Essential Oil Information
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the fragrant and volatile extracts from plants. They come from the different parts of different types of plants and include resins, leaves, spices, fruits, barks, roots, seeds, and flowers. They have the ability to influence the mind and body, affect mood, and address emotional or physical needs. An essential oil contains the life force of the plant, which is why it has such remarkable effects. The oils are complete in themselves and have no dilution, enhancer, or buffer. They are 75 to 100 times more concentrated and powerful than dried herbs. Some Essential oils are so strong it is not recommended to put directly on the body. But they make wonderful medicinal remedies.
Essential oils vary in price depending on the amount of oil a certain plant yields, the quality, source, process, and purity. A general rule is that the more oil there is in a plant, the less expensive it is. Examples of low yielding plants are rose and violet, which are quite costly.
First process (squeeze or pour) is always the highest quality and the purest oil. Many producers process the same plant material up to five times to create different grades of oils at different prices.
Where Do Essential Oils ComeFrom?
Essential oils are extracted from the matter of various plants in a few different ways:
Steam Distillation – using a device much like a moonshine still, high heat is used to separate the oils from the plant material. The resulting material is then left to separate into pure essential oils and hydrosols (highly scented floral waters are a by product of this procedure).
Expression – mechanical or cold pressed plant material is used on items with excess oil. Sometimes it is then further distilled after this. Look for unrefined oils as in base/carrier oils.
Effleurage – flowers are soaked in hot fats until the cells in the plant material burst and the oil is released. The fats are then dissolved leaving the essential oil. This procedure is very expensive and seems to only work on flowers.
CO2 Distillation – Lower heat is used, as with steam distillation, but the material being processed is then flooded with CO2 to push the oils from the plant matter. This method is used to yield a bigger production but is more expensive.
Uses For Essential Oils
Massage Oil – Add essential oils to base/carrier oils. We recommend 10-25 drops per 4 oz.
Inhalation – Add essential oils to hot water – inhale. Cover head and bowl with towel –optional. Five drops to a bowl (cereal size) of water.
Facial Mask – Add essential oils to Jojoba Oil. Add this mixture to clay, yogurt, bee pollen, avocado, cornmeal, oatmeal or aloe vera. Five to 10 drops Jojoba.
Bath – Add essential oils to warm bath water. Soak in and inhale. Five to ten drops in running water.
Air Freshener – Add essential oils to water in a spray bottle – shake before each use. Use 10-20 drops of essential oil to 8 oz. of water.
Calming: Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Clary Sage, Marjoram, Neroli, Petigrain, Vertiver.
Balancing: Cypress, Mandarin, Cardamon, Lemon, Rose Otto, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Lavender.
Energizing: Peppermint, Rosemary, Pine, Basil, Juniper, Grapefruit, Helichrysm, Eucalyptus.
Happiness: Lemon, Geranium, Rosewood, Bergamot, Cistus, Orange, Coriander, Petigrain.
The Best Way To Learn About Aromatherapy
If you’re interested in learning more about aromatherapy, this is a good place to start. Did you know that anyone can teach about oils and aromatherapy? There is no licensing or authoritative department of the state or federal government regulating anyone’s ability to practice aromatherapy or the qualities of the oils that a company produces. Because of this, it is best if you learn as much as you can from many different sources about the art of healing with scent, as well as the more scientific area of identifying specific oils and their qualities, physically and therapeutic.
Still wondering where to start? Read as many books as you can about the subject! Practice with the actual oils and create recipes from books, and as you become more confident in your knowledge and skill, you can create your own unique scents. Be a patient teacher with yourself -learning anything new can be a slow process. If you learn best with in a more guided and hands-on environment, there are several videos by legitimate aromatherapy practitioners on the market.
If, however, you still feel the need for an experienced instructor, remember to check that the place you register for a class does not produce the oils used in the class. Otherwise you may find yourself paying to be the subject of cleverly disguised advertising, and not a real class. And it never hurts to check that there are no multi-market sales pitches attached to your class.
DragonMarsh offers ‘free of covert advertising’ classes in aromatherapy. The class we offer will give you a basic understanding of essential oils and how to use them. You will learn the basic uses of many individual oils and learn how to identify and buy quality oils at a fair value. You'll also become familiarized with allergy and other safety precautions when it comes to handling oils, and learn how to design different types of aromatherapy products.
Essential Oil Safety
Essential Oils should be used with caution on the following:
1. Pregnant women
3. The elderly
4. Persons with heart conditions or high/low blood-pressure
5. Skin and sun sensitive persons
6. Persons with cancer
7. Persons with allergies
8. Persons with AIDS/HIV+
Always keep oils tightly closed and away from children. Keep oils away from eyes. Flush eyes with water if this happens, and contact a health care physician immediately.
Heat destroys oils. Keep smaller bottles in purse, desk or glove-box for everyday use, and the rest in a cool dark place( refrigerator or cabinet).
The Shelf Life of Essential Oils
The average shelf life of an essential oil is approximately two years. Heat will cause the oils to evaporate, and light will alter their chemical make-up. To increase your oils shelf life, keep your oils in dark amber bottles. You can further increase their shelf life by keeping said bottles in a sealed box kept in the refrigerator. If you do this, always remember to let them come to room temperature before using.
Although some oils do not turn rancid, their scent and action can change. Some oils like patchouli and various wood and resin oils actually improve with age. Some citrus oils lose their perk after one year. Buy only as much as you need for your current project.
When storing oils, do not store them in soft plastic or rubber, or near rubber products (such as droppers). The essential oils are so strong they will dissolve the plastic and rubber.
Apothecary Conversion Chart
|1 Dram =||1/8 Oz. =||3.69 ML =||57 Drops|
|2 Drams =||1/4 Oz. =||7.39 ML =||114 Drops|
|4 Drams =||1/2 Oz. =||14.78 ML =||228 drops|
|8 Drams =||1 Oz. =||29.57 ML =||456 drops|