How essential oils are made?
How essential oils are made?
Essential oils are concentrated extracts that are taken directly from plants. Each essential oil has its own unique range of benefits and uses, from improving mood and easing depression to fighting infections and killing bacteria. This makes essential oils a valuable tool in promoting natural health and well-being. But how are essential oils made?
In this article, we'll walk you through the process of creating volant essential oils, from how they're extracted from raw plant materials to how our customers use them.
Steam distillation is a process that is used to extract and isolate essential oils from specific parts of plants.
First, the raw plant material is placed in a large container. The aromatic molecules in the plant are then released as a vapor when steam is added. These vaporized plant compounds are then routed to a condenser, which is surrounded by cold water. As a result, the vapors condense back into liquid form.
The aromatic liquid that has been formed is now ready to be collected. It is then passed through a separator, where the oil and water naturally separate. Because oil and water do not mix, the essential oil floats to the top of the container while the water sinks to the bottom. The essential oil can then be extracted and bottled from this location.
This method is used to extract essential oils such as
lavender, rosemary, cedarwood, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, and tea tree.
Citrus oils, such as lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, and grapefruit are typically extracted through cold pressing. Cold pressing is a completely natural process that uses no heat or chemicals.
Citrus fruit contains essential oil sacs on the underside of the rind. These sacs are punctured during cold pressing to release the essential oil. The fruit is then gently pressed to extract all of the oil and juice.
The liquid collected during this process contains solid fruit pieces. After collection, the solids are separated from the liquids by centrifugation at high speeds. After the solids are separated, the oil can naturally separate from the juice and be harvested and bottled.
What are essential oils made out of?
Essential oils basically plant extracts. They're made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves, or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil.
What are essential oils used for?
For centuries, essential oils have been used. In fact, the Ancient Egyptians were the first known users of essential oils in 4,500 BC, when they were used for their healing properties as well as cosmetics.
Essential oils are now used for a variety of purposes. Essential oils not only smell wonderful, but they can also help to improve mental and physical well-being, improve sleep, and even clean the home.
Some of the benefits of essential oils include:
● Easing stress, depression, and anxiety
● Reducing nausea, pain, and headaches
● Improving sleep
● Promoting relaxation
● Decreasing inflammation
● Fighting bacteria
● Nourishing skin and hair
How does essential oil works?
Essential oils can do wonders. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.
Essential oils can also be absorbed by the skin. A massage therapist might add a drop or two of wintergreen oil to help relax tight muscles during a rubdown. A skincare company may add lavender to bath salts to create a soothing soak.
How Can You Use Essential Oils Safely?
The quality of essential oils on the market varies greatly, from pure essential oils to those diluted with less expensive ingredients. And because there's no regulation, the label may not even list everything that's in the bottle you're buying. That's why essential oils should not be ingested.
Johns Hopkins also advises against using essential oil diffusers, small household appliances that create scented vapor. Diffusion in a public area or household with multiple members can affect people differently. For example, peppermint is often recommended for headaches. But if you use it around a child who's less than 30 months old, the child can become agitated. It could have a negative effect. Additionally, someone with a fast heartbeat can react adversely to peppermint.
The safest ways to use essential oils include:
- Aromatherapy all day: Necklaces, bracelets, and keychains made with absorbent materials you apply essential oils to and sniff throughout the day.
- Body oil: A mixture of essential oils with carrier oil such as olive, jojoba, or coconut oil that can be massaged into the skin. Because essential oils are concentrated, they can cause irritation. Avoid using them full-strength on the skin.
- Aroma stick/roll-on: Also called an essential oil inhaler, these portable plastic sticks have an absorbent wick that soaks up the essential oil. They come with a cover to keep the scent under wraps until you're ready.
How to find quality essential oils?
The most important thing to consider when shopping for essential oils is product quality. But figuring out which oils are the best is challenging.
Unfortunately, there are lots of products you might find online or in stores that aren't harvested correctly or may have something in them that isn't listed on the label.
Here are some tips to help you shop for pure essential oils:
- Look at the label: It should include the Latin name of the plant, information on purity or other ingredients added to it, and the country in which the plant was grown.
- Evaluate the company: Purchase products from a well-known and reputable aromatherapy company that's been around for several years.
- Choose dark-colored, glass containers: Pure essential oils are highly concentrated. They can dissolve plastic bottles over time, tainting the oil. Most companies package essential oils in small brown or blue glass bottles to protect the quality.
- Avoid 'fragrance oils': Fragrance oils are made from essential oils combined with chemicals or entirely from chemicals. They're not suitable for aromatherapy — instead, look for bottles that contain a single essential oil in its purest form (100% essential oil with no other fillers).
- Compare prices: Essential oils range in price, depending on how involved harvesting and production are. Within a line, there should be a wide variety of prices — rose absolute or sandalwood oils will be more expensive, while sweet orange oil will be on the less expensive end. If you find a rock-bottom price for an expensive essential oil, it probably isn't pure.
How do essential oils work on the brain?
Different essential oils are known to have different chemical properties, so when choosing an essential oil or blend of oils for aromatherapy, it’s important to know what oils to look for depending on what emotional or physical concerns you are looking to treat.
Aromas have the ability to trigger memory recall—think back to a time when you smelled something that brought back a vivid memory from your childhood or even just an emotional response that you couldn’t quite understand.
Aside from having pleasant aromas to enjoy, the inhalation of essential oils is a practice used by many for the physical and psychological benefits that essential oils can provide when they interact with interconnected systems in the body.
In short—essential oils are thought to have therapeutic effects by stimulating the olfactory system, which is connected to the limbic system in the brain—the part of the brain which controls functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance.
The olfactory system is the structure of the body responsible for our sense of smell. The olfactory system begins in the nose and continues into the brain, where smells are processed and can influence mood and behavior.
The aromas of essential oils work their way through the olfactory system all the way to the brain, via several chemical processes.
There are millions of chemical receptors located in the nose that detect odors and send signals to olfactory bulbs, where those signals are sent along olfactory tracts to the olfactory cortex of the brain.
The olfactory cortex in the temporal lobe of the brain is where the processing of these aromas happens—it also happens to be part of the limbic system, which is responsible for the processing of our emotions, survival instincts, and memory formation.
The limbic system contains the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus—the structures in the brain responsible for forming emotional responses and memories, indexing and storing memories, and regulating emotional responses, respectively.
Inhaling essential oils for aromatherapy is thought to be able to influence emotions and memories due to the direct connection that the olfactory system has to the limbic system.
How does essential oil help anxiety?
Essential oils are a great remedy to relieve anxiety. Essential oils and aromatherapy work by stimulating your sense of smell. The nerves in your nose then generate signals to your brain, which triggers the release of chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that modulates your mood and can help you feel calm and happy when released. Dopamine is another brain messenger involved in your psychological reward system which can enhance positive feelings. Essential oils can improve your mood by enhancing the release of serotonin and dopamine.