[Nameplate] Fair ~ 59°F  
High: 74°F ~ Low: 52°F
Sunday, Mar. 26, 2017

Making essential oils at home

Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 10:29 AM

(Photo)
I've recently been introduced to the process of making essential oils, through a class offered at our local extension office. Along with the obligatory jokes about not using a still to make alcohol, I was surprised at how easy it can be to make your own essential oils, and how handy they can be for medicinal, as well as overall wellness reasons. There are three common ways to produce essential oils. These include: distillation, expression, and extraction.

1. Three methods of Steam Distillation:

Water: Plant material is put into a container of boiling water. The steam is collected and the oils are separated from the water.

Water and Steam: Plant material is placed in a container. Boiling water and steam are put around and pushed through the plant material. The steam is collected and the oils are separated from the water.

Steam: Plant material is placed in a container. Steam is pushed through the plant material. The steam is collected and the oils are separated from the water.

2. Expression or Cold Pressed:

Organically grown citrus fruit rinds are pressed mechanically to release their oils.

Expressed oils are not technically essential oils.

3. Extraction:

A solvent, such as hexane, is used to extract the oil and create a concrete (a mixture of essential oil, resins, waxes, and other plant material).

A second solvent, such as ethyl alcohol, is used to extract the oil from the concrete to create an absolute.

The alcohol is removed by distillation, creating the oil.

Absolutes are not really essential oils, but essences.

Now, when you make your own essential oil there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. The plant material you use must be clean and free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other chemicals.

2. You can use fresh or dried plant material.

3. You can use herbs, spices, flower petals, or citrus fruit rinds.

4. Always store essential oils in dark, glass containers in a cool, dark place.

How to Make Your Own Essential Oils

These are all primitive methods of distilling or extracting the oil out of the plant material. Please use caution when using these essential oils. DO NOT INGEST. The methods are listed in order of the quality of oil you'll get (best first).

Method #1

Place plant material into a crock pot filled with distilled water. Cook on low for 24 hours. Leave crock pot open and allow it to sit for a week. Collect the oil off the surface of the water and put it into a dark, glass container. Cover with a piece of cloth and allow it to sit for a week to evaporate off any extra water. It will last for about 12 months.

Method #2

Place ground up plant material in a cotton or linen bag. Tie it shut and place it in a pot of distilled water. Bring water to a boil and simmer slowly for 24 hours. Collect the oil off the surface of the water (you may have to squeeze the bag) and put it into a dark, glass container. Cover with a piece of cloth and allow it to sit for a week to evaporate off any extra water. It will last for about 12 months.

Method #3

Half-fill a large glass bottle with olive oil (or almond, jojoba, or grapeseed). Cram as much plant material as possible into the bottle. Cap it and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. Shake it. After three days strain it through cheese cloth and put liquid in a dark, glass container. (If scent is not strong enough, add more plant material and repeat process.) It will last for about 6 months.

Method #4

Stir 1/2 ounce of plant material into 2 cups olive oil (or almond, jojoba, or grapeseed). Cook in crock pot on low for about 6 hours. Strain the mixture with unbleached cheese cloth and put liquid in a dark, glass container. It will last for about 6 months.

Method #5

Place 1 Tablespoon ground up plant material, 1/2 cup of olive oil (or almond, jojoba, or grapeseed), and 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar into a small bottle (cap on). Put it in a warm place (sunny window) for three weeks. Shake it well twice a day. Strain the mixture with unbleached cheese cloth and put liquid in a dark, glass container. It will last for about 6 months.

Method #6

Soak plant material in a bottle of rubbing alcohol for two weeks (cap on). Pour it out into a wide container. Allow alcohol to evaporate. Collect the oil left in the container and put it into a dark, glass container. It will last for about 6 months.

My nieces and I have had fun creating our own essential oils for bath salts and potpourri, using plants from our land. They make a great gift, and are a way of sharing your land's bounty in a fun and creative way.



Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

A New York city girl has relocated to the Ozarks and is now having the adventures of her life, living in a cabin out in the country and learning about living an off-grid, sustainable lifestyle.
Hot topics
The value of living among the trees
(0 ~ 12:51 PM, Nov 29)

Survival Navigation
(0 ~ 11:21 AM, Nov 26)

Making essential oils at home
(0 ~ 10:30 AM, Nov 14)

Foraging on your own land
(0 ~ 9:43 AM, Nov 8)

PVC Building projects
(0 ~ 9:04 AM, Oct 31)