How Much Essential Oil Can I Get From My Raw Material?

There are three things that have an impact on the yield of essential oils produced with your copper still. 

  • The size of the column
  • The volume of the raw material
  • The average oil content of the raw material to be used. 

The Column.

The bigger the column the better! For raw materials extracted by water distillation the yield is determined by the size of the boiler. Although there are some exceptions to this rule such as clove buds or coffee beans, (see the chart below). However, for most raw materials destined for essential oil extraction, the size of the column is crucial to consider when choosing your copper distiller.  

The Volume.

Since oil content is calculated for the weight of the raw material, it is the volume of 1 kg of any raw material that defines how much you will be able to put into the column, at any one time. For example: 1 lb/1 kg of eucalyptus dry leaves takes 3 to 4 times more space than 1 lb/1 kg of dry rosemary leaves. 

To ascertain the volume of any raw material you should get a bucket and fill it with your chosen raw material. You must then weigh the contents, raw material, you have in the bucket. Once you know how much your raw material weighs you can calculate the volume.

For instance:  

4 lb (15L) of lavender flowers has a weight of 6.6 lb/3 kg. 

To determine the volume of 1 lb/1 kg of this raw material you must divide volume by weight. 

So: 4/6,6 = 0,6 lb (15/5 = 5 kg)

Thus - 1 lb of lavender flowers takes 0,6 lb (5L) of volume.

If your raw material has an average 2% essential oil content, you will get 0,6*0,02=0,012 pounds or 0,42 oz from 1g of the lavender flowers (1000 g *0,02 = 20 g of essential oil). 

If you have a 0,53 g column you will get 0,53*0,42=0,22 oz from the raw material as demonstrated in the above example.

The Average Percentage Content of Essential Oils in Raw Materials.

The content of essential oil in 1 lb/1 kg of raw material can vary from 5/6 oz (350 ml) of essential oil to 0,08 oz (0,5 ml) - or even less! Below is a chart that indicates the average percentage essential oil yield for different types of fresh raw materials. These oil content percentages are approximate values only. The quality of the raw material influences the exact essential oil percentage yield. 

‘Mode’ is the preferred way to extract essential oil.

SD for steam distillation

SW for steam and water distillation

SE for solvent extraction

WD for water distillation

CE for cold expression

AROMATIC PLANT

BOTANICAL NAME

SOURCE

MODE

% YIELD

ALLSPICE

PIMENTA DIOCA

GROUND SEEDS

SD

4,5

ANGELICA

ANGELICA ARCHANGELICA

RHIZOME

SD

0.3 – 1.0

ANGELICA

ANGELICA ARCHANGELICA

SEED

SD

0.6 – 1.5

ANISE

PIMPINELLA ANISUM

SEED

SD

1.5 – 4.0

ARNICA

ARNICA MONTANA

FLOWERS

SD

1,0

ARNICA

ARNICA MONTANA

ROOT

SD

1,0

BASIL, SWEET

OCIMUM BASILICUM

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

0.5 – 1.5

BAY LEAF

LAURUS NOBILIS

LEAVES

SD

3,0

BENZOIN

STYRAX BENZOIN

RESIN

SE

?

BERGAMOT

CITRUS BERGAMIA

YOUNG FRUIT

CE/SE

3.0 – 5.0

CAJEPUT OIL

MELALEUCA CAJEPUTI

LEAVES & TWIGS

SD

?

CALAMINT

CALAMINTHA OFFICINALIS

FLOWERING TOPS

SD

0,5

CALAMUS ROOT

ACORUS CALAMUS

RHIZOME

SD

1,5

CAMPHOR TREE

CINNAMOMUM CAMPHORA

LEAVES & TWIGS

SD

2,0

CARAWAY

CARUM CARVI

SEEDS & FRUIT

SD

3.2 – 7.4

CARDAMOM

ELETTARIA CARDAMOMUM

SEEDS

SD

8

CARROT, WILD

DAUCUS CARROTA

SEEDS

SD

0.1 – 7.1

CASCARILLA

CROTON ELEUTERIA

BARK

SD

3,0

CASSIA BARK

CINNAMOMUM CASSIA

LEAVES & BARK

SD

1,5

CASSIE

ACACIA FARNESIANA

FLOWERS

SE

1,9

CEDARWOOD

JUNIPERUS VIRGINIANA

WOOD CHIPS

SD

4,5

CELERY SEED

APIUM GRAVEOLENS

SEED

SD

3,0

CHAMOMILE, GERMAN

MATRICARIA RECUTITA

FLOWERS

SD

0.3 – 1.0

CHAMOMILE, ROMAN

CHAMAEMELUM NOBILIS

FLOWERS

SD

0.3 – 1.0

CINNAMON

CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM

INNER BARK

SD

0,1

CLARY SAGE

SALVIA SCLARIA

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

?

CLOVE

SYZGIUM AROMATICUM

FLOWER BUDS

WD

14 – 21

COFFEE

COFFEA Sp.

ROASTED BEANS

WD

0,12

CORIANDER

CORIANDRUM SATIVUM

SEEDS

SD

1,0

DILL

ANETHUM GRAVEOLENS

SEED

SD/WD

2.5 – 4.0

DILL LEAF

ANETHUM GRAVEOLENS

YOUNG PLANTS

SD/WD

0.3 – 1.5

EUCALYPTUS

EUCALYPTUS Sp.

