Are you looking for an easy way to make essential oils at home? Here’s a peek into how it’s usually done.
Essential oils are extracted from herbs or flowers through three main ways.
Steam distillation: This is the most common way to create essential oils. The herbs or plants are placed in a distillation apparatus with water. It is then boiled and the steam is collected. In some time, the oil gets separated from the water.
Cold expression: Also known as cold-pressed method, you need to press fruit peels to squeeze out the oil. This is typically done mechanically and is used in making citrus peel oils.
Extraction: In this, the flowers or herbs are mixed with a solvent like hexane. It becomes a combination of essential oil, waxes, and bits of plants. Another way is to use ethyl alcohol to extract the oil from the mix. The alcohol is then removed by distillation.
It is possible to make these concentrates at home. But the methods mentioned above require proper equipment. You could probably use a combination of pressure
If you are considering making essential oils at home, here’s what you need to know.
- You would not get 100% pure essential oil by making it at home. To get its purest form, your safest bet is to buy it. And you need the purest form if you intend to apply the oil on your body or for aromatherapy
- Making essential oils at home is a tedious process. It requires patience and the process of distillation is treated as art
- You need a lot of herbs or flowers just to extract a little bit of oil. Also, you need to be sure the plants are free from pesticides and chemicals
- You need to be careful when making the oil, considering the equipment you choose to use
If you are interested in making oils at home, infused oils are a great option.
1. Lavender Infused Oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dried lavender flowers
- Glass jar
- Bottle to store the oil
- Add the dried lavender into a clean glass jar
- Fill up the jar with olive oil. Make sure the lavender is completely immersed in the oil
- Leave the jar out in a well-lit location. Preferably on a window sill with maximum sunlight
- Let it rest for two weeks
- Place the cheesecloth over a strainer and pour the oil into a container
- You can transfer the infused oil into a bottle of your choice. Use a funnel to avoid any spillage
How to use:
- For nasty insect bites, rub a little of this infused oil onto the affected area
- If you spent a little extra time out in the sun, apply the oil and it should soothe your skin
2. Calendula Infused Oil
- Dried calendula flowers
- Coconut oil
- A glass jar
- Fill the jar with your dried
- Add coconut oil to it and make sure it covers the flowers completely
- Let it rest out in the sun for a month
- Strain out the flowers using a cheesecloth
- Your infused oil is ready
Coconut oil is a known moisturizer that helps smoothen skin. It is also great in combating early signs of aging.3 Calendula helps improve skin texture and hydrates the skin. It also acts as a strong anti-inflammatory agent, a property useful for treating dermatitis and diaper rash.4
How to use:
- You could apply this oil to treat minor cuts and wounds
- If your baby has a diaper rash, you could massage a few drops to the area
- It doubles as a great moisturizing oil as well
3. Rosemary Infused Oil
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 rosemary springs
- Bottle for storing
- Combine olive oil and rosemary in a saucepan
- Cook over low heat
- Using a thermometer, make sure the temperature of the oil reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes
- Let it cool for 2 hours
- Remove the springs and put it a bottle of your choice
- Close it and place it in the refrigerator for a month
Olive oil is loaded with beneficial components, including monounsaturated fats and vitamin E (tick marks for healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels).5There are several studies that prove rosemary is good for the immune system and it promotes smoother digestion.6
- You could season your salads with this oil or simply use it as a dip.
