The practice of how to make essential oils from dried herbs has been long forgotten!
Since the ancient times up until today, essential oils have been used for a wide variety of intentions. Ranging from medicinal purposes to ceremonial rituals and cosmetics.
They make amazing candles, soaps as well as massage oils all of which have a heavenly smell. The holistic properties present in these oils makes are what make them highly valued. And today they are either too expensive or very rare.
Have you thought about creative ways in which you can use some of your home-grown herbs to make essential oils?
If yes, then you are in the right place because this article on how to make essential oils from dried herbs has your best interest at heart. The DIY homemade essential oils are easier to make than you can imagine.
Essential Oils Are Extracted from a Wide Variety of Herbs. They Can Be Used for Ceremonial, Medicinal and Cosmetics Purposes
And the best thing is that you actually don’t need any skills to make them. Just a few secrets that I’ll share with you below.
By following the few steps carefully, you will be able to make your own flavored essential oils such as the rosemary fast enough and with a pocket-friendly budget.
You can then use your essential oils for either personal beauty, culinary uses or an air freshener in your home. Before we get started its necessary to know.
That there is a difference between infused oils, and essential oils.
To really understand the process of how to make essential oils from dried herbs, it helps a lot to distinguish between the two.
Essential Oils Vs Infused Oils
⦁ Essential Oils; These oils are steam distilled through simmering the plant in order to produce steam. The steam is then run into a tube through cold water. Where the liquid is condensed, forming an oil and a water compound.
The water compound is the source of most of the floral waters we see, like lavender or rose water. The oil compound makes the essential oils.
Essential Oil extracted from Rose Flowers
⦁ Infused Oils; These oils are mostly made by soaking herbs into an oil extract. In order to extract their active compounds. However, different herbs differ in their infusion rate. Some infuse better and faster while others work best as just essential oils.
How To Make Essential Oils From Dried Herbs
The essential oils can be extracted from the herbs in three different ways. These include;
⦁ Cold Expression; This is a cold-pressed method of oil extraction where you press the peels of certain fruits like lemon in order to squeeze the oil out. This method is done using a specific machine and its famous for making the oils from citrus peels.
⦁ Steam Distillation; This is the most famous way of making the essential oils. You simply place the herbs in a distillation apparatus then mix them with water.
The mixture is boiled then the steam produced is collected. Two compounds are formed; one oil based and the other one is water based. The oil is then separated from the water.
⦁ Extraction; In the extraction process, the herbs are mixed with a specific solvent for instance hexane. There is the formation of a mixture of plant parts, waxes as well as essential oils.
The oils can also be extracted using ethyl alcohol before the alcohol content is separated through distillation.
Oil Extraction Through the use of Solvents like Hexane and Ethyl Alcohol
Essential Oils Extraction Process through Distillation
To make essential oils from dried herbs they be extracted in various ways. Here we will focus on the distillation process. We will use some of the aromatic herbs grown at home, like lavender and rosemary.
Also, we will cover other oils made from citrus peels like lemon peels.
There are more than 700 herbs spices that contain the useful essential oils. Each can be extracted using diverse methods, although the most common one is distillation.
Therefore, we will discuss the best easy and cheap way to extract oils from distillation at home.
⦁ The Preparation of Extraction Equipment
In the homemade essential oil distillation process, you may opt to buy or make your own homemade still with the available equipment in your kitchen.
The still equipment may be more effective but relatively expensive. It ranges somewhere between hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Since the main aim here is being as pocket-friendly as possible, we will improvise a homemade still that plays the same role.
There are many different designs you can use in the homemade still which give you room for creativity. However, here are a few basic things that you will need. These include;
⦁ A Glass pipe-precisely 10mm wide
⦁ A Heat source- A direct source preferably
⦁ A pressure cooker
⦁ A cold water tub where the steam will be condensed
⦁ An essencier which will separate the extracted essential oil from the other materials
Set up the still ensuring that all the instruments are in a stable position. Depending on the still design you choose, it’s upon you to find a suitable position for the components.
