From Plant to Essential Oil: The Distillation Process Made Simple

May 29th, 2014

The science of distillation made simple! Although we don’t recommend trying this at home, understanding the process makes it so much more interesting… don’t you think?!


Essential Oil Distillation Big1. Steam from boiling water rises through a chamber of vast amounts of raw plant material. It is heated to the exact temperature necessary to rupture that particular plant’s specialized cells while preserving its active components.

2. The broken plant cells release the essential oils they naturally produce and store within them.

3. These essential oils rise with the hot steam into a separate chamber.

4. As this vapor of water and essential oil cools, the oil and water-soluble components naturally separate due to differences in density and polarity (just like oil and vinegar!)

5. As the essential oils rise to the top of this cooled liquid, they are poured off and collected.


The basic chemical properties of essential oils classify them as lipids. They are volatile and contain components with unique chemistries that act on different bodily systems. When these components are understood and used effectively, they can bring balance and wellness to the user.


Cary in FranceCary visits a Helichrysum distillery in the Valensole Plateau of France.


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