There’s a new kid in town so to speak, and his name is CO2. Not many know a lot about him, but he’s here to make a name for himself.
CO2’s have surprisingly been around for decades, developed to be used within the food industry. We know that they have beneficial properties and qualities that are beneficial when used topically or diffused. As they’ve grown in popularity and lowered a bit in price, more people have gotten to know about these exceptional extracts.
This extraction process differs from steam distillation, which is the most well- known method of extracting essential oils. With CO2 extracts, Carbon Dioxide is pressurized until it’s a liquid. It is used as the solvent to remove the oil from the plant material. With this solvent, there is no residue left behind, and the precious oil is removed using much lower temperatures, so less properties within the oils are sacrificed.
“An easily perceived example of the difference between steam distilled and subcritical CO2 extraction is the comparison of the two types of extract of ginger (zingiber officinalis). Several of the pungent principles of ginger known as shagaols and gingerols only occur in trace amounts in the essential oil, where in the CO2 extract they are the major components…The cool temperatures of subcritical CO2 extraction also allow the collection of very volatile constituents which are lost in steam distillation. One of these constituents, hex-1-enal, gives the smell of freshly squeezed root ginger, and is found in subcritical CO2, but not in the essential oil.”
There are some added bonuses to CO2’s.
The smell is closer to the actual plant and to me, are crisp, clean scents. Essential oils can vary a great deal in the scent, dependent on things like climate, conditions, and each batch. With a CO2, they still can vary a bit, but they smell like what you expect them to. Turmeric CO2 smells like the spice turmeric. Lavender Fower CO2 smells like a field of lavender. The scent is very distinct and pristine.
Another benefit is they have a greater shelf life. As mentioned in one of Plant Therapy’s blog article, “August Oil of the Month – Lavender Flower CO2“, CO2s are longer lasting than essential oils. Also, in many cases, CO2s require less oil when using topically as they are more powerful. A very little can go a long way. Here is an example; our Chamomile German, which we recommend diluting at a 2-3% dilution for use on the body. Our Chamomile German CO2 only takes the minute amount of 0.1%-0.2%, for topical application. Not all CO2s offer this dramatic a reduction, but many do require less.
CO2’s are an exciting new prospect.
Do not jump into head first! Research and determine whether they are the best and safest choice for your needs. We always want to give our customers choices and options, whether it is regular essential oils, organic oils, KidSafe® oils, or CO2 extracts. We hope you will become acquainted with a CO2 today.
Bowles, Joy E. The Chemistry of Aromaherapeutic Oils. Allen & Unwin. 2014. Print.