Pure lavender essential oil is produced through steam distillation. This generates a greater amount of oil compared to other methods due to reduction of polar compound loss. Harvest of lavender blooms are typically around June. Lavender flowers are compacted into a still. Fewer air pockets in the still result in greater oil yield. A boiler is then used to steam the bottom of the lavender flower filled still at a very low pressure. The lavender flower pockets containing oil are broken from this heating process and a pipe of cold water is run through the center of the still. The hot lavender oil vapor condenses on the cold pipe with the cold water and is collected into a holding tank where it is allowed to settle. Due to polarity and densities of the water and oil, these two will separate in the holding tank whereupon the water is piped out, leaving just lavender essential oil.
Lavender oil is produced around the world, with Bulgaria leading the global industry.
Lavender oil has long been used as a perfume, for aromatherapy, and for skin applications. Lavender oil is used in massage therapy as a way of inducing relaxation through direct skin contact.
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