With nature, we have the world’s natural medicine around us, just at the tip of our fingertips. We ought to use it as much as we can. One of the great things coming out of that is essential oils. In this episode, Tony Frischknecht invites not one, not two, but three guests to help us learn more about essential oils and what they are used to create. He sits down with David Ross of Essential Extraction Corp, Nick Gay of Jagged Peak Consulting, and Chris Johnson of Gaia’s Harvest. Together, they discuss how they are making their own oils from biomass as topical or ingestible. They also touch on hop oils, health care and the pandemic, and how you, too, can start your small-scale extraction business. Join this conversation to learn more.
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Understanding Essential Oils: What They Are Used To Create, Their Benefits, And More With David Ross, Nick Gay, And Chris Johnson
We’re going to be discussing making your own oils from biomass as a topical or ingestible. As our guest, I have the Cofounder of Essential Extractions and COO, David Ross. I have Nick Gay from Jagged Peak Consulting, and then I have Chris Johnson. Chris, I believe you’re working with Nick on some projects. Is that correct?
Yes, I am. We are looking into all the various types of extractions, of different types of nature’s compounds.
We’ll start with you first, Chris. What’s your background?
My background is a little bit of a lot of things, but the main thing concerning essential extracts was I started one of the first edibles companies in Colorado. It’s called Gaia’s Harvest. We then had the first FDA-approved kitchen that we used. We’re able to bring in a bunch of other companies to do things correctly and provide a sub-structured licensing agreement with them.
Gaia’s has been around for some time. It’s good to have you here. Thank you so much for being here. Nick, what’s your background and what have you worked on with the essential oils?
I’ve worked in the herb industry for several years now. I was working at Acreage Holdings. I’m in charge of their equipment sourcing, manufacturing, and extraction. I’ve been doing extraction for many years. I’ve won different Herb Cups and different awards like that. That’s my ten cents here.
For the readers out there, we as a group have a lot of experience in the herb industry, but that’s what’s led us into expanding upon what essential oils are out there and what they do for people. We are expanding much further. Forgive us if you’re not a THC fan or a CBD fan, we don’t mean to offend you. We’re just teaching people from our knowledge and our experience for over the last decade. David, go ahead and share to folks out there your experience and what you’re working on.
My experience is in the herb industry, in the product development side of things. I got my teeth cut at a large brand. People know it as OpenVAPE. I was a Product Development Manager there. I have a few patents to my name in regard to hardware and equipment. From there, we’ve branched on, learned a lot, consulted with many in the industry, and have developed our own systems now.Transparent communication leads to mutual understanding. Click To Tweet
My first question is going to be for Chris. Chris, what are the main benefits of making your own essential oils?
Some of the main benefits, first and foremost, is you know what you’re getting if you know where the product comes from. By using this product, the Little Buddy, you’re able to harvest from your garden and know what you put into it, and the genealogy of that plant. If it’s lavender, there are tons of different types of lavender. You would know what’s in it and what your yield is. You could take care of it and make it organic and natural, and not have to pay the price for the label.
When it comes to organic, we pay dearly for it at the store on anything we buy.
That’s one of the best things. Also, the fact that the research on all these different oils do have different treatments. They pretty much lead into the next because they grow next to each other in the way that benefits your health and wealth. Doing more research and giving all the tools and rhetoric to the person that’s going to ingest it, the conversation can then be open. It is one of the more beautiful moments in talking about medicine.
It sounds like it’s more transparent. Am I correct in saying that?
Transparent communication leads to mutual understanding.
Nick, how would this work for an ingestible maker?
You can extract all sorts of different things for this machine. For example, I had extracted some hops to make beer out of. From one run, I pulled enough oil to make 10 gallons of beer. That could be a definite selling point for a lot of different home brewers. You can also make your own essential oils, or you could even decaffeinate coffee and make a caffeine extract if you want it to. The realm of what you can do with this machine keeps growing and growing. It’s only limited by your imagination.
How much hops did you have to use to come up with the end product that you said you could make 10 gallons of beer with?
I did a couple of different extractions. One was from pelletized hops from Sabro Hop Pellets. That costs me $3 at a brewing store. I extracted all of the hot oil out of it, which is the stuff that gives beer its bitter flavor, and also the aroma and flavor. The benefit of using this as opposed to hops or hop pellets itself is that you get to skip the biomass portion of it. When you’re boiling a plant, it will bring out certain different flavors. By using hot oil, you’re just bringing out that one flavor that you’ve extracted from the hop, which is an interesting thing for people to do.
If somebody is making beer out there and they are allowed to skip this product, how much time does that save them?
It doesn’t save you any time, but it makes arguably a better product. It’s also something that’s a little bit more marketable. There are a lot of different beers that market to the fact that they use CO2 extracted hop oil and things like that. It’s a big selling point right now.
