What are Essential Oils?
With the rise of MLM companies selling Essential Oils here in the Philippines, I’ve been getting more and more inquiries for these fascinating oils and I wanted to share a little bit about EO’s with you.
Essential oils are concentrates derived through the steam or water distillation of seeds, stems, barks, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds and leaves of plants. Most essential oils are clear but some have inate colors ranging from yellow to amber. Unlike fragrance oils (and perfumes), ESSENTIAL OILS are PURELY DERIVED FROM NATURAL SOURCES.
Essential Oils can be extracted using several techniques:
Essential oils are typically extracted using steam distillation. The plant is subjected to steam at high pressure, releasing the plant material’s essential oils into water vapor. The steam is the cooled back to water and the oil floats on the surface, which is skimmed off and filtered. Most oils are extracted using this method including lavender and rosemary.
Essential oils obtained through expression involve pressing the plant materials’ until the oil directly comes out of the plant material.
A third, and more complicated, method uses chemical solvents to dissolve the aromatic compounds out of the plant. The extract from this method is refined to produce an absolute. An example is Jasmine Oil.
What’s the Difference Between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils?
Simply put, Fragrance Oils refers to oils that are natural, synthetic or a combination of both. Yes – natural and aroma chemicals can be combined together to create a unique odor. In fact, most fragrances used in the market today contain a mixture of both!
Essential oils, on the hand, only refer to those derived from natural sources. The scent of fresh herbs, zesty peppermint, fresh lavender and tangy fennel are just some of the mouthwatering scents that help people relax and breathe deeply. Off all the plants in the world, only one percent contains essential oils which are often used in perfumes, incense, aromatherapy and medicines.
NEVER PUT UNDILUTED ESSENTIAL OILS ON YOUR SKIN
Because these oils are extremely potent (they possess high levels of active ingredients!) and may cause toxicity and some negative side effects, essential oils must be diluted before use. Remember, not because it is natural means it is always safe – some natural oils are even more harmful compared to their synthetic equivalents.
Your skin can also become very irritated from using essential oils that can cause a hot or warming sensation when placed on the skin. Skin irritations can also happen immediately if your skin is sensitive to certain compounds in the oils. Continuous over-use of undiluted essential oils can likewise result to sensitization over time.
A few oils cause photosenstisation, or sensitivity to UV light and should not be applied to skin before exposure to the sun. These include: Angelica, Bergamot (unless ‘Bergaptene Free’), Cumin, Lemon, Lime (unless ‘Distilled’ rather than ‘Cold Pressed’), Orange & Verbena. Do not apply any product with citrus oils to your skin if you are going out in the sun. The essential citrus oils can cause burning and reddening of the skin.
You can dilute your oils just a little bit at a time whenever you’re using them, but I find that time consuming over the long-term. I prefer to pre-dilute my oils, so they’re easy and convenient to use whenever I need them.
FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
As a general rule most Aromatherapists advise against using Essential Oils during pregnancy, though others disagree. Oils to definitely avoid during pregnancy are: Arnica, Basil, Birch, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Cypress, Fennel, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Peppermint, Rosemary & Thyme. Also steer clear of Lavender & Rose during the first four months of pregnancy.
Anyone suffering from epilepsy should avoid Sweet Fennel, Sage, Hyssop, Eucalyptus, Pennyroyal, Juniper, Tansy, Thuja, Turpentine, and Rosemary, as these oils may cause seizures. People with high blood pressure should stay away from Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage & Thyme.
Never ingest essential oils or bring into contact with eyes.
ALWAYS CHECK THE SAFETY OF ANY OIL PRODUCT BEFORE BUYING.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Hope this gives a little bit of insight on essential oils!