What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are volatile oils containing a mixture of chemical compounds extracted from plants.
Methods Of Extraction for Essential Oils
There are a few methods used when extracting essential oils including, Steam Distillation (the most common method), CO2 Extraction, Maceration, Enfleurage, Mechanical Distillation such as Cold Pressing or Solvent Extraction.
Each botanical compound extracted contains the life force of the plant, which gives each essential oil it's characteristic fragrance/ aroma. This is in contrast to synthetic fragrances which are often petroleum based, man-made compounds created in a lab.
Once extracted, the oils can be used in aromatherapy, either by practitioners or by diffusing in water and inhaling (e.g.oil burner). They can also be added to fragrance skincare, or used in carrier oils for application in massage.
Essential oils are commonly used by aromatherapists as a natural medicine, but also by the eco loving public (that's you😊) as an addition to natural skincare, home cleaning and home remedies.
Essential oils, however natural, are potent and should never be consumed. When used on the skin they should not be applied neat (without diluting in a carrier oil). These are practices that have been applied by aromatherapists and should never be attempted at home by an unqualified individual.