What are the methods to extract essential oils?

Common essential oil extraction methods include steam distillation, freeze compression, chemical solvent extraction, liposuction, carbon dioxide extraction, soaking, etc.

Steam Distillation

Steam distillation is one of the most common methods of essential oil extraction.

Applicable to:

plants with easily damaged components; plants that are not easily damaged by hot steam.

Advantages:

simple operation and low cost;

Principle:

The water is heated to produce steam that acts on the plants, and the steam carries the essential oil molecules and transfers them to the condensing coil unit. Since the condensing coil is immersed in a cold water bath, the steam in the tube is condensed into a mixture of hydrosol and essential oils.

Due to the incompatibility of water and oil, the hydrosol and the essential oil will naturally separate; the hydrosol sinks at the bottom, and the essential oil rises to the surface; the hydrosol at the bottom will be transferred, and the essential oil on the surface will be collected.

The DW essential oil extractor of Henan Lanphan Industrial Co., Ltd. uses steam distillation to extract essential oil.

Essential Oil Extractor
essential oil extractor

Advantages of DW essential oil extractor:

  1. Stainless steel and copper material
  2. Not easy to leave impurities and breed bacteria
  3. The concentration of the extracted product is higher
  4. Flow rate is stable

Freeze Compression

Specially used to extract essential oils stored in the peel part, such as citrus fruits.

Advantage:

Short extraction time.

No chemical reaction, less impurities.

Principle:

Cold pressing is a method of oil production by physical and mechanical action.

The whole process of cold pressing is carried out at low temperature, and the aroma of the obtained essential oil is not affected by heat. The obtained cold-pressed oil does not need to be further refined like conventional oils, and can only be filtered to meet the edible oil standard.

Chemical Solvent Extraction

Features:

Compared with distillation and extrusion, chemical solvent extraction is relatively expensive due to its complex procedures. The yield of essential oils extracted by this method is also less.

Applicable to:

This method is mostly used in the extraction of delicate and fragile plant petals or resins that do not like heat sources.

Principle:

The essential oils generally labeled as “absolute” on the market are immersed in a volatile solvent such as petroleum ether or hexane to transfer the aroma components. After the solvent evaporates, a mixture of vegetable wax blocks is left behind, which is then dissolved in an alcohol solvent. After the solvent evaporates, it is refined into essential oils.

Liposuction

This method is the oldest and most expensive extraction method for essential oils from flowers.

Applicable to:

Petal plants, mostly jasmine, orange blossom, rose and other expensive essential oils.

Principle:

Apply animal oil on the glass, and spread the plant petals from which the essential oil will be extracted; place it in the sun for exposure; use the heat of sunlight to evaporate the essential oil in the petals and immerse it in the animal oil.

Carbon dioxide extraction method:

Carbon dioxide extraction is also called supercritical extraction.

Principle:

Carbon dioxide in the supercritical state has a special solubility for plant essential oils. Using specific equipment to make carbon dioxide reach a supercritical state, extract the essential oils from the plants, and then separate the essential oils by changing temperature and pressure.

Process:

In the supercritical state, the supercritical fluid is contacted with the substance to be separated to selectively extract the components with different polarities, boiling points and molecular weights in turn.

The extract obtained corresponding to each pressure range is not single, but the conditions can be controlled to obtain the optimal proportion of mixed components. With the help of decompression and heating, the supercritical fluid is turned into a common gas, and the extracted substances are completely or basically precipitated, so as to achieve the purpose of separation and purification, so the supercritical fluid extraction process is a combination of extraction and separation.

Immersion

The flowers are soaked in hot oil to release the essential oils from the plant, which are then extracted by filtration.

Suitable for:

Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood, etc.

Process:

Put the plant raw material (petal or resin, etc.) in the liquid oil and heat it to 60 to 70 degrees, and the aromatic components in the raw material will be released into the liquid oil. Then the liquid oil is filtered and separated to obtain the essential oil.

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