of substances. Also, there can be higher concentrations of certain or all substances as compared to the natural plant.

    [0020] The fibrous plant product may have at least partially fibrous properties and can comprise substances from one or more specific parts of one or more plants, e.g. a blend of different plants. Also the plant extract can comprises substances from one or more specific parts of one or more plants, e.g. a blend of different plants. Certain substances can be present only in certain parts of a plant, e.g. in one or more of the root, stem, trunk, caulis, leaf, lamina, fruit, flower, seed or bark of a plant. The plant extract may be soluble, e.g. water-soluble, or dispersible.

    [0021] The plant extract may comprise one or more substances from one or more types of plants of the fibrous plant product. In other words, the plant(s) used as raw material(s) for the fibrous plant product and the plant extract may at least partially be the same.

    [0022] The plant can be selected from one or more of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. Examples of plants that are useful in accordance with the present invention are provided in the list shown below. The plant can also be selected from one or more plants containing anthocyanins or carotinoids, or flavonoids. Basically every plant having one or more desired substances for an edible product can be used, e.g. for food, food supplement, medicinal, cosmetic, well-being, nutraceutical or phytotherapeutical applications. Also, any combination of two or more plants can be used.

    [0023] The product comprises a layer of fibrous plant product on which two or more layers of plant extract are provided, each layer comprising certain substance(s) to provide a certain effect. The plant extract can be applied to the fibrous plant product as a fluid or a gel or a slurry or a powder.

    [0024] The fibrous plant product may comprise at least about 30% or at least about 40% or at least about 50% or at least about 60 % or at least about 70% or at least about 80% or at least about 90% or about 100% by weight of fibrous plant product from one plant. Similarly, the plant extract may comprises at least about 30% or at least about 40% or at least about 50% or at least about 60 % or at least about 70% or at least about 80% or at least about 90% or about 100% by weight of plant extract from one plant.

    [0025] Depending on the intended use, the edible product can be a sheet, e.g. a paper like sheet, or a powder or a cream or a slurry or a paste or a foam or a liquid or a tablet or a pellet or a granule. The edible product can be substantially dry, but can optionally be rehydrated, e.g. before use. For example, for use in a food application a dry powder may be rehydrated with water or other liquids or solvents to obtain an edible composition, e.g. a soup. Also, should the edible product be stored or further processed, e.g. finalized or pre-finalized for a specific application, it can be in form of a powder or a sheet for storage or transportation to the finalization process.

    [0026] The edible product can be one or more of a food, food supplement, medicine, cosmetic, nutraceutical or phytotherapeutic. In the context of the invention a food supplement may not only comprise minerals, vitamins, etc. but may further comprise products for altering the taste or mouthfeel of a food, e.g. spices. Also, the edible product can be used in a method for treating a disease or disorder. Further, the invention also provides a kit of parts comprising the edible product according to the invention.

    [0027] The edible product can be produced, at least partially, from certain plants with high level of insoluble fibers. Insoluble fiber is found in the skins of vegetables and fruit and the bran portion of whole grains. Insoluble fiber helps promote regularity and a healthy digestive system. Insoluble fibers are considered gut-healthy fiber because they have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. These fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Natural insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

    [0028] The edible product according to the invention can be used for one or more of a food, food supplement, medicinal, cosmetic, well-being, nutraceutical or phytotherapeutical application.

    [0029] Also disclosed herein is a method for producing an edible product according to the invention. The method may comprise the steps of:
    1. a) extracting one or more substances of at least one plant to obtain a plant extract;
    2. b) separating the plant extract from the at least partially fibrous residue;
    3. c) optionally refining the residue;
    4. d) preparing a sheet like product from at least a part of the residue;
    5. e) optionally concentrating or purifying or aromatizing the plant extract;
    6. f) applying the plant extract of step b) or e) to the sheet of step d); and
    7. g) optionally drying the product of step f)


    [0030] It is also possible to select one or more substances or parts from the residue before a product is prepared in step d). Step e) optionally also comprises the selection of certain substances and the filtering of undesired substances. The selection of plants is similar to the respective discussion relating to the product.

    [0031] In step a) a solvent can be used to extract the one or more substances. A solvent can be any known solvent, such as a polar protic, apolar protic, polar aprotic, apolar aprotic solvent. Also a combination of solvents can be used. The one or more solvents can be determined based on the plant(s) to be processed and the substance(s) to be extracted. Alternatively or in addition to a solvent, extracting the one or more substances can be achieved by mechanical force. To extract substance(s) via mechanical force the plant(s) can be pressed by any known mechanical press or by altering the ambient pressure. Depending on the plant(s) and the substance(s) to be extracted even a simple filtering can be used alone or in addition to solvent(s) or mechanical force as some plants, e.g. after cutting, liberate substances, e.g. in form of liquids. Other filtering means can be used in combination with mechanical vibration, e.g. to separate solid substances such as pollen, from a plant.

    [0032] The extracting step can be performed using components of a single plant or of a blend of plants. Also, as explained in combination with the product, one or more specific parts of plants can be used.

    [0033] The at least partially fibrous residue can be mixed with an at least partially fibrous part of at least one further plant prior to preparing the sheet. In this way substances from different origin and with different properties, e.g. mechanical or pharmaceutical, can be mixed together to obtain desired product properties. Also, the at least partially fibrous residue can be mixed with a stabilizer prior to preparing the sheet. For example, the fibrous residue can be mixed with synthetic and/or natural fibers to obtain certain mechanical properties, wherein the fibers are preferably non soluble and/or are approved by food laws.

    [0034] The plant extract of step b) or e) can be mixed with a plant extract of at least one further plant prior to applying the plant extract to the sheet. Also, the plant extract of step b) or e) can be mixed with a texturing agent prior to applying the plant extract to the sheet. Texturing agents, e.g. emulsifiers or stabilizers or phosphates or dough conditioners, can be used to add or modify the overall texture or mouthfeel of products. Soluble fibers can also be added to the plant extract to modify dietary properties. Soluble fibers attract water and may form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of stomach and makes feel full, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Exemplary sources of soluble fibers are: oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.

    [0035] The method may further comprise the step of adding ingredients or removing ingredients, e.g. undesired compounds or impurities, from the plant extract prior to applying the plant extract of step b) or step e) to the sheet of step d). Similarly the method may further comprise the step of adding or removing ingredients from the at least partially fibrous residue prior to applying the plant extract of step b) or step e) to the sheet of step d).

    [0036] The composition of step g) can be further processed to obtain regularly or irregularly shaped forms or a powder or a cream or a slurry or a paste or a foam or a liquid or a pellet or a granule.

    [0037] In case a product contains a liquid content, e.g. a paste, a certain amount or substantially the entire plant extract may be solved or extracted from the fibrous plant product or respective pieces of fibrous plant product. In other words, further processing the composition of step g) by adding a fluid may change the appearance but the advantages of the reconstituted product according to the invention remain.

    [0038] The method may further comprise the step of processing the sheet like product to obtain a powder or a paste or a cream or a slurry. Exemplary processing steps may comprise cutting or grinding. The powder may be further processed, e.g. to obtain a paste or cream or slurry. The latter step may be accomplished by adding a fluid to the powder. As explained, even if some or substantially all substances are released from the fibrous plant product, the product according to the invention still provides all advantages as all substances are still present, e.g. in the paste.

    [0039] As disclosed herein, the edible product can be a fiber-web comprising from about 5% to about 100% (w/w), preferably at least about 10%, at least about 20%, at least about 30%, at least about 40%, at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or about 100%, fibers of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. The fiber-web may further comprise (i) fibers of the herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices, and (ii) synthetic and/or natural fibers such as cellulosic fibers in a ratio of for example: 20/80 (w/w), 30/70 (w/w), 40/60 (w/w), 50/50 (w/w), 60/40 (w/w), 70/30 (w/w) or 80/20 (w/w). The fiber-web disclosed herein is obtainable by the method disclosed herein, namely as an intermediate product in step d) of the said method.

    [0040] The fiber-web may further comprise a coating or an impregnation with the plant extract of said herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. The fiber-web may be obtainable by the method disclosed herein, namely as the end product in step g) of said method.

    [0041] Further disclosed herein is an edible packing material comprising the fiber-web referred to herein, which is either impregnated with the plant extract of said herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices or which is not impregnated.

    [0042] The basic idea of the invention is to process one or more plants to obtain an at least partially fibrous residue and a plant extract. Both the fibrous residue and the plant extract can be processed and finally combined to obtain a reconstituted plant product, the properties of which can be controlled depending on the amount and type of substances used. Also other materials not originating from a plant can be added to alter the properties of the resulting product, e.g. to obtain certain mechanical properties or to add a flavor or to improve control of the releasing rate of all or certain substances.

    [0043] The edible product can be consumed, e.g. by eating, drinking, swallowing, gargling, sucking or chewing.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0044] 
    Fig. 1
    is a schematic cross sectional view of one exemplary edible product of the invention.
    Fig. 2
    is a graph showing total extraction time in hot water for an impregnated edible product as compared to a conventional plant in a bag.
    Fig. 3
    is a graph showing total extraction time in hot water and the improved properties as regards the rate substances are released from the product according to the invention.
    Fig. 4
    is a graph showing total extraction time in cold water for an impregnated edible product as compared to a conventional plant in a bag.
    Fig. 5
    is a graph showing extraction performance of a plant bag filled with conventional plant as compared to the extraction performance of a standard cellulosic plant bag filled with conventional plant.
    Fig. 6
    is a graph showing extraction performance of a plant bag at a basis weight of 120 g/m2 as compared to the extraction performance of a plant bag of the invention at a basis weight of 60 g/m2.
    Fig. 7
    shows reconstituted tea in one example without the use of a wet strength agent after 3 mins of infusion. The photograph shows that material is degraded.
    Fig. 8
    shows reconstituted tea in this example with the use of a wet strength agent after 3 mins of infusion. The photograph shows that the material is substantially undegraded.
    Fig. 9
    shows a reconstituted material produced according to Example 10. Reconstituted tea (D-high soluble content) shows a higher infusion level of tea solubles than C (standard soluble level).
    Fig. 10
    shows a reconstituted material produced according to Example 10. Reconstituted tea A with a lower basis weight shows a faster infusion level of tea solubles than C.
    Fig. 11
    shows the sensorial profile of reconstituted green tea and natural material.
    Fig. 12
    shows the sensory analysis of reconstituted rooibos and natural material (rooibos leaves).
    Fig. 13
    shows the infusion performance of a reconstituted Rooibos material.
    Fig. 14
    shows the sensory profile of thyme leaves as compared to reconstituted thyme.
    Fig. 15
    shows the infusion performance of a reconstituted thyme material.
    Fig. 16
    shows the sensory analysis of reconstituted thyme & black tea as compared to the natural blend.
    Fig. 17
    shows the sensory analysis of reconstituted laurel & thyme vs natural blend (laurel & thyme leaves).
    Fig. 18
    shows the sensory analysis of reconstituted mint vs original mint material (Mentha x piperita).
    Fig. 19
    shows the sensory analysis of reconstituted mint and green tea vs original blend.
    Fig. 20A-K
    shows reconstituted material in different physical shapes that provide for different kinds of applications.
    Fig. 21
    shows the infusion performance of a reconstituted coffee material.
    Fig. 22
    shows a photograph of a reconstituted sheet of product placed on a meat and rolled.

