Clear Koala, which is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory blend of essential oils, is the current talk of the town. It combines the goodness of five highly refined essential oils, namely blue gum eucalyptus, grape seed, jojoba, aloe vera and vitamin E. So, this sparks the question; how are essential oils made? If you have been wondering how we arrive at Clear Koala or any other essential oils, Let us give you a brief explanation of how these oils are created.

Essential oils are commonly extracted by the following methods; distillation, solvent extraction, expression or cold-press extraction and maceration. Essential oils are not actually “made”, they are extracted from plants. Instead of being synthetically created in labs, they are derived from the plant material itself. Let's take a quick look at the methods used in extracting essential oils from plant materials.

Distillation

“Steam” distillation is the most common way of extracting and isolating essential oils from plant materials. Some essential oils commonly obtained through distillation include tea tree oil, lavender and eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil is the key ingredient used in the Clear Koala formula.

Picture of a still

The distillation process is very simple. The raw material which has been freshly picked is placed in a “still”, similar to the type used for distilling alcohol. Steam from boiling water is then blasted through the plant material. The steam flushes out the essential oils and the aromatic elements which are highly volatile and vaporize. The vapor is then passed into a condenser which is then injected with cold water to cool back to liquid. The liquid is then passed into a separator below. Since water and oil do not mix, the oil sits on the water and is then siphoned to another tank.

There is a byproduct from this process, which experts refer to as hydrosols, which is the remaining distilled water. This water is usually very fragrant as the aromatic compounds of the plant are water-soluble. Hydrosols are quite often used in aromatherapy and to moisturize the skin.

“Water” distillation is very similar to steam distillation. However, instead of using steam, the plant materials are submerged into the water before bringing it to a boil. The plant materials are first cut into smaller pieces to ensure that they are completely drained of the essential oils. This process is preferred for essential oils that can be destroyed by prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

“Fractional” distillation is carried out for plants that require a series of distillations to obtain the maximum essential oil extract. Most essential oils can be distilled in one process. However, some essential oils are collected in batches or fractioned and distilled again.

Expression or cold-pressing

The expression method is suitable for extracting essential oils from citrus fruits, seeds, skins and other ingredients containing substantial amounts of nutrients on their surface. Grape seed and jojoba essential oil used in our Clear Koala is extracted through expression. Lemon and orange are popular citrus oils made from this process. Cold-pressing is used to derive the purest oils since the process does not involve any heat or chemicals.

Cold pressing was used even before distillation was discovered. The process was done by human hands, but thanks to modern technology and innovations in machines, the process today is much improved. This explains why oils extracted from this process are among the most affordable. The process involves placing the whole fruit or seed under a heavy, spiked roller which slowly rotates on the skin of the seed or fruit. The roller squeezes the natural oils and juices which need to undergo a centrifugal separation process to filter the solids from liquids. The essential oils are then siphoned into a separate receptacle.

Knowing how your specific essential oils are made can help you make an educated decision on the right ones for you.