Essential Oils and Oleoresins: What’s the Difference?

Essential oils and oleoresins are two types of concentrated liquid extracts representing or forming the base for numerous applications, including personal, therapeutic, food, beverage, and household products. For both, ingredients include raw fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, using the whole plant, from the roots to the flowers. These extracts are usually more potent than dried ingredients or the source. They are also efficient in low amounts for increased cost-effectiveness.
Both extract types yield the essence of the source, maintaining various potential therapeutic properties. They share somewhat overlapping uses. However, the extraction method and final product differ.
Essential Oils Vs. Oleoresins
While essential oils are just that, oleoresins comprise oils and plant resins – yielding a more complex flavor profile and thicker consistency. The flavor and fragrance notes and the appearance of essential oils and oleoresins also differ.
For top-note extracts, choose essential oils. These ingredients also have a limited, delicate, clear color with low viscosity. However, thanks to their labor-intensive production process, they are also more expensive. In contrast, for earthier base notes, choose oleoresins. These extracts also provide greater heat resistance, high viscosity and color, and essential active ingredients.
Both options are used in aromatherapy and as fragrance ingredients in skincare and cosmetics. In addition, oleoresins – less volatile than essential oils, easier to measure, and with a longer shelf-life – are applied as flavoring and coloring agents in numerous edibles. Oleoresins are also used to enhance the color and taste of medicines, such as cough lozenges and syrups.
So, how are these valuable substances made? How does the extraction process impact how they look and are used?
How Do You Make Essential Oils?
These highly concentrated and aromatic oils are extracted from the selected plant materials, including bark, leaves, and rinds, through steam distillation. In this technique, the plant matter is suspended above boiling water. As the steam rises through the vat, it gently releases, extracts, and carries the plant’s aroma compounds. The vapor then travels to a condensation chamber, where it’s concentrated into a liquid. Finally, the collected oil separates from the water naturally, allowing the essential oil to be bottled.
How Do You Make Oleoresins?
Similar to essential oils, oleoresins are extracted from various parts of plants. However, the production relies on solvent extraction instead of steam distillation. First, the raw materials are saturated with solvents such as hexane or acetone. These solvents are then evaporated to yield a viscous, resinous, oil-based liquid. This substance –oleoresin – provides intense aroma and flavor notes.
In addition, using this method ensures that active ingredient compounds, such as piperine from black pepper or capsaicin from capsicum, are included. These can’t be extracted using steam.
Essential Oils or Oleoresins?
Which of these versatile ingredients you choose will depend on your product type and purpose. Alternatively, you can use both. The synergy of concentrated flavor, fragrance, and healthful, active ingredients provides the most intense results.
Also, ensure you use pure and natural ingredients from Advanced Biotech. We produce our plant-based and EU-certified extracts using greener, leading-edge technology and techniques.
Find the Right Flavor or Fragrance Profile With Advanced Biotech
Our innovative ingredients are developed by leading technicians, producing various essential oil and oleoresin options to suit your needs. Our oleoresins include cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla. For our essential oils, choose from our tea tree, sweet almond, rose, the less common onion, horseradish, mustard, and more.
As experienced ingredient producers, we can recommend the best type of extract for you or collaborate on a new essential oil or oleoresin solution to meet your needs. Please contact us for more information.