What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant's scent and flavour, also called its "essence". When walking through a garden of roses or a forest of eucalyptus trees we are all familiar with the beautiful aromatic scents we smell via our olfactory senses. What you are in fact smelling and sensing are the aromatic qualities of essential oils. Not only do these essential oils give the plants their distinctive smells they also play a role in the protection of the plant and also the pollination of the plant.
There are a number of ways essential oils can be obtained from the plant source. The plant source could be the leaf, flowers, bark, roots, resin and peels. Extraction methods includes steam and/or water distillation or via mechanical means such as cold pressing. It is important to understand that the method used to extract the essential oil from its plant source because oils obtained via chemical processes are not considered true essential oils.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. Modern scientific studies and trends lean again towards more holistic approaches to wellness and a revival of essential oils for physical and psychological health and well-being applications.
The most common therapeutic application of essential oils is that of aromatherapy, where healing effects are achieved through the aromas of the essential oil. Many essential oils are believed to have an uplifting effect on the human's mind and many essential oils have antiseptic properties which means they reduce the possibility of infection when applied to the human skin.