How to Extract Oregano Oil Through Steam Distillation

Written by helen garvey
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How to Extract Oregano Oil Through Steam Distillation
Oregeno oil is thought to aid in reducing infections. (Essential oils image by MAXFX from

Oregano oil is known for its skin healing and health properties. Georgetown University rsearcher

Harry G. Preuss found that oregano oil may be an effective treatment against dangerous and often drug resistant bacteria. An oregano oil component, carvacrol, appears to reduce infection as well as a traditional antibiotics.

Oregano oil can be extracted through steam distillation using fresh or dried leaves. Rather than buying expensive distilling equipment, use a kettle or saucepan to distil the essential oil from fresh or dried leaves. Reasonably priced steam distillation kits are available, too.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Kettle
  • 10 litres of fresh distilled water
  • Measuring jug separator
  • Oven gloves
  • Small drain hose

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  1. 1

    Pour 10 litres of clean distilled water into a kettle and then add the fresh or dried oregano leaves. When the kettle is packed with the oregano leaves, attach the top column of the steam distiller to the kettle. All water lines must be connected to the condenser.

  2. 2

    Provide a heat source to the steam distiller and ensure that the collection hose is directed toward the collection container. When the water in the kettle is at boiling temperature, begin the flow of cooled water to squeeze out the oil and the steam, then allow it to flow to the condenser.

  3. 3

    Check that the essential oil is exiting the steam distilling condenser and that there is a steady flow of cooled water to reduce the vapour. Allow the distilled oil to cool to a lukewarm temperate.

  4. 4

    Collect the distilled mixture in small quantities and change the collecting container after every 500ml or two cups. This ensures that the oil already collected remains at a high quality. If left too long, the quality of the extracted oil will fall rapidly during the last stages of distillation. Watch the level of water in the kettle so that the oregano leaves do not scorch the bottom of the kettle.

  5. 5

    Look for a reduction in the quality of the oregano oil if you have collected 8 litres of the distilled water and oil mixture. Turn off the heat and remove the distiller carefully with oven gloves. The handles will heat to extreme temperatures during the distilling process.

  6. 6

    Cover the oil and be patient until the oil separates from the water. However, the oil could appear cloudy after this process, so allow the collection container to sit inactive to leave enough time for the oil to separate from the water. This may take several hours, but a clear liquid will remain. That is the oil.

  7. 7

    Separate the oil from the water by using a measuring cup that includes a separator or else use a clear plastic container and add a tiny drain hose. Wait for the water and oil to separate in the container before slowly draining the water via the small drain hose.

Tips and warnings

  • Store the oregano oil in dark airtight glass bottle and date them.
  • Add oregano oil to skincare products or add to a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil and rub onto aching muscles. Alternatively, add a couple of drops into recipes.

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