Ensure that the pressure cooker is covered with a lid. A pipe attached to it and ran through the cooling tub.
Also, ensure that you position the open ends of the tube well above the essencier to avoid spills.
The alignment and stability matter a lot. Ensuring that nothing gets knocked over during the process.
⦁ Prepare the Plant Materials
The first step when preparing your plant materials is determining the right time to harvest them. The amount of oil extracted from each herb.
Is determined by the plant’s stage. During its life cycle at the time of harvest.
Therefore, for best results, it’s best if you harvest your plants at the right time.
Different plants have diverse harvest periods therefore before anything, make sure that you do your homework.
Rosemary needs to be harvested during the full bloom.
Whereas other like lavender, need to be harvested when at least half of the flowers on the plant’s stem have withered.
The next thing is harvesting your plant materials correctly. Careless handling of the plant parts during harvest, or harvesting the wrong parts or at the wrong time of the day may have an effect on the oils extracted.
In that; it may affect the quality as well as the quantity of the essential oils. Most of the oil-producing parts of certain plants are held in the most fragile sections.
For instance, the hairs, veins, and flower tops like the rosemary. Since they are very delicate they should be handled with care. Without breaking or disturbing them.
Otherwise, you will tamper with the quality and quantity of oil produced. The plant should be handled with care. Tampered with as little as possible.
Rosemary Herbs used for Extraction of Essential Oils
If you are buying the already harvested plants, you already know that it’s impossible to have any control over the harvest process.
However, you should look for plants that generally look healthy and undamaged.
Also, go for the whole plants rather than the crushed ones. And since, you may not be able to remove chemicals from the plants. The organically grown herbs may be the best.
⦁ Dry the Plant Materials
Although drying the plant materials may essentially reduce the amount of oil extracted in each plant, it increases the number of essential oils one makes per every batch.
The drying process should be slow and away from direct contact with the sunlight.
Some pants like the peppermint and lavender which are commercially grown.
May be left to dry for a day in the yard, after harvesting them.
The drying process varies depending on the plant selection but it’s best if you don’t overheat the plants.
This is because, when you dry the plants in dark or shady areas, there is a lesser chance of oil loss. After drying the plants, do not allow them get wet again. If possible, distill them as soon as they dry up.
⦁ The Distillation Process
Pour some water into your tank. This depends on your selection of distillation equipment. It can be that of your still or pressure cooker.
Use soft water that has been distilled or filtered. Ensure that the water is enough to complete the distillation process.
The time spent on the distillation process differs depending on the quantity of oil, the type of plant used. It could take 30 minutes to six hours after the water has boiled to 100 degrees.
Add the plant materials to the boiling water according to the tank capacity. Your plants should be okay, even if the tank is tightly closed. Provided the water is enough.
However, you should be cautious about the steam outlet on the lid.
Ensure that the outlet is not blocked. The plants also don’t need any preparation.
This is because tampering with them in any way may lead to loss of some oils. Bring the content of the tank to a boiling point.
Make certain the lid is sealed. So that all the steam escapes through the pipes, connected to the cooler.
Most of the herbs release their essential oils at about 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
⦁ The Cooling Process
After the mixture is fully boiled the steam is released through the condenser.
Then its collected into the separator.
This is an easy step in the entire process that requires less handling.
All in all, you will have to keep checking f here is enough water in the still. Also, you may need to change the water depending on how long it takes to distill the components.
Also, the water in the cold tub needs to change or replaces with ice cubes or freshwater to ensure that the process runs effectively. The hot pipes may warm the water and for the cooling process to continue it needs to be changed
⦁ Filtration and Collection
When you are done with the distillation process. You may want to filter out the extracted oil. Using a cheesecloth or any other clean and dry cotton cloth.
Residues of detergents or dirt may contaminate your oil.
The cloth used needs to be thoroughly cleaned, prior to use.
