Essential Oil Making: Home Distillation

Updated on November 15, 2017
TheresaAnn profile image

I have been an active advocate of alternative health therapies for 10 years, and I am the author of a book on essential oils.

Distilled Essential Oils

Essential Oil Extraction at Home

Buying essential oils from leading health shops can be quite expensive. Hence, there has been a growing number of individuals who decide to make these oils at home instead. There are several types of oil extraction processes for you to choose from.

Maceration is an oil extraction process that involves soaking the plant parts in hot water, which helps in releasing the fragrances from the plant material. Once the hot oil is purified, it undergoes another process of extraction to separate the oil from the water. Another method is called pressing, wherein the plant parts are squeezed enabling the release of the essential oils. One major drawback with either extraction processes is that these require too much effort to be done at home.

Hence, distillation remains as the most popular method of oil extraction since it can be done by amateurs at home. It involves the use of insoluble water and steam to allow the separation of the oil from the water substances.

There is no denying that taking out the essential oil properties of botanical materials involves a complex procedure. If you plan on producing your own essential oils at home, you need to take note that while this may be a difficult task, it is certainly doable. Here is a brief guideline for performing home distillation.

Herb and Fruit Recipes: How to Distill Herbs

Distillation Process

Distillation is the most common method of essential oil extraction used at home. It is a good thing that numerous home distillation kits are now sold in the market to make it easier for you to extract essential oils from botanical materials. With the help of this equipment, you can now produce quality essential oils like professionals. Aside from the ease of use, the steam method involved in distillation is known to produce more oils and of the higher quality.

Mother Flask

Distilling Lavender Oil—Emelie Tolley

Mother Flask

The first step to any distillation or extraction process is to gather the specific part or plant materials you will be using for the extraction of essential oil. The amount of plant part you must gather depends on the amount of essential oil you produce.

Then, you must set up the still for your distillation kit in the specific area of the house you intend to perform the extraction from. You must now place all the plant parts into the mother flask. Most models of home distillation systems come with an insulation jacket. This will help to keep the heat from coming out and quicken up the condensation process of the plant material that is being distilled.

Steam Generator Flask

The steam generator flask comes with a steam black hose. On the right part of the steam generator flask is the condenser unit, which is responsible for introducing steam into the plant materials placed in the mother flask. The steam is the most important component in a distillation system in order to produce the essential oils. There is also an outer water jacket attached to the condenser unit that allows iced water to enter and encourage condensation.

Once the steam generator flask is placed on top of the electric burner, all of the steam is released through the safety tube.

Receiver Flask

After the plant materials have been exposed to the steam, it is now onto the receiver flask. This particular flask comes with an inlet for the water. The receiver flask has a little glass exhaust tube which allows the essential oils from the plant material to drip out.

Lavender Distillation Demonstration Part 1

Final Distillation

The liquid produced from the plant material is poured from the receiver flask and into a separatory funnel. Allow the liquid to sit for some time in order to separate the water-insoluble parts from the pure essential oils. All of the liquid is now transferred into a separate container wherein the essential oil are separated from the water. For about 4 ounces of plant material, you can produce as much as 2 grams of essential oil.

Therefore, you can perform the entire process again to produce more essential oils that you can store for a certain period of time. Or, you can also increase the amount of plant material you use during distillation to increase the amount of production.

Final Distillation

Buying Essential Oil Distillers

Due to the increasing demand for home distillation kits, it is now possible to find home distillers in the market these days. Make sure you determine the proper buying guidelines before you go out to buy one. With several companies offering commercial home distillers, you need to be able to choose one that suits your needs and individual preference.

One of the most important factor to consider is the type of herb or plant material you use for extraction of the oil. This will enable you to find a suitable home distiller to use so you can produce the highest possible quality of oil.

Where to buy from?

When on a hunt for the best distiller, knowing where to buy from is one of the first factors to consider. The best tip you can use when shopping for home distillers is to go for the ones that are well reputed, especially if you are going to buy online.

By going for well-established companies or sellers, you can benefit from a wide selection of home distiller models. Hence, you can compare features according to what you need for your home distillation process and get the most out of your distiller system. While most well-known models of distillers are available at relatively more expensive prices, you are guaranteed high-quality products that could save you more money in the long run.

Regardless of where you decide to buy your distiller from or what model you purchase, it is important to take your time. This will enable you to consider your options and compare them to your needs so you can produce the desired results.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Submit a Comment
  • yellowstar2000 profile image

    Candice Collins 

    7 years ago from WestCoast Florida

    awesome hub!!!!

  • lanix13 profile image


    9 years ago from

    Wow, can't say I have ever thought of making my own essential oils at home. I want to look into this further! Essential oils have been helping me for a long time, especially with my allergies. Read more about my experience with oils here:

    Thanks for the great hub!


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