Sunday, November 5, 2017

Experience really does mean a better product!

I'd like to introduce Dr. Doug Corrigan to you!  Doug may look young but he has a tremendous amount of experience and is uber smart!  Doug holds a Master's Degree in Physics and a Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  He has an awesome Facebook page with his wife, Amy.  You can see the page HERE.  

The article below is Part 1 about the distillation process of essential oils and explains why a company like Young Living produces a quality product because of their experience!  Now many oil companies can claim this!! Enjoy your reading and getting your 'geek on'.    Stay tuned for Part 2 soon!


Does your essential oil company pay attention to the distillation process used to produce your essential oils? Are you wondering if this even matters?

If you're curious, keep reading. There are a number of different processes that can be used to extract the essential oils from the plant. One of the most common processes is steam distillati
on. In the process of steam distillation, steam is passed over the plant biomass, causing the volatile essential oil constituents to enter into the vapor phase. This hot vapor mixture of water and essential oil molecules is then cooled down until it converts back into a liquid, and then collected in a container. The two phases of water and essential oils separate, making it easy to separate the water and oil from one another. 

Recall that essential oils are complex mixtures of many different molecules, each having a different boiling point. Because of this difference, some molecules will distill more quickly than others. Some molecules will come off first, some will come off in the middle of the process, and some will come off last.

The three major variables that manufactures have control over are 1) pressure, 2) temperature, and 3) time. Each variable is critical to determining the final composition, and quality of the final product. 

To give you an example, in the graph below I show you how distillation time affects the composition of the oil. I show you the level of 1,8 Cineole, Camphor, Borneol, Terpineol, Caryophyllene, and Cadinene in the distillate broken down into buckets of time. This is for the steam distillation of Rosemary oil. 

You can see from the graph that in the first five minutes, almost all of the 1,8 Cineole is released from the plant material. Very little comes off after that initial 5 minute period. Caryophyllene is released mostly in the middle of the time window. 

Now look at Cadinene. Very little comes off in the first 5 minutes. Most of the Cadinene is released between 20 and 30 minutes. Many of the trace/minor components take a longer time to distill off. These tend to be the higher molecular weight compounds like sesquiterpenes and triterpenes. These components are very important to the overall therapeutic quality of the oil. To learn more about this, check out my educational modules on synergy. 

So, if you distill for too short a period of time, some components will be missing. You might ask, why not just distill for a long period of time to make sure everything comes off? Well, the process of distillation is a harsh process. The plant material is being exposed to high temperature, pressure, and water. These conditions can cause the essential oil molecules to hydrolyze and oxidize (chemical transformation processes). Therefore, if you distill for too long of a period of time, you will basically end up with a container filled with molecules that are ineffective, or in some cases, hazardous. You will have a great yield, but the therapeutic value of the oil will be diminished, or even transformed into something that may irritate your skin or cause other problems. 

So, if you don't distill long enough, you will miss essential components. If you distill for too long of a period, you will destroy the molecules. Therefore, there is a "sweet spot" of time that optimizes the entire compositional profile while not harming the molecules. It's important to realize that this optimum time window changes from oil to oil; therefore, it's necessary to experimentally determine this window for each oil. Young Living has spent years perfecting this process for each oil. I feel very confident in making the statement that there is no other company in the world that understands and pays attention to the distillation process more than Young Living. 

A large majority of the producers of essential oils do not optimize their distillation process for therapeutic value. Instead, they optimize the process for yield. Why? They can offer the oils at lower cost and/or increase their profits by optimizing for yield. This means increasing the temperature, pressure, and time to extract as much of the essential oils from the biomass. Unfortunately, these conditions chemically alter the molecules in the essential oil. 

A majority of the essential oil companies that are springing up do not even own their own distillation equipment. They simply buy the oil from brokers, bottle it, and put their branded label on the bottle.

Are you wondering why cheap essential oils don't work, or why they cause rampant skin irritation problems? Well, the distillation process is one of the major culprits. 

Make sure your company is a master of the distillation process. If they aren't, tell them goodbye.

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