What are essential oils?
Essential oils, also known as “essences”, are different from regular oils because they are volatile (evaporate when they are left in open air) and they also have beneficial therapeutic effects. Essential oils are extracted from the very core of the plant material in order to collect its very essence. Steam distillation is one of the processes used to extract the volatile compounds from the internal or external secretary structures of the leaves, stems, roots, bark, flower or seeds of a plant while the method of cold pressing the peels of citrus fruits reveals their fine and fresh aromatic oils. The very essence of the plant material is used both in the perfumery industry as well as for their healthcare properties.
What are absolutes?
While essential oils are mainly extracted from plants through steam distillation there are some flowers that are too delicate to undergo this extraction process. Consequently, in order to avoid damaging their petals during the steam distillation the extraction process uses solvent extraction on flowers like rose, lily, jasmine and lotus as well as on orange blossoms to obtain this almost pure fragrant substance. Unlike essential oils, absolutes may still contain natural pigments and parts from the plant material and thus resulting in a highly concentrated red-brown liquid that can last up to five years if properly stored. However, due to the solvent presence absolutes are useful in treating physical and emotional symptoms through aromatherapy but they are mainly used by the perfume industry. This is why absolutes are considered to be the spirits of nature captured into dark air-proof bottles.
What are CO2 Extracts?
This innovative and effective extraction process, very similar to the extraction of absolutes, is also known as supercritical CO2 extracts. It is renowned for the fact that it uses lower temperatures and can isolate plant waxes from the oil. As well as essential oils it has countless beneficial and therapeutic properties as solvents are completely eliminated throughout the process and carbon dioxide – CO2 is used. This technology involves using the “supercritical” CO2 (both the temperature and the pressure are above standard so it embraces the characteristics of both a gas and a fluid) that acts like a solvent by extracting the true scent of the aromatic plant into an extract that is more fragrant and active than the odors resulting through steam distillation. Due to its stability CO2 facilitates the complete extraction of the precious and scented oil. The process allows the extraction without severely impacting the plant and as soon as the extraction phase is completed the CO2 converts to gas and instantly and completely evaporating. This process is very effective as it is known to retain the true aroma of the plant matter however, steam distillation is much more effective, and producing more intense and powerful oils and the Patchouli oil is one of them.
What are Organic Extracts?
The resulting bio-available essence, extracted without added heat, captures the intricate aroma of the original plant material.
By using state-of the art technology that is analogous to the art of effleurage used for centuries to capture the scent of herbs we have managed to reach to the organic extracts of plants. Only certified substances are used within the production process such as fixed oils (animal or vegetal fat) or alcohol to obtain first-class fragrances extracts that preserve the original properties of the plant. Rose, Jasmine, Carnation, and Tube rose are renowned for their fragrances and for the fact that they continue to give off aroma even after harvesting. We can proudly say that we are some of the few in North America to have their organic extracts available.
What are Hydrosols?
Also known as hydrolates, floral waters and herbal waters, hydrosols are co-products of essential oil distillation process. As they are co-products the diversity of hydrosols is similar to the essential oils. They are often mixed up with other products such as absolutes mixed with distilled water for example. The demand of hydrosols is increasing and so is the range of available products.
During the steam distillation process applied to the plant in order to extract its fragrance two products are released: the essential oil and the hydrosol (the steam that after condensation carries the smallest particles of essential oil).
Kurt Schnaubelt discovered the fact that hydrosols can be quite useful in aromatherapy treatments and wrote in his book Medical Aromatherapy – Healing with Essential Oils that essential oils could be too strong for children and thus indicated hydrosols as the elegant solution.
Suzanne Catty, author of Hydrosols – the Next Aromatherapy, states: speaks in her book about how hydrosols can become beneficial homeopathic remedies if further diluted in water. She also supports the same idea that children and elders are the best candidates for such treatments and encourages the use of hydrosols in order to discover the force of life revealed by the scents of flowers.
How to blend a dense or solid absolute, extract or resin?
The first thing we suggest is to moderately warm-up the oil by submerging the oil container in warm water. Uncap the oil container but be cautious as water should not enter into the container. During the warming up process that may take up to 20 minutes the oil expands. If throughout this time the water gets colder or evaporates you will have to change it until the oil has the proper consistency. Remember at all times that each oil needs different timeframes to heat and become liquid so be patient. Their chemical composition is the one responsible for their softening capacity. Remember to warm up the glass dropper or any other containers you are about to use before moving the oils you have heated. All recipients should have the same temperature as the heated oil. You can preheat the containers in the oven. Caution is required while handling heated oils. Please read the following paragraph for the instructions regarding the process of adding heated oils into vegetable oil or alcohol carrier. Be prepared to reheat the whole blended composition as you may want to remove the particles that are not soluble. Filtering the whole thing may be a good choice. However, it is not indicated to repeatedly heat the oil as it loses its qualities so it is indicated to dilute the whole thing the first time it has been heated.
How to dilute essential oils, absolutes or extracts in carrier oils (e.g. fractionated coconut oil)?
The first thing you need to establish is the dilution percentage for the essential oils, absolutes or extracts. The simple example when you are working with an extremely scented solution is 10% dilution that can be translated into drops as follows: for one drop of essential oil add 9 drops of carrier oil. Any measuring unit can be used as long as you can stick to this ratio.
Secondly you have to establish the amount of the diluted substance you want to prepare. For example to obtain 30 milliliters of final product you will have to mix 3milliliters of absolute with 27 milliliters of carrier oil.
