Do you want to learn how to make essential oils at home? Then this post is for you! We offer some basic information about the methods and equipment needed for the extraction, distillation, and cultivation of your own aromatherapy oils.
Essential oils are becoming well known for their healing properties and use to help emotional issues, fatigue, anxiety, stress, and many physical conditions.
They are extracted from specific plants or fruits through distillation and should be stored in airtight, light-resistant containers.
Many people are now choosing to make their own as it is impossible to know the quality and ingredients used in many store-bought oils.
High-quality oils are those that are pure, concentrated and potent. Therefore when you distill your own you know exactly what you are getting!
How To Make Essential Oils At Home.
The most essential equipment needed to make your own aromatherapy oils is a distiller. Distillation equipment can cost a few hundred dollars or a few thousand.
It’s therefore important to find one that is cost-effective and of good quality. You need to make sure the equipment is durable and heat resistant.
Later on in the post, I offer a review of one of the best and most economical of all distillation kits. For most starting out with essential oils, there is no need to purchase anything more expensive!
Distillation Equipment And Their Purpose.
When choosing your Distillation kit there are a few important components you should consider.
Heat is hugely important. It is the heat applied that will enable the production of steam. The heat is applied to the chamber holding water and plant ingredients and the steam is how we extract the oils. It is therefore important that you purchase products that have high heat resistance and are tolerant of rapid changes in temperature.
It is important that your holding tank, or chamber, is big enough to contain the plant material and water. This size of the tank will determine the amount of water you can use.
Smaller holding tanks are great for oils derived from flowers, petals, seeds or berries.
Larger tanks are better for oils produced from barks, foliage and those that require greater amounts of the raw plant material.
Most importantly the container needs to also have enough space, above the plants and water, to enable a build-up of steam.
The next part of the equipment is called a condenser. It collects the steam produced and allows it to cool. Ensure your condenser is high quality, usually glassware or copper, and has high heat tolerance.
The final piece of kit required is a separator. It is used with your collected and cooled steam and separates the water from the essential oil.
Make Essential Oils Easily - Distillation Kit
Product Name: Essential Oil Distillation Kit
Product Description: A Fantastic DIY essential oils distillation kit. Get the full kit including all equipment needed to distill your own aromatherapy oils. Widely used in Laboratories, but just as easy to set up and use at home. Perfect for aromatherapists, beauticians, counselors or those who want the highest quality essential oils.
- Ease Of Use
- Quality Of Product
- Value For Money
- Clamp Flask
- Big Circle
- Small Circle
- Alcohol Lamp 150ml
- Porcelain lid
- Cotton Wick
- Plastic Cap
- 1x 1000ML 24/29 Flask
- 1x 19/26 Serpentine Condenser
- 1x 100ML Beaker
- 1x 250ML Beaker
- 1x 250ML Conical Flask
- 1x 100ML Funnel Separator
- 2x 30ML Essential Oil Bottle
- 1x 200℃ Glass Thermometer
- 1x 15CM Dropper
- 1x φ12.5CM Asbestos Network
- 1x φ60MM Plastic Funnel
- 1x Tripod
- 1x Gloves
- 1x 10ML Syringe
- 1x Flask Brusher
- 1x 6*9 2m Latex Tube
- 1x 5# Single Hole Rubber Stopper
- 1x Water Stop Clip
- It comes with a case and foam which holds all components, preventing item damage effectively.
- This kit can be used for distillation, fractional distillation, separation, purification, and synthesis.
- The glassware has good thermal stability, handles changes in temperature and heat up to 500 degrees.
- All flasks are made of handblown 3.3 borosilicate glass.
- Assembly instructions could be more comprehensive.
Which Plants Can Be Used?
Just as important as the quality of distillation equipment is the choice of plant materials that you use.
The choice of plant material will determine the uses for your oil. Below is a handy infographic about parts of the plant to consider when making essential oils at home.
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What Are Specific Essential Oils Used For?
