What are Essential Oils ?
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stem, roots, flowers and other parts of plants.
They have been used for centuries. In fact, you can find them in the bible !
Essential oils offer a variety of benefits and can be used 3 different ways; aromatically, topically and internally (which I will do another article about)
Now, that seems quite simple doesn't it ? There are a few processes to get through prior getting essential oil. There are several methods to obtain/produce the essential oils. We are going to look at 2; steam distillation and expression. Both of these methods are organic and allow the aromatic compounds to retain their potent and powerful aroma.
Steam Distillation uses heated steam and pressure to extract essential oils from plants. This is the most popular/used method in the essential oils world as it produces very clear and pure essential oil. The oils are distilled way below boiling point due to the pressurization during this process, protecting the chemical compounds of the essential oils. The chemical profiles within the oil would be damaged or even destroyed if higher temperature were used.
This process is usually used to extract essential oils from the peels of citrus. It doesn't use heat at all, hence being referred to as cold-pressed extraction. The rind of the fruit passes across grated cylinders that grind the peel's surface, breaking open tiny sacs that contain essential oils. The fruit is then sprayed with water to collect the essential oil after it is released. The watery texture goes through a filtering process to get rid of excess peel pieces, and centrifuged to separated the water from the oi.
So that gives you an basic general idea on what are essential oils. I'll try to write up several articles to educate and share the knowledge whenever possible because as we all know... Knowledge is power !