    Detailed Description of the Invention



    [0045] Fig. 1 shows a schematic cross sectional view of an edible product, e.g. a chew gum. The first layer 1 comprises a fibrous plant product and the second layer 2 comprises a plant extract. The first layer may have a thickness of 100 µm to 0.5 cm, preferably 0.2 mm to 5 mm. Also, the fibrous plant product can be small pieces of any shape or a paste or a powder and the plant extract can be applied to the plant product.

    [0046] The product according to the invention may comprise three, four, five or more layers, e.g. a first layer 1 comprising a fibrous plant product, a second layer 2 comprising a plant extract with first substance(s), a third layer comprising a plant extract with second substance(s), etc. Each layer may comprise different substance(s) offering a specific effect. Also, additional layers or respective substances in the existing layers can be provided for controlling the sequence and/or amount and/or speed substances are released from the product.

    [0047] One or both of the plant extract and the fibrous plant product may further comprise a matrix of a texturizing agent, such as a non crosslinked hydrocolloid polymer of natural or synthetic origin, preferably of natural origin. The texturizing agent can be selected from at least one of:
    • natural agents of plant origin such as carob gum, guar gum, pectins, alginates, carrageenans, agar-agar, gum arabic and cellulose;
    • of microbial origin such as xanthan gum natural agents, gellan gum, hyaluronic acid and dextran;
    • animal origin, such as gelatin, collagen and chitosan natural agents;
    • the mineral agents, such as clays and silicas and synthetic polymers such as polyacrylic and polyacrylamide agents.


    [0048] The invention can be used in many areas such as for food, food supplement, medicinal, cosmetic, well-being, nutraceutical or phytotherapeutical applications. The plants mentioned in connection with a specific application may also be utilized in connection with other applications.

    [0049] The reason for the improved properties of the edible product is due to the processing of the raw material(s). A controlled amount of selected substances can be placed on the edible product, i.e. in the fibrous plant product or the plant extract. If desired, one plant can substantially be reconstituted or reconstructed so that the final product comprises many or substantially all substances of the raw material. The reconstructed product is advantageous in comparison to the original plant, as the substances from the reconstructed product can be released in a controlled way, e.g. faster than from the natural plant. In addition, it may be desired to mix other substances from other plants or synthetical substances into the edible product to alter its mechanical or other properties. Likewise it can be desired to separate certain undesired substances, e.g. pesticides, metals, polyphenols or substances naturally contained in the plant.

    [0050] The edible product according to the invention can be used as a spice or condiment or flavor to supplement or alter the ingredients of a food, e.g. to improve one or more of taste, texture or mouthfeel, or to add useful substances such as minerals or vitamins. The edible product can be designed to melt or dissolve in part or completely once it comes in contact with a solvent.

    [0051] For example, the edible product can be a stock cube or a paper like sheet or can be small pieces or a powder. The edible product can be added into a hot, warm or cold food or a solvent such as water, e.g. to prepare a soup or sauce or dressing. Substances from the edible product are infused or released into the solvent or food and the edible product can dissolve in part or entirely. In case the edible product dissolves entirely in the food, like a stock cube, the plant extract as well as the fibrous plant product remain in the food. On the other hand, the edible product might only release certain substances, e.g. the substances contained in the plant extract and/or a part of substances of the fibrous plant product. In the latter case the remaining substances, i.e. what is not dissolved in the food, may be in a form to be separated from the food, e.g. in one piece.

    [0052] The edible product can be for direct consumption, e.g. by eating, drinking, swallowing, gargling, sucking or chewing. The edible product can be a sweet, a candy, a chew gum or a sheet like paper. Depending on the purpose of the edible product, certain substances may be released once the product comes into contact with saliva, i.e. in the mouth. Other substances may remain in the product and only be released in other digestion steps. In this way it can be controlled where the respective substance(s) shall unfold its effect.

    [0053] The edible product can comprise substantially all substances needed by an animal or a human being to survive. In this way the edible product can be used as alternative to normal food in cases where no or not sufficient food is available or potentially contaminated.

    [0054] The edible product can be a food supplement to ensure a certain daily supply of substances such as proteins, sugars, lipids, amino acids, vitamins, polyphenols and aromatic derivates, as well as soluble and insoluble fibers.

    [0055] The edible product can be used for making a beverage or a soup. Also, the edible product can be used for providing a herbal, vegetable and/or spice composition. The edible product is a plant-based composition or product which is also referred to as plant composition or extraction product.

    [0056] Hereinafter, the aforementioned product or composition is often referred to as "composition(s) or product(s) of the invention", "composition(s)" or "products". The herbal, vegetable and/or spice composition is also referred to as "mixture of herbs and spices" or "herbal extraction". These terms are used interchangeably and are not intended to limit the invention.

    [0057] As used herein, the term "plant" likewise refers to any organism of the kingdom Plantae and includes plants described as grains, fruits and vegetables as well as plant parts, such as root, stem, trunk, caulis, leaf, lamina, fruit, flower, seed or bark.

    [0058] In the products of the invention, the plant is for example selected from the group consisting of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices, including mixtures thereof, such as mixtures of herbs and vegetables, or herbs and spices.

    [0059] As used herein, a spice is a (either fresh or dried) seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. As used herein, herbs are any plants used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs as referring to the leafy green parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), from a "spice", a product from another part of the plant (usually dried), including seeds, berries, bark, roots and fruits.

    [0060] Examples of plants that are useful in accordance with the present invention are provided in the list shown below.

    [0061] The edible product can be a herbal and/or vegetable composition, e.g., for culinary use or for use in cooking, i.e. as a herb and spice mixture.

    [0062] Also described herein is a method for producing the edible product. For example, the method comprises the steps of:
    1. a) extracting one or more substances of at least one plant to obtain a plant extract;
    2. b) separating the plant extract from the at least partially fibrous residue;
    3. c) optionally refining the residue;
    4. d) preparing a sheet like product from the residue, optionally a sheet like product;
    5. e) optionally concentrating or purifying or aromatizing the plant extract;
    6. f) applying the plant extract of step b) or e) to the sheet of step d); and
    7. g) optionally drying the product of step f)


    [0063] In some instances, one or more plant components (plant material or plant funish) such as, for example, stems, scraps, leaves, fines, dust and/or shorts, are initially mixed with a solvent (e.g., water and/or other compounds) at elevated temperatures. For example, various solvents that are water-miscible, such as alcohols (e.g., ethanol), can be combined with water to form an aqueous solvent. The water content of the aqueous solvent can, in some instances, be greater than 50% by weight of the solvent. In one instance, the water content is at least about 70%, or at least about 80%, or at least about 90% or about 100% by weight of the solvent. Deionized water, distilled water or tap water may be employed. The amount of the solvent in the suspension can vary widely, but is generally added in an amount from about 75% to about 99% by weight of the suspension. However, the amount of solvent can vary with the nature of the solvent, the temperature at which the extraction is to be carried out, and the type of plant components.

    [0064] After forming the solvent/plant furnish mixture, some or all of a soluble extracts fraction of the furnish mixture may be optionally separated (e.g., extracted) from the mixture. If desired, the aqueous solvent/plant furnish mixture can be agitated during extraction by stirring, shaking or otherwise mixing the mixture in order to increase the rate of extraction. Typically, extraction is carried out for about 0.5 hours to about 6 hours. Moreover, although not required, typical extraction temperatures range from about 10°C to about 100°C.

    [0065] Prior to the extraction step an optional grinding or cutting step can be used, in order to shred the plant or plant part and thus to break the plant's cell walls.

    [0066] Once separated from the insoluble residue fraction of the plant solution, the soluble extracts fraction can optionally be concentrated using any known type of concentrator, such as a vacuum evaporator. In one instance, the soluble component may be highly concentrated. Moreover, the concentrated or unconcentrated soluble extracts fraction can be utilized in any manner desired. For example, the soluble extracts fraction can be utilized as a flavoring material or a portion can be added to the insoluble residue fraction.

    [0067] Once extracted, the insoluble residue fraction can optionally be subjected to one or more mechanical refiners to produce a fibrous pulp. Some examples of suitable refiners can include disc refiners, conical refiners, and the like. The insoluble residue fraction can be utilized in any manner desired. For example, the insoluble residue fraction can be used as a flavoring material, used to produce a composition of the invention, which is herein also referred to as reconstituted plant material.

    [0068] To produce a product of the invention, the insoluble residue fraction can be transferred to a papermaking station. The papermaking station includes a forming apparatus, which may include, for example, a forming wire, gravity drain, suction drain, felt press, Yankee dryer, drum dryers, etc. In general, the insoluble residue fraction may be in the form of a pulp. In the forming apparatus, the pulp is laid onto a wire belt forming a sheet-like shape. Excess water is removed from the sheet using gravity drains, suction drains, presses, and dryers. Thereafter, if desired, a portion of the soluble extracts fraction may be reapplied to the insoluble residue fraction. When the insoluble residue fraction is recombined with the soluble extracts fraction, the resulting plant product is generally referred to as "reconstituted plant material".

