Are all Essential Oils the Same?

Is everything you see with "essential oils” in the name, a true therapeutic oil?

Let’s look at a few interesting things.

Essence are the life force of plants. When you crush the petal of a rose or tear the leaf from a peppermint plant, a liquid substance emerges. These tiny drops of liquid are called essential oils. They form in the “blood” of the plant, the clear liquid that courses through plant tissue in the same way our blood passes through us. It chemically resembles blood except instead of the center molecule being iron, it is magnesium. It does the same thing for plants that blood does for us: nourishing the cells, bringing oxygen and cleansing. These essences also attract beneficial insects and scare off harmful ones, playing a part in the reproduction of plants by ensuring pollination. They help regulate heat and somehow “communicate” between plants as well, playing a big part in companion plantings.

The first misconception I would like to clear up about “essential oils” comes from their name, they are not really oils. They are very different from vegetable, animal, or petroleum-based oils. They are not like the essential fatty acids that occur in vegetable oils. Instead of being oily, they are highly volatile (evaporate quickly), however they readily absorb into vegetable oils and other fats. Most are lighter than water and yet are not water soluble, they float on water. Pure essential oils when put on blotting paper will impregnate it, then evaporate and disperse leaving no oily ring. There are a few exception to this rule, but very few. On the other hand if you put a drop of vegetable oil on blotting paper it will definitely leave an oily ring.

These plant extracts contain hundreds of organic constituents and other natural elements. Essential oils carry the beneficial properties of the plants they were derived from and provide a natural form of herbal energy. They vary in fragrance, colour, thickness, method of extraction, and the plant material from which it is extracted.

A pure e. oil is one that does not contain added chemicals or additives of any kind, including vegetable oils, it has had nothing added to it. However, a pure e. oil does not necessarily have a high therapeutic value, in fact its benefit can be very low. This may seem astonishing when you first begin to understand aromatherapy. When you are looking for e. oil for aromatherapy use you want a pure essential oil, from a single species, that has the highest therapeutic content. Only a GLC (gas liquid chromatography) test and a proper reading can determine the therapeutic quality.

The therapeutic quality of an essential oil can be affected by such things as where the plant or tree is grown, whether it is hot or cold, dry or wet, elevation, the time of day it is harvested, how it is extracted, among other things.

Be sure and check out all the information and benefits of the different Individual Essential Oils on this site to find how to use them and what they can do for you.

For effective medicinal use it is crucial that only pure essential oils with a high therapeutic value be used. It is pointless to buy any other essential oil or product, no matter how great it’s aroma, because reconstituted products or chemical copies of natural essences simply do not work for medicinal purposes.

The only problem is that the medicinal properties are not important to the biggest consumer of essential oils, the perfume industry. A very large variety of “essential oil” products have been devised to meet the demand of this market, to give the uniformity that nature cannot provide.

To make this confusing to the normal consumer, all of these products come under the name of “essential oils.” There are reconstitutions, nature identicals, isolates, perfume compounds, and synthetic aromas just to name some that take the place of essential oils.

Then there are ones that have been mixed with others, to mimic the aroma of another that may be more expensive. For an example carnation oil is very expensive so they may mix other less expensive natural essence to create the aroma of carnation, this is fine if all you want is the scent for perfumery, but not good if you want the therapeutic properties of the essential oil for medicinal purposes.

Plus some suppliers may also dilute a pure oil in a carrier oil and sell it as a pure natural essential oil.

Oil quality is important when choosing an essential oil for aromatherpay use, click here to find things to check on when looking for therapeutic oils.

Essential oils even when in the same size of bottle are never all the same price, there are many variations for each oil that affects the price. One oil can be one hundred times the cost of another, with one bottle just a few dollars and another over a hundred dollars. The more costly e. oils are usually in smaller bottles so they are more affordable. The benefits derived from using the genuine, therapeutic oils more than justifies the higher cost of them.

