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Has anyone tried distilling herbs? — The Grow Network Community
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Has anyone tried distilling herbs?

VickiPVickiP Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

I found a selection of stills on Amazon most reviewers were using them for alcoholic beverages, but I am interested in distilling herbs and the occasional gallon of water. These are stainless steel not the glass ones I see advertised for herbal distilling is there a major difference in how the product comes out? I am just in the research stage so am open to any information, observations and experiences any one might have. Thanks


  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,686 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi VickiP

    I bought a water distiller about 4 years ago and made a few mistakes along the way. I could discuss those in a later post..hot here and have to tend to garden for a bit before it gets hotter/humidity.

    When I was shopping for my distiller I noticed somewhere along the way that distilling was subject to state laws. Now, that could have been a blanket statement, or just meant for distilling alcohols? I can't remember now. But when the day comes that I get the distill I should have bought, I am going to use the one I have now and give it a try. After I check my state laws. I can't imagine why they would have their nose into that too except for maybe the alcohol/taxes like an alcohol tax maybe?


    My distiller is from H2O company and is electric and a one gallon size. The mistake I made first was to get only one gallon. Mine takes about 5.5 hours to distill one gallon of water. Many days I use up the whole gallon for drinking water, tea, and cooking. Had I knew then, I would have got nothing less than a 5 gallon distiller. My choice now is a Berkey, NON ELECTRIC but 'to gravity' and a 5 gallon one. My ele one would be the one I would use to distill herbs until I could afford a bigger one....although, like you, I have much research to do before I can say conclusivly how I would do it.

    But you have whetted my appetite to start researching this. As I learn, I will post regarding my findings.

    The best to you.


  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz the state I live in allows distilling herbs so I am not worried there. I am concerned about the use of copper and the connectors. I am of course wanting high quality essential oils and I am not sure about using those materials. I'm pretty sure stainless steel would be OK. I was looking at the electric ones as well, I just wasn't sure they would work for herbs. I will keep looking into it after all there is no rush. Please do post your results I am really interested in them!

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I will get back into this topic as soon as I can..garden work here is still a little behind so I will start doing a little research on it every day and keep you posted.

    In the mean time I found this today....totally diff subject / food / not healthy but so good:

  • Karyn PenningtonKaryn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    My brother has one. He's done lavender and is now trying some cedar bark. I want to give him my rosemary. These essential become hydrosols. He has gotten some lavender essential oil, but I think the hydrosols are much easier.

    I got my husband a distiller (for water/prepper), and I never thought about using it for this -- I may have to research with you!

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

    Please keep us posted!

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 283 ✭✭✭

    I looked into getting one a few years ago to distill herbs and came across a state law about having to get permits for it, along with statements saying I would be using it to distill the herbs, and an agreement that if for any reason the state thought I was distilling anything else they could confiscate the distiller at any time. There is nothing I could do about it. Needless to say I decided against going through all that. I am trying to find other ways to get a quality product without such hoopla.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

    I don't blame you. I read in an old herbal that you can take a stock pot place a clean brick in the center place a clean empty dish on top of the brick. Fill the pot with herbs and add a cup of water water then place the lid on top upside down fill it with ice and bring the pot to a boil. The steam hits the cold lid, the oil condenses and drips into the dish the steam escapes. It would be a very crude way to get some essential oil but might be worth experimenting with if a person has an abundance of an herb. I am not even sure it would meet the legal definition of distilling. As usual one would need to check with the laws in their own area.

  • @Gardennan what state? Wow lol.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @silvertipgrizz-- nice find. Thanks for sharing.

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My pleasure. I love learning and love sharing what I find and what I learn.

  • gennywugennywu Posts: 96 ✭✭✭

    If you just want to do a small batch for one project, I have also found that I can use my stove-top espresso maker. I put the herbs and water in the bottom part, and the hydrosol gets pushed into the top compartment. It is enough for a batch of hand cream.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 564 ✭✭✭✭

    What a great idea! I used to have a stove top espresso maker but it was aluminum so I got rid of it, I found some stainless ones on Amazon, guess I need to look into getting one.

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