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What are Essential Oils

Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Extraction occurs via a few methods, the most common methods being steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing, to make the essential oils a much more powerful version of the botanicals in which they come from.

They can have a variety of smells from calming and beautiful to downright punchy and pungent.They have been used for thousands of years for a myriad of reasons. There is an essential oil for just about anything! Some of the most well known uses are:

  • Aromatherapy- for improving psychological or physical well-being via the olfactory (sense of smell) system.

  • Beauty treatments

  • Antibacterial agents

  • Physical illness

  • Wound healing

  • Culinary uses

The list of the uses is too long to list here! You can find some further information about some specific uses in
my " Top 10 Household Essentials" list

But what exactly is a volatile aromatic compound? In short, these compounds are small organic molecules that  change quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. They are called volatile because they change between physical states quickly.  The physical and chemical properties of the volatile aromatic compounds that compose essential oils allow them to quickly move through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose. Such unique properties make essential oils ideal for applications inclusion in aromatherapy – using these compounds from plants to help maintain a healthy mind and body – as well as other applications. The type of volatile aromatic compounds present in an essential oil determines both the oil’s aroma and the benefits it offers. 

Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified to date.

The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it

Essential oils can be found all around us in everyday items.. The smell of the basil in your pesto, the fragrance of the lavender in the garden and even that scent from the rosemary sprig Mum used in her cooking, these are all examples of essential oils.


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