Essential (aromatic) oils are readily soluble in both polar and apolar organic solvents and this property has been utilized in developing the simple solvent extraction process of most plant materials for obtaining from them the necessary aromatic oils.
Extractions with volatile solvents demand that the solvent that will be used must possess the following characteristics:
- The solvent should dissolve only the odoriferous components quickly and completely, with a trace amount of inert matter.
- The solvent should be of low boiling point.
- The solvent should be chemically inert to the odoriferous materials.
- The solvent should evaporate completely without leaving any residue.
- The solvent should be cheap and noninflammable.