The amount of oil that you will collect from the plant matter is likely to be lesser than the plant matter used. However, the amount of oil collected is likely to vary depending on the various species of herbs that you use.
Most homemade essential oils can be used for about two years. Although others may have a shorter shelf life than others.
Therefore, if you would like to increase the lifetime of the oil consider storing it either in a stainless steel container or a very dark container.
When pouring the oil into a container, ensure that the funnel is clean. Afterward, store the oil in a cool and dark place. You can decide what to do with the hydrosol.
The hydrosol is the water that has been distilled. And has been infused with the scent of the herbs.
Most of the hydrosols like then ones collected from rosemary and lavender can be used at home for many purposes.
Essential oils Should Be Stored in Dark Containers after Extraction
How to Make Rosemary Essential Oil?
Rosemary is one of the most celebrated savory seasoning we know today.
Besides that, it’s known as one of the best time-honored herb. Known for its hair growth and boost properties, pain reliving and tension easing uses hence used for massage.
A study conducted on rosemary, shows that its rich in anti-microbial properties as well as antioxidants.
Essential oils derived from Rosemary are primarily used in massage treatments. As well as aromatherapy.
The oils are known to improve concentration. As well as relive stress levels.
Rosemary essential oils are extracted through cold-pressing and distillation. This is one of the most famous oil extraction method.
Since the oil extraction methods can be expensive, below I will give you a simple homemade method that you can use to extract oil from Rosemary.
Below is the step by step guide;
⦁ If your Rosemary plant is fresh, allow it to dry up first in a warm and dark room for precisely 10 hours or more.
⦁ Before you get started, be certain that the plant has lost all its moisture. Otherwise the oil will be exposed to risk of contamination from Mold.
⦁ Take the dried rosemary plants and strip the leaves off
⦁ Add water to a double-boiler pot then add between two and three ounces of rosemary leaves
⦁ Cover the mixture using any carrier oil of your choice. However, ensure that the oil is a high temperature and low scent oil like sunflower oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil.
⦁ Let the mixture simmer for about six hours on low heat while turning the rosemary with a wooden spoon.
⦁ Allow the oil to cool down for an hour before straining it over a bowl
⦁ Seal the jar and store the oil in a dark and warm place
⦁ Enjoy in a warm bath, as a hair conditioner or as a massage oil
How to make Lemon Essential Oil?
The lemon oil is found in the lemon peels. The oil has a whole list of uses ranging from flavoring, medical uses, as household products and as fragrance too.
The lemon oil is extracted using the cold pressed method where a specific machine is used to press out the oil from the lemon rinds.
You may need at least a hundred lemons just to get one ounce of lemon oil. However, you may use other alternative ways like infusing the oil with other oils like olive oil.
Below is the step by step guide;
⦁ Wash the lemons then wait for them to dry
⦁ Zest the lemons using a vegetable peeler or a zester and scrap off a few slivers of the outer cover
⦁ Ensure that you don’t peel off the white pith of the lemons
⦁ Fill you jar with the lemon zests then pour in some olive oil
⦁ Ensure that the zest is covered completely in oil
⦁ Seal the jar tightly and place in a dark cabinet for precisely two months
⦁ Shake the jar every day to ensure the mixture blends in well
⦁ Strain off the lemon zests from the mixture and pour the oil in a separate container
⦁ Store the oil in a cool and dark cabinet or better in the fridge
Things You Need to Know When Making the Essential Oils
⦁ Essential oils do not contain fatty acids. Instead, they contain concentrated plant essence.
⦁ The good properties of a plant reflect in its essential oils. These oils can be used for personal care, healing, or even disinfection.
⦁ Essential oils are very different from the fragrance oils. While the fragrance oils only mimic the scent of the herb, the essential oils include even the essential oil properties of the herb.
⦁ Essential oils are rare and expensive, and that is why you need to know how to make essential oils from dried herbs for convenience.
— Norma Wyndham (@go4yogahealth) April 26, 2017