Harnessing The Power Of Plants: How Essential Oils Are Made

Harnessing The Power Of Plants: How Essential Oils Are Made

Essential Oils are much more than just smells! It takes significant efforts to bring these special compounds to Fusion Wellness products. Essential Oils are not made, rather, they are extracted from various plant materials. Extractions are a means of obtaining the plant's "essence" in the most potent, concentrated form. They are essentially the liquefied version of a plant, flower or seed and offer a more efficient means of therapy. This concentrated format allows beneficial compounds to reach the blood stream faster than they would by simply consuming the plant. Although it varies it takes several hundred to several thousand pounds of a plant material to make just a single pound of essential oil!

An extract is produced when a botanical material is introduced to a solvent or mechanically forced in which some of the plant material components dissolve. Solvents can be various such as hydrocarbons, super-critical CO2, or even water. Ultimately, the solvent becomes infused with the botanical materials that it has pulled from the source plant, and this is what is referred to as the “extract.” The solution that remains at the end of the process can be liquid, or the liquid can be removed to turn the remnants of the botanical into a solid. The solvents can act as preservatives or as agents that help plant cells to break down and release their contents.

There are 7 extraction methods that are the most commonly utilized today 

  • Steam Distillation
  • Cold-Press Extraction
  • Solvent Extraction

  • CO2 Extraction
  • Enfleurage
  • Maceration
  • Water Distillation

 

Different extraction methods are chosen depending on what type of biomass is being processed whether that be whole plant, leaves, flowers, seeds, etc. Some extraction methods are best suited to particular plant types and parts; for example, Cold Press extraction is better than Enfleurage for obtaining oils from citrus fruit peels, because the peels need to be pierced and squeezed, which is not achievable through Enfleurage.

The method of extraction also affects essential oil quality by way of pressure and temperatures applied as the variance of pressures, temperatures, solvents and extraction time lengths all contribute to the end product's potency, profile and stability. 

Follow along as we continue our journey through extraction as our next blog posts will cover each extraction method in detail




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