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Herbal Oil & Steam Distillation Plant

 

The best method to make Herbal Oil is by using the Process practiced in Ayurveda. It is modernized and narrated below :

Equipment needed are a Pot Extraction and a Press (a Squeezer). The size may be chosen as per the requirement. The Process is shown in the figure.

   
 
 

HERBAL OIL PLANT PROCESS

Steam Distillation Plant

History

Steam Distillation was invented by the Persian Chemist, Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in the West), in the early 11th century. He invented it for the purpose of extracting essential oils.

The invention of Steam Distillation contributed significantly to the development of perfumery, in perfecting the extraction of fragrances. It  also  influenced Western scientific developments. Many compounds could now be obtained in pure form, which was not possible beforehand.

 
Why Steam Distillation for Essential Oils ?

Although there are other techniques, Steam Distillation remains the preferred process for the Extraction of essential oils from Plant material.

From the Consumer’s point of view, the simplicity and transparency of the process gives reassurance of purity, as the process uses only water. From a commercial point of view, the ability to process large quantities of material with a technique that requires relatively modest investment and skill levels is attractive.

 
The Process

The steam distillation process for the extraction of essential oils from plant material consists of 3 basic parts – the Retort, the Condenser, and the Separator.
 


*  Overview : The Three main Components
 
  *  The Retort or Still

This contains the plant material containing the volatile essential oil.

High Pressure Steam is passed in at the base into a void beneath a perforated grid which supports the charge of green herb. The Steam passes through the plant material heating and saturating it with water. The resulting vapour, a mixture of steam and essential oil vapours, passes out at the top and is conveyed to the condenser.

 
  *  The Condenser

The vapours from the retort are cooled by passing down a long spiral or bundle of tubing or plates cooled by being immersed in a flow of water.

The condensate runs by gravity into a container in which the Oil and water separate by virtue of their differing specific gravities in the separator.

The Condenser is of Direct Contact type.

 


*  The Separator
The mixture of condensed oil and water runs into the separator where the lighter insoluble oil floats on the surface, accumulates slo
wly and is drawn off periodically. This is the essential oil.

The water – or rather water containing the more water soluable constituents extracted by the steam, known as the hydrolat or floral water – is drawn off continuously from the bottom of the separator.