How to Make Essential Oils Easy

Do you have any questions on how to make essential oils easy by yourself? Everything in this forum revolves around distilling essential oil and herbal water yourself. Please observe our forum rules (see Helpful tips on use).

June 2018:

It has now been an unbelievable 16 years (!) since the last major change to the website and forums. When you think that two to three years are an eternity for the Internet sector, that is really something. In any case, there has been so much going on in terms of technology that it has become urgently necessary to completely redesign not only the forums, but also the entire website, from scratch and bring the programming up to date. Naturally, along with this we also introduced various new features; for example it was high time we allowed pictures to be uploaded with a forum post too or enabled users to subscribe to the forums via RSS feeds. And of course we have subsequently included pictures that are saved on external websites and were then integrated here using an img tag, so that no valuable information is lost. In any case, we hope you continue to have fun swapping experiences and trying things out.

Juni 2002:

At this point, we would first like to extend a big thank-you to all the users of our specialist questions for their lively involvement. Without you, we could never have developed such an informative and high-quality reference guide in such a short time (the first post dates from April 8, 1999). The large number of posts and high numbers of visitors made it necessary for us to develop the specialist questions ourselves using PHP and MySQL (at last no more annoying advertising banners!). During the course of this, we have hopefully introduced several improvements.


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Helpful tips on use:

Below are a few rules so we can maintain the high quality in the future as well.
  • This is a moderated forum. This means that anyone can write whatever they want, and the post will also be saved, but the content will only be published once it has been reviewed by our editorial staff, or deleted if necessary. Therefore, there is no point in posting the same contribution multiple times simply because it doesn’t appear immediately.
  • If you would like to see the most recent posts (irrespective of the topic), click Show the latest posts.
  • The forum is very comprehensive, and many topics have already been dealt with extensively. Therefore we recommend using the search function or alternatively the advanced search function before you add a new post in order to avoid having posts with the same content.
  • After you add or answer a post, you then have a chance to change the text you have written. So read through your text again carefully after saving it and click on “Change post” if necessary.
  • If you ask a question, then also expect an answer. Think about this as well when you are wording your question. Hardly anyone will answer vague questions such as “How do I distil schnapps?”, “No oil comes out; what am I doing wrong?” or “The vinegar isn’t fermenting, why?”.
  • The three topic areas, i.e. distilling spirits, distilling essential oils/hydrosols and making vinegar, are divided into three different websites. Each website contains the two forums “Recipes” for all the topics concerning fruit and recipes, and “Discussion” for all the other topics related to distilling spirits, essential oils/hydrosols or making vinegar. If we find posts that are unintentionally in the wrong forum, we will move them to the right forum. These posts have not been deleted, just moved.
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So, that’s it. We hope you have a lot of fun swapping experiences, reading, posting and naturally also trying things out afterwards. Dr Malle & Dr Schmickl Dr. Malle & Dr. Schmickl
There are currently 40 entries in the forum.
  • Question 10

    Emerita | Venezuela, 13.07.2020 01:27:42

    I have a copper distiller, at the beginning of the distillation colorless drops of essential oil and hydrolate, but after half an hour of distillation a few drops come out of the dark copper tube; Dark colored drops of OE are observed on the surface of the hydrolate. That color can be copper oxide? Why does this situation occur?

    This could be caused by three reasons:

    - the inner parts of the still were not properly cleaned before distillation, especially the condenser and distillate tube.

    - tiny particles (a kind of dust) of the plant material are carried by the steam flow up to the condenser. This could happen if using dried material.

    - the content has burned, in this case you should notice an according change in smell of the distillate.

  • Question 9

    dparks | United States (Tennessee), 11.07.2020 15:09:06

    Are your e-books able to be downloaded (to computer) and used off line, or are they only accessible through your website by logging on and viewing them while online? Thank you in advance, diane


    Yes, they are able to be downloaded (PDF) and to be printed offline, without any connection to our website or the internet in general.

  • Question 8

    Alyson | canada, 28.06.2020 09:20:59

    I thoroughly enjoyed the oil distillation course - thank you!

    I had forgotten to ask you a question; I am wanting to make some body and room mists. Previously I have made these on a base of distilled water but given our perfume recipe was on a base of alcohol, would you recommend the alcohol base to be more effective? Would the alcohol base hold the scent of the essential oils better than a distilled water solution?

    Thank you, we feel honored that you enjoyed our course!

    No, not the alcohol base, but the drop of thistle oil holds the scent better on your skin. The thistle oil is a kind of fixative. Industrial produced perfume contains another kind of fixative. Room mist doesn’t need a fixative.

    In fact you can use for both, room and body, all three bases: alcohol, water, or oil (yes, perfume can also have an oily base). Instead of water you can use the hydrosol of course.