The methods of extraction vary depending on the plant material. The essence are usually secreted from special glands, ducts, or cells of one or several parts of the plants, and from the sap of certain trees. These glands and cells are present in the roots, stems, bark, leaves, and flowers.

In some plants the e. oils are more abundant, while in others they are less abundant - which yields less oil. This in itself has a direct influence on the price of an essential oil, not even considering other variations such as varying growing conditions or transportation and production cost. Plus an essential oil can be made up of many separate substances, and those from flowers are much more complicated that those from leaves.

Some examples:

it takes eight million jasmine flowers to yield 1 kilogram of essential oil;

about 1000 orange peels to produce about 20 oz;

sixty thousand rose petals to produce one ounce;

by this example you can see that orange oil is going to be less expensive than jasmine and rose more expensive than either.

Remember that each essential oil is unique, extracted through different methods, from various plants and flowers grown countries and seasons apart, and are derived from many different species of the same plant and therefore can vary tremendously.

You will only use a few drops per application, so that tiny bottle will last a long time (even if it seems like it costs alot). To let you get a better idea of how long a bottle will last here is the amount of drops the average bottles hold.

A 15 ml (1/2 oz) bottle provides about 400 drops of oil

A 5 ml (1/6 oz) bottle provides about 125 drops of oil

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Another thing you will see in the market that you need to be aware of is items saying “all natural.” Like your cucumber bath salt or apple pie air freshner. Natural fragrance materials do not exist for these scents and many others. They are synthetic chemical mixtures known as “fragrance oils.” These type of products are false aromatherapy products. A true aromatherapy product is all natural containing only aromatic fragrance materials of direct botanical origin. Even when real essential oils are used, there are variations in quality that needs to be considered.

Here are some of the scents that you may see and think are all natural e. oils but are actually laboratory-synthesized fragrances, these are usually always fake even if they have natural sounding names: aloe vera apple, apple, apple blossom, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, brown sugar, cactus, cherry, cherry blossom, coconut, cranberry, cucumber, currant, dewberry, dogwood, fig, frangipani, freesia, gardenia (except for Monoi de Tiare), grape, grass, guava, hazelnut, heather, heliotrope, hibiscus, honeysuckle, hyacinth, honeydew, iris, (there is Orris root), kiwi, lettuce, lilac, lily of the valley, lily, magnolia (Southern magonolia), mango, melon, mulberry, musk, orchid, papaya, peach, pear, persimmon, pikaki, pineapple, plum, plumeria, primrose, pomegranate, raspberry, rain, sunflower, strawberry, sweet pea, sweet grass, violet (there is a real violet leaf absolute), watermelon, wisteria

The following are usually fake or have been extended by some means as some of the real oils are just expensive and others are dangerous or very difficult to find, and some are from animal product: agarwood, oud, aloeswood, almond (dangerous), amber (is usually mixed with Liquidamber spp. And Styrax benzoin), ambergris (from illegally killed whales), bayberry, boronia, carnation, hyacinth, jonquil, lemon verbena (dangerous), linden blossom, lotus, Melissa, mimosa (cassie), musk, (animal product) narcissus, osmanthus, tuberose, vanilla

These are sometimes fake as the real oils are hard to find and very expensive: frankincense, jasmine, myrrh, neroli (orange blossom), orange blossom absolute, rose, sandalwood

I am not telling you these so you won’t use any of these scents, there is nothing wrong with synthetic aromatics and some are actually safer than the natural fragrance. I am just informing you so you know what is a real natural scent and which are synthetic, and you can decide if you think the price is worth it.

The only exception of course is if you are buying it for aromatherapy medicinal purposes and are looking for a therapeutic essential oil, in this cause you are not looking for a pleasing aroma, but at the medicinal properties of the essential oil.

If you are just looking for a pleasing aroma or scent then go ahead and buy the one that you like, whether it is synthetic, has been extended or is a pure oil.

Everything from nature is not always good for you, just as everything from science is not bad for you.

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Benefits and cautions during your Pregnancy

Make sure you are using e. oils safely. Learn all about the cautions and safety concerns of responsible use.

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