Essential oils (EOs) have been around for centuries, but in recent years their use to help maintain health and well-being has grown in popularity. However, essential oils should not be confused with essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are called ‘essential’ because the body needs them for good health but cannot synthesize them. That is, it must come from food. Instead, Essential Oils india suppliers are ‘essential’ in the sense of the concentrated essence of a plant. Chambers Dictionary defines ‘essential oil’ as “a mixture of volatile oils with a distinctive and characteristic odor obtained from certain aromatic plants”. ‘Volatile’ here has nothing to do with anger or aggression. It simply means that oil has the ability to quickly change from a liquid to a vapor.
Commercially, EO is used in cosmetics and toiletries and as a natural flavoring agent in food. Nowadays, many people use it at home as a household aid and to solve daily health problems. They may also seek the help of a qualified aromatherapist, usually a professional therapist who combines massage with the use of specific oils tailored to individual needs.
How are essential oils made?
Oils are extracted from various parts of plants. For example, juniper oil is extracted from the berry, chamomile and clary sage from the flower, celery from the seed, and cinnamon oil from the bark. Rosewood, cedar and sandalwood oils come from the wood of these real trees.
When buying essential oils, you can feel the difference in price. Citrus oils like Sweet Orange usually only cost a few pounds, while oils like Neroli and Rose Absolute can cost more. The difference in cost usually reflects how essential oils are obtained and how rare or expensive the actual plants are to grow and maintain. Sandalwood, for example, has been prized by many peoples for centuries and has been central to many religious ceremonies. Its popularity, coupled with the fact that the tree takes 8 to 14 years to grow, means that demand for sandalwood has exceeded supply, and the price of its oil is higher than others.
Common EOs such as lavender and peppermint are usually distilled and steam is used to evaporate the plant’s volatile compounds. The vapor then condenses back into a liquid.
Citrus oil is inexpensive because the skin of the fruit contains a relatively large amount of oil and the trees are not expensive to grow. These oils are usually either pressed or cold pressed.
Most EOs from flowers are extracted using solvents such as ethyl alcohol and then removed by evaporation. This is because the flowers generally do not contain enough oil to express and are too delicate for steam distillation.