Home Distilling to Make Flavor Extracts

So I am seriously considering getting into making my own extract of Sassafras. @daath mentioned distilling as a process for achieving this. I have never done anything like this, but I am sure some of you have. So here are my thoughts…

Sassafras is a tree, and the root of this tree is used to make Sassafras tea by boiling the root in water. If I buy a distilling kit would this work to extract the Sassafras flavor from the liquid to turn it into a flavoring? I am thinking I will want a pure extract, and not have any added PG or anything. But if needed, I might consider adding a carrier, but may prefer VG.

I have no idea what I am doing, but I really want to try this. But buying a couple hundred dollars worth of equipment would mean I really don’t want to try and fail at this. So I want to gather any information I can before I go through with this. I know some of you have had success with extracting coffee and other flavorings. So any input to educate myself would be greatly appreciated, especially in regards to the necessary hardware to perform the distilling process.

I am looking at this distillery setup:



I’ll just leave this here, because I thought it was interesting :smiley:

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Very interesting. But 1500psi scares the hell out of me lol. That would make for a pretty big explosion should one screw up and leave a valve open too long :wink:


that may work well im VERY famillar with distilling :smirk:. some things to remember is when you distill things you “strip” some flavor out of what you are distilling so it might not come out as flavorful as you want OR you might have to use so much Sassafras that it might not be cost effective unless you don’t care about that. as far as what I see wrong with that item, you’ll want to remove the plastic/rubber hose going from the boiler to the worm and replace it with copper, you don’t want ANYTHING SYNTHETIC in the vapor path. if you was just doing essential oils it would be ok since it not for human consumption.

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Do you have any other suggestions for a decent distiller setup? I have never looked into distilling so I need suggestions on how to get setup properly.

Does this one look better?

Actually, here is the same setup but smaller for $60 less. Which would you recommend?

the second one looks better because it has water flow control to the worm and I now see the setup on your first link you posted the tubing WASNT to connect the boiler to the worm but instead it was to cool the worm. people were making cheap distillers with plastic tubing and praying on the whole “moonshine” kick but was actually unsafe to use as is, but people DONT research before they jump into something. with essential oil extractors they have a herb baskey that the steam flows over to basically macerate the vapor before condenses back and with just a plain distiller you would need a way to put the Sassafras in the vapor path.

For example

the herbal mix goes in the lid area.

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What will your end product be @LordVapor? Will this process extract oils from the wood?
If so, Id look into weather its safe to vape. My understanding is that it isnt?
Quite a while back, in my search for a cedar flavor (Im looking for a cigar flavor with cedar notes)
I entertained the idea of doing a cedar extraction …until i was advised against it for health reasons.
Someone in the thread suggested it might not be such a good idea, so I looked into it, & decided against doing it. Sorry, I cant remember where I found the info o/wise I’d flick u the link.
You are considering a very different process to the one I was. I was simply going to soak cedar “flakes” or similar in PG for an extended period. Chemist I aint, but the end result would pretty much be the same… wouldn’t it?

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I am just looking to extract flavors out of spices and roots. I was thinking if I boil Sassafras root I could extract the flavor from the root. Then I was told to condense it down I would have to use a distilling process. I have no idea how this all works, which is the reason for this thread. Would I get an oil? I am not sure what you get when you extract the flavoring from a dead tree. But even if it’s not a vapable vapable extract in the end, I will be able to make some killer root beer and Sassafras tea at least :smiley:

It wasn’t until I started researching this that I found out the reason there is no Sassafras flavoring available (besides LA Oils Sassafras which is oil based). It seems the FDA has banned the use of Sassafras in food flavorings because it is a carcinogen. I find that really funny because I grew up drinking Sassafras tea. But now all of a sudden it is a drug and we shouldn’t consume it. Sassafras root has always had medicinal purposes to hear my Grandmother tell it. And the 100+ year old lady that lived near me as a child drank it every day. I think she was 105 when she died, and that was just because she was tired of living.

Sassafras is used in root beer, candy, tea, coffee, and all kinds of other things. To me it would be a killer vape flavoring. Take a little Sassafras extract and combine it with FLV and FA Honey, Brown Sugar Extra, Wintergreen, and Anise and you would have a great root beer vape.

So that is what I want to do here. I want to turn a tree root into a vape. I want to use the flavoring to make all kinds of cool recipes. And I don’t care what I have to do, I am going to do it. Now if anyone has any advice other than just soaking the tree root in PG for a month I am all ears!

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it should work the way that you want it to, I just cant 100% tell you how concentrated the flavor will be. when I distill the flavor that comes out isn’t as strong as the liquid I start with but but it DOES still have flavor. I guess there is only one way to tell :smiley:

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I had never considered extracting from roots… never heard if it before . Roots, of course, should be fine… if herbs & teas & coffees are. I was warned about the oils emanating from dead tree, not roots. Are roots wood? praps not…not quite …hmm, I wonder what cedar root smells like??.
Apologies @LordVapor… it seems I I might not’ve read you right earlier - its late over here. :sleeping:

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I am just going to order that distiller and go out into the woods and dig me up some Sassafras root. That is if I can remember what the small Sassafras trees look like. If they had leaves on them that would be easy. But just going by the bark and shape of the tree may be a bit tough.

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Interesting topic.
I didn’t know it was legal to make moonshine or spirits, I know it is legal to make (or brew) beer to a limited quantity (I think 50 gallons a year but I may be mistaken, it may be 500 gallons) for personal use. I only say this because I wanted to look at the “worm” that was mentioned a couple of times.
It looks very similar to what homebrewers (when I use to brew my beer) could buy at a wine and beer supply store for cooling down your wort (raw beer prior to pitching in yeast) to a proper temperature.

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Sassafras: Root Beer Rat Killer

Good read at eat the weeds .com
My wife loves the tea made using the root but you can also use the leaves. We have a friend that is big into foraging and knows everything about the local vegetation. He told us to only harvest the root in late fall. One small root will last a long time if refrigerated between boiling’s.

The harvesting season is from Oct to Feb around here. The sap moves down into the roots to prevent the trees from freezing and exploding like a bottle of pop in the fridge. Once it starts to warm back up the sap moves back up into the tree. It is during this down time that you want to harvest.

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In the article at the link above it explains why it got classified as a carcinogenic.
I would think it would be ok to vape the way you are thinking of doing it.

It is my belief they classified it as a carcinogenic because it has been widely used for medicinal purposes. They probably found out it works!

I thought carcinogenic meant cancer causing?

I missed that link you posted. That is a good article. And that is exactly how I feel about it. I grew up with way too many people using it to make all sorts of edible delicacies who lived far longer than I ever will. Thanks for sharing that link @wvsanta.

Benny, yeah. If something is good for you… it must cause cancer. Stay away from Carrots! Scientific studies are so skewed it’s funny. If you ate 25 apples per day and nothing else you would probably die of something weird.

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Yep…20 apple cores and you’ll die of cyanide poisoning from the seeds.

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I did not read much of the thread, but I want to ask/add… Did you consider the freezing/melting type method that is used for Medicine Flower extracts? You know how when something thaws out, like a snow cone, you are left with snow with no flavor and all the flavor drips out. Here’s what the process is called…
I quote MF…
“Our flavors are obtained through a proprietary technology conducted at temperatures below 118 degrees F. This process comprises a multi-stage extraction encompassing initial desiccation, lyophilization, CO2 and HFC extraction.”