What are Essential Oils?
An essential oil is a non-oily, highly fragrant essence which is extracted from a plant. Each essential oil has a number of different properties and uses which are the basis of aromatherapy products and treatments.
The diverse aromas and flavors of herbs and spices come from complex mixtures of naturally occurring chemical compounds. An important group of these compounds is essential oils --the fragrant and volatile (readily evaporating) essences of plants. The familiar fragrance of an herb like rosemary is released into the air when microscopic cells containing essential oil are broken open during handling.
Essential oils are extracted (usually by steam distillation) from different parts plants such as flowers, leaves, roots and bark, and used to scent a variety of products. In aromatherapy , pure essential oils are used to evoke positive emotions and enhance physical well being.
Whether essential oils are used to create body care products like skin-care oils, massage oils, and bath salts, or simply diffused into the air to create atmosphere, the quality and purity of the oils are keys to an effective aromatherapy experience. Although many of us think of aromatherapy as a modern practice, the effects of pure essential oils have enhanced people's lives on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels for thousands of years.??Essential oils affect the human body in three ways: pharmacological, physiological and psychological. It cannot be stressed enough that they are very potent and should be used with great care with a reliable reference to their properties, uses, contraindications, safety, proper dilution, etc.
Are they oily?
No. The term oils is a misnomer that causes some confusion. Pure essential oils are not oily or greasy and are highly volatile, unlike oils.