Essential oils are extracts from plants and herbs that are used to make health supplements such as capsules and tablets. Many herbs and plants that are used in alternative medicine do not have enough of the active ingredient in their native form. When this is the case, the herbs or plants need to be concentrated in order to be used effectively. Extracts can be made at home using basic steps; however, research should be done to determine how much of the concentrate to use for medicinal properties. This means knowing how much of the oils to put in capsules, or use in aromatherapy.
If you are extracting essential oils for use in alternative medicine, you can purchase capsules from pharmaceutical suppliers. These capsules are then filled with the appropriate amount of the essential oil. On the other hand, if the oil is going to be used in aromatherapy or as a massage oil, you will need dark-colored storage vessels. The dark-colored glass will help prevent the degradation of the oil due to exposure to light.
One important note before starting the extracting process: research. Research is one of the main components of extracting essential oils for use as supplements. This is simply because that every plant’s essential oils have a different chemical makeup, meaning the amount of essential oil that is safe for use varies from plant to plant. To make, store, and use essential oils safely, you need to carefully study the process before you begin. You will see that the research portion is referenced throughout every step of the process.
Making Essential Oils
The main ingredient needed in making essential oils is the plants. This is the heart of the operation, and if quality is sacrificed the quality of oil will be sacrificed. Many people who are going into their own business making oils will plant and harvest their own herbs and medicinal plants. This allows them to control the quality of plants and know what is being added during the cultivation.
Plant materials can also be purchased; however, it is important to purchase from a high-quality vendor. Educated vendors can be found on the Internet and through mail order. These vendors will be able to supply plants during the right seasons or have a green house and are able to provide them anytime they are needed.
Making Herbal Extracts
The first step in making these extracts from home should be researching the types of plants to use and how much of each plant is needed. It is important to know how much of the herbal concentrate or extract is therapeutic so that too much is not used and detrimental health issues occur. Too much of a good thing can be harmful! It is also vital to know how long to allow each herb to process. Some herbs will need to soak longer than others, just as some will need to dry longer than others. Once this is determined and the exact amounts for each herb are understood, the process of extracting the herbs can begin.
Herbal Extracting Processes
There are two main processes used in extracting herbs: drying and soaking. Both of these are straightforward enough to do at home.
Drying herbs can be done using a microwave, laying them in the sun, or using a dehydrator. The drying time will be determined by the research you did in the first step. Every plant will have a different drying time. Once they are dried, the herbs can be crushed using a variety of tools such as a mortar and pestle. The crushed herbs are then put in capsule or tablet form and used as a health supplement. The resulting dried herbs are extremely potent, and the amount to put in the capsules should be checked carefully to ensure that a safe amount is used.
Herbs can also be boiled or soaked in liquid to create a concentrated form that can be used for health supplements. During the research phase, each herb will say whether or not it is water-soluble. If it is water soluble, soaking or boiling can be done in water; however, if it is not, alcohol will be used. Once the herb has soaked for the required amount of time, also determined during research, the resulting liquid can be evaporated down to a concentrated form of the extract.
Using a Distiller to Make Essential Oils
If you have the time and money, you can invest in a distiller to extract essential oils from plants. Most distillers work the same, with the plant material being tightly packed into a false bottom and the distiller tank being filled with water that does not touch the plant material. The lid to the distiller is closed, and the water allowed to boil.
This is where research becomes crucial. Most plants will start to release their oils at the boiling point of water—212 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is not true of all plants, and so every plant must be studied to determine when the oils are released. If this is not researched and the stage of extraction is simply guessed, the oil will not be high quality and thus will not have all of the properties it should have.
Once extraction is complete, the oil should be stored as quickly as possible in dark-colored glass jars or storage containers. The process is simply repeated for each type of plant. The process is simple and easy enough for the average person to do. Small distillers can be purchased for home use or larger ones to make oils for a business.
There are many excellent herbs that can be used for health benefits; however, many of these are not strong enough in their natural plant form to be beneficial. Once these are concentrated down, the resulting extract can be used to make a powerful health supplement. Many people take great pride in making their own herbal extracts and supplementing their daily dietary needs with natural extracts created with their own hands.