Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that contain the natural aroma, nutrients and flavor of the plant from which they are extracted. They are commonly used in aromatherapy, food and other forms of natural wellness remedies & medicine. Essential oils are typically made by steam distilling the plant material to extract the oils, although many essential oils these days are extracted using other cost effective solvent based methods. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so they are usually used in small amounts and are often diluted with a carrier oil before being applied to the skin, hair etc. Essential oils can be used for a wide range of purposes, including helping to relieve stress and anxiety, boosting the immune system, and improving skin and hair health.
Benefits of essential oil
Essential oils have been used for centuries in various forms of natural medicine, and they are believed to have a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Some of the potential benefits of using essential oils include:
- Relieving stress and anxiety: Many essential oils have a calming and relaxing effect, which can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Boosting the immune system: Some essential oils, such as eucalyptus, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, tea tree oil etc., have antimicrobial properties that can help boost the immune system.
- Improving skin and hair health: Essential oils can be used to treat a range of skin and hair conditions, such as acne, dandruff, and dryness. They can also help to improve the appearance of the skin and hair.Essential oils of curry leaf, bay leaf, eucalyptus, rosemary etc. are quite famous for treating hair concerns.
- Relieving pain: Some essential oils, such as cinnamon, peppermint and lavender oil, have analgesic properties that can help to relieve pain.
- Improving sleep: Some essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, have a calming effect that can help to promote sleep. Therefore many natural therapies that deal with sleep disorders contain chamomile and lavender goodness in them.
- Enhancing mood: Many essential oils have a pleasant aroma that can help to improve mood and promote feelings of well-being. For that very same many blends are available carrying a purpose name to provide an aromatic healing.
- Food flavor & nutrition: cooking with essential oils is simple and very convenient especially to flavor any recipe with herbs not grown in that region. Edible essential oils are the best natural flavor for food and beverages. Not only flavor but every drop brings wholesome nutrition too with it to the food. Explore cooking with essential oils here.
Note – It’s important to note that the potential benefits of using essential oils vary depending on the type of oil and the individual, and more research is needed to fully understand their effects. Always consult a healthcare professional before using essential oils, especially if you have a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Making of Essential oil
Essential oils are commonly made using the steam distillation process. This involves placing the plant material, such as flowers, leaves, or stems, in a still or distillation apparatus. The still is then heated, and steam is passed through the plant material. The steam causes the essential oils to be released from the plant material, and they are carried by the steam through a condenser, where they cool and return to a liquid state. The essential oils are then collected through separation from hydrosol.
The steam distillation process is effective because the steam helps to break down the plant cells and release the essential oils without damaging them. The oils are then separated from the water and other plant material using a condenser, which allows the essential oils to be collected in a pure form. This method is commonly used to extract edible essential oils from a wide range of plants, including flowers, herbs, and trees.
What should I look for when buying essential oils?
When buying essential oils, there are a few things you should look for to ensure that you are getting a high-quality product. Here are a few things to consider:
- For pure, unadulterated plus edible essential oils. This means that the oil should be made only from the plant material specified on the label, without any added ingredients. Remember if the herb is edible the essential oil produced from it should be edible too. Check the ingredient list. The label should clearly state which plant the oil was extracted from, as well as any other ingredients that may have been added.
- Look for brands like SNAANA that have a good reputation and are known for producing high-quality edible essential oils.
- Consider the method of extraction. The steam distillation process is the best method for extracting edible and therapeutic essential oils, so look for oils that were made using this method.
- A true steam distilled essential oil naturally has a long shelf life when stored in a cool place away from sunlight.
Is there a difference between expensive and cheap essential oils?
There can be a significant difference in quality between expensive and cheap essential oils. In general, higher-quality essential oils are made using pure, unadulterated plant materials, and are extracted using the most effective and clean methods of steam distillation known so far. They are also typically free of additives and impurities. These factors can make the oil more expensive, but they also ensure that the oil is of the highest quality and will be more effective.
On the other hand, cheaper essential oils may be made using lower-quality plant materials and may be extracted using less effective methods like CO2, solvent etc. these methods produce more yield but produce inferior quality oil when compared to steam distillation. They may also contain additives and impurities, which can reduce their effectiveness. These oils may be less expensive, but they may not be as effective as steam distilled high-quality edible essential oils.
Note - Truly steam distilled essential oils are edible and therefore can be used for multiple purposes like food, skin care, hair care, wellness remedies etc. If the herb is edible, the oil distilled from it should be edible too.
Do essential oils expire?
Yes, essential oils can expire. Like other natural products, essential oils can lose their potency over time and become less effective. The shelf life of essential oil depends on a number of factors, including the type of oil, the method of extraction, and how it is stored. Some essential oils can last for several years, while others may only last for a few months.
It’s important to check the expiration date on the label of the essential oil and to store it properly to ensure that it retains its potency for as long as possible. Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat to prevent them from degrading. It’s also a good idea to keep the lid tightly sealed to prevent the oil from evaporating or becoming contaminated.
Which essential oil is good for winter?
There are several essential oils that can be helpful during the winter months. Here are a few examples:
- Eucalyptus oil: This oil has a refreshing, invigorating scent and is known for its respiratory benefits. It can help to clear congestion and soothe coughs.
- Ginger oil: Ginger oil has a warm, spicy scent and is known for its ability to help with nausea and to reduce inflammation. It can also help to boost circulation.
- Cinnamon oil: Cinnamon oil has a warm, spicy scent and is known for its ability to help with circulation and to boost the immune system.
Does cold weather affect essential oils?
Cold weather itself generally does not have a significant effect on essential oils. However, some essential oils may solidify or become more viscous (thicker) when stored in cold temperatures, particularly if they contain a high percentage of saturated fatty acids.