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Essential oils: basics, benefits, applications. 2022 Edition

CO2 Extraction Method for Oregano Essential Oil

What are essential oils?

4 big tricks to distinguish between real and fake essential oils

To put it simply, essential oils are the oils in the oil sac glands of plant cells, together with other oil-soluble organic compounds, to form organic compounds with aroma. This organic compound has a certain degree of volatility, allowing the aroma of plants to be emitted come out.
When we extract different aroma parts according to different plants, such as the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, buds, peels, branches, fruit, wood hearts, and resins, the preserved plant essence is the essential oil, and the plant The aroma molecules are mainly in this essential oil.

Where do essential oils from plants come from?

Essential oils are strong and very aromatic substances found in the small glands of leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, and trees. The extracted essential oils are composed of several to tens of thousands of aromatic molecules. The production of essential oils comes from the photosynthesis of the plant itself, and all the activities and synthesis elements in the plant are formed from photosynthesis.

During the day, plants absorb carbon dioxide and water, release oxygen through chlorophyll and light energy, and synthesize glucose, which is stored in plants to form a kind of plant energy. This carbohydrate will be converted into plant energy according to the needs of plants. Fatty acids, proteins, organic acids, glycosides, alkaloids, nitrates and other minerals, aromatic compounds, etc. This process is what the plant body does day after day in its body—photosynthesis, a mode of operation that converts inorganic carbon dioxide into organic carbohydrates for energy storage.

Through this mode, carbohydrates are continuously resynthesized in plants into polysaccharides, vegetable oils, amino acids, and volatile oils, and essential oils are the essence of these plants.

After these volatile aromatic oils are extracted from plants, they can be inhaled through aromatherapy, diffused inhalation, added to water in the bath and inhaled during the bath, or diluted with carrier oils and applied to the skin by massaging.

What are CO2 Extracted Essential Oils?

CO2 extraction machine
CO2 extraction machine

In CO2 extraction of essential oils, carbon dioxide (CO2), a naturally occurring chemical compound, is put under extreme pressure that turns the gas into a liquid.

In the CO2 extraction process, a plant’s aromatics and/or fatty oil content may be extracted by carbon dioxide gas pressurized at ambient temperatures. At high enough pressures, the CO2 becomes “supercritical,” which means that it exists in a physical state that is neither gas nor liquid but displays properties of both.

The liquid CO2 acts as a solvent and can pull essential oils out of plant material. Once the essential oil is extracted from the plant material, the CO2 is depressurized, allowing it to return to its natural gaseous form.

Once the extraction is complete and the pressure released, the supercritical CO2 becomes a gas and rapidly dissipates. This leaves the oil unadulterated with chemicals, in contrast to petrochemical solvents like hexane, which retain contaminants in the final product.

Unlike in solvent extraction, where a small amount of the solvent is left behind, all that is left behind in CO2 extraction is your essential oil.

This same type of extraction process can also be used to produce the fatty vegetable oils that we use as carriers. These fatty vegetable oils are said to contain higher amounts of therapeutic constituents because they aren’t exposed to heat like they are in other extraction methods.

CO2 total extracts and CO2 select extracts

Total extracts contain all the possible CO2-extracted components from the plant material, which can make them quite thick and a bit challenging to work with. The essential oil content can vary between 3 and 50% of the total extract, with the remaining extract being composed of waxes, lipids, and the like, depending on the plant material.

Because total extracts contain the lipid components, there are some incredible CO2 extracts that act more like carriers or herbal oils. CO2 extracts in the herbal oil palette include Arnica CO2 total extract and Calendula CO2 total extract.CO2 extracts in the carrier oil palette include Sea Buckthorn CO2 total extract, Rosehip CO2 total extract and even Raspberry!

To work with thicker CO2 extracts, simply warm them in water and allow to gently heat. Warming thick CO2 extracts helps make them easier to use.

