Essential Oils

 

Au naturale!

 

I started using essential oils back in 2003.  I noticed shortly after that my nose became more sensitive to perfume and fragrances.  Anything with perfume or fragrance overwhelms my olfactory sense.  Sometimes so much so that I can’t be near it.  If I wear perfume, I have to choose something very light.

Essential oils are versatile.  You can use them for pure aroma in a diffuser or as an air freshener.  You can use them to stimulate senses.  Help your body fight infection.  Heal your body.  Natural perfume.  Clean.  Scent personal care products.  Cook.  Yes, cook.  You’d use it just like extracts, only you need less.

Most essential oils are extracted through steam distillation.  Think back to chemistry class.  One of the by-products is hydrosols, I’d call it infused water.  I use lavender hydrosol for my facial toner.  I’ve used rose hydrosol as a drink mixed with honey and some other essential oils to help clear my lungs of an infection.  I actually read up on the process when I got into aromatherapy because I thought, how cool would it be to make my own?  Uber cool.  I just don’t have the space for it and I rather suck at growing anything.  My garden last year did not produce any fruit or vegetables.  It did produce some pretty green plants.  *sigh*  I even killed the herbs in my AeroGarden.  Eventually.  I was able to harvest enough fresh herbs to make it worthwhile for the most part.  By the time we have a house, I will have the greenest thumb around.

Other essential oils, like citrus oils, can only be extracted through expeller cold pressing.  Much like olive oil. There is also solvent extraction which requires the use of a solvent to extract the oil due to the volatile and/or fragile nature of the essential oil.  Doing it any other way would destroy the essential oil.

If you’ve ever looked into prices of essential oils, you know they generally have different costs.  It is usually based on how much of the raw product was required to make the essential oil.  Rose oil is pretty expensive stuff just because it takes so much to make such a small amount of it.  If you ever find a cheap rose oil, don’t rush to buy it.  Double check the label.  Some companies pre-dilute it with a carrier oil.  Same goes for jasmine oil.

Essential oils also vary in viscosity.  This is important to know if you are pouring it out or using a euro dropper (dropper inserted into the bottle which allows you to dispense it a drop at a time without having to use a separate dropper).  I like using euro droppers.  It is easier for me to be able to open a bottle an upend it and count the drops.  There is also less waste when using euro droppers.  Low viscosity oils will drop out faster.  Higher viscosity oils take their time.  Some of the high viscosity oils are so thick that a euro dropper is useless.

Essential oils are fun to play with when you are learning how to use them and how many ways you can use them.  Even after you know what you’re doing, they are still fun.  Make sure you store your oils in a cool, dark place and that they are stored in dark bottles.  The bottle pictured is called an Amber Boston Round.  There are cobalt bottles you can use, too.  Light will leach all the healthy properties of the oil.  Some health food stores sell a limited variety of good bottles for essential oils.  I get mine from Specialty Bottle.  They have built-in discounts for buying more.

Health food stores also carry a small variety of essential oils. I mostly see Aura Cacia and NOW brands.  Both are good brands.  Aura Cacia is higher in quality and more expensive.  I get most of my oils from Camden Grey online.  They have a large selection and I tend to get other supplies from them as well.  I can get larger amounts of an oil there, too.  Aura Cacia usually comes in 1/3 ounce bottles and NOW in 1 ounce bottles.  If I know I’m going to use a lot, I can get them in 2 ounce, 4 ounce, 8 ounce, 1 pound, 5 pound quantities.

I love using essential oils and having them on hand for whatever I may need.  I also feel better about using them to clean in place of commercial cleaning products.  Nothing toxic!  Well, there are some that you shouldn’t use or ingest, but I don’t even own those, so I’m safe.

 

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