distilling herbs

distilling herbs

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Composition of essential oil from orange peels

In my previous article I wrote about distilling orange peels. Out of 33 Kg orange peels I distilled 100 ml essential oil.
Citrus Sinensis  var. Valencia late
From literature and a number of analyzes undertaken by IFF for students in my school I knew that the main component of the oil is limonene.
Uit: The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple van David Stewart
I thought it was interesting to analyze the composition of the oil. Last Saturday I received the analysis results.

RT (min)
Compound name
Norm (%)
1,50 – 3,50
93,0 – 96,0
0,10 – 0,40
0,01 – 0,06
                                a part of the composition in mass %
The percentage of limonene, nearly 94%, is indeed high. Even higher than David Stewart in his book indicates as upper limit. Pyrenessences who performed the analyzes detected 68 different substances.

The final conclusion was that the oil composition complies with the ISO 3140: 05-2011 standard for sweet orange. The oil complies with this standard, if the analysis shows that the compunds be within a certain percentage. For limonene that is between 93 and 96%.
If you are interested in more analysis results please send an email with a request for some background to indekoperenketel@gmail.com.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

distilling orangepeel

Citrus sinensis var. Valencia late
For the harvest festival which was held last year octiber, I was looking for a residual product, say waste, which can be distilled for making essential oil. That residual I had soon figured out. Almost every year graduated students are distilling orange peel. From about 400 grams of peels they remove about 4 mL orange essential oil.
Willem-Jan en Rose-Marie Peeters van tuinderij Peeters
The orange peels supplier was soon found. At Tuinderij Peeters we were able to collect 4 crates with   orange peel of Valancia late. They had the peels that remained last week in from the orange juice press kept in the refrigerator.
For the transport of full and heavy crates I got my bicycletrailer once again.
The morning after in the distillingplace I started to reduce the orange peel before they were ready to be in the distillation boiler. That was easier said than done.
It took me more than half an hour to reduce the content of three folding crates. To increase the yield of the skins filleting would have been even more efficient. Maybe next time with the help of some volunteers? Because the essential oil is located in the orange part of the peel.
I had a total of 33 kg (!) orange peels brought into the still. After placing the lid of the kettle in place, made the connection to the cooling bucket, I was ready for distillation.
For me it was the first time I had filled the distillation boiler with such a large quantitiy. In an herbal or conifer twigs filled boiler the amount is usually not more than 18 kg. It also took 2.5 hours (!) before the first distillate dripped from the cooling bucket.
The thermometer crept painfully slowly. But patience was rewarded when the distillation was once launched.
during distilling
There was spreading a wonderful sweet orange scent in the distillingplace. Soon a thick layer of essential oil was formed in the Florentine vase that I used to separate oil and water from each other.

florentine vase filled with orange essential oil and hydrosol
After distilling more than one hour, I stopped. Final result: 100 mL essential oil and approx 3 liters hydrosol. Because I'm very curious about the quality I will analyze this oil composition and the presence of pesticides. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Distillingday at De Levensboom 2: Melisse hydrosol

Madeleine asked for the afternoon session of the distillationday at DE LEVENSBOOM  whether it was possible to make lemon balm hydrosol. The levensboom has a nice medicinal botanical garden so no shortage of freshly picked lemon balm!
That seemed like a good idea to let the students also show how to make hydrosol from fresh plants. It was after all a distillingday. After lunch a number of participants went to picking lemon balm.  In the meanwhile I cleaned the copper distilling kettle and all necessary glassware, which was used in the morningsession for distilling bio lavandin.
Foto: Madeleine Kerkhof Knapp-Hayes
The two crates with lemon balm we have not weighed, but I think we had about approximately 1.5 - 2 kg fresh herb at our disposal to fill the boiler.
Foto: Madeleine Kerkhof Knapp-Haye
Foto: Madeleine Kerkhof Knapp-Hayes
After sealing  with aluminumtape the gas could again be lit under the boiler. After ten minutes a deliciously citrus-scented odeur was being noticed and hydrosol was dripping from the cool bucket.
The distillation should be carried out slowly when making hydrosols. So the hydrosolsol did not come in trickles but drips from the cooling bucket. To make the process continuous, without intervening draining hydrosol, expired we used the Florentine vase. The distillation of lemon balm was not new to me.
Uitleg over CO2 extracten door Madeleine
After distilling two hours we have collected more than 2.5 liters hydrosol. Enough for Madeleine to give a bottle to all participants of the distillingday. I wonder what their experiences and applications will be. As I mentioned in my blog last year, according to Jeanne Rose expert in the field of hydrosols lemon balm hydrosol is suitable for:
This wonderfull fresh, lemonscented water is used for sensitive or aging skin, or sprayed down the throat for many kinds of throat infections 
foto: Kees Kerkhof
Catherine and I found this day were we had performed two distillations more than successful. The participants' enthusiasm was contagious and inspiring. The evaluation found that we were not the only ones who thought so. The participants remain positive and appreciated Madeleine and me with a 8,5 - 9. 
To be repeated so!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Distilling workshop at De Levensboom 1: BIO LAVANDIN essential oil

Madeleine Knapp Hayes had asked me earlier this year to give a workshop on her distillingday.
Madeleine is running a Centre for Complementary Care, LEVENSBOOM which is based in Wernhout NB. She has a lot of experience and knowledge in the use of essential oils and hydrosols and has launched a handbook written for professionals working in complementary care.
The first part of the distillation day last Saturday, I have taken for of together with Catherina. During the second part Madeleine acquaint students (particularly smell) with essential oils made by CO2 extraction. We started distilling bio Lavandin from Mevouillon (France) and previously used a copper alembic 20 liters.
Explanation about distilling with the copper alambic
The alambic had a capacity for 900 grams of dried lavandin.
Foto: Madeleine Kerkhof Knapp-Hayes 