Select extracts contain mostly the essential oil components, which can make up 35% to 95% of the extract. Select extracts are not viscous like total extracts and hence are easier to use.

Select CO2 extracts contain many of the same constituents as their essential oil counterparts, although they may also contain some components not found in essential oils. For instance, the essential oil of ginger (Zingiber officinale) does not contain the bitter principles (shogaol, gingerols), but the CO2 extract does. Select CO2 extracts are known for their strong similarity in aroma to the actual plant aroma, versus the essential oil, which can smell slightly different from the actual plant.

NOTE: Due to the potential of pesticide residue in CO2 extracts, we recommend organic CO2 extracts only.

CO2 Extracts vs Essential Oils

When it comes to choosing between a co2 extract and essential oil, it really depends on what you’re looking for. Essential oils contain the volatile molecules that give plants their distinctive smell, and these molecules can also have other effects on the body.

CO2 extracts are more concentrated. Both co2 extracts and essential oils are potent, but co2 extracts tend to be more potent and have a longer shelf life. They’re also less likely to cause skin irritation, making them a good choice for people with sensitive skin. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of product is right for you.

Benefits of CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy

CO2 extraction has some distinct advantages over the widely popular cold pressing and steam distillation processes used.

We all know that heat can alter the chemical compounds in essential oils. CO2 extraction doesn’t use any heat, so the components aren’t at any risk of becoming too warm, rendering them ineffective.

In most cases, the level of constituents in each CO2 extracted oil is going to be higher than its steam-distilled counterparts, which can make the oil even more effective.

Finally, the scent of CO2 extracted oils is generally more intense and fresher than other modes of distillation.

Are the essential oils on the market called aromatherapy oils the same?

Essential oils basically refer to plant essential oils. Because it is a substance of nature and a substance of the plant itself, there is no patent name at all, so many re-products of essential oils with essential oils added will take their names according to different uses: incense essential oil Or the name of essential oils, these are not necessarily pure essential oils but are often sold in the name of a commercial, or commercial remanufactured products.
The essential oils that professionals are emphasizing refer to pure essential oils extracted from plants without any artificial adjustment.

How do you know which plants to extract which parts?

We are often curious about the same woody plants, so how do people know which woods should be extracted from branches, leaves, and fruits, such as pine needles, cypress, and fir; which woody plants should be extracted from the heart? Such as cedar, sandalwood, and rosewood; which woods are extracted berries? Such as juniper berry.

Of course, this is the evolution of empirical science. In order to retain the most fragrant parts of plants, extract the most valuable essence of aroma.

  • Bitter orange essential oil: The essential oil extracted from the peel of the orange tree has a certain soothing effect on the stomach under tension, and can improve diarrhea, constipation, and other problems.
  • Bitter neroli essential oil: extracted from the flowers of the orange tree, its scent is rich and elegant, making people calm and forgetful, and is often added to high-end perfumes. White flowers seem to bring people pure energy, especially to appease angry emotions.
  • Petitgrain essential oil: The essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the orange tree. It contains a high proportion of agarwood acetate and a certain proportion of linalool. This combination has an excellent effect on calming the nervous system and can effectively improve sleep quality.

Can essential oils be taken orally?

Some essential oils are food additives, but food additives are not equal to food. There are relevant national standards for food additives, and there are strict regulations on the number of additives. Food is a product that can be eaten directly.

Part of the plant material from which essential oils are extracted also belongs to the category of medicine and food homology. For example ginger, cinnamon, etc. Essential oils are also the precursors of various edible plant flavors and are often used in food additives, such as common jasmine tea, sweet-scented osmanthus cakes, etc. Therefore, essential oils can be added to food, medicine, health care, and other industries according to relevant regulations.

Can the essential oil be taken directly? We believe that the essential oil itself is a high concentration of plant volatile essence, containing alcohols, acids, aldehydes, terpenes, and other chemical substances, which can easily irritate the mucous membranes and cannot be taken orally. It is recommended that you be cautious and use it safely.

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