  • Question 7

    Usertype | Houston , 04.06.2020 16:55:56

    how do i estimate the amount of ingredients needed for oil distilling?

    I guess florals depending on how light or heavy

    I think


    As a role of thumb make the still as full as possible. The weight depends on the type of plant, how fine the material was chopped, and if dried or fresh. Whereas the volume is always the same: the filling volume of the still.

  • Question 6

    Saisho | Singapore, 30.04.2020 17:45:07
    I run the still 5 times so far with Mint first time, rosemary 4 times. and 2nd time, I burnt Rosemary in the kettle and since then I cannot get rid of the smell from the distillates even though I clean the still with isopropyl alcohol 99%.
    Could you tell me what to do?

    This happened quite often during our seminars (rosemary, dried camomile blossoms, crushed cinnamon). First we had to mill

    out the residual charcoal in the kettle with a drilling machine and an attached metal brush. After that we cleaned the kettle with washing soda or "Cif", a cream cleaner. Not to forget to clean the inside of the condenser dome with dishwashing
    detergent and a dishwashing sponge, the distillate outlet with dishwashing detergent and a tube brush.
  • Question 5

    Monica | Singapore, 25.02.2020 10:19:42

    We put in 1.5L water for distillation. Can we not use this water as hydrosol?

    You mean the leftover in the kettle after distillation? You can use it, but this is quite the opposite of a hydrosol: - hydrosol contains the volatile, water-soluble components of the plant material. - the leftover contains all NON-volatile, water-soluble component So the latter you can compare with a very strong tea of herbs (or of any other plant material).
  • Question 4

    Magnus | Iceland, 19.01.2020 17:22:23

    Regarding the preparation and the fermentation of the Angelica root, do you have any literature references as there seems to be little references regarding preparing material for essential oils extraction other than your excellent book, which I was very happy to find :)

    In last February there was unusually warm week here in Iceland with no frost in the ground and I went to the country side and found some Angelica herbs from last summer and could easily pick up the herb from the ground along with the root.  The root had this wonderful mild spicy smell, and I‘m sure that the

    essential oils from the root is very special.

    In your book you say it is custom to store the root from 2 or 3 years before distilling, is that part of the fermentation process?

    In Iceland the type of birch we have here is Betula pubescens, but the white birch you mention is probably of the type Betula pendula  Anyways, I will try to distill both the bark and leaves for

    experimentary purposes.

    Angelica: seeds also contain oil, but the smell of the root is smoother. Harvest the root in autumn, not before the second or third year after the plant started to bloom.
    Fermentation: there are several variants, professional producers use specialized microorganisms to do this. A similar process is to repeatedly dry and moisten the plant material several times. To do this, cut the root in small pieces, dry them at low temperature as described in the book, take care the material doesn’t go moldy. As soon as the material is in a dry condition, moisten the cut roots with a spray flask or something similar. Put the material in a plastic bag for one or two days, after that let the material dry again, moisten again, put it in the same (!) plastic bag and so on, until the material has considerably changed in color and condition. Leaves become dark brown or rather black, but with roots the change of color is not so significant. The art during this proces is to avoid the material goes moldy. Alternatively ask a
    homegrower of hemp (cannabis) how he processes his harvested buds.
    Another method is to cut the roots in small pieces, put them in a bucket and leave it outside for several years. Outside means under a roof, but not in a closed room. So the change in humidity and temperature over the years also
    causes a fermentation. The disadvantage of this very simple method: it takes years instead of several weeks.
    Birch: commercially the oil is extracted from Betula lenta.
  • Question 3

    Rosanne | atlanta, 09.12.2019 12:52:32
    While separating for 1- 2 months do you think refrigeration helps preserve the hydrosol/oil?

    No, just store the bottles at common room temperature, which is something about 17 - 23°C (63 - 73°F). If it’s too cold, many essential oils become solid and it’s annoying to get them fluid again. This is not so trivial as you might think...

  • Question 2

    Susan | Guatemala, 24.10.2019 10:37:57

    When distilling does the water in the kettle need to be replenished and how often?


    No, refilling the water is not advisable. Because after one run the plant material doesn’t contain very much of volatile compounds any more. So, to receive the essential oil and the most intense hydrosol, fill water and the material into the still, distill and after that empty everything and start again with new plant material.

  • Question 1

    bill | UK, 30.09.2019 14:19:46

    Is it possible to test the essential oil at home if it is fake or not?


    Quick ‘n easy test: one drop of essential oil applied on a paper towel will completely disappear after about 30 minutes to an hour, if the essential oil was no fake or diluted with fatty oil like jojoba oil.

There are currently 20 entries in the forum.

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