Everybody seems to be talking about essential oils these days. Some diffuse the oils in their homes using a diffuser while others apply topically on themselves. If you are new to essential oils, do read on for a quick Essential Oils 101.
Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile and aromatic compounds that are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. These concentrated plant extracts are called "essential" in the sense that it contains the essence of the plant's fragrance - the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. However, it is not to be confused with perfume/fragrance, as the latter are man-made from chemical compounds whereas essential oils are derived from plants.
Essential oils are sometimes added to higher end skincare and cleaning products. But more than just for its aroma, essential oil has made a comeback in recent times as they gain recognition and acceptance as a source of natural compound with a variety of therapeutic benefits.
Due to the volatility of the aromatic compounds in essential oils, one will instantly notice the aroma as it quickly moves through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose. This can help in promoting a healthy mind and body, with this branch of application being called aromatherapy. More and more studies have also found the benefits of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties associated with essential oils.
Essential oils are generally extracted through distillation, often by using steam. Other methods include expression, solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, wax embedding and cold pressing. We source some of our oils here in Australia, while others are from where they are grown naturally.
Due to the powerful concentration of essential oil (e.g. 50 lemons to produce a 15ml of lemon essential oil), it is important to be aware that the usage will differ from when you use the whole plant part. When using essential oils, only a small amount is needed to bring about a powerful benefit. Therefore, always be sure to obtain your oils from reliable sources to ensure purity of the oils.