What are essential oils?

TOP 6 FACTS TO KNOW

What is Essential Oil and what are the benefits?

Essential oils are oils that have been extracted from either dried seeds, peel, resin, or are found in the leaves, roots, bark, or flowers.  Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. A single essential oil can contain as many as 100 chemical components, which work together to give the oil its unique properties and aroma.

Around 150 essential oils used in aromatherapy. Each has a unique chemistry and properties that produce a distinct therapeutic, psychological, and physiological effects.

What are the origins of Essential oils?

The use of essential oils dates back to ancient civilizations when they first played a crucial role in spiritual, aesthetic, and nutritional applications. It is known that physicians and priests had been using essential oils for thousands of years according to the Chinese and hieroglyphics manuscripts. Aromatic oils were used in the preserving process in Egypt.

Egyptian temples were enthusiastic with the production as well as blending of oils and recipes. Ancient Egypt, China, and India used to produce and use essential oils as fragrances, flavours or medicaments.

Today in the Western world, aromatherapy is commonly used both at home and at work…or home offices. Essential oils are used for an array of purposes, including health, beauty (skin and hair), fragrance (spray or diffusers), home products as well as for spiritual and mental well-being. 

Lavender Essential Oil
lavender essential oil cold pression extraction

HOW are ESSENTIAL OILS made (Top main 4 methods)

4 basic methods to extract essential oil.

STEAM DISTILLATION is the most common method for extracting essential oils.  Steam is forced through the plant “filter,” heating it up and releasing oil as a gas. As the gas cools, it liquefies into oil and water, which is then separated.

CO2 EXTRACTION uses carbon dioxide instead of water to extract the essential oil from the raw plant material. The carbon dioxide is chilled to between 2 to 13°C before being broken up through the plant. A pure essential oil that has not been even slightly altered by exposure to heat is therefore produced.

ENFLEURAGE is an ancient French technique that involves extracting the fragrance of flowers by exposing them to the sun until the essential oils leach into a fixed oil or fat. A separation process ensues that purifies the oil to make it ready for sale.

COLD PRESSING –  used to extract the essential oil from the peels of citrus fruit. In this method the fruit peels are pressed and then the oil is separated from the juice and pulp in a centrifuge. Expression is also the process used in winemaking and creating olive oil.

How are Essential Oils used?

Essential oils can be used as a remedy in three ways:

INHALATION

As burning essential oils in a candle, putting them in steam, putting them in a diffuser, or applying a few drops to a warmer that spreads the scent. Inhalation of essential oils — ie: mints, eucalyptus, or pine are particularly efficient at loosening and clearing congestion due to a cold or flu.

TOPICAL

When used topically, essential oils must be diluted in carrier oils, which are naturally derived plant based oils such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. Essential oils can also be diluted by adding a few drops to your bath. Diluting oils helps prevent sensitization, a reaction similar to an allergy, which may occur when you use undiluted essential oils directly on your skin. Undiluted essential oils may also irritate the skin or mucous membranes. When applied topically, the oils absorb through the skin and enter the bloodstream, where they may exert various effects, such as fighting bacteria or inflammation.

INGESTION

Unless you are working with a trained professional, you should never take essential oils internally. 

Glass Diffuser - Rattan Sticks
Jasmine essential oil

SAFETY and CAUTIONS

    • Test for reaction, such as skin rash.
    • Avoid using oils around the eyes, because they can cause pain and damage.
    • Avoid putting oils near flames, highly flammable.
    • Always use a carrier oil for topical application – oils may irritate skin or cause a reaction.
    • Keep oils out of reach of children and pets (cat and dogs).
    • Avoid using essential oils internally unless directed by a qualified practitioner.
    • Pregnant women should avoid using essential oils altogether for the first trimester and during lactating. Check with your GP first.
    • Use oils with caution in the sun.
    • Check with your doctor if you are taking medication to ascertain there are no possible interactions or contraindications between the meds and the oils.
Essential oil cautions and usages
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