Essential oils are the best for aromatherapy, beauty and health and are used by many since long. They are said to be potent due to concentrated compounds in them that would otherwise have less effects in the natural herb or fruit form. There are tons of brands making essential oils, some are pure and some are diluted with sunflower or other carrier oil. Essential oil making is quite lengthy process when it in bulk but with simple home techniques, we can make our own essential oils according to our needs! Here are few techniques you can use to make your essential oils:
In the process, you actually simmer herbs in carrier oil so as to extract everything from the herb into the carrier oil.
Things you need: A jar, water bath, dried herbs, and carrier oil.
Method: Take the jar and put in all dried herbs. Make sure it covers 60% to 70% of the jar. Now, fill in a carrier oil of your choice or whichever is available and close the lid tightly. For carrier oils, you can use avocado oil, almond oil, olive oil, kernel oil etc. Now, fill your water bath with water and keep these jars in it and don’t forget to cover it with a lid too so that the steam remains and water level doesn’t go down. Let it simmer for approx. 8 hours on low flame. Strain it once cooled or keep the herbs soaked in it if you like.
For steam distillation, you put your herbs (or whatever you’re turning into essential oil) into boiling water. The steam is collected, and the oil will be separated from the water.
Place herbs in a pot and cover with water. Put a vegetable steamer inside the pot above the leaves. Place a measuring cup inside the steamer. Cover with the sauce pot lid placed upside down. While the stove is on high to boil the water, put a few ice cubes on top of the lid. Once the ice melts, turn off the stove and carefully remove the measuring cup. Empty the contents of the pot into a separating funnel with a stopcock. Once filled, make sure both ends of the funnel are closed and shake vigorously. Invert the funnel and open to release pressure. Oil will float and water will sink. Empty the oil and water each into separate containers. Repeat this process three more times to extract the maximum amount of oil.
In this method, you soak the herbs in rubbing alcohol for days and then let it evaporate. The finished product that you get is the pure and 100% essential oil. The only con is that the product you get in one batch is less; you have to repeat or simultaneously run several batches to get a good quantity.
Things you need: Rubbing alcohol, herbs or fruit peels (citrus peels are the best extracted using this method to make orange essential oil), a jar and flat plate.
Method: Take a jar and put all dried herbs or fruit peels in it. Add rubbing alcohol in it and make sure everything is dipped in it. Tighten the lid and keep it in dark for 3-4 weeks. Make sure you shake it once or twice a week. After the incubation period, strain it and pour the rubbing alcohol (which would have changed colour by now) in a flat plate. Keep the plate in a well aerated place for a week or more so that the alcohol evaporates. You will be left with a thin oily residue which is nothing but essential oil. Store it in an amber bottle and use as and when you want.
CROCKPOT / OVEN METHOD
In this method, you soak the herbs in carrier oil and place it in the oven or crockpot for 2 hours at 150 degree Fahrenheit.
Method: Take a microwavable safe jar and put in all dried herbs. Make sure it covers 60% to 70% of the jar. Now, fill in a carrier oil of your choice or whichever is available and close the lid tightly. For carrier oils, you can use avocado oil, almond oil, olive oil, kernel oil etc. Place the jar in the oven. After cooling it, strain the oil and store it in an amber bottle.
Corckpot – Pour carrier oil into the jar with herbs or flowers. Fill it until it reaches the base of the neck of the jar. Close the jar lid tightly. Fill your crock pot with water and place your jars inside. Cook the jars on low heat and allow them to simmer for eight hours.
In this method, you need to add herbs to carrier oil and keep it in strong sun and repeat this for 2 weeks every day.
Method: Take the jar and put in all dried herbs. Make sure it covers 60% to 70% of the jar. Now, fill in a carrier oil of your choice or whichever is available and close the lid tightly. For carrier oils, you can use avocado oil, almond oil, olive oil, kernel oil etc. Place the jar in strong sun every afternoon for 2 weeks. Finally, strain and store in a dark amber bottle.
The cold-pressed method allows you to mechanically press herbs in order to get their essential oil. This works well with fruit rinds.
- Place your herbs into a mortar and pestle with just enough carrier oil to cover the leaves.
- Grind the leaves for 15-20 minutes. Your kitchen should smell intensely of whatever plant you are cold-pressing.
- Add more oil into the mortar, cover and let it sit for at least 48 hours.
- Strain using a cheesecloth or sieve.
A Few Words of Caution
- Never ingest an essential oil.
- Most essential oils should never be used on the skin in an undiluted form.
- Essential oil is flammable