    [0069] Reconstituted plant material can generally be formed in a variety of ways. For instance, band casting can be utilized to form the reconstituted plant material. Band casting typically employs a slurry of finely divided plant parts mixed with a binder such as gum arabic, guar gum, alginate, xanthan, cellulose and cellulose derivatives (such as carboxy methyl cellulose (CMC), hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC)), pectines or starch that is coated onto a steel band and then dried. In one instance, the method is performed according to a process similar to the conventional tobacco reconstitution process, which is for example described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,353,541; 3,420,241; 3,386,449; 3,760,815; and 4,674,519. The method for producing the products of the invention can also be performed by a papermaking process, in order to reconstitute any plant components (such as stems, scraps, leaves, fines, dust and/or shorts) into a paper-like product. Some examples of such processes are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,428,053; 3,415,253; 3,561,451; 3,467,109; 3,483,874; 3,860,012; 3,847,164; 4,182,349; 5,715,844; 5,724,998; and 5,765,570. For example, the formation of the products of the invention using papermaking techniques can involve the steps of mixing herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices with water, extracting the soluble ingredients therefrom, concentrating the soluble ingredients, refining the herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices, forming a web, reapplying the concentrated soluble ingredients, drying, and threshing.

    [0070] In the method described herein, more specifically with respect to the non-soluble portion (solid plant particles) used in providing the non-impregnated fiber web of the invention, ie. the sheet-like product in step d), the plant is not tobacco, wood pulp, cotton, textiles, jute flax, Indian hemp, hemp, hoopvine, kenaf, nettles, ramie, abaca, bamboo fiber, banana (especially banana bark), bowstring hemp, coir (fiber from the coconut shell), esparto, henequen, kapok, milkweed, papaya, phormium ("New Zealand Flax"), sisal, raffia, bagasse, pina, aibika or yucca. However, a mixture of a plant mentioned herein in connection with the present invention with any of the aforementioned plants may be utilized. Further to the foregoing listed materials also others materials can be added to improve product physical characteristics, for example cellulose derivatives such as methylcellulose, carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC), starch and starch derivatives such as oxidatively degraded starch, polysaccharides (and their derivatives) such as pectines, gelatins, guar gum, agar, alginates, carrageenans, or synthetic fibers such as the ones made of vinyl chloride or vinyl acetate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyesters.

    [0071] Once extracted, the insoluble, solids portion can optionally be subjected to one or more mechanical refiners to produce a fibrous pulp. Some examples of suitable refiners can include disc refiners, conical refiners, and the like, well known to a skilled person. The pulp from the refiner can then be transferred to a papermaking station that includes a forming apparatus, which may include, for example, a forming wire, gravity drain, suction drain, felt press, Yankee dryer, drum dryers, etc. In such a forming apparatus, the pulp is laid onto a wire belt forming a sheet-like shape and excess water is removed by the gravity drain and suction drain and presses. Once separated from the insoluble portion of the plant solution (plant extract), the soluble portion can optionally be concentrated using any known type of concentrator, such as a vacuum evaporator.

    [0072] In some embodiments of the invention, a wet strength agent may be added to the fibrous portion in order to reduce potential degradation of the reconstituted material when it is brought into contact with a liquid (e.g. water), such as upon infusion in water. Any suitable wet strength agent preferably selected for food applications may be used such as polyamide-epichlorohydrin resins, polyamine-epichlorohydrin resins, poly(aminoamide)-epichlorohydrin resins, urea-formaldehyde resins ; melamine-formaldehyde resins; alkyl ketene dimer; alkyl succinic anhydride; polyvinylamines; oxidized polysaccharides (such as oxidatively degraded starch); glyoxalated polyacrylamide resins; polyimines such as polyethyleneimine. Wet strength agents are well known to the skilled person and described in Ingredients Standards, such as BFR (Bundesinstitut fur Risikobewertung) XXXVI and BFR XXXVI/1 or FDA (Food & Drug Administration) 21 CFR 176.170, FDA 21 CFR 176.110, FDA 21 CFR 176.120, FDA 21 CFR 176.1180. The wet strength agent is for example used in an amount of about 0.1 % w/w to about 20 % w/w, preferably of about 1 % w/w to about 10 % w/w, more preferably of about 5% w/w. The wet strength agent is preferably added to the fibrous portion when or before making the sheet-like product (see step d) above).

    [0073] The water used for extraction is hot water, preferably of about 30°C to 100°C, about 40°C to 90°C, or about 50°C to 80°C, or more preferably of about 70°C.

    [0074] In one embodiment, the coating ratio of solubles portion onto the fiber web is about 5% to 80% (w/w), about 10% to 70% (w/w), or more preferably between about 20% and 50% (w/w). In some embodiments, the coating ratio or soluble portion that is added back to the base web (fiber web) is similar to the portion of soluble material contained in and extracted from the original plant (so called "standard level").

    [0075] In one embodiment, the base weight of the final product is about 20 to about 200 g/m2 (dry basis), more preferably about 90 g/m2 to about 120 g/m2.

    [0076] The extraction time depends on the herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices subjected to the extraction process. In one instance, the extraction time is about 15 to 60 minutes, preferably 45 minutes.

    [0077] In one instance, the extracting step is performed using components of a blend of plants, in another instance, extracting step is performed using components of a single plant.

    [0078] Extraction may also be performed by means other than using hot water, namely by extraction with supercritical gases, such as carbon dioxide, or by using, for example, ethanol, hexane, acetone, R134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane), carbon dioxide and hydrofluorocarbons. In one instance, the extraction can be carried out by using at least one solvent at room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. Extraction may also be performed by using a mixture of different solvents. In another instance, extraction may be performed using at least one solvent, such as for example R134a or carbon dioxide, at different temperatures and at different pressures and different states (liquid or gaseous). For example, extraction may be performed using solvents in a liquid state (such as solvent that are volatile or non-volatile at room temperature), in a subcritical state (such as water at a temperature above 100°C and a pressure above 1 bar), or in a supercritical state (such as carbon dioxide at a temperature above 31°C and a pressure above 73 bar).

    [0079] Certain plants may require specific extraction conditions (time, temperature, solid/liquid ratio) due to the ingredients contained therein, which may be temperature sensitive or must not be subjected to certain extraction conditions. For example, extraction of lycopene from tomatoes must be performed by using specific enzymes to liberate the product from tomatoes cells. In connection with the present invention, processing aids may be used to improve extraction, such as pH modifiers (such as, for example, NaOH or organic acids), microwaves, pressure, ultrasound, enzymes such as for example proteases, amylases, cellulose, and/or pectinases. Whenever reference is made herein to "extraction", the term includes the aforementioned alternative extraction means. The extraction may be performed in a continuous or discontinuous matter. The extraction conditions are well known to the skilled artisan and described in standard text books, such as Handbook of Separation Techniques for Chemical Engineers, Third Edition (March 1997), Philip A. Schweitzer, McGraw-Hill Inc.

    [0080] In one instance, the extraction and/or pressing may be performed using at least a portion of the plant material, fresh, frozen or dried, selected from one or more of root, stem, trunk, caulis, leaf, lamina, fruit, flower, seed of bark.

    [0081] Separation of the soluble portion (plant extract) from the non-soluble portion (solid plant particles) can be performed by separating the liquid phase from the solid phase, such as by filtration, with or without pressure, by centrifugation or other methods commonly used in the laboratory and well-known to the skilled person.

    [0082] In one instance where a mixture or blend of plants is used, the non-soluble portion of the plant is mixed with the non-soluble portion of at least one further plant prior to preparing the sheet.

    [0083] In some instances the soluble portion of step b) or concentrated soluble portion of step e) is mixed with the soluble portion or concentrated soluble portion of at least one further plant prior to applying the soluble portion or concentrated soluble portion to the sheet.

    [0084] For certain applications it is desirable to adjust the composition by adding or removing ingredients or components to or from the plant extract and/or the non-soluble plant particles prior to producing the final product of the invention. Such adjustment may be performed to modify/improve chemical, physical and/or sensory characteristics of the finished product. The disclosure thus encompasses methods, further comprising the step of adding or removing ingredients from the soluble portion (plant extract) and/or from the non-soluble portion (solid plant particles) prior to applying the soluble portion of step b) or concentrated soluble portion of step e) to the sheet of step d).

    [0085] The sheet or sheet-like product which is obtained in step g) may be a web or fiber-web. The sheet-like product or web may be used in different sizes and shapes. In some cases, the composition of step g) is further cut or broken into small regularly or irregularly shaped forms or processed to obtain a powder, e.g. by grinding. In addition to cutting or breaking the sheet or fibrous web to a desired size and/or shape, it may be dried to the desired final moisture content.

    [0086] Also, product can be supplied to food industries in sheet or bobbin forms, which can be later used as an ingredient for food manufacturing. It is indeed a very convenient option to store, manipulate and adjust dosage of herbs or spices.

    [0087] One possible grinding method is cryogenic grinding. Cryogenic grinding, also known as freezer milling, freezer grinding, or cryomilling, is the act of cooling or chilling a material and then reducing it into a small particle size. Heat and oxidation reactions usually occur on the material with standard grinding technologies, at room temperature. Thanks to cryogenic grinding, enzymes, vitamins and many other active molecules are preserved from such reactions. This technology is used to prepare medicinal plant powders.

    [0088] The product according to the invention may also be pelletized, e.g. to produce tablets or granule. Pelletizing is the process of compressing or molding a material into the shape of a pellet. Ingredients are normally first hammered to reduce the particle size of the ingredients. Ingredients are then batched, and then combined and mixed thoroughly by a feed mixer. Once the feed has been prepared to this stage the feed is ready to be pelletized. Pelletizing is done in a pellet mill, where feed is normally conditioned and thermally treated in the fitted conditioners of a pellet mill. The feed is then pushed through the holes and a pellet die and exit the pellet mill as pelleted feed. After pelleting the pellets are cooled with a cooler to bring the temperature of the feed down. Other post pelleting applications include post-pelleting conditioning, sorting via a screen and maybe coating if required.

