In the last decade, natural deep eutectic solvents (NADESs) have gained more and more attention due to their green, convenient preparation, low toxicity and biodegradability. It is widely used in various fields, especially in the extraction of active components from plants, formed by the combination of hydrogen bond donors (HBDs) and hydrogen bond acceptors (HBAs) at a certain condition. In this article, six preparation methods of NADESs were summarized and the interactions that occur in the eutectic behavior of NADES including hydrogen bonding, electrostatic interaction and van der Waals force were also reviewed. What is more, its significant extraction capacity on flavonoids, phenols, alkaloids and plant pigments endows its extensive applications in the extraction of active components from medicinal plants. Extraction factors including solvents properties (viscosity, carbon chain length, number of hydroxyl groups), extraction condition (water content, extraction temperature, extraction time, solid-liquid ratio), extraction method and recycling method were discussed. In addition, NADESs can also be combined with other technologies, like molecular imprinting, monolithic column, to achieve efficient and specific extraction of active ingredients. Further systematic studies on the biodegradability and biotoxicity are put forward to be urgent.
Keywords: Extraction of active components; hydrogen bond acceptors; hydrogen bond donors; natural deep eutectic solvents.