ALL PARTS

SD

1.0 – 7.0

FENNEL

FOENICULUM VULGARE

SEED

SD

4.0 – 6.0

FRANKINCENSE

BOSWELLIA CARTERI

RESIN

SD

?

GALANGAL

ALPINIA Sp.

RHIZOME

SD/SE

?

GARLIC

ALLIUM SATIVUM

ROOT BULBS

SD

0,1

GERANIUM

PELARGONIUM GRAVEOLENS

LEAVES

SD

0.3 – 2.0

GINGER

ZINGIBER Off.

RHIZOME

SD

3,0

HOPS

HUMULUS LUPULUS

STROBILES

SD

1,0

HYSSOP

HYSSOPUS Off.

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

1,0

IRIS (ORIS)

IRIS PALLIDA

AGED RHIZOME

SD/SE

0,2

JUNIPER BERRIES

JUNIPERUS COMMUNIS

FERMENTED BERRIES

SD

1,5

JUNIPER LEAVES

JUNIPERUS Sp.

NEEDLE LEAVES

SD

1.0 – 2.5

LAVENDER

LAVENDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA

FLOWER TOPS

SD

0.5 – 1.0

LEMON BALM

MELISSA Off.

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

0.015

LEMON PEEL

CITRUS LIMON

FRUIT RIND

CE/SD

2,0

LEMON VERBENA

ALOYSIA TRIPHYLLA

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

1,5

LEMONGRASS

CYMBOPOGON CITRATUS

LEAVES

SD

1,0

LIME

CITRUS AURANTIFOLIA

FRUIT RIND

CE/SD

?

LOVAGE

LEVISTICUM Off.

ROOT

SD

0.5 – 1.0

MACE

MYRISTICA FRAGRANS

ARILS

SD/WD

17.0 – 25.0

MANDARIN

CITRUS RETICULATA

FRUIT RIND

CE/SD

0,5

MARJORAM, SWEET

ORIGANUM MAJORANA

LEAVES

SD

0,9

MUSTARD, BLACK

BRASSICA NIGRA

SEEDS

SD/WD

1,5

NEROLI

CITRUS AURANTIUM

BLOSSOMS

SE/SD

0,1

NUTMEG

MYRISTICA FRAGRANS

SEED

SD

15.0 – 25.0

ORANGE PEEL

CITRUS Species

FRUIT RIND

CE/SD

1.5 – 5.0

OREGANO

ORIGANUM VULGARE

FLOWERS

SD

1,2

PARSLEY

PETROSELENIUM SATIVUM

LEAVES OR SEEDS

SD

0,5

PATCHOULI

POGOSTEMOM CABLIN

LEAVES

SD

2.0 – 4.0

PENNYROYAL

MENTHA PULEGIUM

LEAVES

SD

1,5

PEPPER, BLACK

PIPER NIGRUM

PEPPERCORNS

SD/SE

2,5

PEPPER, CUBEB

PIPER CUBEBA

FRUITS

SD

2,0

PEPPER, WHITE

PIPER NIGRUM

POWDERED SEEDS

SD

1,5

PEPPERMINT

MENTHA PIPERITA

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

1.0 – 2.5

PETIGRAIN

CITRUS AURANTIUM

LEAVES & TWIGS

SD

0,5

PINE SAP

PINUS Species

RESIN

SD/WD

15.0 – 35.0

PINE NEEDLES

PINUS Species

NEEDLES

SD

0.5 – 3.0

ROSE, DAMASK

ROSA X DAMASCENA

FLOWERS

SD/WD

/SE

0.02 – 0.03

ROSEMARY

ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS

FLOWERING TOPS

SD

2,0

SAGE

SALVIA OFFICINALIS

LEAVES

SD

2,5

SANDALWOOD

SANTALUM ALBUM

ROOT WOOD

SD

4,5

SASSAFRAS

SASSAFRAS ALBIDUM

ROOT BARK

SD

4,0

SAVORY, SUMMER

SATUREJA HORTENSIS

LEAVES & STEMS

SD

0,1

SPEARMINT

MENTHA SPICATA

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

2,0

STAR ANISE

ILLICIUM VERUM

SEEDS

SD

3,0

STYRAX

LIQUIDAMBAR ORIENTALIS

CRUDE RESIN

SD/SE

?

TANSY

TANACETUM VULGARE

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

0,7

TARRAGON

ARTEMISIA DRACUNCULUS

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

0.08 – 1.5

TEA TREE

MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA

LEAVES & TWIGS

SD

?

THYME

THYMUS VULGARIS

LEAVES & TWIGS

SD

2,5

TUMERIC

CURCUMA LONGA

ROOT POWDER

SD

5,0

VALERIAN

VALERIANA OFFICINALIS

RHIZOME

SD

1,0

VANILLA

VANILLA FRAGRANS

CURED PODS

SE

0.5 – 3.0

VETIVER

VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES

ROOT

SD

0,9

VIRGINIA SNAKEROOT

ARISTOLOCHIA SERPENTARIA

RHIZOME

SD

1,2

WINTERGREEN

GAULTHERIA PROCUMBENS

LEAVES

SD

0,6

WORMWOOD

ARTEMISIA ABSINTHIUM

LEAVES & TOPS

SD/SE

0.5 – 2.0

YARROW

ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM

LEAVES & TOPS

SD

0,15

YLANG YLANG

CANANGA ODORATA

FLOWERS

SD

2,0

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