    [0089] In accordance with the present invention the plant is selected from the group consisting of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices, including mixtures thereof. The following list of plants (such as herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices) referred to herein provides an overview of exemplary plants that can be used in connection with the invention. It is noted that the list is not limiting, as any plant having one or more substances desired for use in an edible product can be utilized. Also, two or more plants may be used together in a product according to the invention. Examples of plants that are useful in accordance with the present invention are:
    Abelmoschus spp., Abies spp., Abroma augusta, Acacia spp., Acalypha indica, Acanthus mollis, Acer spp., Achillea spp., Achyranthes bidentata, Acmella oleracea, Acorus calamus, Actaea spp., Actinidia spp., Adansonia digitata, Adiantum spp., Adoxa moschatellina, Aegopodium podagraria, Aesculus spp., Aframomum spp., Agathosma spp., Agave spp., Agrimonia spp., Ajuga spp., Alaria esculenta, Albizia spp., Alcea rosea, Alchemilla vulgaris, Aletris farinosa, Alisma spp., Alliaria petiolata, Allium spp., Alnus spp., Aloe spp., Aloysia citriodora, Alpinia spp., Althaea officinalis, Amaranthus spp., Ammi visnaga, Amomum villosum, Amorphophallus konjac, Amyris balsamifera, Anacardium occidentale, Ananas comosus, Andrographis paniculata, Anemarrhena asphodeloides, Angelica spp., Angostura trifoliata, Aniba rosaeodora, Annona spp., Anogeissus latifolia, Anredera baselloides, Antennaria dioica, Anthemis spp., Anthriscus spp., Anthyllis vulneraria, Antirrhinum majus, Aphanes arvensis, Apium graveolens, Arachis hypogaea, Aralia spp., Arbutus unedo, Arctium spp., Argania spinosa, Armoracia rusticana, Artemisia spp., Artocarpus altilis, Ascophyllum nodosum, Asimina triloba, Aspalathus linearis, Asparagus spp., Asplenium spp., Astracantha spp., Astragalus spp., Astrantia major, Athamanta macedonica, Atractylodes spp., Avena spp., Averrhoa carambola, Baccharis genistelloides, Bacopa monnieri, Bactris gasipaes, Balanites aegyptiaca, Ballota spp., Bambusa spp., Barbarea spp., Bellis perennis, Berberis spp., Bergenia crassifolia, Bertholletia excelsa, Beta vulgaris, Betula spp., Bixa orellana, Blainvillea acmella, Borago officinalis, Boronia megastigma, Boswellia spp., Brassica spp., Bupleurum spp., Bursera tomentosa, Caesalpinia bonduc, Cakile maritima, Calendula spp., Calluna vulgaris, Calophyllum inophyllum, Camelina spp., Canarium acutifolium, Canavalia ensiformis, Cannabis sativa, Capparis spinosa, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Carex arenaria, Carica papaya, Carissa carandas, Carlina spp., Carpinus betulus, Carthamus spp., Carum carvi, Cassia spp., Castanea sativa, Catalpa bignonioides, Ceanothus americanus, Cecropia peltata, Cedrus libani, Ceiba pentandra, Centaurea spp., Centaurium erythraea, Centella asiatica, Centranthus ruber, Cerasus spp., Ceratonia siliqua, Cercis siliquastrum, Ceterach officinarum, Cetraria islandica, Chaenomeles speciosa, Chamaemelum nobile, Chamaecrista nomame, Chelone glabra, Chenopodium spp., Chimaphila umbellata, Chiococca alba, Chionanthus virginicus, Chlorella vulgaris, Chondrus crispus, Chrysanthellum spp., Chrysophyllum cainito, Chrysopogon zizanioides, Cichorium spp., Cinchona spp., Cinnamomum spp., Cistanche salsa, Cistus spp., Citrullus lanatus, Citrus spp., Cladonia rangiferina, Clematis spp., Clinopodium vulgare, Clitoria ternatea, Cnicus benedictus, Cochlearia officinalis, Cocos nucifera, Codonopsis pilosula, Coffea spp., Coix lacryma-jobi, Cola spp., Combretum spp., Commiphora spp., Conyza canadensis, Copaifera langsdorffii, Coptis spp., Corallina officinalis, Cordia myxa, Coriandrum sativum, Cormus domestica, Cornus spp., Corrigiola telephiifolia, Corylus avellana, Corymbia citriodora, Coscinium fenestratum, Cotinus coggygria, Crambe maritima, Crataegus spp., Crithmum maritimum, Crocus sativus, Crossostephium chinense, Croton nitens, Cruciata laevipes, Cryptocarya agathophylla, Cucumis spp., Cucurbita maxima, Cuminum cyminum, Cupressus sempervirens, Curcuma spp., Cuscuta spp., Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, Cyathula officinalis, Cyclanthera pedata, Cydonia oblonga, Cymbopogon spp., Cynara spp., Cyperus rotundus, Cytinus hypocistis, Daemonorops draco, Dahlia pinnata, Daucus carota, Dendranthema grandiflorum, Descurainia sophia, Dianthus caryophyllus, Dimocarpus longan, Dioscorea spp., Diospyros spp., Diplotaxis tenuifolia, Dipsacus spp., Dorstenia contrajerva, Dracocephalum moldavica, Drimys winteri, Drosera spp., Dunaliella salina, Durio zibethinus, Durvillea antartica, Dysphania botrys, Echinacea spp., Echium plantagineum, Elaeis guineensis, Elettaria cardamomum, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Elymus repens, Epilobium spp., Equisetum spp., Erica spp., Eriobotrya japonica, Eriodictyon californicum, Erodium cicutarium, Eruca vesicaria, Eryngium campestre, Eschscholtzia, Eucalyptus spp., Eucheuma spp., Eucommia ulmoides, Eugenia uniflora, Euphrasia spp., Euterpe oleracea, Evernia prunastri, Exostema caribaeum, Fabiana imbricata, Fagopyrum esculentum, Fagus sylvatica, Fallopia spp., Ferula assa-foetida, Ficus spp., Filipendula spp., Foeniculum vulgare, Forsythia suspensa, Fragaria spp., Frangula spp., Fraxinus spp., Fucus spp., Fumaria officinalis, Galega officinalis, Galeopsis segetum, Galium spp., Garcinia spp., Gardenia jasminoides, Gastrodia elata, Gaultheria procumbens, Gelidium spp., Gentiana lutea, Geranium spp., Geum spp., Ginkgo biloba, Glycine max, Glycyrrhiza spp., Gossypium herbaceum, Gracilaria gracilis, Griffonia simplicifolia, Grindelia spp., Guaiacum spp., Guazuma ulmifolia, Gynostemma pentafillum, Gypsophila paniculata, Haematococcus pluvialis, Haematoxylum campechianum, Hamamelis virginiana, Handroanthus impetiginosus, Haplopappus baylahuen, Harpagophytum spp., Hebanthe eriantha, Hedeoma pulegioides, Hedera helix, Hedychium coronarium, Helianthus spp., Helichrysum spp., Heracleum sphondylium, Herniaria spp., Hesperis matronalis, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Hieracium pilosella, Hierochloe odorata, Himanthalia elongata, Hippophae rhamnoides, Hizikia fusiformis, Hordeum vulgare, Houttuynia cordata, Humulus lupulus, Hydrangea arborescens, Hygrophila auriculata, Hymenaea courbaril, Hypericum perforatum, Hyssopus officinalis, Ilex paraguariensis, Illicium verum, Impatiens balsamina, Indigofera tinctoria, Inula spp., Ipomoea batatas, Isatis tinctoria, Jasminum spp., Jateorhiza palmata, Juglans spp., Jumellea fragrans, Juniperus communis, Justicia spp., Kaempferia galanga, Kavalama urens, Kickxia spuria, Knautia arvensis, Krameria lappacea, Lactuca spp., Lagerstroemia speciosa, Laminaria spp., Lamium album, Larix spp., Laurus nobilis, Lavandula spp., Lawsonia inermis, Ledum palustre, Lens culinaris Medik, Leonurus cardiaca, Lepidium spp., Leptospermum spp., Lespedeza capitata, Leucanthemum vulgare, Levisticum officinale, Lilium brownii, Linaria vulgaris, Lindera aggregata, Linum usitatissimum, Liquidambar styraciflua, Litchi chinensis, Lithothamnion calcareum, Litsea cubeba, Lobaria pulmonaria, Lonicera japonica, Lotus spp., Luma chequen, Lycium spp., Lycopersicon esculentum, Lycopodium clavatum, Lycopus spp., Lysimachia vulgaris, Lythrum salicaria, Macadamia ternifolia, Macrocystis pyrifera, Magnolia spp., Malpighia glabra, Malus spp., Malva sylvestris, Mammea americana, Mangifera indica, Manihot esculenta, Manilkara zapota, Maranta arundinacea, Marchantia polymorpha, Marrubium vulgare, Marsdenia spp., Mastocarpus stellatus, Matricaria chamomilla, Medicago sativa, Melaleuca spp., Melilotus spp., Melissa officinalis, Melittis melissophyllum, Mentha spp., Mentzelia cordifolia, Menyanthes trifoliata, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, Mespilus germanica, Mikania amara, Mitchella repens, Momordica spp., Monarda spp., Morinda spp., Moringa oleifera, Morus spp., Murraya koenigii, Musa x paradisiaca, Myrciaria dubia, Myrica gale, Myristica fragrans, Myroxylon spp., Myrtus communis, Nardostachys jatamansi, Nasturtium officinale, Nelumbo nucifera, Nepeta spp., Nephelium lappaceum, Nigella sativa, Ocimum spp., Oenanthe aquatica, Oenothera biennis, Olea spp., Ononis spp., Onopordon acanthium, Ophioglossum vulgatum, Ophiopogon japonicus, Opopanax chironius, Opuntia ficus-indica, Orchis mascula, Origanum spp., Orthosiphon spp., Oryza sativa, Oxalis acetosella, Pachira spp., Padus avium, Paeonia spp., Palmaria palmata, Panax spp., Panicum miliaceum, Panzerina lanata, Papaver rhoeas, Parietaria officinalis, Parmelia saxatilis, Parthenium hysterophorus, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, Passiflora incarnata, Pastinaca sativa, Paullinia cupana, Pedalium murex, Pelargonium spp., Perilla frutescens, Persea americana, Persicaria spp., Petiveria alliacea, Petroselinum crispum, Peucedanum ostruthium, Peumus boldus, Phaseolus vulgaris, Phellodendron amurense, Phillyrea latifolia, Phlebodium aureum, Phoenix dactylifera, Photinia melanocarpa, Phyla scaberrima, Phyllanthus spp., Phymatolithon calcareum, Physalis spp., Picea abies, Picramnia antidesma, Pimenta spp., Pimpinella spp., Pinus spp., Piper spp., Pistacia spp., Pisum sativum, Plantago spp., Platycodon grandiflorus, Plectranthus barbatus, Pogostemon cablin, Polygala spp., Polygonatum odoratum, Polygonum aviculare, Populus spp., Porphyra umbilicalis, Portulaca oleracea, Potentilla spp., Prangos pabularia, Primula spp., Protium spp., Prunella vulgaris, Prunus spp., Psidium spp., Pterocarpus spp., Pueraria spp., Pulmonaria officinalis, Punica granatum, Pyrola rotundifolia, Pyropia tenera, Pyrus communis, Quercus spp., Quillaja saponaria, Raphanus spp., Raphia farinifera, Rehmannia glutinosa, Rhamnus spp., Rheum spp., Rhodiola crenulata, Rhus spp., Ribes spp., Robinia pseudoacacia, Roccella phycopsis, Rosa spp., Rosmarinus officinalis, Rubia cordifolia, Rubus spp., Rumex spp., Ruscus spp., Sabatia angularis, Saccharina latissima, Saccharum officinarum, Salix spp., Salvia spp., Sambucus spp., Sanguisorba spp., Sanicula elata, Santalum album, Santolina chamaecyparissus, Saponaria officinalis, Saposhnikovia divaricata, Sarcopoterium spinosum, Sargassum fusiforme, Sarracenia purpurea, Satureja spp., Saussurea costus, Schinus molle, Schisandra chinensis, Scorzonera hispanica, Scrophularia ningpoensis, Scutellaria spp., Secale cereale, Sedum spp., Selenicereus grandiflorus, Sempervivum tectorum, Senna spp., Sequoiadendron giganteum, Serenoa repens, Sesamum indicum, Seseli tortuosum, Sideritis syriaca, Sigesbeckia orientalis, Silaum silaus, Silybum marianum, Simarouba amara, Simmondsia chinensis, Siraitia grosvenorii, Sisymbrium officinale, Sium latifolium, Smilax spp., Solanum spp., Solidago virgaurea, Sorbus aucuparia, Sorghum bicolor, Spatholobus suberectus, Spergularia rubra, Spinacia oleracea, Spirulina spp., Stachys officinalis spp., Stellaria media, Stemmacantha carthamoides, Styphnolobium japonicum, Styrax spp., Symplocarpus foetidus, Syringa vulgaris, Syzygium spp., Tagetes spp., Tamarindus indica, Tamarix gallica, Tanacetum spp., Taraxacum officinale, Terminalia spp., Thalictrum flavum, Theobroma cacao, Thlaspi arvense, Thymus spp., Tilia spp., Trachyspermum ammi, Tragopogon porrifolius, Tribulus terrestris, Trichilia catigua, Trichosanthes kirilowii, Tridax procumbens, Trifolium spp., Trigonella spp., Trillium erectum, Triticum spp., Tropaeolum spp., Tsuga Canadensis, Turnera diffusa, Ulmus spp., Ulva lactuca, Uncaria spp., Undaria pinnatifida, Urtica spp., Usnea spp., Vaccinium spp., Valeriana spp., Valerianella locusta, Vanilla planifolia, Veratrum viride, Verbascum spp., Verbena officinalis, Veronica spp., Viburnum spp., Vicia spp., Vigna angularis, Viola spp., Viscum album, Vitex spp., Vitis vinifera, Withania somnifera, Xeranthemum annuum, Yucca spp., Zanthoxylum spp., Zea mays, Zingiber officinale, Ziziphus jujube.

