A Look At How Essential Oils Are Extracted
Because essential oils are extracted from the plant itself, they are called as such. Extraction can be done through various methods such as distillation, maceration, expression, enfleurage and solvent extraction. If you are into aromatherapy, it may also be quite valuable for you to learn the extraction process. This way, you will know how certain oils are extracted and can even do it on your own. Doing your own extraction proves to be more cost effective in the long term.
But first, you have to know that extraction can be done on different parts of the plants and certain oils are gotten through those parts. There is lavender which is extracted from the plant’s flowers and there is frankincense that is extracted from the resin. There is also orange that is extracted from the fruit while there is pine that is extracted from the leaves. There are also some plants that you cannot extract from other parts so you have to be knowledgeable about each if you really want to be successful in extraction.
This is the most popular way of extracting essential oils . However, this is not the only way available. It is popular because it is able to extract oils in just about any part of the plant. It does not matter if you want some oils from the leaves, flowers, stems, seeds or roots. Distillation can do the job no matter what part that is.
Another method which you can use is expression. This is done through a machine whose centrifugal force squeezes the essences out of the fruit. This applies for fruit-based essential oils such as lemon, orange and the likes. This is a great way to extract oils without any effort on your part. There are some expression machines that you can buy but they can be quite expensive if you are not serious about turning this into a business.
This is called as such because this is the method that is applied to flower-based oils like rose and jasmine. This is done by using a so-called fixed oil and then spreading it on a glass on a wooden frame. The flower petals are then placed in this area and it is then exposed to the sun. This is really effortless but it is very time consuming. But once this is done, the oil will be pure. In fact, it is sometimes called as an absolute and can be more expensive.
This is also quite similar with enfleurage because it also involves a fixed oil and has the same process of letting it dry up in the sun. The only difference is that the fixed oil is heated up so that the essential oil from the plant is further extracted. This makes it a higher quality method compared with enfleurage.
Last but not the least, there is solvent extraction. This is done through spraying a volatile solvent like petroleum or alcohol on certain parts of the plants so that oils are extracted. The idea is similar with enfleurage only that it uses a volatile solvent instead of a fixed oil. This is a unique but good way to extract essential oils.