How to make essential oils at home

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By Kenny G

how to make essential oils at home

All nature lovers appreciate essential oils, part of the reason being that we know homemade essential oils are recommended for our well-being as well as for making our home smell nice. You can make essential oils at home, following this step-by-step preparation guide.

To extract oils, specialist laboratories perform sophisticated processes either by steam distillation (using water) or centrifuge (pressure for citrus, under their bark). These are complicated process and are difficult to do at home.

The plant material is moistened by steam, the plant tissue rupture, releasing the essential oil, and the steam carries the essential oil. They are then both are then cooled in a heat exchanger, and then easily separated. Large quantities of flowers and herbs are needed for this process, plus some instruments, such as stills.

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It is however possible to make essential oils at home: you can get your ingredients from herbal and flower gardens or vegetable gardens. You have to use a vegetable oil (carrier oil or base), such as extra virgin olive oil, almond oil or oil from sprouted grains. Concentration of homemade oil is certainly weaker than commercially made oil, but you will get the satisfaction of having made it yourself.

The most convenient method is to use olive oil, you will also need a  250ml measuring cup. For making essential oils that will be used in skin care, we recommend almond oil as base. Choose seasonal herbs as the main ingredient such as: lavender, violet, mint, lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, etc. Make sure that these products are bio-sourced and do not contain pesticides. They can be used either individually or in pairs, for example, rose and lavender.

It is best to pick the top parts of herbs and flowers, picked early in the morning, before the flower blooms. Do not forget to remove (without killing them, please!) small insects. Wash these plants then wipe with paper towels.

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Step by step preparation following the cold method (without using heat):

Ingredients: 250ml vegetable oil, 1 cup (250ml) full of leaves, herbs or fresh flowers.

Preparation: lightly crush the leaves and flowers (using a wooden pestle and mortar or a rolling pin.) Place your leaves and flowers into a plastic bag and close it, this allows the oil to be extracted from the surface of the plant. Immediately after, place them in a large glass vase, or a large aperture which can be closed with a cork, pour the vegetable oil: gradually, plants release their aromas.

Keep the vase in a warm place, while avoiding direct contact of sunlight, for a period of 24-48 hours. Then filter it using cotton gauze. Keep your essential oil in a dark glass bottle with a stopper.

You can enhance the fragrance and concentration of your oil by adding more fresh herbs and flowers into the oil. Take flowers or herb of an equivalent amount (must fit in the cup of 250ml). Lock them in the plastic bag, after crushing them lightly, add the essential oil obtained before to this crushed herbs. Repeat the ritual a third or even a fourth time until the flavor reaches your desired intensity.

How to make essential oils at home
Essential oils are a must-have ingredient in natural beauty.

At the end of the process, filter your liquid again with gauze. Transfer the mixture through a funnel into a dark glass bottle with a stopper or a normal bottle. Finally, store it in a dark place.

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There is another method, called the hot method where you cook oil and herbs. To do this, you will need:

Ingredients: 250ml vegetable oil, ¼ cup of 250ml of leaves, herbs or fresh flowers.

Preparation: Pour the oil onto intact herbs (do not crush) and put the mixture in a large heavy saucepan, place it on low heat in a water bath for 6 hours. Allow it to cool down, filter with cotton gauze and then transfer the mixture in a dark bottle.

The essential oil  obtained can be used for 6 months after its preparation. Do not forget to wash your hands after use and avoid rubbing your eyes during the procedure. Never add water to oil.

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