The range of plants that you can use is massive, and each of them can be used for specific healing purposes. Some oils that you read about may sound very exotic but few of them will require you to import the plant, the foliage or barks.
In fact, the majority of plant material needed you can find in your garden, or purchase locally.
Before you begin distilling take some time for research. Focus on finding information about the plants that produce the essential oil most useful for treating any illnesses or health problems you currently face.
Or make notes about which plants will give oils for general treatment of common illnesses or aide relaxation.
Below I have attached a quick reference guide of essential oils and their uses for healing and aromatherapy.
If you would like your own copy click the following link to get a PDF version that you can save, download or print. Get The HealthyNatured Quick Reference Guide To Essential Oils.
How To Make Essential Oils At Home – The Process.
Once you have decided on your choice of plant the first step is to remove excess water. This is easily done and well worth taking the time as it will ensure a higher quality of oil.
Often people worry that the drying process means they will lose some of the oils. However, the procedure simply allows normal evaporation of water from the plant and actually means a higher yield of quality extract.
The drying process should be gentle and slow. If dealing with foliage and flowers it is always advisable that you hang them. Tie the stems gently with string and hand them with the tips facing downward. Other plant material can be placed inside an old pillowcase and then suspended.
You can use any natural fabric for hanging the plants as long as it allows the moisture to escape. Don’t use any fabric that traps moisture or makes the plants sweat.
Hang the plant material in a dry warm environment, a linen cupboard, a kitchen, or outside in a warm porch. Most important is that it is warm, dry and not in direct sunlight.
Sunlight causes damage to natural oils and will render the plant products useless.
Leave the plants hanging until they have wilted and feel dry, but not crumbling. A quick test is to take a small bunch of the leaves or stems and squeeze or twist them. When ready they will be flexible but there should be no sap or liquid.
Another easy test is simply time! 1 week for leaves, flowers and green stems. 2 weeks for twigs, roots, and barks.
Once this drying process is complete you should distill them immediately.
Distilling Your Plants To Produce Aromatherapy Essential Oils.
The exact method will depend on the distillation equipment you have purchased and you should always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
All distillation kits will follow a similar process.
You will first add the plant material into the holding chamber. There is no need to cut the plant materials into small pieces. They only need to be of a size that will fit easily into the chamber.
Pack as much of the dried plant materials into the holding chamber as possible. It can be packed quite tightly.
The second step is to add water to the chamber. You need to ensure that the plant material is submerged in water and covered with at least 1cm of water.
Third is the application of heat. Your distillation kit requires heat to be applied to the base of the chamber. Keep the heat gentle but ensure that it brings the water to the boil.
The boiling water forms steam. This steam passes from the holding chamber and is collected in the condenser. You will need to pay attention to the equipment at this stage to make sure the water doesn’t overflow or boil dry.
The steam will collect in the condenser and cool. This will then be transferred to the separator which will separate any water from the distilled oils.
Once seperated you may wish to pass the oil through a filter. Many separators contain an inbuilt filter. If yours doesn’t you can pass the oil solution through a coffee filter. This will remove any remaining plant solids or contaminants helping to purify your essential oil.
Storing Your Essential Oils.
To preserve the potency and quality of your oil store it in an airtight container. Preferably they should be dark brown or blue glass or stainless steel.
The colored glass helps avoid light damage. Clear glass allows light to reach the oils and this makes it spoil.
If stored in good containers and kept in a cool dark place your essential oils will last and maintain quality for around 2 years.
Note: You don’t need to throw away the water mixture that is produced in the separation process. This product is known as hydrosol.
It is a watery mix that will contain a little of the plant oils and their fragrance. This mixture also has therapeutic effects. Use it in a bath, or place in a tealight candle oil diffuser.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and learning how to make essential oils at home. If you do produce your own I would love to hear of your results. If you have any questions or thoughts please leave them in the comments section below, or if you prefer you can contact me directly by clicking here.