Extraction method - Jasmine
jasmine essential oil extracted from jasmine plant, is known for its warm, exotic floral aroma. Jasminum officinalis is the botanical name of this herbal plant, but it is more commonly known as Jasmine. The term Jasmine has been derived from 'yasmin', a Persian word which is used to refer to an aphrodisiac. However, the Indians and Chinese have more often used the Jasmine essential oil for medicinal purposes.
Essential oils can be extracted using a variety of methods, although some are not commonly used today. Currently, the most popular method for extraction is steam distillation, but as technological advances are made more efficient and economical methods being developed.
Steam Distillation :
Distillation is the most widely used and the most economical method of extracting essential oils. There is a great deal of skill involved in the process of distillation in the if the precious essential oil is not to be lost or changed in its composition. Some plants are distilled immediately after harvesting, whereas others may be left for a few days or even dried prior to extraction. In distillation, the plant material is heated, either by placing it in water which is brought to the boil or by passing steam through it. The heat and steam cause the cell structure of the plant material to burst and break down, thus freeing the essential oils. The essential oil molecules and steam are carried along a pipe and channelled through a cooling tank, where they return to the liquid form and are collected in a vat. The emerging liquid is a mixture of oil and water, and since essential oils are not water soluble they can be easily separated from the water and siphoned off. Essential oils which are lighter than water will float on the surface, whereas heavier oils such as clove will sink.
Now, this doesn't sound like a particularly complicated process but did you know that it takes more than 8 million Jasmine flowers to produce just 2 pounds of jasmine oil? No wonder pure essential oils are expensive!
A hydrocarbon solvent is added to the plant material to help dissolve the essential oil. When the solution is filtered and concentrated by distillation, a substance containing resin (resinoid), or a combination of wax and essential oil (known as concrete) remains. From the concentrate, pure alcohol is used to extract the oil. When the alcohol evaporates, the oil is left behind. This is not considered the best method for extraction as the solvents can leave a small amount of residue behind which could cause allergies and effect the immune system.
Only recently developed, this method uses Carbon Dioxide to extract the essential oil from the plant when liquefied under pressure. Once the liquid depressurizes, the carbon dioxide returns to a gaseous state, and only pure essential oil remains.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction:
The relatively new method was introduced only in the 1980s. The price is high because the equipment used is expensive. The process has been designed for the perfume industry. Oils which are extracted utilising carbon dioxide are supposed to be superior, pure and very close to the natural essential oil as it exists in the plant - and they are completely free of residues of carbon dioxide.