How much do you know about essential oils? You might know that they smell wonderful and that they are used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments on a holistic level. The two most common ways of using essential oils is to inhale them through the nose and mouth, or by absorbing them through the skin.
Essential oils are found in nature; they are contained in various parts of a different plants, flowers, seeds, or trees. They are the oils that give out the distinctive scent that tells your brain the difference between an apple and an orange; what you smell is the essential oil deep inside the plant.
Essential oils are often referred to as volatile aromatic compounds. These compounds consist of small molecules that can change quickly from solids or liquids to gas once they reach room temperature. Essential oils can spread quickly through a room, enter your body, and begin to soothe or energize you within minutes. Every essential oil that you find has over one-hundred components, but some have close to one-thousand. The molecular structure that makes up the oils is completely unique to nature; no scientist has ever been able to replicate the exact formula to any essential oil.
Though essential oils are created in nature for the benefit of the plants that release them, we are lucky enough that they benefit human beings in many ways.
There are many different ways to extract essential oils. In fact, some methods for extracting essential oils go back to centuries-old discoveries that are still used today. Basically, the essence of the plant, flower, or seed is extracted using various methods. What is left after the process is done is the essential oil. For example, cold expression is used to extract essential oils from the rind of citrus fruits. It does not use any chemicals or heat during the process, so you end up with pure essential oils.
Steam distilling has been used for hundreds of years and is still the most widely used methods of extracting essential oils today. Steam is used to get the plant to release its essential oils, then the steam and oils are carried to a condenser that separates the water from the oil. In order to produce therapeutic grade essential oils, all of the components must come together properly. From the equipment used to the temperatures and pressure, proper knowledge of the process is of the utmost importance.
Be sure that the essential oils you buy are steam distilled or cold expressed and make your purchase from a genuine, reputable distributor who provides pure oils that are produced in this fashion.
Combining more than one essential oil together is called making a blend. Blends can be customized for a healing purpose, or just to give you a unique scent.
In every blend of essential oils, you’ll need a top note, a middle note, and a base note. Top notes are lighter and fresher, but they tend to evaporate faster than essential oils that have middle or base notes. Once the top notes fade out, the middle notes become stronger. Essential oils with middle notes can last between two and four hours. Base notes are the strongest in essential oils and last the longest, sometimes for days.
You’ll need some blending bottles, glass droppers, cotton balls or fragrance strips for testing, and a few different oils to begin. Start with small batches and expand as you go along. Three or four drops of each scent are usually enough to discover if you like what you smell.
Have fun with your creations and remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to your own blends; it’s all about what you like.
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