Let’s talk consistency on products when you start dealing with an essential as opposed to extraction. What does that do for your consistency?
I’m going to stick with the brewing side of things. If you’re a large brewery, you’d want to have a very consistent product. By having hop oil as opposed to hops, you can have a large amount of something that you could use all year round. You’re getting the same thing. It’s a repeatable process as opposed to getting hops itself, which ended up losing their flavor. They go bad and stale. It has a longer shelf life. As far as essential oils, let’s say you’re making lavender essential oil to make soap, you want it to smell the same every time for the most part as opposed to, if you were to use lavender flower and put it into it. It wouldn’t be strong enough to get that smell out there, and there are many different types of lavender. In that way, you can have a more repeatable flavor and smell.
You’re saying that there’s a better consistency with ingestibles and topicals. It works the same for both.
I’d like to add in, as flavoring and consistency goes with people that try to bring up nostalgia, the tastes and the fermentation process, then somebody can take this essential oil, do gastronomy and food, and also make it process into their own chocolates. If people are trying to also remember and not forget why we drink things, but maybe they’re trying to cut out alcohol. If they want to have the hops in there and enjoy the feeling and that conversation of life, you can still enjoy things that remind you of nostalgia and not have to ingest what everybody else thinks hops is for.Pretty much when you put crap in there, you're going to get crap out. Click To Tweet
I’m going on several years of no alcohol. I stayed away from any of the non-alcoholic beers because I don’t need the extra thought, but if you could add this to your bubbly drink, I might try it. I don’t know what’s exactly in a lot of the non-alcohol. I know they have a little bit of alcohol in them already. I hadn’t thought about it that way.
They make a product now called hop tea, which is made with an extract similar to this. They use green tea or white tea, and then they infuse it with hop oil. As you said, it’s non-alcoholic but tastes like remembrance of beer.
I didn’t want to go too far off on that, but from what you are testing, that’s fun. How much was the product that you bought from the hops that you bought? Are they compressed tablets or what are they?
They are compressed tablets. It was 1 ounce and it was $3.
For 10 gallons of beer, you’ve gotten the flavor and the smell all for about $3. A guy like me, I was the guy who added the flavor and the smell of beer, how easy would it be for me as an employee to add this in the beer. As long as you add 1 ounce for this, it seems pretty easy. It seems like it would be tough for me to mess up as long as I did the calculations. For 10 gallons of oil, you put two drops and then that’s it. Essential oil, there’s such a grand part of the market now. Everybody smells, touch, and feel. As they’re making products, what do you see is the future for essential oils? Do you see the market is going to be bigger or are we going to hone in on certain industries more? Do you have an opinion on that?
The market at home processing is going to expand. People do want to know they’re becoming more knowledgeable and more health-conscious on what they are putting into their bodies. That segment across all markets is expanding. With the systems and the ease of use and the low price point for our customers, it serves that market well.
Right now, especially with COVID going around, being more knowledgeable and having our own power about a big conversation that everybody’s having about healthcare and having health insurance. Knowing that pharmaceuticals haven’t all led us in the correct direction, the reflection is now knowing. We’ve all heard whimsical tones like, “You have all the medicine that you need in nature,” and the research that everybody can do together. There are many different types of plants, thousands and thousands. I believe it’s more like 10,000 or 30,000 types of mushrooms. Different ones like cordyceps and tri-coots are good for everything from destroying the buildup of fats and lipids around different parts of your dendrite nerves in your brain. It helps with digestion.
There’s a different type of mushroom that grows on plastics. Being able to see the nature is trying to be more nurturing to all of us, it’s pretty robust that I’ve done some research. There’s this one tincture that’s called Five Thieves Oil. It seems to be and shown in many different ways that’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and the anti-microviable. If this is true, we can dial in the specs to show everybody and have the conversation about the most potent potential of essential extractions. We could have an easier way to weather this storm.You are what you eat, and you can tell the difference when it doesn't feel healthy and correct for you. Click To Tweet
Are there a lot of essential oils that are coming from mushrooms right now? Have you done that?
There are some people and there is a lot of research being done on specifically extracts of mushrooms because they can help somebody that is going through depression, or that has an addiction to opiates, alcohol. In general, people being able to go through a therapeutic process and being coached to speak through feelings. It opens up in the same way with CBD versus THC. It opens up your blood pathways. Being able to extract one thing versus the other, it’s an easier way to relax one another if things are done with metrics, and dialed in with research and conversations because everybody is different.
Nick, for the person starting extraction, what are the 1 to 2 things that you would say they need to look out for when they’re looking at starting a small-scale extraction?
