Essential oils have now become integral to various different wellbeing therapies as well as being used for products that diffuse their amazing smells throughout the house or into products.
The range of oils is quite staggering and each can be used for a specific purpose in terms of therapy. It is incredible to think that so much healing and goodness can come from plants. Extracting this goodness is now a multi-billion dollar global business and the techniques range widely according to the plant in question and the purpose of the extraction.
Indeed, it is not so much a case of modern technologies that are used to extract the oil, it is a mix of old and new processes combined with vats, stills, condensers, solvents and distillers that are needed. If this is starting to sound like a chemistry lesson, that is because it certainly is all based on science.
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Our ancestors extracted essential oils through fairly simple techniques which some still use today. In this case, it is not modern technology which is needed but rather non-odorous vegetable or animal fat. The fat is spread in a layers and the plants are placed on top of the fat and changed on a regular basis until the desired infusion is achieved. This is a technique you could try at home with very little financial investment. The correct term for this is enfleurage.
Another technique is steaming. The desired plants are placed in a large Still and then steam is infused. The steam seeps through the plants and then vapour rises to be captured a condensation chamber. This vapour will then return to its liquid form and the oil can be separated from the water as oil rises. The technology can be quite basic or be scaled up to industrial sizes depending on need.
Another method is called solvent extraction. This solvent essentially is injected into a chamber housing the plants and then the chemical reaction produces something oddly named concrete. When this pant concrete is then mixed with alcohol, it then releases the essential oil particles.
Oils can also be extracted through a process called maceration. The plants are crushed or ground into a fine powder then placed in a closed vessel. A solvent called menstruum is then added and then the mixture is left to sit for a week, being shaken occasionally until the right infusion has been achieved. It is then filtered for use. This again, is quite a simple process and can be tried at home. You only need the most basic of technology which you can either devise yourself if you are creative, or source from the internet.
These techniques give you an idea of a few that are used globally to extract these precious oils. If you decide to try for yourself, it might be fun, and you will certainly hone your skills over time, but creating the perfect blend really is an art in itself which even large corporations still spend a huge amount in terms of researching new methods to get the perfect product.If you are like me and love essential oils but don’t really have the time to try one of the methods mentioned here, it is probably best to take advantage of all the hard work others have put in to creating the perfect essential oil. If you visit this site to get a frank and honest review of two of the biggest names in the market.