Essential Oil Extraction: DistillationExtracting essential oils through distillation has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, the use of a distillation apparatus, which is utilized for steam distillation, has been around for approximately 5,000 years. 5,000 years later, the process has changed a bit, but still remains essentially the same. In essence, distilling the raw material involves steaming the plant (can also be done in water), which separates the volatile constituents (what you won't use) and the oils from the plants are then collected. There are actually a few methods within distillation to accomplish this, see below:
- Water Distillation: Often used for flowers, the plant is directly submerged in water and brought to a boil.
- Steam Distillation: The most common method, steam distillation involves introducing steam at higher pressures and temperatures than other methods, and is directly forced onto the raw plant material.
- Water & Steam: With water and steam distillation, the plant is placed above water and the steam is fed from outside of the apparatus.
Essential Oil ExpressionLike we said before, extracting essential oils through expression is specific to fruits and citrus oils. Often referred to as cold pressing, this extraction method was originally done by hand and, just like it sounds, cold pressing literally involves squeezing the oils from the fruit rind. Originally, the rind of the fruit was soaked in water before using a sponge to press the rind and absorb the oils. This process is still used today. The term cold pressing refers to the fact that the raw materials are never subjected to heat in this method. Of course, utilizing a sponge is not the only way to extract the oils through expression (or cold pressing). A more modern method, écuelle Ã¡ piquer, involves placing the fruit on a device with spikes, which then pierces the oil cells of the rind. The resulting oils run down the device and are collected in a basin.
Get Quality Oils with RainShadow LabsThere you have it: the two main methods of essential oil extraction. While each differs and are utilized for different types of oils, they both are effective ways in extracting oils. If you'd like to learn more about each of these methods, be sure to check out the pages below:
- Distilling Essential Oils
- Cold Pressed Essential Oils