Essential oils have and will always have a special place in our hearts as long as there are plants to extract them from. These highly concentrated oils are gotten from aromatic plants. There are about 700 plants with these essential oils. Good examples of such plants are rosemary and lavender. Although there are different ways to extract these essential oils from the plants, the most popular method is through the use of an essential oil distiller.
Since these oils are not only essential but a bit costly to buy, here are easy DIY steps to get you extracting your own essential oils.
When to harvest the plants?
Knowing the right time within the plant's life cycle to harvest for better, quality oils is important. You may need to research specific timeframes when the plants would have the most oils. There are several research articles onlines on this, and a quick search would leave you better informed.
For example, Rosemary plants have the best quantity and quality oils when they're in full bloom. Conversely, Lavender plants have the most oils when half the stem flowers have withered.
How to harvest the plants?
To get the best quality and quantity of the plant's oils, you have to handle the plant gently. The time of day chosen to harvest the plant can ultimately affect the quantity of oils. For instance, when dealing with rosemary plants, the bulk of the oils are located on the flowering tops. The other ends of the plant have little use for extracting oils.
If you're buying the plants, choose healthy plants, especially since you have no control over how it was harvested.
Drying the plant material
This is an entirely optional step that some people skip. Drying of the plant would reduce the oils in each plant but it allows you to distill a larger quantity at once. If you choose to dry the plant material, ensure it is not done under direct sunlight.
Actually, it's best to research how to effectively dry the plant since plants have different drying processes. The drying process should be handled as delicately as the harvesting process.
Get an essential oil distiller
Unless you have a specialty shop around your area, finding an oil distiller is no easy feat. A good alternative is to purchase them online and have it shipped to you. Although they come in different sizes, they are not generally cheap. If used commercially, it is a profitable investment to make.
Using the essential oil distiller
Follow the manufacturer's direction on the quantity of water to add to the distiller. The duration to boil should also be adhered to, regarding the type and quantity of plant material. At the end of the boil, add as much of the dried plant material (if you dried the plant) into the tank.
Seal the lid properly and allow it to boil. Keep a close eye and observe the oils begin to collect in the condenser and into the separator. When it is done, you can choose to filter the collected oils or skip this stage.
Stored the collected oils as soon as possible in a dark container to reduce light penetration. Different oils have different lifespan, but storing in a cool, dry place increases the overall shelf life. Do not forget to clean the essential oil distiller when you're done.
Using an essential oil distiller is a great way to extract essential oils. Purchase a good distiller and extract your essential oils all by yourself. You'll need larger quantity of plant materials to get a larger quantity of these essential oils.
Now that you've read and know the steps to take, it's best to get started as soon as possible. The process is not as difficult as it seems and you would be surprised at how much fun you would have doing it. Remember that these oils are concentrated and a little goes a long way.