Essential Oils - What are they?

You may not realize it, but you have likely already enjoyed the aromatic benefits of an essential oil. If you’ve ever leaned in to smell the sweet, soft scent of a rose or liked the scent of fresh cut grass, you’ve appreciated the naturally occurring fragrant compounds found in almost every part of a plant.

So, what exactly is an essential oil? Well, essentially (pardon the pun), essential oils are highly concentrated natural oils found in a plant. This oil is naturally found as tiny organic molecules that protect the cells of plants and give them their distinct scents. The extraction of essential oils from a plant is done by distillation with steam or water.

Many parts of the plant are used in the distilling process, including the roots, leaves, stems, bark, and flowers. The outcome of distillation is a highly concentrated version of that plant’s natural oil, which has the distinctive fragrance and properties of the whole plant. This oil includes the scent, of course, but also the healing properties the plant already provides.

Along with the benefits and protection they provide to plants, essential oils have been used for thousands of years in healthcare practices, beauty treatments, and food preparation. In future posts, I will share simple recipes and easy ways you can start to use essential oils in your daily life.

One of the most critical details to know about essential oils is that they are extremely potent. In fact, it’s often pointed out by the makers of essential oils that one drop is all you need. “Use as little as needed, not as much as possible” is a very accurate statement. Whether you’re mixing up a cleaning solution for your shower, or adding a drop to your body lotion, or simply indulging in a delicious addition to your tea, you should know that with essential oils, a little goes a long way.

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