How to get the oil out of my peppermint plant?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Lady TS, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. Lady TS

    Lady TS Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have a recipe or method of extracting the oils from my peppermint plants?

    I want to experiment with making cheap 'tooth powders'(toothpaste) using baking soda and peppermint oil. I tried just grinding the dried leaves in a mortar and pestle and mixing them in....it tasted great but I wasn't too awful fond of the green specks left after I brushed my teeth :haha:

    I have fresh peppermint growing outside, and some dried from last fall.
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    http://flfl.essortment.com/makeessentialo_rsjc.htm

    I'm too lazy to type out instructions, but here is a page that tells you how. It is pretty much same as the method I use. Homemade EO is a little different from commercial. With Homemade you pick up some of the lighter substances that are lost by the commercial. They also change some of the chemistry with their methods and make them less healthy. They have to do it ttheir way to make it economically viable.
    Kim
     

  3. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    The method described in the previous post is for making a herbal oil, but it is NOT essential oil and should not be called such. Only plants can make essential oil, and it is a difficult and expensive process to extract it from the plant. Kits are available for doing it at home, but they are horribly expensive and huge amounts of plant material are needed to make it worthwhile for the home hobbyist.

    I've only attempted it at home with lavender, but the following method will work with other herbs as well, usually the highly aromatic ones (which are the ones which produce the most essential oil. Essential oil is the oily 'essence' or 'extract' of a plant which contains its aromatic and/or medicinal properties).

    Simply cram as much herb material into a saucepan as you can, and cover with water. Simmer gently with the lid on until you notice small oily droplets appearing on the surface of the water. THIS is the essential oil which the plant has released. You can use an eyedropper to syphon the oil from the water and bottle it. If you get a teaspoonful altogether, you've done very well indeed. But it begins to evaporate with the heat, and a small amount of water inevitably gets sucked up with the oil, so it might not store as long as commercially-obtained essential oils.

    Also note that herbal oils have a relatively short shelf-life, whereas true essential oils will store indefinitely in ideal conditions. A herbal oil will not evaporate, an essential oil does.
     
  4. sweetbabyjane

    sweetbabyjane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why couldn't you boil the leaves and use some of the resulting mint water to flavor your items. Makes the jelly taste just fine...

    Just a thought,
    SBJ
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Because if you don't can it or otherwise heat-preserve it (which then gets spoiled as soon as you open the thing), you'd have to add an artificial preservative of some sort. Or refrigerate it the whole time... :( Any water-based product needs a preservative or you risk getting nasty germs and fungi that start to grow in it...no-see-ums that can make a person pretty sick or cause a reaction of some sort. You *can*, however, dry the herbs and powder them, add them straight to a paste, made with vegetable glycerine, baking soda, and a sweetening agent (Stevia?). Instant tooth paste with a bit of an abrasive for aiding in getting nasty plaque off your teeth.

    Disclaimer: I've never actually done this so have no idea how it would turn out, but now I'm intrigued! The things you people make me think of! :D

    Sarah