Here’s how to extract essential oils by water distillation using leaves of citronella, eucalyptus or lemongrass:
- Weigh the plant material and place it in the flask. Add water to more than ½ the level of the material. Connect the Clevenger tube, then the condenser.
- Connect the inlet of the condenser to a water submersible pump. Turn on the pump. Keep the water running
throughout the operation.
- Turn on the stove. When the water boils, the steam rises together with the essential oil vapors. These are led to the condenser where they are converted into a liquid (condensation).
- Since water and oil are mutually insoluble, two (2) layers will be formed in the Clevenger tube. Since most of the oils are lighter than water, these float at the upper layer while water stays at the bottom.
- Collect the oil in a vial thru a small outlet at the collecting tube (clevenger tube).
- Purify the oil using anhydrous sodium sulfate to remove traces of water and other impurities. Let stand overnight or for a few hours. Decant the oil and place in another vial preferably amber bottle or if clear, cover the vial with a dark cover.
- Place the vial with the oil in the refrigerator.