Non-distillation aromatic oil extraction from fresh ylang ylang flowers with alcohol?

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Garden Gives Me Joy

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Hi there,

From what I gather, distillation is the most common extraction method for fresh ylang ylang flowers. Unfortunately, I do not have a distillation plant and would rather produce an oil-based product (for an emulsified facial oil cleanser or body oil).

If possible, how can I use 96% ethanol to this end? Can I soak the fresh flowers in the alcohol? (BTW, Why do oil extractions using the alcohol intermediary method seem to always mention dry material?) Is it OK to make the flowers into a paste before covering them in alcohol and simmering the squeezed out liquid over oil on a low heat? If soaking in alcohol is fine, what is my indication to know it is ok to proceed to the next step?

PS. I came by a one-off supply of fresh ylang ylang flowers yesterday and wish to do an extraction quickly before the flowers wilt.
 

Kcryss

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Extracts can be made using alcohol. If alcohol is used, fresh plant material can also be used. If infusing in oils or other liquids, dry is best because it prevents bacterial/mold growth associated with the water content found in fresh materials.
If you made an extract using alcohol, then squeeze the liquid into simmering oil, I would expect all the work you put into making your tincture will have been for not.
I make extracts with alcohol and sometimes glycerin.
Infusions with oil
Teas with water

Just one more comment.
If someone gave me fresh ylang ylang flowers and I wanted to use them in making soaps/lotions etc. and depending on how much I was given. I would make hydrosol with some and oil infusions with the rest.
To make the oil infusions, you will need to allow the plants to wilt for a day or so to get most of the water out.
For the hydrosols, here is a decent link on how to do it at home: http://mamarosemary.com/blog/2013/07/26/how-to-make-a-hydrosol
 
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Millie

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I can't resisit offering up the idea of an enfleurage, putting the flowers right in the oil, monoi de tahiti style. On my to-do list ♡
Let us know what methods you use and how it goes!
 

Garden Gives Me Joy

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Update: I divided the lot of flowers into 2 samples for different treatments. Unfortunately, I had a mishap with one sample (#2) which might have affected the outcome. Happy for your feedback about this.

#1: Oil infusion.
I added the flowers into oil, blended and then applied heat for 4.5 hours. The temperature was maintained at roughly 50 to 60 degrees C throughout. After I cooled, strained and observed the oil after several days, the oil was so clear that I could read behind it.

#2: Oil infusion via alcohol method.
I allowed the flowers to stand with the alcohol for roughly 6 hours. Without straining off the petals, I added the alcohol soaked petals into oil, blended and then applied heat. My intention had been to perform the infusion over a low heat. However, the temperature rose to 75 degrees C and remained on the heat for roughly 45 minutes when the oil looked very clear and no bubbles were visible. The top of the liquid did not even show a film (that resembles floating scum, something I observed with sample #1 that made me doubt its readiness throughout the heating process). However, after I cooled, strained and observed the oil after several days, the oil was cloudy throughout. Oddly however, I do not see a separate water layer. What causes this cloudiness?

Re Fragrance:
The fragrance was clearly ylang ylang in both cases. I kept wondering which was stronger and debated between them on different sniff tests. So they both worked re fragrance. Despite my oscillation however, I am tempted to think that #1 is better overall. As to be expected, the fragrance of #2 while standing with only alcohol, ie before being heated in oil was undeniably the most intense fragrance I experienced throughout all of this experimentation. I therefore wonder; did the higher temperature of #2 destroy the essential oil and in turn some of the intense fragrance I experienced initially?

Re Knowing when the oil is done:
The petals release a lot of water. What signs can one rely on to know when the alcohol and water have evaporated completely?

Thanks
 
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