In aromatherapy the term “cold pressed” refers to the extraction of an essential oil or carrier oil by crushing or squeezing. It is also sometimes referred to as cold expression.
The essential oils of citrus fruits are the oils most often extracted by this method. The peels of the fruit are run through a steel press to puncture the oil-containing cells in the peels.
Then they are put into a centrifuge where the oil is collected by spinning the mash at very high speeds to collect the oils that were released during the crushing process.
This is also how most carrier oils that are extracted from nuts and seeds are extracted. Sweet almonds, grape seeds, apricot pits and coconut meat all go through this process to extract the carrier oils we use in aromatherapy massage.
Why Cold Pressed?
The cold press method is used to extract oils that could be damaged by the heat of steam distillation, or the constituents might be damaged by heat.
For instance, citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, lime, etc. are all very volatile. They evaporate very rapidly. If they were steam distilled some of those volatile chemicals that make up the oil would be changed or not be able to be recovered.
Extracting the oils from nuts and other fruits used in carrier oils and for cooking can be changed if they are heat extracted. So nuts such as sweet almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and grape seeds are crushed and then squeezed to collect the oils. This protects the oils from damaging heat, even though heating would increase the yield of the oil.
Now you know what it means when you read the term “cold pressed” when it refers to essential oils and carrier oils used in aromatherapy.
If you need to purchase 100% pure essential oils or massage oils we offer them in our online store. Give them a try and I know you’ll be hooked on our quality oils.