4. Chamomile Infused Oil
- Dry chamomile flower buds
- A glass jar
- Almond oil
- Bottle for storing
- Fill a glass jar halfway with the dried flower buds
- Add almond oil to the jar, leaving a little gap at the top
- Cover the jar and keep it out in a sunlit place
- Let it rest for a month
- Strain out the buds and transfer the oil into a bottle
- The infused oil is ready
Almond oil is a high source of proteins and vitamins that make your hair strong.7 Chamomile is packed with antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory in nature.8 It’s also popular for reducing arthritis pain and back pain.9
How to use:
- If you have fair hair, use chamomile infused oil as a conditioner to enhance the color
- Another way to use the oil is to add a few drops to your bath to soothe the skin
- Tired joints and legs? Massage the oil to the affected area to relieve yourself from pain
5. Comfrey Infused Oil
- Dried comfrey leaves
- Olive oil
- Double boiler
- Mix olive oil with comfrey leaves in the double boiler
- Heat it on low flame
- Continue it on low flame for nearly an hour
- Strain out the combined oil using a cheesecloth
- Store in a bottle of your choice
How to use:
- If you have a rash or a bug bite, you can massage the oil gently onto the affected area
- If you are experiencing pain from arthritis, apply the oil on your joints to get relief
About Drying Flowers And Herbs
The ideal choice would be to buy dried flowers and herbs. But, if you prefer, you can do it by yourself. Simply, cut the parts you want from the plant using a scissor. Make sure you harvest it on a sunny day. Spread it on a table and let it rest overnight. Be careful it doesn’t touch water. Now you can use these parts the next day to make your infused oil.
A Note About Infusing Oil With Sunlight
When you keep infused jars out in the sunlight, do not neglect them. You need to check on it every few days to make sure it doesn’t catch mold. If you see a smudge of mold (don’t panic!), take that part out immediately. But if it’s spread, you can’t save it.
Also, during this process, nothing should come in contact with water, which includes the jars, strainers, and lids that you use.
These oils should typically last a year. Again, if you do see a lot of mold or if it smells sort of funky, throw it away.
Above all, have fun making these oils at home. Here’s to being one step closer to nature!
|↑1||Perricone, Nicholas V. “Treatment of skin damage using olive oil polyphenols.” U.S. Patent 6,437,004, issued August 20, 2002|
|↑2||Jianu, Călin, Georgeta Pop, Alexandra T. Gruia, and Florin George Horhat. “Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oils of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) grown in Western Romania.” Int. J. Agric. Biol 15 (2013): 772-776|
|↑3||Verallo-Rowell, Vermén M., Kristine M. Dillague, and Bertha S. Syah-Tjundawan. “Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.” Dermatitis 19, no. 6 (2008): 308-315|
|↑4||Medical Reference Guide: Calendula. University of Maryland Medical Center|
|↑5||Owen, Robert W., Attilio Giacosa, William E. Hull, Roswitha Haubner, Gerd Würtele, Bertold Spiegelhalder, and Helmut Bartsch. “Olive-oil consumption and health: the possible role of antioxidants.” The lancet oncology 1, no. 2 (2000): 107-112|
|↑6||Al-Sereiti, M. R., K. M. Abu-Amer, and P. Sena. “Pharmacology of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis Linn.) and its therapeutic potentials.” (1999)|
|↑7||Deane, Jeffrey Alan. “Hair cleansing conditioner.” U.S. Patent 6,723,309, issued April 20, 2004|
|↑8||Srivastava, Janmejai K., Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports 3, no. 6
|↑9||Gharakhani, Afshin, Sanaz Hamedeyazdan, Taher Entezari-Maleki, and Hamed Ghavimi. “Chamomile an Adjunctive Herbal Remedy for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment.” Advances in Biosciences & Clinical Medicine 1, no. 1 (2013): 20|
|↑10||Beauchamp, Gary K., Russell SJ Keast, Diane Morel, Jianming Lin, Jana Pika, Qiang Han, Chi-Ho Lee, Amos B. Smith, and Paul AS Breslin. “Phytochemistry: ibuprofen-like activity in extra-virgin olive oil.” Nature 437, no. 7055 (2005): 45-46.|
|↑11||Frost, R., H. MacPherson, and S. O’Meara. “A critical scoping review of external uses of comfrey (Symphytum spp.).” Complementary therapies in medicine 21, no. 6 (2013): 724-745|