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New to CO2-Distilled Oils?

What is a CO2 Extract, and Why do They Deserve a Place in Your Collection? Sometimes it’s not only the aroma of an essential oil you’re after! Often, you are choosing essential oils for their Therapeutic Benefit. So how would you like it, if you could get a higher therapeutic value and a super dose of [...]

What is a CO2 Extract, and Why do They Deserve a Place in Your Collection?

Sometimes it’s not only the aroma of an essential oil you’re after!

Often, you are choosing essential oils for their Therapeutic Benefit. So how would you like it, if you could get a higher therapeutic value and a super dose of the smell?

…Well tah dah! This is what you get in our CO2 extractions of oils! That’s a definite double thumbs up.

Read on to learn more about CO2 extraction: What is this high-tech process? Why is it an amazing distillation process for certain oils ~ and why some oils can only be made this way!

~ Four Secrets of CO2 Extracted Oils ~

  • Scarcity – There are many plants where the oil cannot be extracted using steam distillation
  • Richness – The aromas of oils like Frankincense and Myrrh are more full-bodied, warmer, & richer
  • Potency – The oils from plants like Calendula, Rosehip and Turmeric have a broad spectrum of phyto-nutrients and constituents, offering a high therapeutic value
  • Less is More – With CO2 oils, you may find a little goes a long way in your blends

In other words, a CO2 extraction is an excellent way to produce a therapeutic-quality oil from from many plants. Steam distilled essential oils are the best choice for most traditional aromatherapy applications where they are called for. However, when CO2 and steam distilled varieties of the same plant are available, the CO2 oil may be a choice you’ll love.

What’s more is, you can experiment with higher concentrations in your skin care formulas (as they are less likely to cause sensitization than steam distillates ~ though it’s still important to test for yourself). Certain ones, such as Turmeric, can be ingested safely (Turmeric CO2 is often found in anti-inflammatory supplements)*.


You can even make timeless remedies you can count on with ease, like Calendula oil (which usually requires a month-long infusion of the flowers in Olive Oil). In our CO2 Sample Kit, you’ll have five CO2 oils to truly experience what they have to offer…without CO2 extraction, we’d never have oils like Calendula & whole Rosehip to use at all!

We have more than a dozen CO2 oil offerings we’d like you to get to know, particularly if you’re making your own blends. But for starters let’s understand the essence of these CO2 extractions.


CO2 Extraction Explained

The CO2 Extraction Process is Distinctly Different Than Steam Distillation

  • CO2 extraction involves cooling carbon dioxide to between 35 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and pressurizing the cool gas to 1000 psi. The carbon dioxide in this condition is condensed to a liquid. Supercritical CO2 extraction (SCO2) involves carbon dioxide at 87 degrees F and pumped through the plant material at around 8,000 psi – under these conditions, the carbon dioxide is likened to a ‘dense fog’ or vapor (neither a liquid nor a gas!).
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and ‘Supercritical’ Carbon Dioxide (SCO2) extractions are the most advanced methods for producing plant oils at low temperatures. Both  involve using carbon dioxide as the ‘solvent’ (rather than water, as in steam-distillation) to draw essential oils and additional, important ‘heavier’ therapeutic oils from the raw plant material.

What Are the Advantages of CO2 Distillation?

  • Like steam distillation, there are no solvent residues left behind, and the resultant product is perfectly pure.
  • Like cold pressing, there is no heat applied to the plant material or essential oil to alter it in any way. The oil produced is very accurate with respect to the original state of the plant.
  • CO2 distillation produces the most therapeutic essential oil for some plants. This is because the CO2 process can produce an oil with a greater diversity of molecular constituents. Sometimes it’s just a different set of molecular (and therapeutic) constituents – not better, just different.
  • The CO2 process is highly beneficial for extracting oil from plant resins such as Frankincense and Myrrh, as more of the larger molecules – considered to have important healing properties – are brought into the final oil.
  • ‘Spice’ oils like Ginger, and Clove seem to have a ‘more complete’ aromatic profile when produced by CO2 distillation. However, in the case of these oils, we offer BOTH the steam distilled and CO2 varieties, as the oils are quite different therapeutically.
  • The steam-distilled Ginger oil is used for digestive issues, whereas the CO2 is used for its anti-inflammatory properties – great for blends for topical application.
  • Rosemary CO2 is one of the MOST POTENT antioxidants available for preserving carrier oils and blends with carrier oils. The CO2 has little aroma, and one or two drops added per ounce of carrier oil (or blend with carrier oil) is a much better preservative than the same amount of vitamin E.


SEE our recent post on the Studies of Frankincense and Myrrh  together on Cancer cells.

Myrrh – Both Frankincense and Myrrh occur naturally as dried tree resins.
The resins are rich in long chain terpenes which can be difficult to extract via steam distillation. These long chain terpenes have been heralded as possibly the most therapeutic constituents of these oils.

The CO2 process always extracts a greater amount of these large molecules than the steam distillate. This results in oils that are much richer in aroma. Both have been embraced by traditional aromatherapists as potentially more therapeutic in every regard than their steam distillate counterparts.

It has multiple therapeutic benefits from being an astringent for the skin, to fighting colds, however do know Myrrh acts as a fungicide for both plants and skin. It can be used either internally and externally to fight fungal infection. Do ask your experienced health practitioner how you can benefit from it and what way to use it is practical for you.  The supercritical CO2 distillation results in a beautiful, smooth and complex aroma ~ much more alluring than any steam distilled variety we’ve come across.


Thank you for reading!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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