In recent years, the popularity of essential oils (aromatic extract in liquid form obtained from a plant) has been increasing all over the planet. There are more and more users who like these products because they are natural and offer different benefits in a busy daily life with constant stress.
Essential oils are obtained from different plants, it is necessary to use state-of-the-art production processes to ensure that the extraction is carried out in the best possible way, taking full advantage of the raw materials. The extraction process is vital to ensure that the final product has a high concentration of the active ingredients and properties of the original plant.
How are they made? Distillation.
Extraction can be done in different ways but the most common method is distillation: a process where plants are mixed with water vapor, which is essential to extract the essence of the plant before condensing it into an oil. Through industrial centrifuges and different machinery, it is possible for the main ingredient of the plants to pass from a solid phase to a liquid one.
Many years ago, this was the only way to produce essential oils; Currently, it is considered a rustic method that is used very little because the skin of the fruit was pressed by hand, until the oil glands burst in order to collect the same through a sponge, which was drained into another container to obtain the product.
In this method, plants or flowers are placed on glass slides covered in purified fat. The intention is that the fat absorbs the essential oil of the raw material; It was constantly repeated to obtain the greatest possible amount of essential oil.
At the end of the process, a kind of ointment is obtained that is dissolved in alcohol and heated to evaporate the alcohol and keep the essential oil in its pure state.
This is a more homemade process where the flowers or leaves are crushed, seeking the rupture of the oil glands to place them in a vegetable oil, which will end up absorbing the essential oil.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction.
One of the most current processes, carbon dioxide is used here to take advantage of the fact that it can have a liquid or gaseous state depending on the atmospheric pressure and temperature to which it is subjected; when it is at a high temperature, it changes from a liquid to a conventional gas.
In this method, CO2 extraction allows the production of oils without chemical residues in the final product. This is possible since at the end of the extraction, the pressure is released and the carbon dioxide returns to its gaseous state, leaving the oil in a pure state as a final result.
Official sources from: International Federation of Aromatherapists.