What are CO2 Extracted Essential Oils? While the two main ways of extracting essential oils are steam distillation and cold pressing, there are various other methods of producing an essential oil.
We’ve talked recently about solvent extraction, but one other such way of producing essential oils, and our topic today, is CO2 extraction.
What is CO2?
We’re all likely familiar with carbon dioxide, or CO2. It’s a naturally occurring chemical all around us in the environment. We produce carbon dioxide every time we exhale.
The carbon dioxide that we exhale goes out into the environment and is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis.
CO2 is also used in many industrial applications such as cooling, metallurgy, wine-making, and there are even lasers that utilize CO2.
What are CO2 Extracted Essential Oils?
In CO2 extraction of essential oils, carbon dioxide (CO2), a naturally occurring chemical compound, is put under extreme pressure that turns the gas into a liquid.
The liquid CO2 acts as a solvent and can pull essential oils out of plant material. Once the essential oil is extracted from the plant material, the CO2 is depressurized, allowing it to return to its natural gaseous form.
Unlike in solvent extraction, where a small amount of the solvent is left behind, all that is left behind in CO2 extraction is your essential oil.
This same type of extraction process can also be used to produce the fatty vegetable oils that we use as carriers. These fatty vegetable oils are said to contain higher amounts of therapeutic constituents because they aren’t exposed to heat like they are in other extraction methods.
CO2 Extracts vs Essential Oils
When it comes to choosing between a co2 extract and an essential oil, it really depends on what you're looking for. Essential oils contain the volatile molecules that give plants their distinctive smell, and these molecules can also have other effects on the body.
CO2 extracts are more concentrated. Both co2 extracts and essential oils are potent, but co2 extracts tend to be more potent and have a longer shelf life. They're also less likely to cause skin irritation, making them a good choice for people with sensitive skin. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which type of product is right for you.
Benefits of CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy
CO2 extraction has some distinct advantages over the widely popular cold pressing and steam distillation processes used.
We all know that heat can alter the chemical compounds in the essential oils. CO2 extraction doesn't use any heat, so the components aren't at any risk of becoming too warm, rendering them ineffective.
In most cases, the level of constituents in each CO2 extracted oil is going to be higher than its steam distilled counterparts, which can make the oil even more effective.
Finally, the scent of CO2 extracted oils is generally more intense and fresher than other modes of distillation.
Safe Use of CO2 Extracted Oils
Safety for CO2 extracted essential oils is just like that of any other essential oil.
- They should be stored in dark glass bottles (though some are super thick and may be sold in jars).
- They should not be exposed to heat or sunlight.
- Proper dilution should still be used, read more here.
- They should still be kept out of the reach of children and pets.
- As always, perform a skin patch test before applying topically to ensure there will be no allergic or sensitization reactions.
Where to Buy CO2 Essential Oil Extracts?
CO2 essential oil extracts are becoming more popular in the aromatherapy world, with many companies now offering them for sale.
Some of the most common CO2 extracted essential oils you'll find on the market include:
Some companies also carry CO2 extracts such as vanilla and rosemary. I'm sure as time goes on, we’ll be seeing many other companies selling these and other CO2 extracted essential oils.
Where to Buy Essential Oils?
Essential oils are great because not only do they make you feel good physically but mentally as well. I love having them around since they have so many benefits like clearing the air of bad odors and improving moods by releasing calming scents in your home or office!
We are frequently asked what essential oil brand we like, here are some of our favorites: