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What are essential Oils?
Essential oils are not only extracted from flowers but are botanical extracts from various plant materials including herbs, trees and other parts of plants. The essential oils are extracted using a variety of methods depending on the material that is being used. The resulting liquids are highly aromatic. Essential Oils appear to be expensive but they are highly concentrated so it only takes a few drops.
Essential oils have a long history and have been used by many prominent holistic practitioners. These oils are different than other non-essential oils. The essential oils will evaporate if left open and have therapeutic properties to promote health. Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. Where essential oils are derived from the true plants, perfume oils are artificially created fragrances or contain artificial substances and do not offer the therapeutic benefits that essential oils offer.
The oils can be used during massage where the oil is absorbed through the skin and vaporization where the molecules enter the bloodstream via the lungs. Essential oils can be taken medicinally but you must know what you are doing before taking them internally. It is best to consult a professional practitioner.
The many uses of Essential Oils
- Air Freshener
- Foot and Hand Bathes
- Hair Care
- Skin Care
Essential oils are often used by diluting them with carrier oil (sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, grape seed oil) and then applying this blend to the skin for absorption. Essential Oils are usually sold for individual use in very small bottles. Essential oils can vary greatly in quality and price. Factors that can affect the quality and price of the oil include the rarity of the botanical, the country of origin and growing/climate conditions, quality standards of the distiller, and how much oil is produced by the botanical.
Essential oils can often be purchased as blends of several essential oils. The advantage if it is a blend of pure essential oils is that you can save from having to buy every essential oil individually. The disadvantage is that you have no control over the blend by not mixing it yourself nor can you reliably mix the blend with other oils.
Carrier oils (also known as fixed oils and base oils)
Essential Oils must be diluted before they are used on the skin and this is done by using carrier oil. The essential oil is mixed with the carrier oil which dilutes the concentrated molecules and this also helps to spread the oil on the skin.
Common Carrier Oils
Almond oil – Aloe Vera oil – Apricot kernel oil
Avocado oil – Calendula oil – Evening primrose oil
Grape seed oil – Hazelnut oil – Jojoba oil
Macadamia oil – Rosehip oil – Sesame oil
Walnut oil – Wheat germ oil
Carrier oils should be extracted using the cold pressed method in which no external heat is used to force more oil out.