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Home Page > Aromatherapy Articles & Guides > Essential Oil Yields

Essential Oil Yields

Essential Oil YieldsAlthough botanicals including rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, citronella, sandalwood and roman chamomile are quite aromatic, it can take a significant amount of plant material to produce even a small quantity of essential oil.

We should be mindful and refrain from utilizing essential oils in an excessive, careless or wasteful manner. We often emphasize the important less is more approach when it comes to essential oil safety and efficacy. However, the less is more approach can and should also be applied to the conscientious use of essential oils due to the significant amount of botanical material required to produce essential oils.

For example, distilling rose petals (Rosa damascena) results in a yield of only 0.02-0.03% Rose Otto Essential Oil, and potentially much less if the petals are not harvested and distilled at the most opportune time. [Betinna Malle and Helge Schmickl, The Essential Oil Maker's Handbook (Austin, TX: Spikehorn Press, 2015), 85-86.] If I am doing my math correctly, that translates into a yield of only 1 kg of Rose Otto per 3,500-5,000 kg of rose petals.

For some botanicals, it's optimal to first dry or partially dry the botanical prior to distillation. For others, it's best to work with freshly harvested botanical material. Not all botanicals produce enough essential oil to make it cost effective to extract the botanical's precious essential oil.

The cost to plant, grow, harvest, sort and dry (when needed) the botanical material combined with the costs to distill and resulting yield all impact the final pricing of the essential oil.

The Essential Oil Maker's Handbook provides an enlightening overview of the optimal way to distill over 100 botanicals and includes the typical yield range for each. The book Aromatica also provides yield information within the 30 detailed essential oil profiles that it features.

Essential Oil Yields for 26 Essential Oils

Common Oil Name Botanial Name Yields from
Essential Oil
Maker's
Handbook
Yields from
Aromatica
Basil Ocimum basilicum 0.02-0.04% (Page 68)  
Bergamot Citrus bergamia 0.3-0.6% (Page 69) .4-.5% (Page 135)
Chamomile, German Matricaria chamomilla 0.05-0.1% (Page 72) .2-.3% (Page 193)
Chamomile, Roman Anthemis nobilis 0.8-1.0% (Page 72) .1-1% (Page 304)
Cinnamon Bark Cinnamomum zeylanicum 0.5-0.8% (Page 72)  
Citronella Cymbopogen nardus 0.4-3% (Page 80)  
Clary Sage Salvia sclarea 0.1-1% (Page 72) .6-1% (Page 164)
Eucalyptus globulus Eucalyptus globulus 3-4% (Page 75) 1.25-3.3% (Page 173)
Fir, Douglas Abies alba 0.7-1% (Page 76)  
Frankincense Boswellia Carterii 0.40% (Page 76)  
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens 0.1-1% (Page 76) .1-.2% (Page 185)
Ginger Zingiber officnale 1.9-2.6% (Page 77) 3.3-5% (Page 200)
Lavender Bud Lavandula officinalis 2.5-3% (Page 80)  
Marjoram Origanum majorana 0.3-0.9% (Page 81) .5-.6% (Page 257)
Myrrh Commiphora myrrha 2-10% (Page 82)  
Neroli Citrus aurantium 0.07-0.1% (Page 69)  
Patchouli Pogotemon cablin 1.5-4% (Page 84) 2-3.3% (Page 280)
Pepper Piper Nigrum 1-2% (Page 85)  
Peppermint Mentha piperita 0.1-1.5% (Page 82) 1-1.4% (Page 288)
Petitgrain Citrus aurantium 0.2-0.4% (Page 69)  
Rose Otto Rosa damascena 0.02-0.03% (Page 86)  
Rosemary Rosmarinus officnalis 1-2% (Page 86) 1-2% (Page 311)
Rosewood Animba rosaeodora 0.8-1.2% (Page 86)  
Sandalwood Santalum album 3-5% (Page 87)  
Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia 1-2% (Page 89) 1.60% (Page 334)
Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata 1.5-2.5% (Page 92) 1.25-2.5% (Page 363)

Sources:

Betinna Malle and Helge Schmickl, The Essential Oil Maker's Handbook (Austin, TX: Spikehorn Press, 2015).

Peter Holmes LAc, MH, Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics (London and Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, 2016).

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