What Are Essential Oils?
- Saturday, 19 December 2009
Essential oils are not to be confused with fragrant oils, which are combinations of synthetically manufactured chemicals designed to "mimic" the aroma of natural materials.
Essential oils are distilled from plant material using water, steam, or both. The process involves placing plant material over a grate and forcing steam through the grate. In the alternative, the plant material can be placed in boiling water.
In either case, the heat from the steam and/or water causes the plant material to break apart and release an aromatic vapor. This vapor is condensed through cooling tubes into liquid form. This liquid is partly the essential oil of the plant and partly the hydrosol (water) of the plant. The essential oil and hydrosol are then separated from one another and bottled.
As you experiment with aromatherapy, remember: different essential oils produce different results in different persons with different skin types.