Spending too much money. That’s always huge, because you can go down the rabbit hole pretty far and spend thousands of dollars, and not be able to do what you want. Thinking about what do you want to do and what realm of extractions do you want to do? If you’re doing one every once in a while, then maybe it’s worth it to do one lot of different extractions, then it’s worth it to get the little extraction unit here. The reason why is it’s easy to use at the price point. It’s so versatile. A lot of people who make essential oils will do steam distillation. You can only do certain types of products out of steam distillation because the heat that it takes to boil the water will destroy some of the essential oils. The CO2 extraction method is a lot better for that because it doesn’t destroy some of those volatile oils. For example, there’s an essential oil that’s made out of orange blossom that a lot of perfume companies use, and it’s expensive. The only way you can get it is through CO2 extraction. If you have a perfume company or an apothecary, then you can use this machine to offer products that people typically don’t offer that are expensive. If you’re somewhere like Southern California, you can make your own orange flower essential oil, which is great.
Number one is expense. What’s number two would you say that they need to be aware of if they’re starting a small-scale extraction?
The input material because what you’re doing is you’re concentrating the product. If you start with a product that has a lot of pesticides in it, you’re going to concentrate that into the product. Always thinking about, “Where am I getting this? How is it being grown?” Continuing that conversation as far as health and wellbeing.
You’re saying pretty much that if you put crap in there, you’re going to get crap out.
Let’s say it has this much pesticides in the whole mass of it, and then you concentrate that. Your percentage went from 1% to 10% of whatever it is. You want to be careful about that. You tainted your entire system that you use to run this material as well, and you have to clean it all.
What would you say the third thing would be to look out for when you’re starting a small extraction?
Outlet for the product. Especially in the herb industry, some people are cranking out product, and then they have nowhere to sell it. Just because you can make it, it doesn’t mean you can sell it.
Make sure there’s a market for it.
I’d like to expand upon the safety aspect and utilizing our system that allows you to run your material, get it tested and qualified before it gets out there to the consumer. Those things like potency analysis are providing the quality of the product, something that people try to mask these days. Utilizing our system as a quality control tool, pulling that small sample and getting it screened for potency, toxins, residual, solvents, all the tests that you need to do. We need it to be FDA-approved. We are relying on these processors to adhere to those standards without having to go through the certifications. Part of the tool and the system is the quality control analysis process.
You’ve spent a significant amount of time in the extraction world. Had you used this product in the past, that would have saved you so much time and headaches.
That is one of the driving forces for developing a small-scale system because we were constantly putting in large amounts of resources into finding out that the product wasn’t buyable. That’s using your large-scale extractor or purchasing material only to find out that it won’t pass analysis, that it’s tainted material. We’ve ran into those issues countless times. That is one of the biggest reasons. Using the small system on a bi-weekly basis can save you $10,000 on those decisions.
If you’re a small business out there, you’re like $10,000 is a big amount or it’s small, it adds up quickly. Bi-weekly, it’s $20,000 a month. I don’t know any business owner out there that wouldn’t like to put $20,000 a month in their pocket. It comes down to one of those things of, how do we bring that to the end user? That’s where this is. A lot of these processes that David here has created with some of these extraction machines is where this is coming from. You can reach out to us at EssentialExtractionCorp.com and check us out there. You can also ask us any questions you want. We are readily available on most of the social media aspects. Thank you so much, guys, for joining us. I appreciate it. We’d love to have you back in the future to talk about some more stuff.
We appreciate you.
About David Ross
David is an Entrepreneur and Business Consultant. David’s current company is Essential Extraction Corp located in Fort Collins, CO. David Co-founded Essential Extractions (EE) in 2017 upon the merger of his previous successful company Incredipen into EE.
David and his team founded Incredipen in 2014 to focus on designing, manufacturing, and marketing a unique family of ancillary hardware-focused upon the fast-growing and emerging legal herb market. In 2017 Incredipen merged into EE. Essential Extractions Corp provides new and innovative Equipment and processing methodology for Extracting, Infusing, Filtering essential oils.
Target Markets include specialty Herb, Wellness and Fitness. Prior to forming Essential Extraction Corp, David was Product Development Manager of 2 profitable herb companies and held leadership positions.
About Nick Gay
A leader in the CBD and herb industry with 8 years’ experience in new facility set-up, employee training, SOP creation and integration, product production, extraction and distillation.
A collaborative team-player who strives for operational excellence and works across all departments to scale production and create safe work environments.
About Chris Johnson
Chris helped found one of the very first medical herb edibles companies in September 2009, making it one of Colorado’s oldest and most trusted names in infused products.
Gaia’s Garden creates decadent chocolates to delicious lollipops, their professional chefs handcraft every recipe to perfection. All their edibles are gluten-free and use all-natural ingredients.
Gaia’s Garden products can be found in over 100 stores in Colorado, including many recreational shops.