This is a very useful video for seeing how to make essential oils using a distiller at home. The video is by Alan at koolaunaturals.com.
He makes handmade body products.
Essential Oils are the concentrated volatile aromatic oils from plants. They are 100% natural and are made by utilizing a steam distillation process.
Try to choose organic plants when you do this, as the concentrated nature of the oils can result in concentrated levels of pesticides and herbicides, too!
If you are growing organic herbs at home, making your own essential oils with them is a natural extension of that.
Essential oils are great for adding to homemade cleaning products and personal care products. I consider them to be a must have item in a green home.
The pleasing scents are really helpful in easing the transition from mainstream products with fake toxic chemical scents to natural eco-friendly products.
How to Make Essential Oils Tutorial
With steam distillation, the steam passes through the plant matter, picks up the essential oil and passes into a condenser. In the condenser, the steam and oil cool
and revert to liquid form.
Because oils are hydrophobic (water + fear), the oil and water remain separate,
thus making it easy to remove the oil from the hydrosol (the scented distilled water by-product.)
Learning how to make essential oils properly with your equipment may be trial and error at first, but these
directions should get you off to a great start.
Set up your still. As mentioned before, you can get an inexpensive still set-up, or one that costs many hundreds of dollars. Glass and stainless steel are the best choice
for a still.
Fill the boiling container with water and keep it 30-75% filled with water through out the essential oil distillation process.
boiling stones to the water. Never add them to hot water. Boiling stones help the water to boil, without "bumping" that can cause bursts of water to erupt and
ruin your distillation process.
(Some boiling stones have a coating of Teflon on them, which I personally wouldn't want to boil or do anything else with.
Teflon emits toxic chemicals when heated. We've gotten rid of all non-stick cookware in our kitchen, for this reason.)
Put your plant material in the container you are using to hold it. Plants should be dried, preferably in the shade or a dark room to avoid the loss of the oils.
Pack the plant in tightly, but still allow steam to pass through. You do not need to crush or cut the plant, and should not, as that can cause oil loss as well.
Start a low, cool water flow into your condenser. If the water is warm, make it flow slightly faster.
Turn your stove or heat plate on.
Keep water in the boiling container, as mentioned above, and wait until your plant material has shrunk considerably and seems to be done giving off oil. You will also
notice the hydrosol has started to have less of a scent.
Usually the main bulk of your oil is made in the first 20 to 30 minutes, but you may continue to get oil for 3 or 4 hours if you choose to continue the process.
Separate the essential oil from the water in the container you set up to catch the essential oil. Carefully drain the water out from under the oil and when the
water is gone, you can move the essential oil to a
dark colored glass bottle with a dropper (dark colored to protect the integrity of the oil.)
The more expensive distillation systems will have a special essiencer that passively separates the oil from the water.
Either use, discard, or reuse the hydrosol (scented water) for distilling the next batch of essential oil from the same type of plant.
How to Make Essential Oils Tips
Handle the plants gently to avoid damaging them and losing oil prior to the distillation process.
Some people boil the plant directly in the water, but you won't get as much pure essential oil doing it this way. If you want to know how to make essential oils
especially pure, the answer is to use the steam distillation method above and you'll get more oil for your time spent!
Use organically grown plants only. You don't want concentrated pesticides and herbicides in your essential oils!
Don't expect to get a lot of essential oil. You won't get a great deal of oil from this process, but most essential oil recipes only call for 1-5 drops.
Always remember to dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil, like
almond oil, before allowing them to come into contact with your skin.