Apr 25, 2016

Three Problems with Homemade Essential Oils

Dear Oily,

Is there any way to grow flowers, herbs, and so on, to make homemade essential oils? I have room for a large garden, and I think this could be fun (as well as economical).


Distill Me
Dear Distill,

Uhhh you could technically probably make your own essential oils… but I’m pretty sure if you do, it will be neither fun nor economical. Unless you’re a super scientist/botanist/chemist. If you are, why are you reading my blog (aside from my hilarious wit)?

Honestly, I’ve never made my own essential oils. I also never intend to even think about attempting it. It’s not because I’m lazy (which I am), but there is a LOT involved in the process and several problems we should address before you consider getting started.
One Does Not Simply Make Their Own Essential Oils Meme | Hot Pink Crunch

Problem 1: Raw Material

Essential oils are highly highly concentrated substances. It takes pounds and pounds of source/raw
material to make even a small bottle of them.

For a 15ml bottle of lemon oil, you need at least 75 organic lemons. That’s about 19 pounds (the internet said so). I just looked on my local grocer’s website: 1 lb bag of organic lemons? $3.99. So 19 pounds of organic lemons is going to cost you $75.81.

So you can make a bottle of lemon oil for $75.81 (just for the raw material and not even counting the equipment and time) or you can buy one from Young Living for $11.25.

I know what you’re going to say: Lindsay, I said I wanted to grow the source material not buy it. So let’s talk about an oil you may be able to grow in your garden: rose. Nothing could be prettier smelling than rose essential oil. It’s also fabulous for so many things, like your skin.

Here’s the problem: About 22 pounds of rose petals are distilled for every 5ml bottle of Young Living Rose essential oil produced. That’s apparently around 20,000 roses. I don’t think I’ve ever seen 20,000 roses outside of an arboretum.

How about peppermint? It’s one of the most commonly used essential oils! You can totally grow peppermint in your garden. Unfortunately, it’ll take about 1 pound of fresh leaves to make a 15ml bottle of essential oil.
Essential Oil Concentration How Concentrated Are They | Hot Pink Crunch

Problem 2: Equipment

Essential oils are normally distilled or cold pressed.

You can see a little bit about the process here:

That looks like it requires a lot of expensive equipment.

This guy is distilling essential oils too:

That looks more like something a person could do in their backyard, but the germaphobe in me is totally cringing. Who drank out of that water bottle first!? Is that sanitary? Are they storing essential oil in old gasoline containers?

Also, what quality of essential oil does such an operation produce?

Problem 3: Quality

If all you are looking for is a pretty scent, you may not be too concerned about the quality of your essential oils. However, if you are looking to tap into all the amazing, historically documented, therapeutic benefits of essential oils? You better be concerned about quality!
Should I distill my own essential oils no | Hot Pink Crunch
Even if you manage to gather enough, organic raw material and have all the necessary equipment to produce the oil, you still may not have a therapeutic oil:
You can have pure oils, but if the plants are distilled at the wrong time of day or with incorrect distillation procedures, the constituents that make the oils therapeutic will not be there, and you will not have a therapeutic-grade profile.1

Moreover, the necessary chemical constituents in essential oils that give them their therapeutic benefit “can be affected by a vast number of variables, including the part(s) of the plant from which the oil was produced, soil condition, fertilizer (organic or chemical), geographical region, climate, altitude, harvesting methods, and distillation process.”2

All of this seems like an awful lot of work to do in order to produce an oil that is nothing more than a fragrance and certainly not therapeutic.

Dream Crusher

How concentrated is rose essential oil | Hot Pink CrunchThe crazy part? I didn’t even touch on some of the other factors to consider when producing essential oils. I personally don’t even know all the details!

I’m sorry if I crushed your dreams of making your own essential oils, but I think most would probably agree that none of that sounds like much fun and it certainly doesn’t seem economical. I kind of felt stressed out just writing about it.

So what should you do? If you’re still interested in using essential oils, join my oily family! Not only will you get quality essential oils you can trust at a reasonable price with no more work than a click of the mouse, you will also have fun, save money, save time, and be part of a group that is really into natural education.

Not ready to buy oils just yet? Everyone is welcome in our Natural Living Essentials group (run with a group of fellow bloggers)! We talk about everything (not just essential oils).
Join Now Natural Living Essentials Facebook Group | Hot Pink Crunch

1. Essential Oils Desk Reference 6th edition]

2. Essential Oils Desk Reference 6th edition]