Essential Oils

by admin on February 25, 2010

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

How Are Essential Oils Produced?

Essential oils are used in perfumes, in aromatherapy, in creams and lotions and for many other purposes where pleasant aromas are needed. Several methods are used to extract essential oils from flowers and other plant material. Essential oil makes up only a very small percentage of the plant or flower so a large amount of plant material is needed to produce a small amount of oil. More than a hundred pounds may be needed to produce an ounce of oil. Some flowers are also too delicate to use the easier methods and more time consuming and expensive methods must used. Essential oils can be expensive but they are very concentrated. Most recipes only require a few drops so a small bottle will last for a long time.

Steam Distillation

Steam distillation is used for the majority of essential oil production. Pressurised steam is passed through flowers or other plant material spread on screens inside a still. The oils are absorbed by the steam which is then passed into another chamber and cooled. On condensing the oil floats on the top of the water and is skimmed off. The water remaining is not wasted as it contains small amounts of the oil and can be used for toners and facial mists. As it is not as concentrated as the essential oils floral water can be used by people who are sensitive to essential oils.

Solvent Extraction

For flowers or plants too delicate to use steam extraction solvent extraction is often used. A solvent, usually hexane, is repeatedly passed over the plant material on mesh trays. The oils, along with other soluble substances, are absorbed by the solvent which is then filtered and the resulting solution distilled under low pressure to remove the solvent. The material left, called a concrete, is a waxy solid containing the essential oils and waxes and pigments from the plants. Further processing is then carried out to extract the oils and waxes from the concrete. The concrete itself can also be used as a perfume and the waxes are used in lotions, creams and in candle making.

Enfleurage

For flowers or plants that have very low levels of essential oils, jasmine for instance, a different method must be used. Flowers are placed into odourless vegetable oil and left for a few days before being replaced by fresh material. Fresh flowers are repeatedly placed in the vegetable oil until it is saturated with the oil from the flowers. Alcohol is then used to extract the essential oil from the vegetable oil. When the alcohol is evaporated the pure essential oil is left. This process takes a long time and a large amount of plant material and the resulting oil is very expensive.

Cold Pressing

For citrus oils, where the oil is extracted from the fruit rather than the flowers cold pressing is used. This entails rolling the fruit between spiked projections which pierce the peel and then squeezing the fruit to extract the juices which contain the oil. The resulting juice is then centrifuged to separate the oil.

Carbon Dioxide Extraction

In this method carbon dioxide is used to extract the oil. A high pressure is achieved by pumping the gas into a chamber containing the plant material. As the pressure increases the gas liquifies and acts as a solvent. The essential oils are extracted into the liquified carbon dioxide which is then passed into another chamber where the pressure is released. The carbon dioxide vapourises leaving behind the essential oil.

No residues are left behind and the extract is very pure with a clean and fresh aroma. As the temperature used is much lower than that used for steam distillation, oil can be extracted from delicate flowers that are destroyed by steam distillation.

Steam Diffusion Extraction

This method is similar to steam extraction but the steam is introduced into a chamber with the plant material at atmospheric pressure rather than at high pressure. It is a gentler method and can be used for more delicate flowers and plants.

About the Author

For recipes using essential oils and some easy craft ideas visit
Easy Hobby Craft Ideas
or
Recipes for Rosewater - Facial Cleansers

Great Deals at Ebay Auctions for Essential Oils

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Using Young Living Essential Oils

Is it safe to apply essential oils to my hair a few times a week?

I apply essential oils to my scalp (scalp massage) and the rest of my hair a few times a week. Is this ok?

My stylist told me to be careful about putting oils on my hair, because they coat the hair shaft and cause build up. But everyone's different. If you do get build up, just use a clarifying shampoo.

Find Essential Oils Products at Amazon.com

Radha Beauty Lavender Essential Oil 4 Oz - 100% Pure & Natural Therapeutic Grade Radha Beauty Lavender Essential Oil 4 Oz - 100% Pure & Natural Therapeutic Grade

 
Peppermint (Huge 8oz) Best Essential Oil Peppermint (Huge 8oz) Best Essential Oil

 
NOW  Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 4-Ounce NOW Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 4-Ounce

 
URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser, 100ml Aroma Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist Mode,Waterless Auto Shut-off and 7 Color LED Lights Changing for Home Office Baby URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser, 100ml Aroma Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist Mode,Waterless Auto Shut-off and 7 Color LED Lights Changing for Home Office Baby

 
InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Portable Ultrasonic Diffusers with Color LED Lights Changing and Waterless Auto Shut-off Function for Home Office Bedroom Room, 100 mL InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Portable Ultrasonic Diffusers with Color LED Lights Changing and Waterless Auto Shut-off Function for Home Office Bedroom Room, 100 mL

 
VicTsing 300ml Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser for Office Home Bedroom Living Room Study Yoga Spa - Wood Grain VicTsing 300ml Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser for Office Home Bedroom Living Room Study Yoga Spa - Wood Grain

 
Coolrunner Stainless Steel Mini Funnel for Essential Oil Bottles / Flasks - Pack of 6 Coolrunner Stainless Steel Mini Funnel for Essential Oil Bottles / Flasks - Pack of 6

 
Plastic 16 compartment Essential Oil rack Plastic 16 compartment Essential Oil rack

 
Multi-Size Essential Oil Bottle Kit: 12x Essential Oil Bottles (6 Different Models), 6x Fine Mist Sprayer, 10x Orifice Reducer Cap, 2x Rolling Cap, 1x Bottle Tool, 78x Label, 2x Mini Dropper + Funnel Multi-Size Essential Oil Bottle Kit: 12x Essential Oil Bottles (6 Different Models), 6x Fine Mist Sprayer, 10x Orifice Reducer Cap, 2x Rolling Cap, 1x Bottle Tool, 78x Label, 2x Mini Dropper + Funnel

 

 

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