Essential Oils

What are Essential Oils?

The first question we must ask ourselves is: What are essential oils?  Are they like the oils we use for cooking such as olive or avocado?  Or are they like the fuels we use to gas up our car motors?

The simplest way to explain what essential oils are is in this short sentence:

Essential oils are the “lifeblood” of a plant.

Essential oils are nature’s defense mechanism to protect plants from disease and sickness.  These oils keep the plant healthy, happy, and provide necessary nutrients.  Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from what nature has given us. For example, 1 drop of peppermint oil is the equivalent of about 28 cups of peppermint tea.

The History Behind Essential Oils

For thousands of years ago, essential oils have been highly prized and used for their health benefits. 

(More to be Added.)

How are Essential Oils Extracted?

Essential oils are pure extracts obtained from various parts of plants through different methods. Leaves, bark, flowers, berries, seeds, and the peel are just a few of the parts of a plant that might be utilized to extract its essential oil.

Three common ways to extract essential oils from a plant are through steam distillation, solvent extraction, and cold pressing. Ideal extractions are through gentle steam distillation or cold pressing.

      • See collapsable section below for more details on these three extraction methods.

Distillation typically involves using steam and pressure to extract the oils without damaging the qualities of the oils. The pure essential oils can then be easily separated from the water that condenses.

The amount of heat and pressure applied to the plant matter can affect the quality of the oil produced.  When higher heats and pressures are used, more essential oil can be extracted.  This can result in a cheaper oil; however, that oil is generally lesser in quality compared to an oil extracted with lower temperatures and gentler pressures applied.

Fun Fact: The water separated from the essential oils has residue from the plants left in in. It is sometimes referred to as (plant) hydrosol.  Some BBS use this and label the product as essential oils. This is not an essential oil.  However, this water can be used for many lovely things!  In fact, rose hydrosol is commonly used in many cosmetic products for the scent and benefits that rose can provide.  The essential oil is always more concentrated, therefore more potent.

Expression (or cold pressing) is where the plant material (typically citrus rind) are mechanically pricked and pressed to squeeze out the oils found within.

Important Notes: Cold pressed essential oils have a shorter shelf life than oils that are steam distilled.  Cold pressed citrus essential oils also can cause photosensitivity.

Citrus peels can be steam stilled to avoid residues that happen with cold pressed essential oils.  Those residues can clog diffusers, stain fabric, and have a shorter shelf life.

Solvent Extraction is where additional ingredients are used to forcibly extract the essential oil from plant material. Such additional ingredients can include petroleum, ethanol, and CO2. When this process is used, there is residue from the solvent is left behind in the essential oil.

Fun Fact:  Essential oils extracted through this process are called Absolutes.

Note: CO2 does not leave behind residue from what I understand. The process is relatively new and very expensive.

I added extraction process into this list as enfleurage is typically how essential oils were extracted in ancient times.  This involves allowing the plant material to “marinate” in high quality fats.  Fats absorb the essential oils from the plant material to create a diluted version of an essential oil.

 

 

How Do You Use Essential Oils?

There are three ways you can use an essential oil.  You can use essential oils aromatically, topically, and internally.  Each option of use can provide different benefits!

      • For more information on each way to use an oil, see the collapsable section below.

The most commonly use of essential oils is through aromatherapy.

Essential oils can easily be diffused into the air or directly inhaled from the bottle.  The oils breathed in are amazing for mental health boosts.

Another benefit to diffusing essential oils into the air is 100% natural scenting for the room!

Essential oils can be applied to the skin neat (undiluted) or diluted with a carrier oil. Topically applied oils can help provide benefits from relief from pain to improving the health of your skin.

Essential oils can also be included as ingredients for skincare products.  Essential oils such as Lavender and Frankincense have been known to provide excellent benefits to the skin when applied topically.

If you seek a 100% natural perfume or cologne, apply essential oils to the skin instead of using a perfume filled with synthetic ingredients!  Between the many options of scents available with essential oils, you should be able to create an amazing perfume or cologne tailored exactly the way you like it!

Most people don’t realize that you can ingest (some) essential oils! EOs can be ingested in capsules, water, food, or under the tongue! Think of EOs as concentrated versions food nutrients.

For example, 1 drop of peppermint oil is the equivalent of about 28 cups of peppermint tea!  Next time you have an upset tummy, consider a single drop of peppermint essential oil instead of cup after cup of weak teas.  Or, if the process of enjoying a cup of tea is important to you, add a single drop of the oil to the tea!  You then get the benefit of the essential oil and the comfort of sipping a hot cup of tea.

Please Note: Just be very cautious in the oils you choose to ingest.  Do your research into the company you purchase your oils from.  Not all oils are created equal.  Most companies do not supply oils that are safe for internal use.

 

Why Should You Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils can assist your well being in one or more of the following ways:

    • eliminate toxins from your body
    • passing the “blood-brain” barrier via the limbic system
    • relax, clear the mind, and release emotional trauma
    • transport nutrients to staving human cells
    • act as powerful antioxidants
    • remove toxins in the air and purify surfaces

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their healing properties throughout various ancient cultures. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in the healing properties of what can be found in nature. If you are reading this page, you may be one of those people that have realized that essential oils can do amazing things.

Properties and Benefits of Essential Oils Oils

There are so many essential oils available with each oil providing a different benefit. Below is a list about five very popular essential oils, a few properties the oils have been known for, and ways the oils can be used.

To see a more extensive list of essential oils and their properties, please visit THIS PAGE.

* Please Note: The statements about specific oils below have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Essential oil products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Calming, Depression, Fever, Itching, Insomnia, Hair Loss, Menopause, Mood Swings, Skin Care, Stress,

* Ways to Use: Aromatically, Topically, Internally

Alertness, Cramps, Fatigue, Flu, Halitosis, Headache, Indigestion, Itching, Motion Sickness, Memory, Nausea,

* Ways to Use: Aromatically, Topically, Internally

Anxiety, Digestion, Depression, Fear, Insomnia, Menopause, Uplifting, Withdrawal

* Ways to Use: Aromatically, Topically, Internally

Anxiety, Blood Pressure, Colds, Concentration, Depression, Disinfectant, Fever, Heartburn, Overeating, Relaxation, Uplifting, Water Purification

* Ways to Use: Aromatically, Topically, Internally

Congestion, Cooling, Coughs, Disinfectant, Fever, Flu, Inflammation, Muscles, Pain, Respiratory Viruses

* Ways to Use: Aromatically, Topically