The Process of Making Essential Oils
Essential oils are generally created through the process of distillation. There are three ways to distil the oils. They include the use of water, direct steam and water and steam. The type of distillation that is used depends on the plant and what condition it arrives in.
Plants or flowers are steamed to create essential oils. The steam suspends the essential oil from the plant. After the steam is allowed to cool, it turns to water and the essential oil sits on top of the water, as oil and water do not mix. The oil is then taken from the water.
Cold pressing is another method used to make essential oils. Cold pressing is most often used to extract the essential oils from citrus fruits such as tangerine, orange and lemon. The peelings are taken from the fruit and then cold pressed so that the essential oils can be collected.
Enfleurage is also a method used to extract essential oils. Flower petals are pressed into wax or warm oils until the essential oils come away from the flower petal and into the warm oils or wax.
Solvent extraction is the most common way to make essential oils. It is also the most expensive way to do so. However, it provides the best results. Solvent extraction involves taking flower petals and mixing them with a solvent such as benzene or petroleum. This process continues until all of the essential oil is taken out of the flower. The extraction solution is filtered so that the plant's essential oils are separated from the solution.
There are several common ways that are used to make essential oils. They include solvent extraction, enfleurage, cold pressing and distillation. All of these methods are highly effective to extract the essential oils from fruit, flowers and plants. The process does require some expertise, so if you are planning on attempting to create your own essential oils, you will need to look further into the process. A good book on the process may be order. You can likely find ones at your local bookstore, library or online. If you have a plant near where you live that makes essential oils, you may call them up and request a tour.