    [0090] In a further embodiment, the fiber-web may comprise from about 5% to about 100% (w/w), preferably at least about 10%, at least about 20%, at least about 30%, at least about 40%, at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or about 100%, fibers of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. In one embodiment, the fiber-web further comprises cellulosic and/or synthetic fibers, and fibers of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices in a ratio of for example: 40/60 (w/w), 50/50 (w/w), 60/40 (w/w), 70/30 (w/w) or 20/80 (w/w). In another instance, the fiber-web of the present invention is obtainable by the method described herein, namely as an intermediate product in step d) of the said method.

    [0091] The invention further relates to a composition for making a beverage, obtainable by the method described herein.

    [0092] The invention also includes the use of the composition of the invention for making a beverage, or for culinary use or use in cooking, respectively, i.e. as a herb and spice mixture.

    [0093] Also included is a beverage obtainable by contacting water or another liquid with the composition of the invention.

    [0094] In one embodiment of the invention, the fiber-web comprises from about 5% to about 100% (w/w), preferably at least about 10%, at least about 20%, at least about 30%, at least about 40%, at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or about 100%, fibers of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. For certain applications, the fiber-web may further comprise synthetic and/or natural fibers such as cellulosic fibers. In a particular embodiment, the fiber-web comprises fibers of (i) herbs, medicinal plants, and/or tea, vegetables and/or spices and (ii) synthetic and/or natural fibers such as cellulosic fibers in a ratio of 40/60 (w/w), 60/40 (w/w) or 80/20 (w/w).

    [0095] Further disclosed is a fiber-web, obtainable by the method described herein, namely in step d).

    [0096] In some embodiments of the invention, the fiber-web comprises a coating with soluble portion (plant extract) of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices.

    [0097] The coating or impregnation is obtained by various methods known to the skilled person, such as applying to or treating the fiber-web or sheet-like structure with a plant extract, such as in a bath or by special application means, such as sprayers. In addition, various other ingredients, such as flavor or color treatments, can also be applied to the web. If applied with the soluble portion and/or other ingredients, the fibrous sheet material can, in some embodiments, then be dried using, for example, a tunnel dryer, to provide a sheet having a typical moisture content of less than 20% by weight, and particularly from about 9% to about 14% by weight.

    [0098] Also disclosed is an impregnated or coated fiber-web, obtainable by the method described, namely in step g).

    [0099] According to a further embodiment, the fiber-web of the invention further comprises a coating with the soluble portion (plant extract) of said herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. In another instance, the fiber-web is obtainable by the method disclosed herein, namely as the end product in step g) of said method.

    [0100] The products of the invention enable a more efficient extraction (up to about 100% solubles can be extracted from the plant) in the sense that more solubles can be released than natural plant ingredients for a given weight of material. The products also provide a faster extraction (than with a conventional extraction made from the vegetal material in its natural non converted form). Specifically, the compositions of the invention have improved efficiency, e.g. in boiling water or in non-heated water or water at room temperature.

    [0101] The process for making the compositions of the invention also allows for specifically adjusting the final composition of the products, such as to remove from the soluble or the non-soluble portion(s) for example foreign matters, components altering taste and/or odor, or caffeine, pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, toxicants and allergenic molecules such as coumarin, farnesol, geraniol, limonene, linalol, safrole, methyleugenol, or by adding to the soluble or the non-soluble portion(s) for example desirable additives, such as sweeteners, sugars, flavors, casings, vitamins, colorants, minerals, taste enhancers.

    [0102] In another embodiment, the soluble portion in the reconstituted material of the invention can be precisely adjusted (decreased as compared to standard level, at standard level, or increased as compared to standard level). A key benefit is that the level of ingredients in the reconstituted material can be precisely increased to a level higher than in the original natural form, thus allowing for products with a higher concentration of desired substances. The adjustment of ingredients can also guarantee a consistent, standardized level of delivered ingredients to compensate natural variations of substances, i.e. active ingredients, in plants.

    [0103] Preferably, the method described herein also allows for reduction of undesired compounds from the material, such as to selectively remove undesired components (natural ingredients, pesticides, impurities or the like). For example, it is possible to remove components from either the soluble portion (plant extract) or from the non-soluble portion (solid plant particles) or both by liquid-liquid extraction, physical adsorption, centrifugation, chromatography, crystallization, decantation, by use of a demister, drying, distillation, electrophoresis, elutriation, evaporation, solid phase or liquid-liquid extraction, flotation, flocculation, filtration (for example using membranes), vapor-liquid separation, and/or sublimation and other means well known to the skilled person, preferably before applying the plant extract to the base web.

    [0104] In connection with adding ingredients, extracts of different sources and origins, flavors, coloring agents or the like may be used, such as clorophyll, anthocyans, caramel, caroteinoids. For example, when using tea or herbs it is possible to include L-menthol at various quantities (such as 6% or 15%) in the finished product. Products so obtained have a distinctive taste and aroma of menthol.

    [0105] The present invention also allows to blend various plants and herbs. In one example, instead of using single plants, such as tea or mint leaves, tea may be replaced by a mixture of, for example, 50% tea and 50% mint leaves (w/w); 50% verbena and 50% mint (w/w); 30% cinnamon and 30% tea and 10% licorice and 10% chamomile and 10% red vine and 10% roobois (w/w); and many other combinations.

    [0106] The combination of different plant materials through the reconstitution process into a single fiber web impregnated with extracts from different plants (the same plant or blends) offers new taste experiences and additive or synergistic effects. For example, it is known that combinations of certain plant extracts or combinations of certain plant ingredients have additive or synergistic effects, such as, for example, a mixture of hops and valerian extracts for use in treating insomnia and vigilance (Blumenthal and al., J. Herbal Medicine, expanded Commission E monographs, American Botanical Council, Austin, 2000, 394-400), or mixtures of oregano and cranberry extracts for use in treating H. pylori infections (Lin et al., Appl. Environ. Microbiol. December 2005, vol. 71, no. 12, 8558-8564), or different mixtures of extracts of S. baicalensis, D. morifolium, G. uralensis and R. rubescens tested for their additive or synergistic effect in prostate cancer cell lines (Adams et al., Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 March; 3(1): 117-124).

    [0107] It has been found that some beverages are particularly less astringent and bitter when prepared from the reconstituted plant material or product of the invention as compared to original material from which the reconstituted plant material or product of the invention was prepared. This is, for example, the case for green tea, which is less astringent and bitter when made from a reconstituted green tea product according to the invention as compared to a conventional infusion of green tea.

    [0108] The production method also provides for reducing microbiological load of the final products because of the high temperatures during the papermaking process.

    [0109] The products of the invention provide a light material having a small surface, which allows economic packaging/shipping. For the consumer, the products of the invention are easy to transport and easy to use. Specifically, it has been found that the products of the invention are easily extractable even in cold water. This has particular advantages for consumers in cases where no heating or electricity is available for preparing hot water.

    [0110] The products of the invention can also be used as wrapping/packaging material which can be later on consumed.

    [0111] The products are further available in all shapes, dimensions and formats, such as leaves, sticks, discs and the like, and can be customized with a logo.

