What is pure essential oil?
Essential oil is the essence which is produced by the plant and distilled. Essences are produced in the plant in special secretory cells which may be in the leaves, bark, flower, or other part of the plant.
The essence may be stored in the same cell in which it is made, or it may pass into a storage sac or duct. These cells are often just below the surface of the leaf, and the essence is released if the leaf is crushed, giving off its perfume.
In other plants, storage ducts are in minute hairs on the leaf. These plants are highly aromatic and release their perfume when simply brushed against, since the tiny hairs break and let the essence into the air.
In some woody plants and trees, the essence is stored in ducts in the fibrous parts of the wood or bark. In citrus fruits, the essence is found in large storage sacs in the peel.
The proportion of essence in the plant varies a great deal from species to species, which accounts for the various prices of essential oils.
The amount of essence in a plant varies according to the growing conditions and time of the year. The time of harvesting is carefully chosen to maximise the yield.
Plant essences are chemically complex structures. They use energy from the sunlight to combine the chemical elements found in the air, soil, and water, such as carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, and from these construct hundreds of different aromatic molecules.
These molecules are grouped into 8 main families: acids, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, phenols, sesquiterpenes, and terpenes. It is unique combination of molecules found in each plant that gives it its characteristic perfume and therapeutic properties.
Pure essential oil is the product of distillation of the plants’ parts that carry plant essence. Essential oils are the base materials of the aromatherapy.
Although the term essential oil is used to describe all the oils used in aromatherapy, those obtained by methods other that distillation should not be so called.
Those which are extracted by simple pressure, such as citrus fruits, are still the essence. Others, such as floral oils of jasmine, neroli and rose, obtained by enfleurage or solvent extraction, are classified as absolutes.
Essential oil is a very concentrated substance and should rarely be used in its undiluted form. It is very volatile – may evaporate very quickly on contact with the air. That is why it is so effective in aromatherapy treatment. It should be kept in airtight bottle.
Essential oil has a light, non-greasy consistency. Some essential oils are colourless, or pale yellow, but some have a colour, such as blue chamomile. The majority of essences and absolutes are coloured.
Essential oil is highly complex chemically, which makes it versatile and safe since the many constituents work together and balance each other’s effects.
One essential oil has many therapeutic properties due to its complicated chemistry including fighting off infections, healing wounds and kill viruses.
Essential oil is pure when it is distilled from the plant and not diluted.