Ways to obtain essential oils from medicinal plants

To obtain essential oil from medicinal plants we can do it in several different ways: distillation, filtration, pressure, extraction and maceration. Let’s learn a little more about the various procedures of getting essential oils from healing herbs.

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How to obtain essential oils from medicinal plants

* Steam distillation : it is the most common of all. It consists of placing the medicinal part of the plant from which we want to obtain its essential oil and with steam we get the plant to release its oil to steam, from there it is cooled to vary its state from vapor to liquid.

* Filtration : It is similar to the distillation method but it takes less time to obtain the essential oil with filtration. It is used mainly with the hardest parts of the plant. With the filtration, water vapor is produced on the part of the plant where the oil is to be obtained and subsequently it gradually cools until it becomes condensed and becomes a liquid form.

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* Pressure : It consists of squeezing the part from which we want to obtain essential oils. But since you also get water that we don’t need, once it has been squeezed, what you do is let the content rest and then remove the essential oil that will remain on the surface. This method is used mainly with the skins or peels of fruits.

* Extraction : it is a way to obtain more concentrated and powerful essences. With this method, a solvent is used that will extract the oils from the plants that pass through an alembic. The extraction method is used mainly with whole flowers or petals.

* Maceration : While to put the above methods into practice we must have concrete and advanced equipment, to carry out macerations we do not need more than a sterilized glass jar with hermetic closure, a base or carrier oil and the plants that we are going to use.

The maceration method to obtain essential oil from medicinal plants consists of putting a third of the capacity of the glass jar with the medicinal plant cut or lightly crushed and we finish filling the jar with the base oil (extra virgin olive, sweet almonds , argan, coconut, etc). Store in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 weeks. It is then strained and stored in an opaque glass bottle to help preserve the active principles that the plant has released and are now found in the oil.


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