Have you ever thought about how to make essential oils? There are several techniques of how to make essential oils. Distillation is one of the most effective ways of extracting oils from plants. This method uses steam to capture the oil. Once the oil is captured, the steam condenses and then the water and oil are separated.
If you only want pure natural oil, the distillation method is for you. Because it uses steam, there are no chemicals used to extract the oil. As a result, the final product contains no residue or lingering chemicals, you just get pure natural oil.
The distillation method has three parts to it, so there are three pieces of equipment. There is the retort or still where the steam begins. The second piece is the condenser where vapor turns into fluid. The last piece that holds the water and oil is called the separator.
The plant and the steam come in contact in the retort or still. There are three methods for the water to extract the oil in the distillation method. Two methods are hydrodistillation where the plant sits in boiling water or the plant can sit on a screen above the water using the wet steam method. The third is the dry steam method where the water is in a separate container and the steam enters the bottom of the retort through a pipe.
The heat from the steam opens up the fibers of the plant and the water gathers the oils out. The steam and oil combination then go through the condenser. The condenser can be a copper pipe or tube. Its purpose is to allow the heat to escape quickly allowing the water to condense back into liquid form.
Once the water and oil have turned back into liquid form, they are gathered into the separator. The separator is usually made out of glass. Here the water and oil rest and separate. Once the oil rises to the top, it is bottled separately from the water.
Depending on the type of plant used, the water left over may have some uses. In the example of lavender, the water still contains its sweet perfume. This water, hydrosol, can be used to freshen laundry, linens, or the air.
Being able to make essential oils in your own home is very rewarding. You can do it as a hobby or buy the essential oils from commercial companies. The method of distillation is very effective and produces pure oil.