How Essential Oils Are Extracted

How essential oils are extracted differs from one method to the next. There are different processes for extracting the oils from plant materials, such as fractional distillation, cold-pressed extraction, and solvent extraction. This article discusses these three methods, as well as some of the chemicals that are found in essential oils.

Cold-pressed vs heat-extracted extraction

There are many methods of extracting oils. Some of the most common methods are cold pressing, solvent extraction, and hot pressing. Typically, these techniques are used to produce oils for cooking.

The first method, known as cold pressing, is a process that primarily uses mechanical pressure to press seeds to release their oil. It is a process that takes a bit longer and can be more expensive. However, it is often a preferred way to extract essential oils.

Using this method, you can get a higher concentration of oils, but it can also affect the quality of the oil. For example, the heat of the press can change the chemical structure of the oil. This will ultimately reduce its nutritional value.

While this method can give you a better yield, it will reduce your aroma. If you’re looking for an aromatic, high-quality product, you should choose cold pressing.

The heat of the press can also change the flavor of the oil. Unlike cold pressed oils, hot pressed oils are generally not suitable for cooking.

When using the heat press, you may also lose important nutrients. These include sterols, carotenoids, and tocopherols.

Cold pressed oils are ideal for cooking because they maintain their natural flavour and color. They have higher levels of antioxidants and Vitamin E. In addition, they are naturally cholesterol-free. Also, they do not foam when they are heated.

Several studies have shown that cold-pressed oils have a number of health benefits. They can be used for skin care and for prevention of diseases. Compared to hot pressed oils, they have a lower acid content, but they contain more phenolic compounds.

Cold pressed oils are also ideal for cooking because they are not subjected to the same chemical changes that occur during heated extraction.

Fractional distillation

Fractional distillation is a technique used for extracting essential oils. This method is widely used to separate volatile compounds from liquid mixtures. The constituents of an essential oil are separated in different fractions based on their boiling points.

In order to determine the chemical composition of the lemongrass essential oil, a vacuum fractional distillation process was performed. After separating the volatile components of the lemongrass essential oil into five fractions, the citral content was quantified.

Citral is a high-value compound. It is used in beverages, cosmetics, and adhesives. A key factor that affects the citral content and recovery in fractions is the vacuum pressure.

Generally, the separation efficiency is reduced when the distillation rate increases. However, the quality of the final product is improved due to the separation process.

Fractional distillation can be performed with a vertical retort or a stacked column. Depending on the type and packing of the column, the outcome of the separation will vary.

The terpenes are separated first at the top of the column. The vapor phase is enriched by the most volatile components when it reaches the top. There is a greater number of terpenes at the top of the column than in the bottom.

The terpenic hydrocarbons have a low boiling point and weak van der Waals forces. Therefore, they tend to be distilled at lower temperatures than other ingredients.

Vacuum fractional distillation is a method that is effective in enhancing the quality of essential oils. The major benefit of this method is that it allows for the increased concentration of minor compounds.

Citral is the major component in lemongrass essential oil. Since its boiling point is lower than other ingredients, citral was expected to be recovered during the fractionation process.

Solvent extraction

Solvent extraction is a technique used to extract essential oils. It involves soaking plant materials in a chemical solvent. Once the plant material has been soaked, a mixture of the oil and the solvent is filtered and then the aromatic compounds are extracted.

Essential oils are highly concentrated phyto-chemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. They are mainly used in natural perfumery and aromatherapy. However, they can also be used for food and body care.

Chemically, essential oils are composed of various aliphatic and terpene derivatives. The main classes of essential oils are: terpenes, benzene derivatives, monoterpene esters, and miscellaneous compounds.

Different methods of extracting essential oils can yield different results. For example, enfleurage produces an excellent essential oil from delicate flowers. But, this method can only be employed on a small scale.

Another technique is steam distillation, which uses hot steam to force aromatic compounds through the plant material. This process is more common on fragrant flowers such as narcissus and tuberose. Some of the resulting aroma compounds cannot be separated from the oils.

Carbon dioxide is also used as a solvent. Its high pressure and temperature are effective in extracting aromatic compounds from plants. Compared to other solvents, it is odourless, non-flammable, and non-toxic.

Various quality control institutes have developed standards for the production of essential oils. These standards are based on rigorously defined methods of analysis. The most important are the EOA (Essential Oil Association) standards and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards.

Although essential oils may be produced in a variety of ways, the physical processes involved in extracting them have a huge impact on their composition. So, the choice of a solvent should be based on its affinity with the plant material.


When a liquid containing essential oil floats on top of water, it is known as a hydrosol. The term is also used for botanical waters, herbal essences, and other aromatic substances.

Hydrosols are a byproduct of the essential oil distillation process. These water-based compounds are used as aromatherapy or as a fragrance. They contain small amounts of the plant’s essential oil. Some are hydrating, while others are soothing. A few are drying.

Hydrosols are gentler than essential oils and may be used on skin directly. However, hydrosols are not as stable as essential oils, and must be distilled with care. In addition, it is best to purchase hydrosols in clear glass bottles. Also, you should check with the manufacturer to ensure the product has a proper shelf life.

There are many different types of hydrosols. Whether you are interested in a facial toner, a hair and scalp tonic, or other household cleaners, each type has unique benefits for your skin.

For example, lavender hydrosol is soothing for your sensitive skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce redness. Especially great for mature skin, helichrysum hydrosol has a tea-like aroma.

Hydrosols are becoming more popular as a beauty and therapeutic product. They can be infused into beverages or added to bath water to make them feel more soothing. You can also find them in clay masks or as room sprays.

Unlike essential oils, however, hydrosols do not irritate the skin’s lipid barrier, making them safe for all ages. Although they can be used undiluted, you should not overheat the hydrosol, as this can cause it to spoil.

Hydrosols can be made from any part of a plant. However, the plant material must be organic and wild-harvested.

Chemicals found in essential oils

Essential oils are a unique, concentrated and natural liquid comprised of volatile terpenes and phytochemicals. These aromatic molecules are known to have beneficial properties such as anti-microbial and antioxidant capabilities.

Essential oils can be used in many different ways. They can be applied directly to the skin or they can be used in aromatherapy. Some essential oils are even used in biotechnology. However, there are certain essential oils that should never be ingested.

In order to ensure a safe and effective use, it is essential to learn more about the chemical makeup of essential oils. This will help you determine which oils are safe for your health.

Essential oils are composed of a variety of chemical compounds, including terpenes, phenols, and oxides. Each of these components has specific therapeutic benefits.

The terpenes, which are the largest group of chemicals found in essential oils, are produced through the metabolic processes of plants. Terpenes are responsible for influencing humidity and temperature and play a role in affecting the flavor and scent of the plant. Several other chemical constituents, such as limonene and aldehydes, are also present in essential oils.

Depending on the plant and the season, the chemical composition of an essential oil will vary. Young plants will produce more terpenic hydrocarbons, while older plants will produce more monoterpenes and resinous materials.

Chemicals in essential oils can be toxic, and the risk of toxicity is highest in children. There have been reports of liver damage and other serious side effects associated with the ingestion of essential oils. It is important to store essential oils in cool, dry places.

Essential oils can be used in aromatherapy, medicine, and agriculture. They can also be incorporated into food products.