As the name suggests plant oils are derived from plants unlike other sources such as mineral oil or petroleum-based deposits which do not come from live beings. Plant oils can be classified into three main categories:
- Vegetable oils are obtained by crushing plant elements and seeds under high pressure.
- Macerated oils are a mixture of oil and finely chopped-up or crushed plant parts being added to it.
- The last one is essential oils which comprise volatile compounds that are obtained when plant parts are put through a distillation process.
The 3 main ways of extracting oil from plants:
- Cold pressing is the technique in which oil is pressed out from the plants without adding any heat or chemical elements to the process. This is mainly carried out by using a hydraulic press mechanism.
- Expeller pressing is a method in which the plant part containing oils is placed inside an expeller and mechanical pressure is used to release the oil.
- The solvent extraction method is most commonly used for essential ones and concentrates in which the volatile components are collected from a distillation chamber occurring to a difference in the boiling points.
What are some of the benefits of plant oils?
- Unlike mineral oils, plant oils are completely safe and are used and consumed in varying proportions.
- Many of these oils contain fats and vitamins that are essential for the well-being of the body.
- Plant oils also contain restorative properties that can work wonders on the skin and hair.
- Plant oils can be used as a source of fragrance in many applications.
- Many of these oils are used in aromatherapy and have been associated with relieving stress.
- Some plant oils have a distinctive taste that makes them a good complement for dishes and baked goods.
Plant oils have been an integral part of human life for as long as one can remember. These days you can find extensive guides on how to extract oil from plants. Whether it is the cheery sunflower or the humble mint, plant oils are truly a gift of nature.