    [0112] In sum, the reconstituted plant products of the invention provide several benefits and advantages, such as
    • the provision of products with higher extraction yield and extraction speed;
    • the provision of a preferably dispersible and biodegradable product;
    • the ability to adjust the content of active ingredients (such as polyphenols, essential oils and the like) to provide a consistent composition;
    • the ability to adjust (reduce) the content of undesired constituents (such as pesticides, caffeine and the like);
    • the ability to provide new sensory characteristics (such as adjusting intensity of flavor, mixture of various plants and the like); and
    • reduction of the bacterial load during the manufacturing process.

    Reference Examples


    Example 1


    Method of making the reconstituted plant product



    [0113] As raw material a black tea plant was used. The plant was mixed with water with a plant/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight and the mixture was heated at 85°C for 20 minutes. Subsequently, the aqueous portion was separated from the fibrous portion by an extraction step in a hydraulic press. Afterwards, the fibrous residue was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a plant/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. Again, the aqueous portion was separated from the fibrous portion by an extraction step in a hydraulic press. Then, the samples were refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. As a next step, cellulosic fibers and in particular (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios: 60/10/30) were added to the fibrous residue with a fibrous residue/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and hand sheets were made. The aqueous portion, which was separated by pressing, was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50%.

    [0114] The concentrated aqueous portion was coated on the hand sheets on a manual size-press. The soluble level is typically between 27 and 37% in dry finished product. The soluble level of the reconstituted plant was approx. 27%, which is the soluble content of conventional plant used as the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer. The obtained reconstructed plant product had the form of discs.

    Comparison of reconstituted plant product versus conventional plant



    [0115] The obtained reconstructed plant was tested for its properties. Also, a conventional black tea plant was packed into a conventional cellulosic bag for preparing a comparison infusion. For determining the properties the optical density of the solutions were measured at 274 nm. Both the reconstructed plant and the conventional plant were inserted into hot water (90°C). Same weights of plant material and identical experimental conditions were used. A beaker was filled with 200 ml water (ref. Cristaline) and was heated at 90°C. At the starting point of the experiment, i.e. T=0, the heating was stopped and the bag with conventional black tea was immersed into water. To homogenize the content of the beaker during the entire experiment, a rotary magnet was used.

    [0116] In steps of 30 seconds six samples of the water were taken. Then, the optical density of the sample was determined using a spectrophotometer at the wavelength of 274 nm. For the reference test a sample of clear water (Cristaline) heated at 90°C was used. Then the same procedure was repeated with the bag comprising the reconstituted plant product.

    [0117] As can be taken from Fig. 2, the optical density measured after 3 minutes of extraction for the reconstituted plant product was 0.69, whereas for the conventional plant 0.63 was measured. Hence, the reconstituted product provided a higher extraction rate of solubles as compared to a conventional plant product. In particular, the extraction ratio in this test was +10% as compared to the conventional bag. The reconstituted plant enabled a more efficient extraction (up to about 100% solubles were extracted from the plant). In other words, using the same amount of material, more solubles could be released from the reconstituted plant product than from the conventional plant product in a standard cellulosic bag.

    [0118] Similar results were obtained with different extraction times, or when the reconstituted plant was compared to natural black tea in loose form, i.e. without a cellulosic bag.

    [0119] The above findings show the improved properties of the reconstructed plant. These findings, namely the improved substance release, are equally meaningful for other applications, e.g. with a different solvent or without a solvent.

    Example 2



    [0120] The reconstructed plant product obtained according to the method as explained in example 1 was used to determine a first extraction rate. On the other hand, natural black tea in a conventional cellulosic bag was used to determine a second extraction rate. The first and second extraction rates are representative of the speed soluble substances can be released from the plant products. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 3.

    [0121] Like in example 1, the reconstructed plant was immersed into water at 90 °C and the optical density was measured over time. Likewise, the conventional plant product was immersed into water at 90 °C. The more solubles are released from the plant, the higher the optical density of the respective water will be. As shown in Fig. 3, the optical density of the water with the reconstituted plant (dashed line) changes faster than the water with the conventional plant (continuous line). An optical density of 0.6 was reached by the reconstituted plant within 20 seconds. In contrast, the same optical density was reached by the conventional plant only after about 2 minutes.

    [0122] This again shows that the reconstituted plant provides improved properties as regards the rate substances can be released from the plant product.

    [0123] Similar results were obtained when reconstituted plant product was compared to natural black tea in loose form.

    Example 3



    [0124] In this example exactly the same setup was used as in example 2, only the water was at room temperature, i.e. 20 °C.

    [0125] As shown in Fig. 4, the optical density of the water with the reconstituted plant (dashed line) changes faster than the water with the conventional plant (continuous line). The water with the reconstituted plant reached an optical density of 0.3 within about 30 seconds and an optical density of 0.6 within about 2 minutes. In contrast, the conventional plant in a bag required about 6 times longer to provide the optical density of 0.3. Hence, the reconstituted plant product provides faster extraction than conventional plant in bags.

    [0126] Similar results were obtained when reconstituted plant was compared to natural black tea in loose form.

    Example 4



    [0127] This example shall demonstrate the adjustability (higher or lower than a standard) of the amount of solubles and active ingredients present on the reconstituted plant product. The soluble content was measured by determining the weight of a given sample before and after extraction.

    [0128] Black tea was used to produce a reconstituted plant product according to the method of example 1. As control, a conventional black tea was used containing solubles in an amount of 26% (w/w).

    [0129] By adjusting the coating ratio, the amount of solubles was adjusted in three different runs to 5% (w/w; decreased level), to 26% (w/w; standard level) and to 50% (w/w; increased level).

    [0130] Due to the adjustability of the reconstituted product it is possible to provide a consistent, standardized delivery level of soluble/active ingredients as compared to the natural products that generally show an inherent variability.

    Example 5



    [0131] In this example different reconstituted plant products were manufactured according to the method of example 1 and tested.

    Sample 1 (Original plant in loose form)



    [0132] For natural black tea in loose form the amount of solubles was determined to be around 30%.

    Sample 2 (Original plant in cellulosic bag)



    [0133] For natural black tea, i.e. the same as in Sample 1, in a conventional double chamber cellulosic bag the amount of solubles was determined to be around 30%.

    Sample 3 (Reconstituted plant with standard amount of solubles)



    [0134] A reconstituted plant product was made from black tea. The reconstituted plant product was in the form of disks and had a standard dry basis weight, i.e. 100 gsm. The amount of solubles, which corresponds to the coating ratio for the reconstituted sample, was the same as of the natural plant, i.e. 30%.

    Sample 4 (Reconstituted plant with decreased amount of solubles)



    [0135] A reconstituted plant product was made from black tea. The reconstituted plant product was in the form of disks and had a standard dry basis weight. The amount of solubles was 20% and thus decreased in comparison with the standard of 30%.

    Sample 5 (Reconstituted plant with increased amount of solubles)



    [0136] A reconstituted plant product was made from black tea. The reconstituted plant product was in the form of disks and had a standard dry basis weight. The amount of solubles was 50% and thus increased in comparison with the standard of 30%.

    Sample 6 (Reconstituted plant with decreased dry basis weight)



    [0137] A reconstituted plant product was made from black tea. The reconstituted plant product was in the form of disks and had a decreased dry basis weight of 60 gsm as compared to the standard dry basis weight of 100 gsm. The amount of solubles was the same as of the natural plant, i.e. 30%.

    [0138] A comparison of the properties of the samples, in particular a comparison of sample 3 with samples 1 and 2; sample 3 with samples 4 and 5; and sample 3 with sample 6, confirmed the findings of the foregoing examples. That is, the reconstituted plant provides a better ratio of extraction and faster extraction and allows to adjust the amount of solubles/active ingredients released.

    Example 6


    Method of making a bag comprising reconstituted plant product



    [0139] Black tea was mixed with water with a plant/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight and the mixture was heated at 85°C for 20 minutes. Subsequently, the aqueous portion was separated from the fibrous portion by an extraction step in a hydraulic press. Afterwards, the fibrous residue was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a plant/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. Again, the aqueous portion was separated from the fibrous portion by an extraction step in a hydraulic press. Then, the samples were refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. As a next step, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the plant fibrous residue at various levels in order to prepare the different samples and make hand sheets. Hand sheets were later dried on a plate dryer.

    [0140] The following ratios of plant/cellulosic fibers have been used for producing a bag:

    first sample: 40/60 (w/w);

    second sample 60/40 (w/w);

    third sample 80/20 (w/w).



    [0141] No plant extract was located on the bags but the sample bags were filled with conventional black tea.

    Comparison of bag comprising reconstituted plant product versus conventional cellulosic bag



    [0142] A bag produced according to the above method was compared to a conventional cellulosic bag containing the same amount of black tea.

    [0143] The outcome was similar to examples 1 and 2. As can be taken from Fig. 5, the extraction performance of the sample corresponding to the 80/20 ratio (first sample) matched with the extraction performance of conventional cellulosic bags as measured by optical density.

    Example 7



    [0144] Plant extract from the extracting step was used to impregnate the fiber web of example 6 to obtain impregnated bags with an amount of plant extract from 5% to 50% of the total weight. The bags were filled with black tea.

    [0145] The measurements of the extraction performance of the produced bags as compared to conventional cellulosic bags containing the same amount of plant revealed a similar outcome as examples 1 and 2. That is, from the bags more solubles were released, and extraction rates were higher due to the additional release of substances from the coating (plant extract), in addition to natural extraction coming from the black tea which was contained in the bag.

    [0146] One sample bag was impregnated with plant extract as described above. Using water at 90°C, the product released 35% (w/w) plant solubles into the water.

    Example 8



    [0147] The following products were produced:
    1. 1) A product in the form of a plant bag was produced with about 5% solubles (w/w) and a dry basis weight of approx. 120 g/m2 (w/w);
    2. 2) A product in the form of a plant bag was produced with about 5% solubles (w/w) and a dry basis weight of approx. 60 g/m2 (w/w).


    [0148] Both products were not filled with plant. Both bags have the same contact surface but have a different weight. The second plant bag having a dry basis weight of approx. 60 g/m2 (w/w) is half the weight of the first plant bag having a dry basis weight of approx. 120 g/m2 (w/w).

    [0149] As can be taken from Fig. 6, the first product comprising a dry basis weight of approx. 120 g/m2 (w/w) releases more substances in shorter time as the second product comprising a lower dry basis weight of approx. 60 g/m2 (w/w). In other words, release of solubles can be driven by the basis weight of the finished product.

