Get to know your essential oils

Mumbai: Essential oils are of great help to counter the negative effects of a hectic lifestyle. Being all natural, they offer organic solutions to ensure good health and well-being. A whiff of peppermint oil can refresh your senses or a few drops of it in water can help get rid of stomach ache. Hence, it’s essential to understand and know how to select pure essential oils.

Everyone is aware of the numerous benefits of essential oils but while choosing these oils one has to be careful about the picking the right oil source and quality before we decide to introduce it into our day to day routine. So, here are some important pointers that one must be mindful of while choosing the right essential oil:           

Essential oils are highly volatile plant derivatives in a form of oils or resins, which have single or multi cell pockets. Essentials oils are light sensitive and therefore, should be stored in tightly capped amber or coloured bottles away from extremes of heat or cold. Anything being sold in a clear bottle is most likely not an essential oil. Clear glass, at the very least, indicates distribution by people unfamiliar with essential oils.

Essential oils should be labelled with the botanical name of the extracted plant and the information about the method used to produce them. Essential oils are also expensive due to production variables. So if you come across an essential oil that is inexpensive, one must challenge it as it might not be pure.

For instance, it takes up to 2,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose essential oil through distillation. Due to the variables of labor, rainfall, farming costs, extraction methods, and demand on the world market, rose oil can sell for USD 400 or more for one ounce or orange for as little as USD 3.

Jasmine oil is ninety-two times the price of grapefruit oil and sandalwood is four times the price of lime. If you see different essential oils selling for the same price, it is probable that these oils are diluted with vegetable oil to create a more appealing pricing structure. Beware of fragrances usually sold in clear glass. These are not essential oils but are chemical compositions made in a laboratory to produce a smell which is a copy of nature.

No reputable essential oil supplier sells all essential oils all at the same price. There is no such essentials oil as watermelon, bubble gum or pina colada. Perfumes may contain essential oil components, even the finest perfumes invariably do, but they also contain petroleum products and alcohol to increase their diffusability.

For effective therapeutic use it is crucial that only pure essential oils are used – natural plant essences, which have been extracted any steam distillation, solvent extraction, expression, maceration or effleurage. It is quite pointless buying any other product, no matter how charming its aroma may be, because reconstituted products or chemical copies of natural essences simply do not work for medicinal purposes.

Unscrupulous suppliers dilute a pure essential oil in a carrier base and pass that off as pure natural essence. These fakes are easier to spot than any other because the base oil is oily, while essential oils for the most part are not. For this reason, the term ‘essential oil’ is something of a misnomer.

Pure essential oils when dropped on blotting paper will impregnate it, then evaporate and disperse, leaving no oily patch. Other vegetable oils, on the other hand, will leave an oily mark. There are some exceptions to this rule – vetiver, patchouli, etc that are basically resin oils and are hence, more viscous and more difficult to identify when diluted in a base oil.

Also some oils have their own colour. For instance, pure orange oil sometimes carries an orange colour. Bergamot oil and tea tree oil are slightly green in colour. Storage is also important. The oils should be kept in brown and dark-colored bottles away from light, heat and damp. Unfortunately, essential oils are not yet dated when sold, so it is impossible to tell how old they are when you buy them. That’s another reason for going to a reputable supplier.

Keep their lids tightly closed when not in use. The therapeutic life of essential oils is about two years, although some would argue that they last longer than this. Certainly their antibiotic and other properties can still be utilised in non-body methods such as air-fresheners, kitchen surface wipes, perfumes or celebratory and gift purposes, when their aroma is a crucial aspect of their use. 

*Disclaimer: This article has been contributed by Pooja Nagdev, Aromatherapist and Cosmetologist, Founder – Inatur. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Deccan Chronicle and Deccan Chronicle does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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