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Have you ever wondered how to make essential oil? In fact, essential oils are not made, but instead, they are extracted from plant materials. There are some popular extraction methods, including: water/steam distillation, solvent extraction, CO2 extraction and cold press extraction. Each method has its application range. For example, cold press extraction is better than steam distillation for obtaining oils from citrus fruit peels for the quality of citrus oil got by this way is better. Now let’s come to know them respectively.
Water/steam distillation is the most popular method used to extract and isolate essential oils from plants or use in natural products. The general process is: Put the aromatic plants into the distillation kettle. Then, under pressure and hot temperature, these volatile oil molecules are released from plant materials into the steam. Finally, after condensation and oil-water separation, you get pure essential oil.
This is a quite easy, so if you like to have a try, you can DIY essential oil distiller. The key components of a still are: a heat source(direct fire, electromagnetic oven）, a pressure cooker, a 10 mm pipe(glass or stainless steel), a tub of cold water and an essencier to screen. The final apparatus is like the right picture. Of course, you can buy one home essential oil still which are also very cheap.
For commercial use and higher quality, professional essential oil machine is what you need. Since 1980s, Chinese essential oil machine has seen a rapid growth because of huge market and rich resources. Its technology has been matured while its price is relatively lower. If you are interested in Chinese essential oil distillation machine, Nongle Farming will be a good choice.
This extraction method is relatively expensive compared with distillation and extrusion because of the complexity of the process and the low yield. It is often used in the extraction of those fragile petals, resins, plants who don’t like heat resources.
First, the solvent of the carbohydrates such us petroleum or benzene is used to extract the volatile and non-volatile essential components of the crushed plants; then the extracted mixture is again filtered with a solvent, and a semi-solid waxy substance containing alcohol component is left after volatilization of the solvent; finally, a high-quality, high-concentration plant essential oil is obtained by selectively extracting the essential oil components from the waxy substances The essential oil components of the same parts got by this way is even not same. Their price will also be different.
Supercritical CO2 has a special solubility for plant essential oils. Because of the liquid properities of the gas, the CO2 functions as a solvent on the natural plant matter, pulling the oils and other substances such as pigment from the plant matter. The essential oil content then dissolves into the liquid CO2. By changing temperature and pressure, the CO2 evaporates back into its gaseous state, essential oil is left.
Since the whole process is not involved with high heat, the CO2 extraction process might produce higher quality oils and higher yield compared with steam distillation. Certainly, a better method has a higher price. That is its short point.
This method is also called expression or scarification. Most citrus like sweet orange, bergamot, grapefruit and orange are extracted by this method because most of the citrus essential oils are not resistant to the heat of distillation and will destroy its quality. However, Lyme is extracted by distillation because Lyme essential oil has better flavor and quality by using this way.
The specific process is: after cleaning and sorting, citrus comes into extraction process. Then the rotating needle roller pricks the oil vacuoles on the fruit skin to extract oil. Finally, a water prayer washes the oil on citrus surface into a collector. After that, the water and citrus oil are separated by a separator.