How to make essential oils
Aromatherapy is an expensive hobby but learning how to distill and make your own essential oils can save you a lot of money in the long run. The easiest and most cost affective way to make essential oils is to extract it via a steam distillation process, in which the vapors from boiling water are allowed to permeate through a chamber filled with plant material. The heat from the vapors breaks open the plants thin membranes releasing the chemical compounds inside and allowing them to be vaporized and then condensed along with the steam in another part of the still.
In a seperate cooling chamber the steam containing the water and oil then turns back into liquid form and begins to accumulate, at which point the oils and water separate. The oil is then able to be skimmed off the top of the water. This will not only make essential oils but also produce a by-product called hydrosol. Hydrosol is the aromatic water left behind after skimming, which still contains some of the chemical properties of the plants. Rose water is a popular hydrosol that is often used as an ingredient in beauty products.
There are several essential oil distillers on the market which range in price anywhere from $30.00 to $600.00. The only difference in most of them being that the more expensive ones are usually larger and therefore able to produce larger quantities of oil. Regardless of the size essential oil distillers can potentially save you thousands of dollars over time, and therefore are a great investment.
But if all this sounds too complicated there is another way to make essential oil, called enfleurage, which is the method of extracting oil from a plant by placing the plant material in vegetable oil. It takes much longer to extract oil this way, as the plant material must break down slowly over time, and oil extracted in this manner may contain small amounts of of the solvents used in the extraction process. Check out these step by step instructions on extracting essential oil at home, using the enfleurage method.