How to Use Grain Alcohol to Extract Essential Oils

Written by christina floyd
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How to Use Grain Alcohol to Extract Essential Oils
Extracting your own sweet smelling essential oils can be easier than you think. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Just as there are many varieties of essential oils -- there are many various uses for them. From aromatherapy to health care, pure essential oils have become very popular. There are a few methods of extracting essential oils from herbs and plants; one of the most potent being the use of grain alcohol. Alcohol is ideal for extracting fats, resins, waxes and most plant alkaloids. It is an excellent preservative and is quickly assimilated.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Blender or food processor
  • Wide mouth jar
  • Grain alcohol
  • Dried Herbs or flowers
  • Cheesecloth
  • Sauce pan
  • Funnel
  • Dark coloured bottle

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Chop dried herbs or flowers in blender or food processor.

  2. 2

    Pour chopped herbs into wide mouth jar.

  3. 3

    Cover herbs with grain alcohol until the chopped or powdered particles are either floating or completely covered. Vodka, gin or everclear are some of the grain alcohols often used to extract essential oils

  4. 4

    Close the jar tightly, shake it and store in a dark cool place. Let the herb and alcohol mixture sit for a few hours, shaking and gently inverting it every 15 minutes.

  5. 5

    Strain the liquid from the solid material through a cheese cloth, into the saucepan. Twist and squeeze the cheesecloth tightly, to extract as much of the liquid as possible.

  6. 6

    Repeat step two through five, reusing the same plant material for dense or heavy herbs or flowers.

  7. 7

    Use this step only if you have an electric stove or burner. Do not use a gas stove to cook down alcohol as this can result in a fire. Place saucepan on an electric burner and turn it on the lowest setting.

  8. 8

    Watch the liquid closely, it should never go over a slight boil. Allow the liquid to cook until it is slightly thickened. This step burns off the alcohol, leaving the pure essential oil. Remove the liquid from the heat when it is the desired consistency. Allow it to cool.

  9. 9

    Pour the finished oil into the dark coloured bottle, using the funnel.

    Seal, label and date your oil. Store it in a cool dark cabinet.

Tips and warnings

  • If your oil becomes too thick you can add a small amount of grain alcohol to the essential oil to dilute it.
  • If you have no electric stove or burner -- instead of letting the mixture sit for a few hours -- it will have to sit for three to four weeks, in a cool dry place This will allow time for the alcohol to evaporate on its own. Shake the mixture once a day to keep it from settling. Check it after three weeks, to determine if the alcohol has evaporated. Once it has evaporated, use funnel to pour finished oil into the dark coloured bottle.

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