Extraction Methods

Extraction   Methods

Therapeutic-grade   essential oils are most often extracted via a low-heat steam distillation   process in which steam is circulated under pressure through plant material   liberating the essential oils into the steam. As the steam mixture cools, the   water and oils naturally separate and the oil is collected in its pure form. To   ensure the highest quality oil extract of correct chemical composition,   temperature and pressure must be monitored very closely. Too little heat and   pressure will not release valuable oil while too much can change an extract’s   composition and potency. As important as the carefully controlled extraction   process is, the careful selection of the correct plant and plant parts harvested   at the right time is also required for a successful extraction. This complex   process is as much art form as it is science and requires experienced growers   and distillers working together to ensure a quality product.

(Fact:   It takes as much as 12,000 rose blossoms to distill 5 ml of therapeutic- grade   essential rose oil.)

Steam   distillation is by far the most common method of extraction, but some oils such   as citrus oils are extracted through a process of compression in which the oil   is squeezed from the plant. A very few essential oils are extracted using   solvents that bind with the oils and are later removed from the final   product.

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