If extracting your own pure essential oils appeals to you then you will need to get your own essential oil distilling equipment. Some reasons why you maybe considering this is to ensure the quality, to understand the process because you want to teach aromatherapy or perhaps you are just curious as to how anyone can get the essential oil out of a bucketful of flower petals.
Essential oil distilling equipment can be complicated and expensive, depending on how much oil you need. Remember, it takes a lot of the organic material to make even one ounce of pure essential oil. Also, keep in mind that not all essential oils are made by distillation. Some are made by solvent extraction (like jasmine) and others by expression (like lemon or lime). Look in aromatherapy books or websites to see if your favorite oil can be made with essential oil distilling equipment.
Water or Steam
There are two kinds of essential oil distilling equipment – for water distillation and for steam distillation. Steam is faster, but a more intense process. Some organic materials like cinnamon are just too delicate to handle steam distillation and need the slower water distillation to get any kind of therapeutic grade essential oil.
In water distillation, the material you want the oil from and water is heated in a container or beaker, making a vapor. When the vapor cools, it drips into another clean empty container that collects the precious oil.
In steam distillation, the material is placed in a vacuum-sealed container and heated. the steam inside causes a massive pressure that separates the oil from the flowers, leaves, twigs, resin or even sawdust. The essential oil distilling equipment is usually more complex and dangerous for the novice than for water distillation.
The newest kind of distillation is dry steam distillation, which still needs supervision and can only make very small amounts of essential oil.
What The Heck!
Say youve decided on purchasing essential oil distilling equipment. Yes, there are websites of companies that can sell you home stills. They can run from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on what they are made out of and how much oil you need. Copper is considered one of the best materials for essential oil distillation equipment, but there are also those made from glass.
There are several main parts to any essential oil distilling equipment. There is a beaker or container filled with water that is heated to make steam. Thats called the boiler. Attached to that is a tube that goes to another container filled with the material you want the oil from. That in turn is connected by tubing to the collecting container, usually made of glass. The oil is usually strained to remove any water or other impurities, then bottled in small dark tight jars. All of this needs constant supervision. The essential oil distilling equipment can only be used for making essential oils – it will make any food or liquor taste horribly.