What Are Essential Oils?

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils come from all around the world. Australia is as famous for its Tea Tree as France is for its Lavender, and there are many other countries specifically linked to their native essential oils. Most essential oils have healing properties but some are more effective than others. The healing properties refer to what they do; for example antibiotic, antiseptic, detoxifying.

How should I store my essential oils?

A: Oils should always be stored in dark-coloured glass bottles, usually blue, green or amber. Keep them in the shade, away from heat and sunlight. Keep bottles away from pets and children. See also Cautions and Contraindications

How long do essential oils last?

A: Oils last anything from months to a few years. However, all essential oils degrade over time; it may take a very long time depending on the oil. Some signs of degradation will the loss of their fresh scent, with the oil perhaps becoming cloudy and thicker whilst others may smell downright rancid. Heat and sunlight will cause them to "go off" more quickly. Never leave lids off bottles and allow their healing powers to escape!

What are Carrier or Base Oils?

Carrier oils themselves can be very therapeutic; ideally these vegetable, nut, and seed oils should be cold-pressed, un-refined, and additive-free. Amongst the most popular are sweet almond, apricot kernel, jojoba and avocado.

Base oils are a type of essential oil, as the latter is added to the base in order to allow proper dilution of these essential oils in order for them to be applied to the skin.

What Are Fragrance Oils?

Fragrance oils are not essential oils, as they are man-made and have no place in Aromatherapy for healing because they have no therapeutic properties.

They can be toxic, cause dizziness and headaches. Fragrance or fragrant oils are made up of a conglomeration of different chemicals that can include natural scents and oils, but do not, in themselves come from plants. It is important to know the source and quality of oils for proper usage and application.

Can I consume Essential Oils (eat or drink them)?

A: As a general rule, NO. Never swallow essential oils unless directed by a doctor or qualified practitioner. Even then, there would be few essential oils appropriate for ingestion. Severe health problems can result from swallowing essential oils.

Can I gargle with essential oils?

A: One or two drops of essential oil completely dispersed in a glass of water can be beneficial to soothe a sore throat, ease respiratory symptoms, and alleviate other oral problems. To be safe, choose Fragonia oil, Tea Tree, Caraway or Fennel oil whilst being careful to avoid irritant or orally toxic oils.

Why are Essential Oils expensive?

A: There are various reasons that determine the price of an Essential Oil. Without going into the marketing, bottling, and retail/wholesale distribution costs, the primary reasons are the cost of extracting the oil from the plant, the rarity of the plant, and the yield of the crop. When you consider it takes around 30 kilograms of rosemary plant, 8 million hand-picked jasmine flowers and 60,000 hand-picked rose blossoms to produce a small amount of their respective essential oils, then you might appreciate the time and cost factors required.

Why do Essential Oils or Formulas come in such small bottles?

A: Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile liquids extracted from the seed, the flower, the bark, the fruit, the leaf or the root of various plants. As such, they are extremely potent and a very small amount is all that is ever needed; "less is best" is the aromatherapist's motto. Each single drop of essential oil contains all the molecules and energy of the entire plant, consisting of over 100 intricately balanced organic components.

Why do Essential oils have long, complicated names?

All essential oils will be labeled with their Latin name and their common name; for example, Tea Tree oil is also known as Melaleuca alternifolia. The Latin name is made up of the plant’s family or genus; so in this case Melaleuca is the family name and its species is alternifolia. Another example related to the Tea Tree is the Fragonia, the common name and the Latin name is Adonis fragrans.

How do I know that I have bought a good quality Essential oil?

It is important to buy from a reputable supplier, and essential oils should always be supplied in dark blue, green or brown amber bottles usually sold in 10mL, 12mL or 25mL sizes. They should have a label stating 'essential oil' and ideally they should show the Latin name to avoid any confusion. If a bottle says fragrance oil, perfume oil or something similar, then this is not an essential oil. Be aware of adulterated oils, which may be essential oils that are diluted with vegetable oils, alcohol, synthetic material, or other similar but less expensive essential oils and can be sold by less reputable suppliers in order to keep costs down.

If it smells rancid, then do not use it even if it is an essential oil. All essential oils are not created equally. Therapeutic results can only be achieved if high-quality, unadulterated, true essential oils are used.