Steam Distillation of Essential Oils

Temperature, time, and pressure are the three variables that are utilized during the steam distillation process. By reducing or increasing any one of these variables the amount of essential oil extracted from a given plant can vary greatly. Maximizing the percent of essential oil extracted per each distillation is the goal of most essential oil extractions.

The entire chemical spectrum of the essential oil can be done during steam distillation because of the variance in pressure. As the pressure increases the temperature increases which will allow distillations at temperatures well under the boiling point of water. The delicate nature of this process will allow the more subtle chemical notes become extracted and can improve overall aroma quality.