What are essential oils?
You may have heard of essential oils, but what exactly are they, and how can they be used to improve physical, mental and emotional health?
Our guide to essential oils, includes:
Essential oils: 100% natural plant extracts
Essential oils are the essence of a single plant species, distilled into an oil that retains the natural scents or flavours of that plant. Each essential plant oil contains many naturally-occurring chemicals that reflect the plant’s distinctive characteristics and therapeutic benefits. Not every plant produces oil, and where that oil is produced varies from plant to plant, be it in the root, stem, leaves, bark, fruits or even sap.
The scent from an essential oil is produced when aromatic compounds within the oil react with air. These create those distinctive aromas we can distinguish and recognize, such as lavender, lemon, bergamot and frankincense. That’s why you get a ‘rush’ of smell when you open a bottle of essential oil, (and why you should keep the bottle firmly sealed between uses).
An oil – but not oily!
Essential oils are so called because they contain oil-soluble compounds found in the plant. There may be as many as 200 different natural chemicals in any single plant essential oil, which is why they have such wide therapeutic uses.
Essential oils and carrier oils
Many essential oils are highly concentrated, so should only be used when diluted to a safe level using a carrier oil. This simply means adding a drop or two of essential oils to another oil such as almond or jojoba, to create a blend that can be applied, diffused or inhaled without risk of over-exposure. It also ensures your essential oils last longer too!
You’ll find both essential oils and carrier oils at our online shop, along with a selection of essential oil diffusers.
How are plant essential oils extracted?
There are three main methods: distillation, pressing and CO2 extraction.
Distilled essential oils
Essential oils are usually obtained from the plant by distillation. Steam is passed through plant material and vaporizes the naturally light chemicals (oils). The steam is then cooled and condensed, creating two different end products:
- Oil soluble molecules (an essential oil, such as rosemary oil)
- Water-soluble molecules in a solution (a hydrosol, such as rose petal water)
Citrus fruit essential oils
Essential oils can also be obtained from the peel of citrus fruit simply by pressing or scraping the fruit’s rind, with no heat involved. We all know the sensation of peeling an orange and watching (and smelling) the natural orange oil spray out from pores in the fruit’s outer rind. That’s why citrus oil such as lemon oil smells almost the same as the fruit itself.
Essential oil CO2 extraction
For a more concentrated oil, you can dissolve the oils in carbon dioxide through a process known as supercritical CO2 extraction. This produces a high grade oil very close to the original plant materials. Oils produced by this method are highly concentrated and may have different therapeutic uses, as they contain a wider range of compounds than distilled essential oils.
Essential oils: quality not quantity
A quick look at the cost of essential oils online will reveal a vast difference in prices. The problem is, how do you tell quality essential oils at sensible prices from low quality oils at inflated prices?
There are many factors that affect the quality of essential oils, including:
- How rare the source plant is
- The country of origin
- The growing conditions for the plant, and whether wild or farmed
- The process and standard of distillation
- The amount of oil each plant species can produce
- The supply chain involved
Aetheric Essentials: quality essential oils at sensible prices
At Aetheric Essentials, we source our oils from the prime growing locations worldwide.
- We source pure wild crafted / certified organic essentials oils
- We buy only zero 0% chemical / pesticide / herbicide residue free oils
- We vet our oil producers carefully
- We ensure that the oil is distilled or extracted without the use of chemicals
- We assess each oil’s purity and concentration
We only sell our essential oils and blends directly from our website, at our own two clinics, and through a hand-picked selection of professional practitioners in Canada.
We don’t have to pay rent on expensive brick and mortar locations. Nor do we operate a pyramid structure with hundreds of affiliates where prices can get rapidly inflated.
Instead, we sell our single essential oils and Resonant Blends direct to professional practitioners and (may we say) enlightened private customers like yourself! So you get premium quality essential oils for a sensible price that reflects its quality, not the number of people involved in selling it…
Why not compare essential oil prices now – just click to see our essential oil selection. You’ll also find more detailed information on each essential oil’s origin, extraction method and constituents.
For more information on our essential oil range, see our pages on: