Rose essential oil has been used by people all around the world for different purposes for many centuries. Even when it was available mostly for the posh community of people, its charm was always alluring for the common man.
In the modern world, the rose essential oil might be expensive but it is still within the reach of common man. Ever thought about the process of how rose essential oil is prepared from the delicate petals of rose flower? Here we will discuss two processes- distillation and extractions which are used to make the best quality rose essential oils.
How are Rose Oil Distilled? – Rose Oil Distillation Process
When we talk about the distillation process of the rose oil, we can say that these are complicated processes that take place under delicate circumstances.
Since the percentage of oil contained in the rose flower is very low, it takes several thousands of roses to extract a little quantity of rose oil. This is the reason why rose oil is so expensive.
There is a special method of distillation for the rose oil. Unlike other oils, it is not distilled by the steam method because of some complications. Therefore, it uses the water distillation method.
Rose oil distillation can be a complex process. For the ease of the process, it is divided into two parts.
First, the rose flowers are distilled so that the water and oil components of the rose come together. Because the oil is light in nature, it comes on the top and the water settles at the base. The oil is taken out of the whole solution and the water remains.
The rose water is then distilled again to extract the remaining oil from the flower. Then the two oils from the first process and the second distillation are mixed together. By this whole process, it becomes the rose essential oil.
Then this oil is put in the bottle and exposed to direct sunlight for a while. All the impurities float at the top and what remains at the bottom is the pure rose essential oil.
It is through this process that the rose water is obtained too. The water that is obtained from the second distillation process is mixed with the pure water in the ratio 1:1 and this is sold as normal rose water in the market.
The original rose water is not mixed with pure water and is sold as it is. It is a little expensive as compared to the mixed rose water.
Rose Oil Extraction Methods:
Here we are going to discuss the two types of extractions-
Solvent Extraction – Rose Concrete and Rose Absolute
When the process of distillation is complete, what we get is the rose essential oil. But when we want the rose concrete and rose absolute, the rose flowers need to pass the process of extraction.
Rose concrete is waxy in nature and red in colour. Rose absolute is prepared by refining the rose concrete. Rose absolute is the product that is used in the fragrances, perfumes and in the cosmetics sector.
To make the rose concrete, the rose flowers that come straight from the fields are put into a big container. This container is then sealed and a non-polar solvent is used to charge it. The rose flower petals are then stirred, and the extraction is done.
With this extraction, several rose products are produced like the essential oil components, plant wax and oil from the rose petals.
Once all of these are extracted, the extract and the solvent are then separated from rose flowers and they are sent for another extraction process. Then the extracted components are mixed together, the solvent is separated and the rose concrete is produced.
Now, to make the rose absolute out of it, a polar solvent is used to wash the rose concrete like ethyl alcohol. By using the ethyl alcohol the oils that give aroma are separated from the wax. Then the low vacuum is used to evaporate the ethyl alcohol and what is left behind is rose absolute. Rose absolute is a compound that has a nice fragrance, is a very pure concentration of compounds.
2. Rose Organic Extraction
Some popular companies use the organic technique to make the organic rose extract. The method to do organic rose extraction is very similar to the method which is used to extract the rose absolute.
The only difference is that rather than using the hexane here, the benign solvent is used. This result in the fragrance is that it is not as intense as the rose absolute. It is also a little different in colour that the rose absolute.
It is a bit on the greenish side because much colour is not extracted from the petals of the flower. The organic extracts are also gentle in nature because strong hexanes are not used anytime during the process.
A new method of extracting rose essential oil has come into the existence. It was invented by Dr Pete Wilde from the United Kingdom. It is called as the phytonic process. The main difference is of the solvent.
The main solvent used here is hydrofluorocarbon, and this is for the extraction of the fragrance from the plant itself. This process might be a little complex than the first process but based on some scientific research, it is claimed that the phytonic process is good for the environment and good for the health of people working in the process.
Every Method has Its Own Pros & Cons
No doubt that there are different pros and cons of the different processes of the extraction and the distillation but this article explains the major ways in which the rose oil is distilled and extracted.
There are some other ways that are used for the extraction of the rose essential oil but they are not so commonly used and some of them are specific to the country where they are used. Above given are the methods that are followed worldwide by the distillers & manufacturers to produce rose essential oils.