Essential oils are highly concentrated, fragrant, plant-derived liquids. They serve multifunctional purposes in nature. For example, plants may use essential oils to attract insects and animals that aid pollination. Conversely, essential oils may repel or irritate as a plant defense mechanism. Humans have used them in spiritual, therapeutic, and cosmetic capacities for thousands of years.
It can take pounds of leaves, petals, roots, bark, or other raw plant materials to create one ounce of essential oil. Steam distillation is the most common extraction method, but water and expression are also used. Some plants require solvent extraction. These oils are called absolutes.
Essential oils are not “oily” like nut or vegetable oils. They’re actually light and can be absorbed easily by the skin like the liquid you squeeze from a citrus peel. Essential oils are often diluted prior to use and can be added to lotion and carrier oils.
We love essential oils because they engage so many senses. Give your kitchen a fresh, clean smell using lavender-lemon garbage disposal cubes. Warm your muscles with a peppermint massage before your next workout. Bask in a chamomile aroma bath after a long day. Facilitate a spiritual experience by diffusing the perfect scent.