Essential oils, absolutes or the extracts that are very dense are easier to work with and will incorporate quicker if the carrier oil is pre-heated and having similar temperature as the scented material. Shaking the container may be useful and may prove to be helpful and effective in order to complete the fusion process. All dilutions must be labeled, dated and registered. For more details regarding the wonderful mixtures and blends please visit….
How to dilute essential oils, absolutes or extracts by using alcohol?
The first thing you need to establish is the dilution percentage for the essential oils, absolutes or extracts. The simple example when you are working with an extremely scented solution is 10% dilution that can be translated into drops as follows: for one drop of essential oil add 9 drops of high quality alcohol - our suggestion is that you should use grape or grain as they are considered to be the best. Ever clear is also an option you might want to consider. Any measuring unit can be used as long as you can stick to this ratio.
Secondly you have to establish the amount of the diluted substance you want to prepare. For example to obtain 30 milliliters of final product you will have to mix 3milliliters of absolute with 27 milliliters of alcohol.
Only the scented material is to be heated at all times and not the alcohol!
The room temperature is enough for alcohol to easily blend with the pre-heated scented material. By shaking the container you may add speed to the incorporation process; however patience is also a key factor for the process to be successfully completed.
All dilutions must be labeled, dated and registered. For more details regarding the wonderful mixtures and blends please visit….
How to filter alcohol-based dilutions or perfumes and remove unwanted sediments, particles or opacity?
The first thing you have to do before starting the filtering process let your blend rest into the freezer for at least eight hours. By cooling it fats and waxes solidify and thus sediments can be easily removed. In case of opacity or cloudiness this process must be repeated for a couple of times in order to achieve a clear final product.
Removing unwanted particles out from alcohol-based dilutions or perfumes is quite an easy process that involves using coffee filters (the brown ones that haven’t been bleached). Before using a coffee filter you have to submerge it for a couple of times into boiling water. This procedure is meant to remove the specific smell of paper and also any contaminations that might exist. While the cleaned filter dries choose a glass or ceramic coffee cone to use during the next procedure. Do not use any plastic items in this process.
How to filter oil-based dilutions/perfumes in order to remove undesirable particles, sediments, and/or opacity?
Removing unwanted particles out from alcohol-based dilutions or perfumes is quite an easy process that involves using coffee filters (the brown ones that haven’t been bleached). Before using a coffee filter you have to submerge it for a couple of times into boiling water. This procedure is meant to remove the specific smell of paper and also any contaminations that might exist. While the cleaned filter dries choose a glass or ceramic coffee cone to use during the next procedure. Do not use any plastic items in this process. This process can prove to be quite time-consuming and might need to be repeated for several times, it is worth the trouble in order to achieve a nice and clear final product.
Is it safe for children to use essential oils, absolutes or extracts?
Essential oils are powerful complexes and even if they are natural extracts they should be considered as dangerous substances and thus children should never get hold of them so store them with care. It is very important to understand both the positive as well as negative aspects of these substances. As the children are smaller and their skins are much more sensitive, weaker dilutions are to be used. However, through research is mandatory before using any type of essential oils. You should find out and read about all the ingredients and potential properties as children may have stronger reactions than adults do. Never apply undiluted oils on the skin of small children. Some of the aromatic oils can be used for children older than two but only to lightly perfume a room. The dosage should be somewhere close to half of the quantity that is allowed for an adult. For further information on this topic please see also the following list.
What to do if essential oils, absolutes or extracts get into my eye?
The first thing to do when essential oils, absolutes or extracts get into your eye is to take a clean cloth and dip it into vegetable oil and then clean your eyes with it. It is the most effective method for any types of oils. Depending on the type of oil that reached into your eye the irritation degree varies so do not wait long and visit your physician.
What "photosensitizing" means when speaking about oils?
Many citrus oils, such as Bergamot, contain bergaptene, an element that causes photosensitivity. The term of photosensitivity describes abnormal reactions of the skin while photosensitizing indicates the fact that by applying certain oil on, your skin can develop increased sensitivity to the sunlight.
What is "chemotype"?
Herbs with the same botanical identity but growing in different climacteric conditions are often known to have different chemical composition. This chemical variation is also known as a chemotype. There are many examples of plants (Basil ct. Linalool and Basil ct. M. Chavicol) of the same species (Ocimumbasilicum) that due to the fact that they grew in different areas have a different chemical composition.
What oil "constituents" mean?
When we speak about oil constituents we mean the chemical components that by being put together form an essential oil. Thus we can infer that even the scent and the positive as well as negative effects are also given by the constituents of oil.
What proportions of certain oil are to be used to make a blend?
Our suggested reading list is recommended to find a detailed guide about blends due to the fact that there are so many oils and much more combinations, uses and techniques. Even if you can have a lot of fun trying out various blends and combinations respect should be granted to such a fine art that aromatherapy is so we encourage reading and the study of fragrances. As perception of scents is unique for each individual you will be able to discover the adequate dilutions for certain scents only by trying and experiencing over and over again.
Can essential oils, absolutes or extracts be safely applied on the skin?
It is very important to remember that essential oils, absolutes and extracts are very concentrated substances and are known to have caused problems if applied undiluted directly on the skin. It is very important to do your research and be aware of all the ingredients existing in the oils you are working with. You should learn about the positive effects as well as about their side effects before use. You should also know that Tea Tree and Lavender oil are the two oils that can be safely applied undiluted on the skin. However, all essential oils should be diluted first before they are applied on the skin. As each oil has own set of chemical ingredients each individual has particular sensitivities so patch testing is indicated before using any kind of new oils. Our reading list provides safe dilution procedures in order to be able to acquire your favorite blending.