Many Essential Oil, Hydrosols and Botanical Extracts commonly used in Likeangel products are obtained using the method of water distillation. The water distillation process starts when botanical material is completely immersed in water and the still is brought to a boil. This method protects the oils, as they are brought to a high temperature, and the surrounding water acts as a barrier to prevent overheating.
When the condensed material cools down, the water and essential oil is separated and the product decanted.
The water that is separated in this process is also used and known as “floral waters” (or hydrosol or sweet water) – such as rosewater, lavender water and orange water.
Water distillation can be done at reduced pressure (under vacuum) to reduce the temperature to less than 100 degrees, which is beneficial in protecting the botanical material, as well as the essential oils.
Botanical Extractions are made using an enclosed flask where there is an inverted condenser pointing down into the flask from the top. Just below the condenser is the suspended recovery vessel. The condenser has cold liquid circulating through it to keep the condenser cold. In the bottom of the main flask alcohol is placed to facilitate the extraction process. Ground plant material is placed in the recovery vessel with perforated sides and bottom so liquid can fall through it. Gentle heat is applied to the main flask allowing the solvent to evaporate and vapors reach the cold condenser at the top of the flask. The re-condensed solvent on the sides of the condenser begin flowing down the sides of the condenser and dripping off drip points on the end of the condenser. The solvent drips into the top of the recovery vessel where it saturates the herb being extracted. The solvent flows through the basket and out the holes in the bottom of the basket carrying the extract with it into the bottom of the flask.
The extract laden solvent falling from the recovery vessel is dark in color and as it becomes clearer you see the plant material leached out and the process is finished.
The next step is the separation of the alcohol from the extract itself. This is done by re condensing the liquid in the recovery flask. The recovery vessel is simply a cup which is suspended below the condenser. As solvent vapors re-condense and fall off the tip of the condenser, they fall into the cup and are separated from the extract itself.