    Example 9



    [0150] Example 1 described above was repeated with the additional use of a wet strength agent (here: cationic polyamide amine resin), in order to reduce potential degradation of some of the reconstituted material in water. The wet strength agent was added to the fibrous portion.

    [0151] A tea product was made according to the following method: A black tea was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the tea fiber portion. The recovered tea fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the tea fibrous residue with a tea fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. The soluble level is typically between 27 and 37% in dry finished product. In this example, soluble level of the reconstituted tea was approx. 27%, which is the soluble content of conventional tea used as the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer. Infusion trials were run in hot water (approx. 90°C) and product with wet strength agent showed less degradability into water than same material without agent.

    [0152] Fig. 7 shows reconstituted tea in one example without the use of a wet strength agent after 3 mins of infusion. The photograph shows that material is degraded.

    [0153] Fig. 8 shows reconstituted tea in this example with the use of a wet strength agent after 3 mins of infusion. The photograph shows that the material is substantially undegraded.

    Example 10



    [0154] In order to determine the effect of reconstituted plant soluble content and the dry basis weights on the infusion profile, a tea product was made according to the following method: A black tea was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the tea fiber portion. The recovered tea fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the tea fibrous residue with a tea fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. The soluble level is typically between 27 and 37% in dry finished product. In this example, the following products were prepared:

    Product A : soluble level of the reconstituted tea was 22%, which is the soluble content of conventional tea used as the starting material of the experiment. Dry basis weight of the material was 70 grs per m2 (dry basis);

    Product C : soluble level of the reconstituted tea was 22%, which is the soluble content of conventional tea used as the starting material of the experiment. Dry basis weight of this material was 170 grs per m2 (dry basis) which is 143% higher than A;

    Product D : soluble level of the reconstituted tea was 38% which is 73% higher than A. Dry basis weight of D material was 170 grs per m2 (dry basis).



    [0155] The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0156] The products (A, C and D) obtained in this example were tested for their properties including sensory properties, their propensity to release plant extract by preparing tea and compared. Both products were used to make tea, and the optical density of the solution (tea) was measured at 274 nm. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of tea material (2,5 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 500 ml water was heated at 90°C. At T=0, ie. upon start of the experiment, heating was stopped and a tea strip was immersed into water. A rotary magnet was used to homogenize the content of the beaker during the entire experiment.

    [0157] Samples of water were taken regularly and up to 5 minutes. Then, the optical density of the sample was determined using a spectrophotometer at the wavelength of 274 nm (maximum absorption of caffeine). The reference/blank test was run with a sample of clear water heated at 90°C.

    [0158] The result is graphically shown in Fig. 9 and 10.

    [0159] Fig. 9: Reconstituted tea (D - high soluble content) shows a higher infusion level of tea solubles than C (standard soluble level). In order to reach an infusion level of 8.3 (expressed by 10 x optical density at 274 nm), it takes 300 sec with sample C whereas only 40 sec are needed for D material (87% faster). Sensory evaluation performed by panel group also showed a stronger tea flavor and taste with D than with C. This demonstrates that product taste can be adjusted thanks to soluble content of reconstituted tea material.

    [0160] Fig. 10 shows that reconstituted tea A with a lower basis weight shows a faster infusion level of tea solubles than C. Figures show that infusion rate of 8,3 (expressed by 10 x optical density at 274 nm) is reached in 120 sec for A sample whereas 300 sec are needed for C. Infusion with A is 60% faster than with C. Actually, a lower basis weight for a given weight of material entails a more important contact surface which, at the end, improves infusion kinetics.

    Example 11



    [0161] In order to determine the effect of the reconstitution process on the green tea product sensory profile, a tea product was made according to the following method: a green tea (Sencha from China) was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the tea fiber portion. The recovered tea fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios: 60/10/30) were added to the tea fibrous residue with a tea fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 36% extract content, which is the soluble content of the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0162] The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural tea material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make tea. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of tea material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and tea materials were immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 11.

    [0163] The experiment shows that the odor, color and taste are higher in the reconstituted tea than in the natural material. However, astringency and bitterness are significantly lower in the reconstituted tea than natural material.

    Example 12


    Reconstitution of Rooibos leaves



    [0164] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a rooibos/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the rooibos fiber portion. The recovered rooibos fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a rooibos/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the rooibos fibrous residue with a rooibos fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 22% extract content, which is the soluble content of the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0165] The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural rooibos material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make a rooibos beverage. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of rooibos material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and rooibos materials were immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 12.

    [0166] The experiment demonstrates that reconstituted rooibos tea shows a stronger taste than original material. Moreover, color is stronger.

    [0167] The reconstituted rooibos obtained in this example and its original material were tested for their properties in preparing infusion and compared. Both products were used to make infusion, and the optical density of the solution was measured at 450 nm. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of materials (2,5 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 500 ml water was heated at 90°C. At T=0, ie. upon start of the experiment, heating was stopped and a reconstituted rooibos strip was immersed into water. A rotary magnet was used to homogenize the content of the beaker during the entire experiment.

    [0168] Samples of water were taken regularly and up to 5 minutes. Then, the optical density of the sample was determined using a spectrophotometer at the wavelength of 450 nm (maximum absorption of lutein). The reference/blank test was run with a sample of clear water heated at 90°C.

    [0169] The infusion performance for reconstituted Rooibos material is graphically shown in Fig. 13. Infusions of rooibos products are comparable. However, it is demonstrated that reconstituted rooibos offers a more complete extraction. After 5 mins infusion, optical density of liquor made of reconstituted rooibos is 1.1 compared 0.9 for original material (+ 22%).

    Example 13


    Reconstitution of Thyme leaves



    [0170] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a thyme/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the thyme fiber portion. The recovered thyme fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a thyme/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the thyme fibrous residue with a thyme fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 30% extract content, which is the soluble content of the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.
    The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural thyme material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make a thyme beverage. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of thyme material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and thyme materials were immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 14.

    [0171] The experiment shows that that the color is rather yellow for the reconstituted thyme and rather green for the naturel leaves. Global odor and herbal notes are higher for the natural thyme. However, the taste of thyme is higher in the reconstituted material.

    [0172] The reconstituted thyme obtained in this example and its original material were tested for their properties in preparing infusion and compared. Both products were used to make infusion, and the optical density of the solution was measured at 326 nm. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of materials (2,5 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 500 ml water was heated at 90°C. At T=0, ie. upon start of the experiment, heating was stopped and a reconstituted thyme strip was immersed into water. A rotary magnet was used to homogenize the content of the beaker during the entire experiment.

    [0173] Samples of water were taken regularly and up to 5 minutes. Then, the optical density of the sample was determined using a spectrophotometer at the wavelength of 326 nm (maximum absorption of rosmarinic acid). The reference/blank test was run with a sample of clear water heated at 90°C. The result is shown in Fig. 15.

    [0174] Fig. 15 shows that reconstituted thyme infusion occurs very quickly. After 90 sec infusion, optical density of original material is 2.3 whereas liquor from reconstituted thyme optical density is 5.3 which is 130% higher.

    Example 14


    Reconstitution of Thyme and Black Tea leaves



    [0175] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: Thyme (thymus vulgaris) and black tea (Camelia sinensis) natural leaves were initially blended with a ratio of 50/50 and aforementioned blend was heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a blend/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the blend fiber portion. The recovered blend fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a blend/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios: 60/10/30) were added to the blend fibrous residue with a blend fiber/wood pulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 25% extract content, which is the balanced soluble content of the materials of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0176] The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural blend material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make the infusion. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and blend was immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 16.

    [0177] The experiment shows that color and overall taste are higher in the reconstituted leaves. Also, thyme and black tea notes are higher. But the astringency of the product is lower in the reconstituted material.

    Example 15


    Reconstitution of Thyme and Laurel leaves ("bouquet garni")



    [0178] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and Laurel (Laurus nobilis) natural leaves were initially blended with a ratio of 50/50 and aforementioned blend was heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a blend/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the blend fiber portion. The recovered blend fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the blend fibrous residue with a blend fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 34% extract content which is the balanced soluble content of the materials of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0179] The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural tea material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make tea. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of tea material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and tea materials were immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 17.

    [0180] The experiment shows that the two products are very different. The color is rather yellow for reconstituted product and green for the original blend. The taste is on the herbal side for the original blend and more on the baked side for the reconstituted material. Globally, taste and odor are higher for the original blend. Taste and odor can, however be adjusted and increased for the reconstituted material by increasing soluble content of reconstituted material or by adding ingredients such as food flavors, food dyes or other plant extracts having color and aroma properties.

    [0181] Also, same reconstituted product was used for cooking purposes. A sheet of product was put onto the surface of chicken breast and rolled so to place the product in the middle of the meat as illustrated in Fig. 22. Chicken was then cooked. Evaluation showed a distinctive and pleasant taste of herbs.

    Example 16


    Reconstitution of Mint leaves



    [0182] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: Mint (Mentha x piperita) was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a mint/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the rooibos fiber portion. The recovered mint fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a mint/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the mint fibrous residue with a mint fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 50% extract content, which is the soluble content of the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0183] The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural mint material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make a mint beverage. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of mint material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and mint material was immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 18.

    [0184] The experiment shows that in the reconstituted product, freshness/menthol notes have been reduced vs original mint material; however, overall taste is stronger.

    Example 17


    Reconstitution of Mint (Mentha x piperita) and Green Tea leaves (Camellia sinensis)



    [0185] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: Mint (Mentha x piperita) and Green Tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) natural leaves were initially blended with a ratio of 50/50 and aforementioned blend was heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a blend/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the blend fiber portion. The recovered blend fiber portion was again heated at 85°C for 10 minutes with a blend/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios: 60/10/30) were added to the blend fibrous residue with a blend fiber/wood pulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and L-menthol was added to the solution at 6% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 35% extract content, which is the balanced soluble content of the materials of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0186] The product obtained in this example was tested for its sensory properties and compared to natural blend material used for the experiment as described above. Both products were used to make the infusion. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of material (2 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 200 ml water was heated at 90°C and blend was immersed into water. Then, after 5 minutes, sensory profile of both products was performed. The result is graphically shown in Fig. 19.

    Example 18


    Removal of caffeine from tea leaves thanks to the reconstitution process



    [0187] In order to illustrate the potential of the methods described herein to reduce the amount of specific components from tea, a treatment to decrease caffeine content from tea was developed and tested at the lab scale.

