Extracting Essential Oils From Plants

Distillation refers to extracting the required component from the liquid through the process of heating and condensation.

According to Wikipedia, “Distillation may result in essentially complete separation (nearly pure components), or it may be a partial separation that increases the concentration of selected components of the mixture. In either case, the process exploits differences in the volatility of mixture’s components.”

Ways of Distilling Essential Oils

  1. Water Distillation
    Firstly, water is poured into a container, and then the other raw material is placed into it for boiling. As oil and water are insoluble substances, oil gets separated from the water. Then the separated oil is stored in a container for further usage. It may sound simple, but it is actually a tedious process that consumes a lot of time. The method helps to maintain the properties of the oil because water prevents it from overheating and hence, restricts the evaporation of the beneficial components in it. So, if you are looking for organic and cheap essential oil, this method of distillation may come to your rescue.
  2. Steam+Water Distillation
    The water and steam together will push the oil out of its plant and by there, the essential oil is gathered, leaving the steam behind.
  3. Steam Distillation
    In this process the extracts of the plant are placed in a container and a lid is put on it so that the steam do not evaporate. The extracts are steamed as long as it starts releasing oil. It is vital to control the temperature while following this method. The temperature must be set accordingly. It must be enough for the extracts to release the essential oil and not to burn it. After the steaming process gets over, the steam containing essential oil is condensed by passing it through a specialized cooling system. The steam that is condensed forms a liquid from where water is separated from the oil. This process is very cumbersome, and a slight amount of oil is extracted from tons of plant materials.
  4. Hydro Diffusion
    With hydro diffusion, the steam is fed in from the top onto the botanical material instead of from the bottom as in normal steam distillation. In this method, the steam is offered to the material from the top instead of bottom as in a standard procedure.
  5. Cohobation
    This method of distillation is applied for the extraction of Rose oil. In the process of making rose oil through water distillation, the oil is extracted and the components named phenyl ethyl alcohol gets dissolved into the distilled water and does not form a part of the extracted essential oil.The phenyl ethyl alcohol is then distilled from the water and added back to the oil in correct proportion to form a whole Rose oil. Not to mention, the process is very tough and lengthy.