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Do You Know What Essentials Oils Are?

Aug 17, 2007
Plants are the basis of essential oils; these oils in living plants are the immune system of the plant. The oils are extracted from the bark, flower, fruit, grass, leaf, needle, rind, root, seed and wood of various plants and sold in a 100% concentration.

Extraction methods make then very highly concentrated. Small amounts are all that you need for most recipes. Contrary to their name, essential oils do not feel oily; most are clear, but some are amber colored. It is important to understand that absolute oils are not the same as essential oils. Various solvents are used during extraction for absolute oils and these oils are used for making fragrances.

Extraction may be by steam (or water), expression, or supercritical CO2. These methods each have distinct processes and reasons for using them.

Steam: this is the purest and most popular method for extraction plant oils. Plants are steamed in a pressurized container. As the steam pushes through the plant, the oils are evaporated as everything cools, the oils return to their liquid form and are able to be collected.

Expression: this method is less popular simply because it cannot be used with most plants; only oils that are locked in the peel of citrus fruits can be extracted by this method. Citrus peels, which are infused with much oil, are pressed. This literally squeezes all liquid from the peel and this liquid must be filtered to collect the oil.

Supercritical CO2: this method utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) in the extraction process and is used to extract oils which emanate the truest fragrance for the plant.

Therapeutic grade essential oils are distilled with low pressure and low temperatures, according to the plant that is being used. These oils are used in aroma therapy to achieve various psychological effects. For instance, lavender is considered relaxing while peppermint is invigorating. Inhalation or topical application are the main ways that aromatherapy employs to achieve the desired effects.

Important notes:

Essential oils should not be used on young children and pregnant women.
Essential oils should essential oils be ingested, some are highly toxic.
Essential oils should be kept away from eyes (in case or contact, blot with olive oil and rinse well

Essential oils: How Can You Use Them?

Home use of essential oils usually consists of bath additives and topical application (which may be through use in organic skin care or though massage using organic products).

Essential oils (like lavender) used in your diffuser can create a calming atmosphere for everyone in your house. Effects from essential oils usually last about four hours.

As a bath additive, use an oil that produces a certain effect, for instance, a morning bath may have rosemary as an added oil because rosemary is stimulating. A mere 6 drops of essential oil to your bathwater is enough. Remember that the oils are very highly concentrated.

Topical application through organic skin care is very popular today because many people are making their own skin care treatments at home using organic ingredients. This approach to skin care is a return to yesteryear with a twist.

We have learned so much about skin and this knowledge added to ideas about skin care from much simpler times give organic skin care a step above skin care lines that boast many man made chemicals. The addition of essential oils to the organic systems gives you wonderful psychological effects that are not available through most large commercial lines.

If you are currently using a ready to use organic skin care line that does not feature essential oils as ingredients in the line, contact the manufacturer before you try adding them. There may be reasons that the manufacturer has opted against the oils, and you need to know about possible conflicts in ingredients.

Topical application through organic massage emollients is usually a simple mixture of a preferred organic essential oil (usually a calming oil) to an organic carrier oil. A carrier oil is simply a vegetable oil rich in nutrients.

Many of the carrier oils are extracted through expression. Jojoba is one of the most popular carrier oils (apricot kernel, grapeseed, and olive are just a few of the others). For massage, use about 6 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. If olive oil is your choice, it is wise to dilute this with another carrier, for example, you would add 6 drops essential oil to 1/2 ounce olive oil and 1/2 ounce jojoba. This is because of olive oils strong scent.
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