After sealing with aluminum tape, to shut the steam boiler, the distillation could begin. I had the water already heated in the distillation boiler so it was not long before the first drops of distillate came from the cooling bucket.
For collecting and separating oil and hydrosol I used a Florentine vase.
foto: Madeleine Kerkhof Knapp-Hayes

The distillation process was viewed and photographed with great interest by the students.
During the two-hour distillation Catharina has monitored the process, so I could finish the morning session with the students.
Recognising scents  foto: Madeleine Kerkhof Knapp-Hayes
In this session the students were able to smell through an odor session differences and similarities of different essential oils. That the participants in this distillingday were well acquainted with essential oils quickly proved because they immediately recognized the odor of synthetic lavender oil. The participants were owners of trained noses!
Yield of lavandin essential oil
Soon during the distillation, the oil was darker than the yellow color of normal lavandin. At the end of the distillation it resulted in an amber oil. Whether that has to do with distilling in copper I still have to figure out . I do know that if you are distilling thyme in a copper alambic the oil turns red.
The total yield was approx 70 mL so all the participants could take home  a bottle of fresh lavandin after the distillingday. The essential oil must still ripen a month before it is ready and delevoped its smell.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Distilling lemon balm

 Wikipedia: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
Last Thursday I had captured about 80 kg of fresh cuttings of lemon balm at the nursery of  www.puur-aroma.com . If you touch the leaves of lemon balm you get to smell a fresh lemon scent. You could therefore say 80 kg of cuttings is a lot to make some essential oil.
Melissa officinalis bron Wikipedia
But lemon balm has a very low yield. There is 8000 kg needed for liter of oil to make. So lemon balm oil and rose oil are the most expensive essential oils that are for sale. For me it was a challenge to see how many I could distill oil from this organic grown plant.
Lemon balm has to be freshly distilled, hence Friday I went right to work. The plants had been during the night in plastic bags. This allows the plants had become a bit damp. To allow the plants to dry before distilling I spread a  number of pockets on a large tarp to let them evaporate the moist.

After preparing for the distillation I could fill the kettle with 16 kg of lemon balm. Because of the low yield of oil to be expected, I collected the distillate (late oil and hydrosol) with a separatory funnel.
Because this was the first time I'd distilled lemon balm, I tried to prescribe the scents during the distillation.
I observed the following scents:
20 degrees Celsius: tea-like air
24 degrees Celcius fruity floral air
50 degrees Celcius heavy lemon air
Start van de destillatie
At 85 degrees Celsius the first drops of distillate came over. Lemon air was less but remained dominant. The temperature continued to rise during the distillation and fixed on about 96 degrees Celsius.
The hydrosol was remarkably cloudy. After 1 hour and 20 minutes distilling I smelled a baked-on vegetable scent and the hydrosol became clear. That seemed like a good time to stop the distillation.
citroenmelisse na de destillatie
The amount of oil that I that was collected in the separting funnel could be mentioned disappointing, but was expected. A total of three drops (0.15 mL) essential oil was recovered from,16 kg of oil from plants.
drie druppels citroenmelisse etherische olie
Maybe also explainable because the lemon balm was not really fresh when distilled. Erick and I have been in a delicious lemon air during transport from the nursery. That means that en route by touching and bagging plants there must have escaped some essential oil.
Lemon balm has produces the essential oil at the bottom of the leafs like as for example peppermint does in so-called oil-producing glands  With slight drying of the leaf will these microscopic glands tear and the plant loses its oil.
Lemon balm cuttings after one day
Yet this distillation has been valuable for me, though it was only for hydrosol. Jeanne Rose expert in the field of hydrosols describes it as follows:
This wonderfull fresh, lemonscented water is used for sensitive or aging skin, or spayed down the throat for many kinds of throat infections 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Making hydrosols

After having distilled herbs in glass for a couple of years, I decided in 2010 to purchase a copper alembic stil. The alembic with rotating column and a capacity of 20 liters, was large enough for distilling a reasonable amount of essential oil.

Demonstration distilling Eucalyptus: clogging the alembic with rye dough
The first year I have distilled lavandin, eucalytus and douglas fir. Sufficient for one or two small bottles of homemade essential oil to fill.

To separate the essential oil and hydrosol (condensed steam) I made use of a separating funnel of 500 mL. I saved all the hydrosols I had distilled.

                                                                   Cool bucket

The lavender hydrosol, made ​​of Lavandula angustifolia, appeared during the summer perfectly suited to deal with insect bites. I decided to contact aromatherapists to ask if they where interested in the hydrosols I had made    
Draining the hydrosol using a separating funnel
Then I searched and read a lot of information about hydrosols and their making.
An aromatherapist was interested in hydrosol of Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris).
Chopped pine in the column
To make a good quality hydrosol, the following issues are important:

Use fresh plant material
Distil slowly
Distil in a copper distillation unit
The ratio between the amount of plants and
the hydrosol has a maximum of 1:2
Disinfect the bottles which will be retained the hydrosol
Refrigerated hydrosol has a shelf life up to 2 years.

Used wine bottles for storage of hydrosols

The use of a copper distillation device is rather important to make a good quality hydrosol. The copper will be sure of eliminating the fungi, which benefits the sustainability of the hydrosol. And copper strikes sulfides down, which can cause an unpleasant odor in the hydrosol.
Distilling Scots Pine
Where do you use the Scots pine hydrosol for?
The hydrosol is refreshing in the bath or sauna. It is used in skin care for men: the hydrosol refreshes and soothes skin especially after shaving. Use the hydrosol in a poultice to alleviate joint or muscle pain. Gives the space to breathe and is therefore good for lung patients.