"The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day." Hippocrates.
Aromatherapy is everywhere today. From toxic cleaners "scented" with lavender oil to dark small bottles with therapeutic claims. Is it just the "smell" that we are looking for in a product? Is the large 2oz bottle of Tea Tree on sale for $9.99 really any different from the small, little 10ml bottle that sells for the same price?
Advertising the term "aromatherapy" has become the trend of marketers, making the public believe that it is just the smell that affects us. Hopefully, in this blog-post you will begin to understand some of the differences and you will learn what to look for when you’re purchasing your favorite essential oil.
What is the difference between a fragrance oil and an essential oil? Most components of fragrance oils are created in a laboratory, although some contain essential oil as just one component. Fragrance oils do NOT have a therapeutic benefit. Essential oils, however, are extracted from certain varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses and flowers. They are used in true aromatherapy for their therapeutic effects, including (but not limited to) relaxation, pain relief and protection from viruses and bacteria. Essential oils are the high-grade fuel of a plant and by taking them into our body, through various methods, we ingest the best of the goodness plants have to offer. Because they are so sweet smelling, it might be easy to suppose that their value is essentially one of charm (as advertisers would have you believe). This would be a mistake. These substances are very complex in their molecular structure and very powerful. The essential oil of oregano, for example, is twenty-six times more powerful as an antiseptic than phenol, which is the active ingredient in many commercial cleansing materials.
Taking a quick glimpse at some of our favorite oils, we find that Vetiver oil is made from the chopped roots of the grass species Vetiveria zizanoides. Bay oil is extracted from bay leaves. Geranium oil comes from the leaves and stalks. Cumin oil is from the seeds and Ginger oil comes from the root-like stems which grow under or along the ground. Myrrh, Frankincense and Benzoin oils are extracted from the resin from their respective trees. Mandarin, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit and Bergamot oils are squeezed from the peel of the fruits. Cinnamon oil comes from
the bark of the tree and Pine oil comes from the needles and twigs.
The oil is extracted from the plant by a variety of means, depending again on the particular species. Some of the most common methods are steam distillation, cold pressed, enfleurage and maceration.
(continued in Part 2)