Essential oil is a term that most of the people are familiar with. However, very few people know that there is another type of oil, known as CO2s, which have properties quite similar to pure essential oils. Now, you must be wondering as to what exactly are CO2 oils. CO2 oils, in short CO2s, can be described as the oils that are extracted with the help of CO2, or carbon dioxide. Many-a-times, they are also known as essential oils, and not absolutes. This is because after CO2 oils have been made, no trace of a harmful solvent remains in the final product.
CO2 oils are believed to have a number of advantages over pure essential oils. One of this is the fact that in the preparation of CO2s, no heat is used and thus, none of the constituents of the oil are damaged, unlike the latter. CO2s are also thicker than their essential oil counterparts and their aroma is closer to that of the natural herb, from which they are extracted. In fact, they are said to have more constituents, in addition to the ones in pure essential oils. This is what makes them thick, with a more rounded aroma.
Extraction of CO2 Oils
The process of extracting CO2 oils makes use of carbon dioxide (CO2) explaining the reason behind such a name. In the first stage, carbon dioxide is pressurized till the time it becomes a liquid. This liquefied carbon dioxide then serves as a safe and effective solvent on the natural plant matter, extracting oils and other substances like pigment and resin from the plant matter. This results in the dissolution of the essential oil content into liquid CO2, without running the risk of heat degradation. This is followed by the return of CO2 to natural pressurization. With this, CO2 evaporates back into its gaseous state, leaving behind the resulting oil of the plant. The temperature maintained in the CO2 extraction process is around 95 to 100 degrees F. By following this method of extraction, two types of CO2 oils are obtained – CO2 selects and CO2 totals.
CO2 Selects or Essential Oils
These are categorized as oils which are extracted at a lower pressure, comprising of only volatile, CO2 soluble components of a plant. The resultants left behind are heavier waxes, resins and color compounds. A select oil is usually of thick viscosity, but can be poured easily. Even though they have close resemblance with steam distilled oils, on the parameter of composition, CO2 selects constitute volatile components, not extracted during the process of steam distillation.
CO2 Totals or Extracts
Totals can be characterized as oils extracted at high pressures, containing both volatile and non-volatile CO2 soluble components of a plant. Apart from including the essential oils of the plant, totals contain heavier waxes, resins, and color compounds, thereby deeming them similar to the plant. Though they are viscous and pasty, CO2 totals easily dissolve in vegetable oils and essential oils.
Some CO2 oil extracts available are
- Clove Bud
- German chamomile
- Ginger Lily
- Juniper Berry
- Orange Sweet
- Sea Buckthorn
- St. John’s Wort
- Tea Tree
- Valerian Root
Besides following the complex extraction process, CO2 oils are high in various physical and chemical properties that make them perfect for use in medicines and treatment of different ailments. Pick up a CO2 oil today to dig out its rejuvenating and refreshing effects!