    [0188] Literature shows that alkaloids compounds such as caffeine are extracted in the soluble portion. Therefore, experiment has been run on the liquor part of tea, after separation step.

    [0189] A black tea was initially heated at 85°C for 20 minutes with a tea/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the tea fiber portion. The aqueous portion of tea was then mixed with activated charcoal in powder form. Approx. 23g of activated charcoal was added to 500 ml of tea liquor and mixed at 60°C, stirred at 350 rpm for 1 hour. After filtration, caffeine levels in liquors were measured then through LC-MS method.

    [0190] The following samples were produced :
    • Control : standard tea liquor without activated charcoal treatment
    • A : Tea liquor treated with activated charcoal Acticarbone P13 from CECA
    • B : Tea liquor treated with activated charcoal Acticarbone 2SW from CECA
    • C : Tea liquor treated with activated charcoal Acticarbone 3SA from CECA
    • D : Tea liquor treated with activated charcoal Acticarbone CPL from CECA


    [0191] Caffeine contents in tea liquors are as follows:
    • Control: 22700 mg/Kg
    • A: <10 mg/Kg
    • B : <10 mg/Kg
    • C: <10 mg/Kg
    • D: <14 mg/Kg


    [0192] It can be seen that caffeine levels are strongly reduced by using activated charcoal on tea liquor.

    Example 19


    Reduction of microbiological load of tea through the reconstituted process



    [0193] Reconstituted tea material produced during experiment 7 was analyzed vs original tea material. Bacteria counts were run (Aerobic Plate Count after 48 hrs at 30°C). Results are shown in the following table:
     Total Aerobic bacteria count (units/grs)
    Original tea material 8.3 104
    Reconstituted teas 1.4 103


    [0194] Results show that reconstitution process does reduce the microbiological load. Temperatures applied all along the process have a lethal effect of microorganisms.

    Example 20



    [0195] Reconstituted material was produced in different physical shapes that provide for different kinds of applications. Specifically, the products shown in Fig. 20 are examples that allow for convenient preparation of tea infusions.

    Example 21



    [0196] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: coffee (Coffea spp) was initially heated at 60°C for 20 minutes with a coffee/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the coffee fiber portion. The recovered coffee fiber portion was again heated at 60°C for 10 minutes with a coffee/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the coffee fibrous residue with a coffee fiber/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 30% extract content, which is the soluble content of the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.

    [0197] The product obtained in this example was tested for its properties in preparing coffee and compared to original material. Both products were used to make coffee, and the optical density of the solution (coffee) was measured at 274 nm. For all samples, the total infusion time in hot water (90°C) was 5 minutes. Same weights of coffee material (2,5 grs) and identical experimental conditions were used: a beaker containing 500 ml water was heated at 90°C. At T=0, ie. upon start of the experiment, heating was stopped and a coffee strip was immersed into water. A rotary magnet was used to homogenize the content of the beaker during the entire experiment.

    [0198] Samples of water were taken regularly and up to 5 minutes. Then, the optical density of the sample was determined using a spectrophotometer at the wavelength of 274 nm (maximum absorption of caffeine). The reference/blank test was run with a sample of clear water heated at 90°C.

    [0199] The result is graphically shown in Fig. 21 below.

    [0200] While infusion prepared with original coffee material is faster during the first 50 seconds, after 1 minute, infusion profiles of both samples are similar.

    Example 22


    Reconstitution of cocoa shells



    [0201] A reconstituted product was made according to the following method: cocoa shells (Theobroma cacao) were initially heated at 60 °C for 20 minutes with a cocoa shell/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. This was followed by an extraction step in a hydraulic press to separate the aqueous portion from the cocoa shell fiber portion. The recovered cocoa shell fiber portion was again heated at 60 °C for 10 minutes with a cocoa shell/water ratio of 1 to 5 by weight. After an additional extraction (by pressing), the fibrous portion was then refined in a Valley beater at 1.4% consistency for 10 minutes. After refining, cellulosic fibers (a blend of abaca, hardwood and softwood pulps, with the respective ratios : 60/10/30) were added to the cocoa shell fibrous residue with a cocoa shell/woodpulp ratio of 5 to 1 in weight and a wet strength agent was then added to the fibrous portion at a level of 5% w/w in order to make hand sheets. The aqueous portion was concentrated in an evaporator to a solid concentration of 50% and then coated on a hand sheet on a manual size-press. In this example, the product was produced at 34% extract content, which is the soluble content of the starting material of the experiment. The coated hand sheets were dried on a plate dryer.


    Claims

    1. An edible product comprising a layer of fibrous plant product and two or more layers of plant extract;
    wherein each layer of plant extract comprises one or more substances, and wherein each layer of plant extract comprises different substances.
     
    2. The product of claim 1, wherein the fibrous plant product and/or the plant extract comprise substances from one or more specific parts of one or more plants.
     
    3. The product of any of the preceding claims, wherein the plant is selected from one or more of the group consisting of herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables, or spices.
     
    4. The product of any of the preceding claims, wherein the plant extract is applied to the fibrous plant product as a fluid or a gel or a slurry or a powder;
    wherein the plant extract comprises one or more substances from one or more types of plants of the fibrous plant product; and/or
    wherein the plant extract is soluble or dispersible or water-soluble.
     
    5. The product of any of the preceding claims, wherein the fibrous plant product and/or the plant extract comprises a blend of different plants.
     
    6. The product of any of the preceding claims, wherein the fibrous plant product comprises at least 30% or 40% or 50% or 60% or 70% or 80% or 90% or 100% by weight of fibrous plant product from one plant.
     
    7. The product of any of the preceding claims, wherein the plant extract comprises at least 30% or 40% or 50% or 60% or 70% or 80% or 90% or 100% by weight of plant extract from one plant.
     
    8. The product of any of the preceding claims, wherein the product is a sheet or a tablet or a pellet or a granule.
     
    9. Kit of parts comprising the product of any of claims 1 to 8.
     
    10. Use of the product of any of claims 1 to 8 as a nutraceutical, a phytotherapeutical, or a food supplement.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Essbares Produkt, umfassend eine Schicht aus faserigem Pflanzenprodukt und zwei oder mehreren Schichten aus Pflanzenextrakt;
    wobei jede Schicht aus Pflanzenextrakt eine oder mehrere Substanzen umfasst, und
    wobei jede Schicht aus Pflanzenextrakt unterschiedliche Substanzen umfasst.
     
    2. Produkt nach Anspruch 1, wobei das faserige Pflanzenprodukt und/oder das Pflanzenextrakt Substanzen eines oder mehrerer konkreter Teile aus einer oder mehreren Pflanzen umfassen.
     
    3. Produkt nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Pflanze ausgewählt ist aus einer oder mehreren der Gruppe, bestehend aus Kräutern, Arzneipflanzen, Tee, Gemüse oder Gewürzen.
     
    4. Produkt nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Pflanzenextrakt als eine Flüssigkeit oder ein Gel oder eine Paste oder ein Pulver auf das faserige Pflanzenprodukt aufgetragen wird;
    wobei das Pflanzenextrakt eine oder mehrere Substanzen von einer oder mehreren Pflanzentypen des faserigen Pflanzenprodukts umfasst; und/oder
    wobei das Pflanzenextrakt löslich oder dispergierbar oder wasserlöslich ist.
     
    5. Produkt nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das faserige Pflanzenprodukt und/oder das Pflanzenextrakt eine Mischung aus unterschiedlichen Pflanzen umfasst.
     
    6. Produkt nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das faserige Pflanzenprodukt mindestens 30 % oder 40 % oder 50 % oder 60 % oder 70 % oder 80 % oder 90 % oder 100 % nach Gewicht an faserigem Pflanzenprodukt einer Pflanze umfasst.
     
    7. Produkt nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das faserige Pflanzenprodukt mindestens 30 % oder 40 % oder 50 % oder 60 % oder 70 % oder 80 % oder 90 % oder 100 % nach Gewicht an Pflanzenextrakt einer Pflanze umfasst.
     
    8. Produkt nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Produkt ein Blatt oder eine Tablette oder ein Pellet oder eine Granalie ist.
     
    9. Kit von Teilen, umfassend das Produkt nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8.
     
    10. Verwendung des Produkts nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8 als ein Nutrazeutikum, ein Phytotherapeutikum oder als ein Nahrungsergänzungsmittel.
     


    Revendications

    1. Produit comestible comprenant une couche de produit de plante fibreux et deux couches ou plus d'extrait de plante ;
    dans lequel chaque couche d'extrait de plante comprend une ou plusieurs substances, et
    dans lequel chaque couche d'extrait de plante comprend différentes substances.
     
    2. Produit selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le produit de plante fibreux et/ou l'extrait de plante comprend des substances provenant d'une ou plusieurs parties spécifiques d'une ou plusieurs plantes.
     
    3. Produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la plante est sélectionnée parmi un ou plusieurs du groupe constitué d'herbes, de plantes médicinales, de thé, de légumes ou d'épices.
     
    4. Produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'extrait de plante est appliqué sur le produit de plante fibreux sous la forme d'un fluide ou d'un gel ou d'une pâte ou d'une poudre ;
    dans lequel l'extrait de plante comprend une ou plusieurs substances provenant d'un ou plusieurs types de plantes du produit de plante fibreux ; et/ou
    dans lequel l'extrait de plante est soluble ou dispersable ou hydrosoluble.
     
    5. Produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le produit de plante fibreux et/ou l'extrait de plante comprend un mélange de différentes plantes.
     
    6. Produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le produit de plante fibreux comprend au moins 30 % ou 40 % ou 50 % ou 60 % ou 70 % ou 80 % ou 90 % ou 100 % en poids de produit de plante fibreux provenant d'une plante.
     
    7. Produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'extrait de plante comprend au moins 30 % ou 40 % ou 50 % ou 60 % ou 70 % ou 80 % ou 90 % ou 100 % en poids d'extrait de plante provenant d'une plante.
     
    8. Produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le produit est une feuille ou un comprimé ou une pastille ou un granule.
     
    9. Kit de pièces comprenant le produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8.
     
    10. Utilisation du produit selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8 comme un nutraceutique, un phytothérapeutique ou comme un complément alimentaire.
     




    Drawing



















































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description




    Non-patent literature cited in the description