Distilling essential oils

The book The Essential Oil Maker’s Handbook has been a bestseller in its field since the first edition in 2006. It is the only practical and detailed guide that deals with the production of essential oils and hydrosols on a small scale. Both amateur distillers and research institutes, herbalists and sellers of stills refer to our book as a standard reference work. The book is now also available in English. In this book you find all the steps for making an essential oil and hydrosol explained in a practical way: correct harvesting and preparation of the plants, crushing the drugs, distilling, constructing an oil still for the highest possible yield, separating the essential oil, detailed descriptions of native and exotic plants, recipes, processing the oils and hydrosols. If you follow the instructions in the book exactly, you will be successful both in distilling oil and producing hydrosols, and oil and hydrosol distillation will become a fascinating way of processing plants of all types.

Table of Contents

Bettina Malle, Helge Schmickl
Publisher: Spikehorn Press U.S.A.,
© 2015
132 pages, hardcover, full-color
photographs & illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-943015-00-9

Table of Contents

German Version

Bettina Malle, Helge Schmickl
Verlag Die Werkstatt
6. Auflage 2017
192 Seiten, Hardcover,
durchgehend farbig bebildert
ISBN: 978-3-89533-552-5


The Essential Oil Maker’s Handbook – A practical guide

If you would like to make essential oils and hydrosols yourself in the best quality, you can learn the art of distilling hands-on with the help of our book The Essential Oil Maker’s Handbook:

  • Harvesting and preparing the plants – the foundation for homemade oils and hydrosols
  • Distillation – a detailed guide
  • Making essential oils and hydrosols yourself – the still
  • Drawing off the essential oils
  • Numerous recipesfor distilling essential oils and hydrosols, as well as for using them.

Harvesting and preparing the plants

To obtain essential oils and full-bodied hydrosols, you must first of all harvest the plants at the optimum time (time of day) and prepare them for distillation. The quality of the drugs, the harvesting time of the plants and the preparation before distillation are the foundation for successful oil distillation. If you use improperly harvested plants and incorrectly crushed materials, you can never expect a high oil yield and intensive hydrosol. You will find exact guides and recipes for distillation in the book.


The book also contains a detailed description of distilling: How much water should I put in the still? How many drugs can I put in the still in proportion to the water? What is the optimum distillation speed? What collecting vessel should I use? Naturally, you can also find more answers on this in our workshop courses and online seminars.

Making essential oils and hydrosols yourself – the still

How should the optimum distillation equipment be set up correctly from a process technology perspective? What is the LEONARDO® still? What materials can I use? How do I construct or recognize a functional still? Regardless of whether you would like to build the still yourself or buy it, here you can acquire the necessary know-how to end up with the perfect steam still for your homemade essential oils and hydrosols.

Drawing off the essential oils

Detailed description of the drawing off process: When can I draw the essential oils off from the hydrosol? What equipment do I need for this? Where and for how long can I store oils and hydrosols?


Numerous recipes and guides for homemade essential oils and hydrosols as well as for creams, soaps, perfumes, deodorants, etc. Discover how you can make the greatest variety of products at home yourself.


Table of contents



  1. A short excursion into history
  2. The basics
    What are essential oils?; Uses; Extraction methods; Steam distillation; Fractional distillation; Cold pressing; Extraction method; Solvent extraction; Enfleurage; Maceration; Resinoid process; Carbon dioxide extraction; Assessing the quality
  • Making your own oil, step by step
    Steam distillation; The principle; Stills; Constructing your own still; Tea kettle, Pressure cooker; Wok still; Classic still with a lyne arm; Classic still with a vertical cooling system; Glass still; Buying a still; Small stills; Large stills; Preparing the plants; Harvest; Crushing the plants; The distillation process; Filling; Distilling; Double distillation; Cold pressing; Enfleurage; Hydrosol-oil separation and yield calculation; Syringe; Pipette; Separator funnel; Automatic oil separator; Florentine flask; Cleanliness; Calculating the yield; Storing oils
  1. Distillable materials
    Description including yield, harvesting time, which parts of the plant contain oil and their optimal treatment: Allspice/pimento, Angelica, Aniseed , Basil, Bay leaves, Benzoin, Bergamot, Birch, Bitter orange/neroli, Broom, Cajuput, Camphor, Caraway, Carrot, , Cardamom, Cedar, Celery, Chamomile, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Clary sage, Clementine, Clove, Cotton lavender, Cypress, Davana, Dill, Elecampane, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Fir, Frankincense, Garlic, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Ground ivy, Hemp, Hogweed, Hops, Hyssop, Iris, Jasmine, Juniper, Larch, Lavandin, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon verbena, Lemongrass, Lime, Lovage, Magnolia, Marigold, Marjoram, Mint, Mimosa, Mountain pine, Mugwort, Myrrh, Myrtle, Narcissus, Nutmeg, Oakmoss, Orange, Oregano, Palmarosa, Palo santo, Parsley, Patchouli, Pepper, Petitgrain, Rockrose, Rose, Rosemary, Rosewood, Sage, Sandalwood, Savory, Scots pine, Spike lavender, Spikenard, Spruce, St. John’s wort, Strawflower, Tagetes, Tansy, Tarragon, Tea tree, Thuja, Thyme, Tuberose, Turmeric, Valerian, Vetiver, Violet, Wild garlic, Wormwood, Yarrow, Ylang-ylang
  2. Using the oils
    Base substances and materials; Safety precautions; Bath additives; Facial and body care; Hair care; Shaving; Soap; Perfume; Miscellaneous
  3. Frequently asked questions
  • Epilogue
  • Harvest calendar


Copy link

Zum kopieren alles markieren und CMD+C (Strg+C) drücken.