What are Essential Oils?
An essential oil can be described as the ‘essence’ of the plant that it is derived from. It is a liquid that is usually distilled from the various parts of a plant which can include the flowers, roots, sap or bark as well as other sources.
Methods of extracting the essential oil vary depending upon the plant, however the most common method is by steam or water distillation. Some essential oils can be harvested by cold pressing, which is how citrus oils are extracted. An example of this is Lemon essential oil, the rinds are expressed to release that zesty fresh oil. In fact if you take a fresh lemon and run your fingernail over the peel you can easily see the essential oil popping out of the rind and of course the aroma is amazing!
Essential oils vary in color depending upon the source but generally the majority of them are clear in color. Some oils take on various shades for example Lemongrass and Orange oil are of a yellow / amber color.
Often the essential oil has an aroma that is very reminiscent of the plant that it originated from. For example Lavender essential oil smells just like….well, Lavender! Other oils do not have an aroma that is so familiar, but generally this is because the oil is extracted from an element of the plant that you are not familiar with.
Essential oils have been used in Aromatherapy for centuries and possess a wide range of benefits that can be applied to health and wellbeing as well as more spiritual or religious applications.