- Rather than being synthetically manufactured in labs, essential oils are extracted from plant materials through removal methods that are suited to the specific plant part containing the oils.
- Essential oils are the liquids that are isolated from plants when introduced to solvents – they are liquefied versions of the plants!
- Popular extraction methods include: Steam Distillation, Solvent Extraction, CO2 Extraction, Maceration, Enfleurage, Cold Press Extraction, and Water Distillation.
- The method of extraction affects essential oil quality by way of pressure and temperatures applied.
- Some extraction methods are best suited to particular plant types and parts; for example, Cold Press extraction is better than Enfleurage for obtaining oils from citrus fruit peels, because the peels need to be pierced and squeezed, which is not achievable through Enfleurage.
PRODUCTION OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Have you ever wondered about how to make essential oils? Let us explain that Essential Oils are not made, but instead, they are extracted from plant materials. Extractions are used to obtain a plant’s active botanical constituents that function as its “life force.” They are essentially the liquefied version of a plant, and they effectively allow its beneficial compounds to reach the bloodstream faster than they would by simply consuming the plant.
A herbal extract is produced when a botanical material is introduced to a solvent in which some of the plant material components dissolve. Ultimately, the solvent becomes infused with the botanical materials that it has pulled from the source plant, and this is what is referred to as the “extract.” The solution that remains at the end of the process can be liquid, or the liquid can be removed to turn the remnants of the botanical into a solid. The solvents can act as preservatives or as agents that help plant cells to break down and release their contents.