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Re: [Distillers] essential oils

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  • Strounge
    ... You can t do it with a reflux - the oils are a complicated mixture of different components. There are two methods suitable with a pot still - dry heat (
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 1, 2001
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      > Does anyone have any information on the best method of distilling for essential oils of plants? How is is doen? What is the best method? Does it change from plant to plant? Can it be done in a reflux still?
      > Any information would be greatly appreciated.
      > Regards Pat

      You can't do it with a reflux - the oils are a complicated mixture of different components.

      There are two methods suitable with a pot still - dry heat ( which doesn't work for many ) and steam distillation.
      I've found that rather than messying around with baskets to hold herbs about the steam it's perfectly possible to pack your still densely with the herb in question, add about 1/4 that volume water and distill slowly - the stuff that comes out the other end is a cloudy mixture of water and oils that soon settles out.
      There are very few oils that occur in decent quantities to be worth trying at home - Lavender, rosemary, mint and citrus peel all work well.
      Chamomile can be done if you use an alcohol maceration and keep adding replacing the chamomile, what you end up with is very pleasant smelling spirit suitable for addition to bath water or skin application.
      Incidentaly, chamomile comes off blue - just in case you worry what's happened to the still.

      Strounge
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    • albertpotash
      I am new to this board and very impressed with how generous you all are with information. I am primarily interested in distilling essential oils for
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 23, 2003
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        I am new to this board and very impressed with how generous you all
        are with information. I am primarily interested in distilling
        essential oils for aromatherapy and natural perfumes. I recently
        picked up a pressure cooker and started thinking about getting to
        work on a large bush of rosemary in my yard.
        Any ideas if it should be dried or used fresh?
        Also any low-tech ideas for the best way to use the pressure cooker
        and some copper tube?
        Thanks Al
      • toddk63
        I am familiar with doing distilled gin and absinthe. A rig for that would be similar to what you need. First off, I prefer 3/4 copper pipe coming right out
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 23, 2003
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          I am familiar with doing distilled gin and absinthe. A rig for that
          would be similar to what you need.

          First off, I prefer 3/4" copper pipe coming right out of the pot,
          short as possible. This will make for a low dP vapor path and prevent
          clogging with solid material. Use a homemade bulkhead fitting to
          attach to the pot lid. If the pot lid is flat, put a 10° bend in the
          pipe. To do this, start with about 2 ft. of pipe, heat it in the
          center, wedge one end on something and pull. It will bend easily
          right were you heated it. Now cut it to length. Now solder on a 3/4"
          to 1/2" reducing elbow. And then a 1/2" to 3/8" reducer. Solder a 8
          to 10" long leibeg condenser after this. The condenser is made up of
          3/4" pipe outside and 3/8" tubing inside. The purpose of the bend in
          the pipe should be apparent by now, the condenser now slopes down at
          10° off horizontal.

          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "albertpotash" <albertpotash@y...>
          wrote:
          > I am new to this board and very impressed with how generous you all
          > are with information. I am primarily interested in distilling
          > essential oils for aromatherapy and natural perfumes. I recently
          > picked up a pressure cooker and started thinking about getting to
          > work on a large bush of rosemary in my yard.
          > Any ideas if it should be dried or used fresh?
          > Also any low-tech ideas for the best way to use the pressure cooker
          > and some copper tube?
          > Thanks Al
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