What exactly is an essential oil?
Well, an essential oil is an aromatic compound found in the bark, leaves, seeds, flowers, and other parts of plants. When you smell the sweet aroma of a blooming flower in the morning, that is what an essential oil is made of! Not only are they the fragrance of plants but also help in the plant’s pollination and protection. On a scientific level, an essential oil is a volatile aromatic compound which means that the organic molecules change quickly from the solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. When you open your bottle of essential oil, you can instantly smell the potent fragrance of the oil, even from across the room because as a volatile compound, it can change quickly into gas and move fast through the air.
Essential oils are extracted from their plant form two ways: (at least when you order from doTERRA, my favorite company to use because they ensure the highest quality essential oil with their intricate distillation process. Some essential oils are “fragrance oils” while others, like doTERRA, are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils.)
Steam Distillation: This is the most common way to extract oils. Steam, which is monitored at a very specific temperature, is passed through the plant material. The combination of steam and gentle pressure release the oils, which then flows through a condenser and cools, which seperates the water from the oil so that the oil can be collected.
Expression, or Cold Pressed: This process does not involve heat but instead releases the oils using mechanical pressure. Proper distillation is essential and is a delicate process that varies from plant to plant. doTERRA uses this technique to distill all of their citrus oils, such as lemon, wild orange, grapefruit, etc.
You can use essential oils in a variety of ways: aromatic, topical, and ingestion. Not all oils are recommended for all uses so be sure to educate yourself because you choose which method is best. Eucalyptus for example is not to be ingested. I’ve found that a diffuser is the best way to use the oils aromatically. It is so easy to use – just add your favorite oils, fill with filtered water, and enjoy! There are different types of diffusers so it is good to do your research before you buy just any ol’ diffuser. I will get around to writing a post about all of the different kinds of diffusers soon!
In my experience with essential oils so far, I’ve found that they are a great all natural alternative to health products and they are so fun to play with everyday. There is literally an oil for everything! I have a horse at the barn who is starting to grow a fungus on his face from sweating so much this summer, and I decided tonight to whip up a little remedy for him. It includes: fractionated coconut oil, filtered water, apple cider vinegar, lavender, frankincense, and Melaleuca. I can’t wait to try it out!
Have any oil questions?? Feel free to ask!! I am growing in my education and love any and all questions.