Mother Nature has given flowers and plants distinct and pleasant fragrances or essential oils, which help attract birds and insects. This is necessary to facilitate the pollination of the plants. Man has found ways to capture the essential oils and use them to provide the scents for perfume, soaps and body lotions. There are several ways to do this, such as distillation, expression, solvent, enfleurage, maceration and extraction. In distillation, the process is done by steam and requires a still. In expression, the essential oil is removed from the rinds of fruit (such as lemons or oranges) by a machine that squeezes the rind using centrifugal force. Solvent extraction requires the use of a volatile chemical. Both enfleurage and maceration use fats, yet one maceration technique is well-suited for essential oil extraction at home.
Things You'll Need
- Oil, such as olive oil or sunflower oil
- Herbs or flower blossoms
- 2 clean glass jars
- Paper coffee filter
Dry the herbs or flowers by hanging cuttings upside-down until dried.
Combine dried flowers and herbs with the oil in a glass jar. Use at least ¼ oz. of herbs or dried flowers for every cup of oil. Secure lid on the jar.
Leave the jar in a sunny window for 4 to 6 weeks.
Strain the dried flowers from the oil, and discard the flowers. Use a paper coffee filter.
Store the strained oil in a clean glass jar. The essential oil's shelf life will be about 6 months.
- Photo Credit A. Johnson
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