The process of extracting terpenes can be described as one that presents challenges that are unique in their form. This is simply because the process is not only delicate but due to its volatile nature, it is supposed to be handled with a lot of care and precaution.
Whereas it is possible to extract alkaloids, heavy oils and thick resin by the use of those methods that we can refer to as being crude or outdated. In this process, you will be required to use a combination of heating it pressurizing it with some organic solvents for instance water and a very long spell of string to achieve this. But to extract terpenes, you will be required to use methods that provide a lighter touch, so that you can successively isolate and extract terpenes in a way that they will not be damaged in any way.
Here are some of the ways that you can extract it:
The two major traditional methods that you can use to extract terpene are known as hydrodistillation and steam distilling.
In this particular method of extraction, you as an extractor will be required to suspend a basket that is filled with herbs above a vessel that contains water that is boiling. This will ensure that the steam that is produced from the water gets its way through the perforated basket hence coming into contact with the plant materials that are contained in the basket.
While doing this, it is important to note that, it is only the lighter oils for instance monoterpenes that can be dissolved in the stem. The steam has gone through the basket, and when it is making its way out, it will come into contact with a material that will condense it hence cooling both the water and oils that have been extracted. Since water never mixes with oil and the fact that oil is lighter than water, it will float on the water hence making it easy for you to collect it.
You will also realize that the water will look milky simply because there is a small fraction of oil that is soluble in the water hence the look. The entire process is referred to as hydrosol and majorly used in the manufacture of cosmetics and shampoos especially when you see this particular herb listed among the ingredients.
This is similar to the above method of extraction, but the only difference is that the herb from which the extraction is done, is directly placed in the water.
This is where commercial distillers are used in the entire process of CO2 terpenes extraction. Here gallons are used, and they usually operate under conditions which are below atmospheric pressure or in some cases where these conditions are not available they are placed under deep vacuum. Since they are multifunctional, they can perform proprietary. Some of the other functions that they can perform include: extraction of solvent distilled, reactor extraction, vacuum stem distilling and the reactors can also be used to recover distilled liquor or solvents.