Essential Oil Production - Part 2

6:56 AM Posted by jo

This is part two of my posts about essential oil production. In the previous post I explained the water distillation method. Today I will explain the solvent extraction method.

The solvent extraction method is a very suitable method of extracting essential oils from flowers with a low amount of essential oils. It is also suitable for raw materials with a resinous constituents. The flower petals are mixed with a volatile solvent such as ether, benzene, petroleum or hexane until they are dissolved. Once they are dissolved the solution is put into a distillation vessel to evaporate out the solvent. Low pressure and heat is used since it is the solvent and not the essential oils that need to be evaporated. The remaining product in the distillation vessel is a concrete, and it is still containing pigments and insoluble vegetable wax.

The concrete is not mixed with alcohol, and it is heated enough to melt. Some of the waxes and fats will dissolve in the alcohol together with the essential oil. The alcohol is cooled down and filtered, and now the alcohol needs to be removed by distillation in a vacuum still. The lowest temperature available is used, and the final product is called an absolute.

Solvent extraction is a mild method and it causes less rearrangement of the chemical constituent than the distillation method. The final products have a better fragrance. However, it is an expensive process, and some solvents may still remain in the absolute.

Thanks for visiting!

Johanna is an aromatherapist and She is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
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