How to Make Essential Oils

Essential oils can get from different parts of plants. They can localize in underground and above-ground parts of plants.

Essential oils used in medicine, pharmacy, food, cosmetics industry, then the alcohol industry and soft drinks, as well as in the paint and varnish industry. Microbiological correctness and physicochemical properties of essential oil products, make them acceptable.

Because of all this, essential oils are part of many biologically valuable and healthy products.

lavender essential oils
lavender essential oils

Below, read more about how to make essential oils.

Procedures for making essential oils

Four procedures for preparing essential oils are common:

  • hydro-distillation,
  • cold pressing,
  • extraction using organic solvents,
  • super-critical extraction.


Distillation is a general procedure for obtaining essential oils from plant material and there are three special ways:

  • water distillation,
  • distillation with water and steam,
  • steam distillation.
  • Water distillation

In this procedure, the plant material constantly immersed in boiling water. Heating of the pot with plant material realizes directly below the bottom of the vessel, or indirectly, through duplicator.

Formed water vapor removes volatile aromatic components from the plant material. This procedure doesn’t give good quality essential oil. During boiling, useful substances often decompose.

On the other hand, water vapor formed when boiling it is not always saturated or overheated, which complicates condensation, and thus the separation of essential oils and water. The use rate is low. Hydrodistillation today it is rarely used. Herbal species exposed to this procedure are lavender, thyme, and rose.

Distillation with water and steam

In this case, there is much less contact with the plant material and water than in the previous example. Distillation time is shorter than with water distillation. Energy consumption for the separation of essential oils is the smallest compared to other procedures.

The degree of use in this process is large, and the costs of producing essential oils reduced.

Steam distillation

It recommended in cases when the starting material contains a high percentage of essential oil and when the oil components are stable at elevated temperatures. Except that the plant material heat by steam which passes through it, the entire system can still additionally heated over duplicator in which water vapor condenses.

essential oil distillation
essential oil distillation

The duration of the steam distillation process is the shortest of all known procedures, and the yield of essential oils is high. Also, the heat consumption is low. In that case, a product with better quality essential oil obtained.

Cold pressing

The cold-pressing process uses to produce oils from the peel of a lemon, orange, grapefruit, and mandarin. Pressing done using machines that peel the peel from these fruits, from which the oil then extracted under pressure. Cold-pressed liquid the product is a mixture of water and essential oil. This mixture over time it naturally separates into water and oil. The essential oils got by this process oxidize if not kept at a reduced temperature for over one year.

Extraction with organic solvents

Extraction of essential oils with organic solvents (light petroleum, benzene, hexane, or acetone) applies to plant material which contains term degradable compounds (jasmine, linden flower). The process of extraction performs in a column device, where it is herbal material placed on the perforated partition. Plant material is multiple rinses with an organic solvent.

The solvent removed from the filtrate by distillation under reduced pressure and temperature, thus getting a fragrant mass as the desired product.

The fragrant mass usually contains about 55% volatile oils. Thus obtained ethereal oils are mostly used in the perfume and cosmetics industries

industry. Waxes remaining after ethanol extraction are used for the production of candles, cosmetic creams, and lotions.

The advantage of this process of obtaining essential oils is that the oils keep the scent of the plant from which they originate.

The negative side of this process is that traces can remain in the obtained oil organic solvents, which prevents their use in drugs with oral use.

Supercritical extraction

Extraction with liquefied gas (usually CO2) or supercritical liquid, it is also known as supercritical extraction, since use liquids are at temperatures and pressures above their critical values.

The advantage of this procedure over the classic one extraction with organic solvents is that CO2 not retained in the product, it converts into gas and released into the atmosphere. Also, essential oils extracted by supercritical extraction have a rich and intense scent.

Thanks to new scientific knowledge, but also aromatherapy, essential oils are becoming an indispensable ingredient in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food products.

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