Introduction to Essential Oils January 23, 2013 13:31

Essential oils are not really oils, but liquids, extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruits and herbs. The very "essence" of each plant is  extracted, most commonly by steam distillation. A large quantity of plant material is heated by steam and water, then the evaporated oil and steam is passed, cooled & separated through coils. The resulting essential oils are used world-wide in aromatherapy, cosmetic, perfumery, and pharmaceutical preparations, as well as candle and soap making. With increased public awareness, education,  and popularity, essential oils are now used widely by individuals at home.  Essential oils are powerful in their beneficial uses and properties.. a few drops go a long way! Each essential oil has its own therapeutic use and benefit, and must be diluted in water, or carrier oil, before applying to the skin. The exceptions are lavender & tea tree which can be applied "neat" or directly to the skin. The most common form of absorption is by massage, bath, inhalation or compress. Essential oils are sensitive to heat and light and should be stored in a dark, cool environment. They all enjoy a long shelf-life, and do not expire.. but may lose some of their potency when they come into contact with air and heat.