There’s a lot of buzz about them, but what are essential oils really?! What are they made from? How are they made? And do essential oils really work the way people think they do? Let’s break it down!
What are Essential Oils?
Simply put, essential oils are the distilled product of plants. From the leaves to the petals to the bark and the roots, the distillation of plants produces highly concentrated essential oils. These essential oils contain wellness supporting agents that can help with normal body functions. In other words, this plant goodness helps you stay healthy and happy.
Are all Essential Oils Created the Same?
Great question and the answer is an emphatic no. Pure essential oils are derived from distillation – either steam, hydro distillation, or cold-pressed (in the case of citrus oils). They contain naturally occurring chemicals (the good kind – not the synthetic kind!) and contain no fillers. That means when you get a bottle of pure peppermint essential oil, you are getting just the distilled oil from the plant.
The Importance of Distillation
It’s also super important to understand that the first distillation of the plant is going to be the most potent essential oil. Think of it in terms of coffee grounds. The first pot of coffee that you brew is strong and delicious. The second pot you brew with the same coffee grounds is going to taste a bit like dirty dishwater. By the time you brew that third pot of coffee with those same coffee grounds you’re going to be lucky if it even tastes like coffee!
The same is true for essential oils. You want that first distillation and, if you’re going to be using them topically or internally, you definitely want essential oils that are the finest quality – otherwise, why use them?
Are Aromatic Oils and Floral Waters the Same as Essential Oils?
No, aromatic oils and floral waters are not the same as essential oils. Essential oils go through the distillation process to separate the oil from the water. Aromatic oils (often called CO2 oils) go through a process where carbon dioxide is used as a solvent to dissolve the plant material. They are not the pure essential oil derived from distillation.
Floral water (also called Hydrosols) is the leftover water from the distillation process. So, after the essential oil has been extracted, the remaining water is called floral water. Hydrosols are typically added to bath and body products for their scent.
Are Essential Oils Regulated?
No, essential oils are not regulated and that’s why it’s so, so, SO important to do your research about the company you’re buying oils from. Did you know that some companies bottle up the leftover liquid from the distillation process and package it as essential oils? So, while that $3.99 bottle of “Lavender Essential Oil” from Amazon may seem like a great deal, do you really know what you’re getting?
The Bottom Line on Essential Oils
Do your research and ask a lot of questions before you use any brand. If you’re trying to support your family’s health, you want to make sure you’re doing it with oils that are actually oils. If they can’t tell you about their seed to seal process, by very wary.