Various methods exist for extracting essential oils from plants, but one stands out as the quickest and most effective. Let’s delve into the details.

plant oil

Essential oils, known for imparting pleasant aromas to plants, have been recognized and utilized since ancient times. Their journey through history has witnessed fluctuations between greatness and obscurity, often aligning with advancements in synthetic compounds and chemistry.

However, since the 1990s, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of essential oils, driven by a renewed interest in aromatherapy. These oils are harnessed to enhance physical, emotional, and mental well-being, contributing to an improved quality of life.

The intriguing process of extracting oil from fragrant plants requires a comprehensive understanding of flora but is surprisingly achievable at home. To embark on this venture, a 12 L distiller, a gas or electric stove, water, and aromatic plants like mint, lavender, thyme, rosemary, savory, and sage, rich in essential oils, are needed.

For the extraction process, around 2 kg of freshly harvested plants are sufficient, preferably during their balsamic period when they exhibit higher concentrations of active compounds.

Extracting Essential Oil from Plants Using Distillation:

Extract the essential oil

Steam distillation is the key technique for obtaining essential oils, employing steam to separate substances with different boiling points. This method harnesses steam generated by boiling water, which then passes through the plant matter in a still, carrying the aromatic molecules from the plant cells.

Due to their volatility, these molecules are easily vaporized. The steam and volatile molecules travel through a condenser, returning to a liquid state. Essential oils, having lower density than water, naturally sit atop aromatic water, forming micro droplets that create the plant’s distinct aroma.

Separating the two fluids is achieved with a separating funnel, given their immiscibility. The resulting products of distillation include pure essential oil and aromatic water, also known as hydrosol.

Far from being mere by-products, aromatic water holds value and can serve various purposes, from ironing water to facial toner and a potent antiseptic for plants.

Freshly distilled essential oils may not always be fragrant, requiring a maturation period lasting several weeks. During this time, it is crucial to let the oil rest to attain its ideal aroma.

Extract the essential oil

Storing Essential Oils:

Due to their delicate nature, essential oils must be handled with care, susceptible to rancidity and deterioration, leading to the loss of their natural fragrance and the development of harmful substances. Preserving their integrity involves storing them in dark glass containers, shielded from direct exposure to light and heat.

Essential oils are concentrated and contain active molecules, some of which can have toxic effects. Therefore, their usage should be sparing, in drops, with expert advice sought to prevent potential harm.

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