A homemade herb and oil distiller can help you enjoy the many benefits of essential oils without having to pay the exaggerated retail prices. Essential oils are by definition "therapeutic grade oils distilled from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds." They have been used since ancient times to help heal wounds, ease pain, remedy a sour stomach and invoke sensual arousal. The mainstream term for the use of essential oils is aromatherapy.
The average high-grade essential oil is going to cost you anywhere from $6 to $60 depending on where you purchase the vial. While it is true that these oils are to be used sparingly, the thought of spending that type of money on one vial can be a big deterrent for people looking for a more holistic way of living. Creating your own homemade herb and oil distiller will allow you to obtain the essential oils you want from the herbs that you buy or grow on your own at a fraction of the cost.
Types of Distillation and Distillers
When considering making an herb and oil distiller it is important you know which type of distillation method you plan to use and what herbs you primarily plan to extract. There are four basic types of distillers:
- Water distillations
- Steam distillation
- Dry steam distillation
- Solvent distillation
Water Distillation this method of distillation is ideal if you are looking to extract cinnamon oil or sandalwood oil from bark. The process used here is very simple, both the water and the herb are heated together in a container to create vapor. Upon cooling, the vapor will condense and drip into a separate container.
Steam Distillation is a second type of distillation used with most any herb. The process requires you to be careful to make sure that containers are latched properly so they don't explode. With steam distillation, the herb is put in a vacuum-sealed container and it is then heated. The heating will create an incredible amount of pressure that will separate the oil from the herb.
Dry Steam Distillation is the third way to distill oils from herbs. This process is very similar to steam distillation and is often preferred due to the fact it is a safer way to extract oils. The downside of dry steam distillation is that it will yield less essential oil then any other method.
Solvent Distillation is used on the herbs and plants that do not respond to the other three distillation methods above. A solvent such as supercritical carbon dioxide or hexane pull the wax and the oil out of the plant.
Homemade Herb and Oil Distillers
The type of distiller you make at home will depend greatly on your method preference, type of herbs and amount of oil you want to yield at a time. However if you are looking for a quick and easy herb and oil distiller, you will need the following items:
- Copper distillation tubing
- Boiling flask
- Receiving beaker
Using the Homemade Distiller
Keep in mind that only small amounts of oil can be extracted with the above items. Until you are comfortable with the process though, small is a good place to start. To use these items to distill the essential oils, fill the boiling flask with water and put the herb of choice in the flask. Then connect the copper tubing to the flask and the glass beaker. Boil the flask. As the water and the plant are heated, the steam will travel through the tubing and condense in the beaker.
Essential Oils at Home
If you are looking for ways to improve your health in a more holistic way, using essential oils is an ideal practice. With a homemade herb and oil distiller, you can create your own essential oils and have the oils you want for a fraction of the cost.
- Initial Author: Jennifer Shakeel