So in this blog post I mention that I went from an essential oil skeptic to believer with one experience. You may be wondering (like I was): what exactly is an essential oil? This is what my favorite, go-to, know-it-all website (Wikipedia) said they are:
“An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.”
If you understand that, congratulations. To boil it down, an essential oil is a water-repellent plant molecule containing a chemical compound that has a scent. If that's still confusing think of essential oils as the scented liquid of a plant.
Essential oils can be used in a number of ways: diffused, inhaled, applied topically, incorporated into massage, or taken internally. Personally, even though many of Young Living Essential Oils are GRAs (can be ingested), I choose not to ingest them in capsule form in or water. Totally my personal preference.
EOs can inspire a positive emotional state, enhance your physical wellness, purify your home, refine your skin, and create deep spiritual awareness.
So how are essential oils actually extracted from plants? Plant material is put through a process called distilling. There are four types of distilling methods.
- Steam distillation – the most common oil extraction method. This process allows even the most delicate plant material to be extracted without using high heat and pressure, which damages the integrity of the oil.
- Cold pressing – this distillation technique is specifically used for citrus essential oils. Heavy weight is put on plant material and the oil that is left behind is collected.
- Resin tapping – much less common way of distillation. This process involves cutting an external part of the plant matter (such as tree bark) which allows access to the internal resin. After this process, the resin is steam distilled.
- Absolute oil extraction – this is the most complicated type of distillation because it requires use of a solvent (a substance that is used to dissolve another substance). This process is used when plant material is so sensitive that it wouldn’t survive steam distillation.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about how distillation works, watch the video found here.
That's all for this post - hope you found it interesting! If you have questions, let me know via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.