What are essential oils?
Essential oils are fragrant volatile liquids extracted by distillation or expression from a single botanical source. They come from various plant parts and vary in colour. They are volatile, which means they evaporate and they are not water soluble.
There are five distinct characteristics of essential oils, which make them therapeutically unique and used for aromatherapy.
- They penetrate the skin quickly and react on and within the body.
- All pure essential oils are anti-fungal and antibacterial to a greater or lesser degree.
- Some essential oils can promote cell renewal.
- Essential oils have a direct and immediate effect on the mind and emotions via the sense of smell.
- They are highly concentrated, 70 times more so than the plant from which they come.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these essential oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing.
As form of alternative medicine, aromatherapy is gaining momentum. It is used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function. There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own healing properties.
What is the difference between a high quality pure essential oil and its synthetic counterpart?
A pure essential oil is 100% true to the plant from which it is sourced. It is a pure plant extract; a volatile liquid taken from a single botanical source mostly extracted by steam distillation. A fragrant oil is made by blending synthetic chemical compounds in a laboratory in an endeavor to duplicate the scent of the flower not of the pure essential oil. The end result is an oil which is not recognized or used by those seeking to practice the principles of Aromatherapy.
Why are some oils so much more expensive than others?
Essential oils are aromatic extracts from specific plant parts such as petal, heartwood, peel, stem etc. There is only a very small amount of oil in the plant part from which the oil is taken. Some oils such as Eucalyptus produce a high yield of oil whereas Rosa Damascena (Rose) requires 30 rose heads to produce 1 drop of pure essential oil. Hence the cost of pure Rose makes it an investment and a worthwhile one at that.
Other factors which contribute to the final delivery and price of a pure essential oils include cultivation, farming methods, distillation and finally storage.
Why are essential oils mixed into massage base oils when used on the body?
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and very potent and are therefore not recommended to be used directly on the skin. Cold pressed oils are the natural carriers for pure essential oils and can be massaged into the skin in the correct dosage.
Are Essential oils safe to use during pregnancy?
Some oils are not recommended for use during the full term of pregnancy, especially the herbs. There are however certain oils such as Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Mandarin which can provide emotional centering and comfort to the mind and body during this time. If an oil should not be used during pregnancy, it is outlined on that product’s’ page.
Can essential oils be ingested?
Internally ingesting essential oils is not approved in Canada by the CFA, however when prescribed by a practitioner, there are many oils that are known to be safe for internal consumption.
What is the lifespan or expiry date of essential oils?
The lifespan of an essential oil varies as oxygen, heat and light affect the overall degradation of the oil so storage important. Store your oils in a dark, cool and dry place. Refrigeration does help to preserve an essential oil, but it is not necessary. 18-30 months is the general lifespan of an oil. Citrus oils degrade faster and should be used within a year, where others like Sandalwood and Patchouli get better over time.