How are essential oils extracted?

However, these traditional methods are a bit expensive, especially since they consume a lot of energy and solvents. Steam distillation is the most popular method for extracting and isolating essential oils from plants for use in natural products. This occurs when the steam vaporizes the volatile compounds of the plant material, which eventually go through a process of condensation and collection. Steam distillation is the most popular method for extracting essential oils.

Essential oils are natural aromatic extracts from plant materials including herbs, leaves, flowers, needles, twigs, fruit peels, seeds, bark and roots. However, before distillation was invented, “expression” was one of the main methods used to extract essential oils from plants. In addition to essential oils, there are several other aromatic plant extracts that are sometimes used in aromatherapy. This specially designed container has two outlets in view of the fact that oil and water do not mix, i.e.

CO2 extracts are usually thicker than their essential oil counterparts and often give off more aroma from natural herb, spice or plant than a distilled essential oil. The oil and juice that are produced still contain fruit solids, such as peel, and must be centrifuged to filter solids from liquids. Absolutes are produced by solvent extraction, and although this method produces something similar to an essential oil, by definition it is not really an essential oil. The shells are immersed in warm water and the oil is expelled from the material under high mechanical pressure.

Once extraction is complete, the pressure is released and the carbon dioxide returns to its gaseous state, leaving behind all the oil. You might think that CO2 extracts have both the lightest molecules of an essential oil and the heaviest molecules of an absolute. The essential oils of the plant material are dissolved by the solvent, the solvent is removed and what is left is a waxy aromatic compound called concrete. It produces very pure oils with a unique quality, so they can differ greatly from steam distilled essential oils.

Due to the liquid properties of gas, CO2 functions as a solvent in natural plant matter, extracting oils and other substances such as pigment and resin from plant matter. This is the first in a series of publications aimed at essential oil beginners or anyone who has been consuming essential oils but wants to gain a stronger understanding of the basics. This method uses water and heat to achieve separation of essential oil from plant material.