How Essential Oils Are Produced

Essential Oils

Essential oil is volatile oil ethereal oil & aether Olea, or simply as the oil in a  plant is extracted such as oil of clove. There are several different ways to extract the essential oils. Essential oils can be extracted through two main methods Distillation & Expression. Absolutes, other the other hand, can be extracted through solvent extraction or Enfleurage, though enfleurage is rarely done at the present time. Other aromatic products available on the market are CO2 extracts, referred to simply as that CO2 extracts. They differ in their chemical-related essential oils distilled but are increasingly available on the market.

Steam Distillation

Steam Distillation Essential Oils

During the distillation of plant material is placed on a rack within the still. Once inside, the still is sealed, and, depending on the above methods, steam or water/steam slowly breaks through the plant material to remove its volatile components. These volatile components rise upwards through a connecting tube which leads them to a condenser. The steam condenser rises again cooled in liquid form. then the liquid is collected in a vehicle below the condenser. Since water and essential oil do not mix, the essential oil is in the water surface where it turns. Occasionally an essential oil is heavier than water and is at the bottom instead of the top, as with essential oil of clove. The three types of distillation include Water Distillation, Water and Steam, and Steam Distillation. Water Distillation the plant material is brought into direct contact with water. This method is used most often with flowers (pink and orange), steam as a direct cause of these flowers are grouped so it is difficult for the steam to pass through. Water and Steam can be employed with herb and leaf material. During this process, the water remains below the plant material, which has been placed in a large while steam is introduced from outside the main still (indirect steam). Steam Distillation is the most commonly used. During this process, the steam is injected into the still, usually at somewhat higher temperatures and pressures above two methods.

Solvent Extraction

Solvent Extraction Essential Oils

Some plant material is too fragile to be distilled and must use an alternative method. Solvent extraction is the use of solvents such as petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol or hexane, to remove the lipophilic material odoriferous plant. The solvent also pulls the chlorophyll and other plant tissues, resulting in a highly colored or thick/viscous extract. The first product made by solvent extraction is known as concrete. Concrete is a concentrated extract containing waxes and/or fats, as well as odoriferous plant material. The concrete mixed with alcohol, which serves to extract the aromatic principle of the material. The final product is known as an absolute. Solvent extraction is used to jasmine, tuberose, carnation, gardenia, jonquil, violet leaves, narcissus, mimosa, and other delicate flowers. Neroli and rose can be distilled or to remove the solvent. The name of neroli essential oil usually involves while orange flower name is commonly used for absolute or neroli hydrosol. The name of the rose is used to describe well the essential oil of all. Companies that sell essential oils should clarify whether the product you are buying is an essential oil or absolute. This information should be on the label and product catalog.


Expression/ Cold Press Essential Oils

Expression, also known as cold pressing is a method of extracting specific to citrus essential, such as tangerine, lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, and lime oils. In earlier times, the expression was performed as pressing sponge, which is carried out literally by hand. Shell or peel of citrus first soaked in hot water to make the crust more receptive to the pressing process. A sponge would then be used to press the crust breaking cavities essential oil, and absorb the essential oil. Once the sponge is filled with extraction, which is then pressed into a collection vessel, and the possibility of allowing the separation of essential oil and water/juice would not. A more modern extraction method, and less labor, which has been called one Ecuelle piquer process that involves an insistence, pricking, sticking action to release the essential oil. During this process, the rind of the fruit is placed in a container having peaks that pierce the shell, while the device is rotated. Piercing ring free essential oil then collected in a small area below the container.  The final process is the same as above. Most modern expression techniques are performed using machines using centrifugal force.


Enfleurage Essential Oils

Enfleurage is one of the oldest methods of extraction of essential oils and is rarely used these days because of its high cost. Petals of flowers are placed on a glass layer first spread with a thin layer of fat called “chassis”. The volatile oil diffuses into the fat, then the fat is collected and the oil is extracted from fat using alcohol. Once the alcohol evaporates what remains behind is called absolute. As you can imagine, this is a very slow process, but it was the only way to extract delicate flowers such as jasmine for a very long time!


Maceration in Crock Pot Essential Oils

With the extraction method of maceration, the flowers are soaked in hot oil to keep their cell membranes were broken and hot oil then absorbs the essence. The oil is removed from the botany and decanted. This is very much the same technique used in solvent extraction, where solvents are used instead of hot oil, as used in the maceration.

Hydro Diffusion

Hydro Diffusion Steam Essential Oils

Hydro diffusion method for extracting oils is a type of steam distillation and only differ in the way in which the steam enters the container is still. In the diffusion bath, steam is fed from the top of the plant material, while in the case of steam distillation, steam is fed from the bottom. Thus the steam can saturate the plants more evenly and in less time than steam distillation. Condensation of the vapor mixture containing oil occurs below the zone where is performed the botanical material. The main advantage of this method over steam distillation is that less steam is used, hence shorter processing time and thus higher oil yield. This method is also less harsh on the botanical material.

Hypercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction

Hypercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction Essential Oils

CO2 extracts, also known as supercritical CO2 extractor extracts CO2 supercritical fluid, are extremely pure plant extracts produced from a relatively new and highly efficient extraction process. CO2 extraction produces superior herbs extracts are widely used in industry and medicine flavoring herbal. CO2 extracts are similar to essential oils distillates that may be used in aromatherapy and natural perfume oils of great benefit. Essential oils have traditionally been obtained using steam distillation or hydraulic, or extracted using chemical solvents such as hexane, heptane and ethanol. The extract of supercritical CO2 and its processes have many advantages over traditional processes of distillation, which should be taken into account when choosing a natural aromatic oil for use in products for body care, aromatherapy blend, natural perfume or similar product. Eden Botanicals was one of the original companies of essential oils in the US to embrace the concept of using CO2 extracts and essential oils in aromatherapy and natural perfumery field.  Read below for more information about this interesting process or click here for a list of CO2 extracts sold, including organic extracts CO2 certificates.