About Essential Oil:
Essential oils are concentrated & aromatic volatile compounds that are magical for those who love to use them. Essential is the short form of quintessential oil; it is a matter of four elements like air, earth, fire & water. These oils are used in various fields i.e. foods, cosmetics, aromatherapy & more.
- Essential oils are obtained from the different parts of the plants i.e. seeds, leaves, fruits, flowers, woods & resins.
- These oils are given the name of the plant from which they are derived.
- ‘Essential’ name is given because they capture the essence of the plant.
- Fragrance oils don’t have therapeutic benefits like essential oils as these are created by chemists.
- These oils should be avoided if pregnant or on medication.
- These should be stored in cool, dark & dry areas.
- The price of the oils depends on the growing conditions of the crops.
History of Essential oils:
Essential oils are used for many years; these come from ancient India, Persia & Egypt. Every country has many different uses that range from health treatments to spiritual practices. Incense, perfumes, clothing & fabric fresheners and medicines are included in the herbal preparations. In some countries, it is believed that aromatic oils are believed to create a union with the gods.
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The plant distillation technique was first developed by the Arabs to extract essential oils. This replaced the fatty oils that were used as a solvent for extraction. In the middle ages, this technique spread to Europe & pharmacies that were specialized in distilled products.
What are Essential oils?
Essential oils are obtained from the different parts of the plants i.e. seeds, leaves, fruits, flowers, woods & resins. ‘Essential’ name is given because they capture the essence of the plant. These oils are given the name of the plant from which they are derived.
These oils contain the aroma of the plant from which they are derived. The plant is guarded against the attack of the parasites & animals; it allows them to adapt according to the environment. Pure essential oil is more powerful than the tree as its healing concentration is collected in the oil.
Composition of Essential oils:
Essential oils are the mixture of constituents; every oil has hundreds of constituents. These have wellness-enhancing & therapeutic properties. Most of the oils have the same constituents as their health-supporting & cleansing properties; almost every oil has anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties.
Essential oils are colorless to any color of the rainbow, some colors point to the therapeutic qualities. Many times the colors are the result of the extraction method.
Extracting Essential Oils:
A single drop of oil has many powerful health benefits. Micro drops of the oils can be stored with the gland of the plant. These drops can be diffused when these evaporate they fill the air with a pleasant aroma.
In the tropical region, plants with strong scent are found; these plants are used to produce biogenic volatile organic compounds. It takes more amounts to make a small amount of oil.
The essential is extracted by two methods: steam distillation & solvent extraction.
- Steam Distillation:
- Solvent Extraction:
A current of steam is injected into the still containing botanical material, usually at high pressures and temperatures.
One of the components of botanical material dissolves in a particular liquid (solvent) and the non-volatile components, such as waxes and pigments, are separated/removed by filtration. This method is also called “Liquid-liquid Extraction.”
Essential oils vs. Fragrances:
Essential oil & perfume (oil) are sometimes used in place of each other due to their aromatic properties but their significance is different. Essential oils are natural & aromatic extracts of the botanicals. Fragrance oils are synthetic & artificial these have chemical composition. They don’t have therapeutic properties like essential oils that’s why these are not used in aromatherapy. These are used in cosmetics like soaps, moisturizers & of course in perfumes.
Perfume oil or fragrance oil is used instead of blends; these are the combination of different essential oils but these are not made artificially. The advantage is that it saves your money; you don’t spend money on buying every oil individually.
What Affects the Quality of Essential Oils ?
You should buy essential oils from a reputable source or someone who specializes in essential oils. These are used in aromatherapy that’s why you should avoid bad grade oils. You should use oils that are 100% pure & natural & ready to use in aromatherapy. This should be chemical-free.
The composition of the pure essential oils differ from the artificial. The quality depends on the country of the origin, year of the crop in which it is grown, season & weather & duration of the distillation.
The quality can be identified by the label. You should check whether its botanical name is given on the label or not.
Storing Essential Oils:
Essential oils should be stored in the small, dark glass bottles that prevent the, from the exposure of the light that can diminish the fragrance & therapeutic properties.
The bottles should be tightly sealed by the caps. These should be stored in a cool, dry place that has a stable temperature. These can be stored inside the refrigerator to prevent them from direct sunlight or air but don’t keep in the freezer. Keep them away from the gas or fire.
Pricing of the Essential Oils:
- The price of the oil depends on the crop or growing conditions.
- Prices can be high due to therapeutic properties or distillation.
- Certified organic oils are more expensive as compared to non-organic oils.
- Low price oils can be synthetic versions.
- Consult a doctor before use if pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.
- Keep away from children.