Many factors affect the cost of essential oils
Essential oils vary enormously in price, For example, 1 ml of Turkish Rose oil costs as much as a 100 ml of Sweet Orange oil. There are many variables that are responsible for price differences:
- The availability of the plant
- The yield of the oil it gives
- Cultivation methods
- Methods for deriving the oil (require different amounts of time, effort, cost)
10,000 kgs. of Melissa (Lemon Balm) oil plants are needed to distill 1 litre of pure Lemon Balm oil. By comparison only 30 kg of Eucalyptus leaves are needed to make 1 litre of Eucalyptus oil. One of the most expensive oils, Rose oil, requires 2-4,000 kgs. of Rose petals to make 1kg of Rose oil. Even within the same plant we see huge variation: The Bitter Orange tree provides us with Bitter Orange (from the rind of the fruit), Petitgrain Bigarade (from the leaf), and Neroli (from the flower), all of which have very different costs.
Each plant has a specific amount of essential oil as an ‘energy reservoir’ that it uses to metabolize and adapt to certain weather conditions. For example the lack of sun reduces the amount of essential oils that will be distilled from the plant. Harvest may vary each year according to the weather, conditions of the soil, and the distillation process used.
Every plant which contains essential oils will not necessarily be available for production through steam distillation because the profit would be too little. Jasmine is one example: Its oil can only be extracted through a complicated procedure involving solvents. The end products from extraction are called Absolutes.