What Are 100% Pure Essential Oils?
Essential oils are volatile aromatic liquids that are steam-distilled (or extracted using other methods) from plants. These aromatic oils are found in shrubs, flowers, barks, roots, bushes, and seeds. Essential oils contain no other chemicals but the essence of the plants themselves. Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and need large volumes of plant materials to produce just a small amount of oil. Every complex chemistry may contain hundreds of unique chemical compounds. Essential oils are more than just wonderful scents, they have aromatic properties and tiny molecules that are absorbed by our body at cellular level. As they can gently treat physical, emotional, and mental stress, essential oils are the main ingredients in aroma massage oils.
Why Do Plants Produce Essential Oils?
Plant life is like human life. Plants must undergo many struggles just to survive, such as fighting insects, diseases, and pests. They also regularly encounter other adverse factors like strong sunlight, drought, flooding, pollution, malnutrition, or even invasion from other fellow plants. Without being able to escape from these factors, plants create essential oils to protect themselves from free radicals and infection and balance their internal elements. In addition, they create unique scents to attract insects for pollination and to communicate within the plant kingdom.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Many people ask, ‘what is aromatherapy?’ when trying to understand the therapeutic uses of essential oils, the properties of essential oils, and the plants that produce them.
Pure essential oils contain hundreds of chemical compounds that are found to be identical to those in the human body and are completely harmless to us. The molecules in essential oils are so tiny that they can penetrate the “Blood-Brain Barrier”. They travel to the brain and central nervous system, which control our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. They also can reach the Presynaptic cleft, where neurotransmitters and hormones are released. Pure essential oils can also be absorbed into the bloodstream and journey throughout every system to help balance and generate positive effects in our bodies. Aromatherapy is simply a method of delivering the benefits of essential oils. There are a number of plants that are recognized for the quality and therapeutic benefits of the essential oils they produce, but the list is far from complete.
How Fast Do Essentials Oils Work?
Essential oil molecules reach the brain within 22 seconds. In 2 minutes, they can be found in the bloodstream and within 20 minutes they can work themselves deep down to the cellular level to support the well-being functions of the body and mind.
Types of Essential Oil Extraction
We’ll look at the various types of essential oil extraction in use today to find out how essential oils are produced and distilled.
1. Steam Distillation
Steam distillation has been the most common and popular method of extraction since ancient times. It is the most efficient, easiest and safest method that results in high-quality essential oils and suits most oil-bearing plants. This distillation method is typically not performed at temperatures higher than 100 degrees celsius and requires a high volume of plant material to be placed in a steam boiler. During the steam distillation process, steam passes through the plant material and carries volatile essential oil compounds through a tube and then through a condenser to cool. At this phase, a layer of oil rises to the top and hydrosol sinks to the bottom to be collected.
2. Solvent Extraction
Cold Pressed Extraction best suits the extraction of citrus oils such as Orange, Lime, Lemon, Bergamot and Grapefruit from their rinds, as it can keep the zesty aroma at the highest quality. This method doesn’t involve heat, hence, called Cold-Pressed. With cold-pressing, the plant materials are placed in the hydraulic pressing machine that squeezes, pricks and prods the peels to release the essential oil. In this process, liquid, waste and essential oil are obtained. Then, liquid and waste are separated in order to remain only 100% pure oil.
The fact to be known is citrus essential oils distilled through cold-pressing contain furocoumarin that causes phototoxicity that leads to skin burn when exposed to sunlight. Thus, it is recommended to use citrus oils obtained from steam distillation for safety.
3. Cold Pressed Extraction
Cold-pressed extraction is best for the extraction of citrus oils from the rind of fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons, bergamot and grapefruit. This method is able to keep the zesty aroma at its highest quality. With cold-pressing, the plant materials are placed in a hydraulic pressing machine that squeezes the peels to release the essential oil. After this stage of the process, liquid, waste and essential oil remain. Then, the liquid and waste are separated leaving only 100% pure oil.
Citrus essential oils distilled through cold-pressing contain furocoumarin which causes phototoxicity that can lead to sunburn when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, we only recommended using citrus oils obtained from steam distillation.