Essential oils are more than just a nice scent, in fact, they are revolutionizing the way people think about their health and wellness. Although they have been used for decades in cleaning products, perfumes, and the potpourris that fill our homes with the aromas of fresh apple pie, an ocean breeze, and Christmas trees, essential oils are quickly filling home medicine cabinets and becoming a household necessity. From medicinal use to relaxation and aromatherapy techniques, essential oils have a variety of uses.
What Are Essential Oils?
So what exactly is an essential oil anyway? And what constitutes a pure essential oil? Well, to begin with, essential oils are derived from flowers, roots, leaves and other plant parts. The oil is extracted by means of distillation by using steam in which the plant is heated with steam until the oil vaporizes.
There are other ways to extract oil such as expression, cold pressing, maceration (crushing), and enfleurage – this process takes odorless fats that are solid to encapsulate the fragrance compounds of plants as they are extracted.
The resulting oils that are extracted from these methods are concentrated volatile liquid aroma compounds. Say what? They are essential oils, in that they possess the absolute ‘essence’ if you will, of the plant they were taken from. Such as the clove plant – you know that sharp, spicy, reminds-you-of-Christmas-scent? This characteristic scent of the clove is fully captured in its oil, thus making it ‘essential.’
Essential Oils: Pure vs. Not So Pure
As described above, essential oils are used in a variety of ways and products. You can find them in your lemon fresh cleaning products, grandma’s gardenia perfume, and that natural patchouli soap you bought at the farmer’s market.
These oils are also added for flavoring to food and drink. However, a word of caution and advice when searching for pure essential oils: not all essential oils are created the same.
Some are high quality, and many are anything but. The food, drink, and fragrance industries are only interested in the nice smells of essential oils. Once extracted in the lab, only the nice smelling part of the oil is kept and the rest is trashed. Pure, high-quality essential oils keep all the compounds in their natural form during the process of extraction which lends to their beneficial uses as well as giving off a pleasant aroma.
The Best Pure Essential Oils…that won’t break the bank
You’d be surprised at how much you could potentially pay for a 10ml bottle of pure essential oil. Some oils will cost you more depending on their availability combined with the time and money it costs manufacturers to grow and harvest the plant. Some plants are easier to harvest and extract oil from than others.
For example, it takes millions of hand-picked blossoms to produce just one kilogram of Jasmine Essential Oil, thus making it one of the most expensive oils. Here’s a list of some of the best essential oils to have on hand at some of the best prices:
Jasmine Essential Oil
Since I mentioned this oil above, you might be curious about how much you can get a vial of pure jasmine for. Used in perfumes, soaps, and lotions, jasmine is known for its hypnotic floral scent that can also be described as seductive!
For an ‘essence’ of this pure oil, or 004ml of it, you can pay a little for a lot of pure flowery exoticness here.
Chamomile Essential Oil
You might think of a steaming cup of chamomile tea and the warmth it brings you on a cold day or when you just need to relax. Chamomile pure essential oil can bring you the same benefits as that cup of tea – it is used as a relaxant and is said to obtain superior therapeutic properties to help ease the stresses of your day.
You can even add a drop or two to your little one’s bath to sooth and comfort before bedtime. Chamomile blends well with other oils such as lavender, tea tree, peppermint and rose so it’s a great addition to homemade soap bars and lotions.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This oil is one of those medicinal smelling ones that you can feel working through the tingle it leaves on your skin. Eucalyptus is a versatile oil that can be used for cold and flu symptoms (a few drops in your humidifier), hair nourisher, hand cleanser, sinus and allergy relief, odor, and spot remover and more.
You can readily find eucalyptus oil for a decent price.
Geranium Essential Oil
This oil can have a deep rosy scent that is very pleasing for uses in aromatherapy, lotions, and face cleansers. Along with lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, and citronella, this oil works well as a bug repellent too.
Lavender Essential Oil
This oil is no exception to the term ‘therapeutic’ when it comes to essential oils. Lavender is well-known for its calming and healing effects. Not only is it a pleasant perfume, but it can help ease insomnia, relieve a headache and even act as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory for a bee sting or spider bite.
Lemon Essential Oil
Not only pleasant as an added lemony kick to cakes and tarts, lemon goes back as far as the ancient Egyptians who used the fruit and its oils for healing properties from meat and fish poisoning.
It is well known that lemons help contain disease and ease the ill effects of colds and fevers; it’s a great immune booster. In hospitals, the essence is used to calm frightened patients. Lemon oil is essential for any home remedy and or aromatherapy kit.
Rosemary Essential Oil
This powerful oil packs a punch with its many uses by health practitioners and aromatherapists. Rosemary helps ease stress and anxiety while lifting the spirits. You can also use the oil to massage achy muscles. Mix with peppermint oil for a stimulating massage oil.
The Essentiality of Pure Oils
While there are a vast number of other essential oils you can purchase, these are some of the most popular ones that can be used for multiple purposes. Not only can we enjoy Mother Nature’s fragrant garden of oils, but we can use them on a daily basis for our mind, body, and spirit.