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What is an essential oil?

What is an Essential Oil?

You may have seen and heard about essential oils and how beneficial they are to your well-being, but not exactly sure what are they and why so. You are not alone.

Essential oils are basically natural oils that are obtained in the leaves of aromatic plants by distillation during the process of photosynthesis and then stored in a variety of places, such as in the flowers, leaves, fruit, seeds. Essential oils are highly concentrated oil.

Most plants produce their own oils that can be found in their leaves, stems, fruits, fruit peels, seeds, flowers, roots, woods and/or resins. The oils serve three purposes:
(1) The oil can repel and defend against insects;
(2) The oil can protect infections like fungal and bacteria; and
(3) The oil can attract pollinators for reproduction

The oils offer therapeutic benefits to human beings.
People from around the world use essential oils for physical application and in aromatherapy.

Methods of extracting the expensive and precious aromatic oils from their plant parts:
• Steam distillation (Most common method)
• Cold-pressed
• Solvent extraction
Through this distilling process, a much higher concentrated oil is collected.
Essential oils are very concentrated. For e.g. it takes about 90kg of Lavender plant material to produce 0.45kg of Lavender essential oil.

Watch how Lavender is harvested
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-vlvvzVa10

Watch how Lemon oil is extracted.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob5Vo2e4yP8

Hence, the more botanical material required to produce the essential oil, the more costly it is. However, in order to get the most benefits from using the oils, we only require a few drops to fill a room with nice scent.

Each oil consists of different chemical constituent and these therapeutic benefits can lead to better lifestyle, health and wellbeing like stress-relief, restful sleep, pain relief. The chemical constituent also scented the essential oils their special aromas and properties.

Why do they have Latin names?
Sometimes, when you visit shop that sells essential oils, you come across their name and Latin names. A plant’s common name is the name that we use to refer, e.g. Lavender, Sweet Orange, Tea Tree.

Plants sharing the same common name don’t necessarily share the same therapeutic properties, benefits or contraindications. No two plants share the same Latin name that is assigned to the plant so as to avoid confusion.

The reason that their Latin names is indicated on the bottle is so that we can identify the exact type of essential oil in your bottle. Their aromas & benefits are different. For e.g., you may have seen different types of Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus Globulus and Eucalyptus Radiata have different aromas and benefits.

Find out more about essential oils by signing up for our workshops.

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