How can I extract Peppermint (or another mint plant)'s oil?

I hear oil from algae is extracted by drying it, then soaking it in alcohol to dissolve the extract, then straining it and evaporating the alcohol. I might start experimenting with that, but any suggestions?

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cflowers54 years ago
This one of the best things I ever googled. I have a garden and would love to learn how to extract the oils from herbs and mint plants I have. This steaming sounds hard thou. I welcome any suggestions. Thank You!
tincanz6 years ago
Find an opaque, glass bottle. Wash it out with water, then empty it and allow for it to dry completely. In a few days, when all drops have evaporated out, fill it to the top with clean mint leaves. Then pour a flavorless cooking oil (pure olive, canola, etc.) into the container with the mint, filling it to the top. The greater the ratio between mint and oil, the stronger the end result will be. Put the cap on the bottle, and put it in a dark place for three to five weeks, gently shaking the bottle occasionally. After the weeks are up, pour the contents through a strainer and into another container. Remove all traces of mint leaves from the opaque bottle, and any that the strainer missed from the oil. Pour oil back into opaque container, and it is ready for use. Sunlight causes mint essential oil to degrade, which is why the bottle must be opaque.
Qcks7 years ago

I would say directly distill it if you're not trying to extract it from a plant. Different oils have different boiling points, and it's not hard to boil an oil.

That said, evaporating an oil can be dangerous so do it in a well ventillated area, and don't use an open flame to heat the distillation rig.

jello6667 years ago
Steam distillation  is what you need. Put a bowl upside down in a pot and then put another  larger  bowl on top. Fill the pot up with your mint leaves and water to 2- 3 inches below the rim of the top bowl.   Invert the pot lid. When the water starts to boil  throw ice cubes into the inverted lid..As the cubes melt siphon off the water with a turkey baster and top up the cubes. Check the colection bowl occasionally to make sure it's not over flowing. O.k. you now have Mint water, Rose water, Orange water, etc.. To get the OIL place in a freezer proof dish or plastic bottle (works best)  and refridgerate for a day. The oil should float to the top. Now carefully place it into the freezer  and allow to freeze for a hour or so untill you can pour off the oil with out having water go with it. Store in a airtight jar in the fridge.
Kraethi8 years ago
Plasmana, the evaporation would not work.. .sorry... becuase the oil left over would float.. and therefore evaporate first. Also, the steam method does not produce anything edible, only the alcohol method does. :) I reccomend 140+ proof vodka for this purpose.
eetzel8 years ago
Steam distillation will give you oil. Alcohol method will give you extract. Why do you need oil over extract? If you are going to use it for medicine, be careful, peppermint oil can be lethal in large doses. If using it for cooking other than candy, extract is your best bet.
I found a steam distiller for sale - I do not know these people but you can see the setup clearly from the site.
Prfesser8 years ago
The alcohol method you describe is by far the easiest. Some oils will oxidize in air, so rapid evaporation is probably a good idea. Do not heat; instead, use 91% isopropanol (check drugstores and WalMart) as the alcohol will evaporate much faster than water does. Or, if you plan to consume the product, a small amount of grain alcohol (95% ethanol) might be better. Need to experiment with extraction time. I have a batch of vanilla extract (vanilla beans in vodka) that has been "extracting" for two years. It gets better with age. Prfesser
Plasmana8 years ago
From what I heard is different from the idea you have. You put the plant you want to extract oil from in boiling water, then collect all the steam (water and oil vapor) and condense the steam into a liquid. Then let the water evaporate, and what you will have left is plant oil. I got the idea from a while ago, so I might be wrong.