DIY How to Distill Essential Oils

Written by vashti gray sadjedy
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DIY How to Distill Essential Oils
Solvent distillation allows you to obtain pure essential oil from a plant. (Essential oils image by MAXFX from

Essential oils are simply oils containing the aroma compounds from the plants from which they were extracted. Essential oils are highly touted in the natural health community for their abilities to treat, primarily via aromatherapy, conditions ranging from high blood pressure to nausea. It is not necessary to obtain your essential oils via health-food stores, though; many users extract their own oils via home distillation methods such as solvent distillation. While the process requires some patience, you can create your own pure essential oils with only a few basic materials.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Herb plant
  • 1 cup unflavored vodka
  • Freezer
  • Container with lid
  • Cheesecloth

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  1. 1

    Into one cup of unflavored vodka, place plant matter such as leaves, thorns, and petals. You could use lavendar or rosemary, for example. Be sure to cover the plant surface with the liquid completely.

  2. 2

    Seal the container tightly, and allow the mixture to distil for two weeks.

  3. 3

    Wrap the plant material in the cheesecloth and squeeze the remaining oil from the plant matter.

  4. 4

    Freeze this liquid for twenty-four hours. While the essential oil will freeze, the alcohol will not. Remove the now-frozen oil from the freezer. Pour off the alcohol.

  5. 5

    While continuing to store the oil in a tightly-sealed container, allow it to melt. The result is a very pure essential oil.

  6. 6

    Save the remaining alcohol for later distillations.

Tips and warnings

  • 1. Do not use rubbing alcohol for distillation.
  • 2. Use gloves to avoid irritating your skin when handling stronger oils, such as eugenol oil extracted from cloves.

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