What is an Essential Oil?

 

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritual and emotionally uplifting properties. Primarily extracted through a careful steam distillation process but also through cold pressing, the purest organic essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they were extracted.

If you’ve ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you have experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. They are both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, protective properties and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their aromatic fragrances, essential oils have long been used for health care practices, beauty treatments and food preparation.

But what exactly are aromatic compounds? In short, these compounds are small organic molecules that tend to change quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. Their physical and chemical properties allow them to quickly move through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose. Such unique properties make essential oils ideal in helping to maintain a healthy mind and body. The type of aromatic compounds present determine both the oil’s aroma and the benefits thereof.

Over 3,000 varieties of aromatic compounds have been identified to date. The nature of an essential oil varies from plant to plant, within botanical families, and from species to species. The delicate ratio of aromatic constituents found in any given essential oil is what makes it unique and gives it specific benefits.

Even with organic essential oils, their composition can vary depending on the time of day, season, geographic location, method and duration of distillation, year grown and the weather, making every step of the production process a critical determinant of the overall quality of the product.

Essential oils can be used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used singularly or in complex blends depending on the desired benefit.

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