How are essential oils made?

Primarily by steam distillation, but sometimes by hydrodistillation (water, rather than steam), CO2 extraction, or other methods.

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Wildcrafted Essential Oils?

Wildcrafting means, to gather plants in their wild, natural habitat, without any manufacturer interference or any chemical additions, for food or medicinal purposes. This applies to uncultivated plants wherever they are found. It is a way that our ancestors used to gather their food many years ago.

When wildcrafting is done sustainably, with respect to endangered species, generally the branches or flowers are taken and the actual live plant is left. Or if the root is necessary, then a seed is planted in the empty area where the root first lay.

The Organic Food Productions Act of 1990 (make this previous whole thing a link to http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml) regulates wildcrafting. Harvesters are responsible for designating the area they are harvesting and need to provide a 3 year history of that specific area, which identifies that no prohibited substances, such as growth chemicals, were applied there.

All of Aropy.com products that state Wildcrafted should be regarded as Organic, and part of the National Organic Program.

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What are the different chemical compositions, or chemotypes, of Essential Oils?

The chemical make-up of Essential Oils is also known by a more common name, chemotype. It is this chemotype that determines the Essential Oils therapeutic value. Essential Oils are so complex in their chemotypes that scientists till this day have not figured out how to possibly isolate, replicate, or identify all of the chemotypes associated with a single Essential Oil. It is because of this factor that these Essential Oils are so therapeutic and will never let any bacteria or viruses become resistant or immune to it.

When one combines different Essential Oils together for their therapeutic effects, it’s known as a synergistic effect. It is this combination of the different chemotypes that causes synergies to sometimes work better than just one Essential Oil on a specific condition.

Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms are the main common links between the vast amounts of Essential Oils available in the world. If one analyzed all Essential Oils, through the use of a chromatograph, one would see the primary chemotypes made up of the following molecules.

  • Alcohols (Monoterpene & Sesquiterpene)
  • Phenols
  • Keytones
  • Esters
  • Aldehydes
  • Coumarins
  • Lactones
  • Ethers
  • Oxides

Alcohols
A complex combination of oxygen and hydrogen molecules inside an Essential Oil, creates what is known as an alcohol. These alcohols are further categorized into monoterpenols and sesquiterpenols.  You can tell if the name is an alcohol by looking at the ending of the word, usually ends in –ol. These alcohols are considered somewhat toxic, somewhat irritating (for those with sensitive skin), but still safe to use for children and the elderly.

Monoterpene
These oil properties include anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-viral. They also provide an energizing effect. Tea tree oil, rose, lavender, juniper, and geranium all contain monoterpene alcohols, such as linalool, terpineol, and citronellol.

Sesquiterpene
Found in German chamomile and sandalwood, have properties which stimulate the liver, used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergen.

Phenols
These include compounds such as carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol. They are similar to alcohols but stronger in their therapeutic actions. Properties include antiseptic, stimulating, anti-bacterial, and disinfectant. Phenols can lead to toxicity, and thus should only be used for short periods of time, due to the liver being overworked while trying to excrete them. Phenols can also cause severe skin irritations so handle with care.

Ketones
Ketones can be very toxic to the body, the following Essential Oils should be used with care: aniseed, caraway, hyssop, sage, tansy, and wormwood. If properly used, these Essential Oils can have a regenerating and rejuvenating effect on the skin. They help with wound healing, old scar tissue, and stretch marks (use with extreme care in pregnancy). Ketones are considered to have calming, sedating, yet stimulating effects on the body. They also help with digestive problems, act as an analgesic, and are used as an anti-inflammatory aid.

Esters
Usually ending in –yl or –ate, they are very good anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic aids for the body. They also provide calm and balance to the body. Esters are considered non-toxic, are good for any and all skin care, and have anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.

Aldehydes
May cause skin irritations and skin sensitizing. Aldehydes usually end in –al. Therapeutic uses include tonic, calming, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, anti-fungal, disinfectant, and sedative yet somewhat uplifting. These therapeutic properties are at their best if aldehyde specific Essential Oils are used in low dilutions, in no more than 1%. Note that aldehydes will easily oxidize if the bottles are left open or if left near heat, or the sun.

Coumarins
May cause skin irritations and skin sensitizing. Some of these Essential Oils are very phototoxic and must be kept away from the sun. These oils have sedative, calming, and anti-coagulant properties.

Lactones
Similar to coumarins, these Essential Oils may cause skin irritations, skin sensitizing, are very phototoxic, and must be kept away from the sun. Properties include anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, sedative, and expectorant.

Ethers
Phenolic Ethers are extremely common in Essential Oils compositions. These ethers are similar to phenols but are therapeutically more powerful, and thus are more neurotoxic in large amounts. Phenolic Ether Essential Oils are used as antidepressants, antispasmodic, and have sedative properties.

Oxides
Such as the cineole, known as eucalyptol, component found commonly in Essential Oils. Oxides cause skin irritations, and must be used with great caution on children. It is mainly used as an expectorant.

 

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What is an Essential Oil?

An Essential Oil, also known as volatile or ethereal oil, is the pure essence concentration of a plant, seed, flower, fruit, bark, wood, and /or root, which is either distilled, pressed, or hydro diffused. The Essential Oils aroma constitutes the principal aroma of the plant, seed, flower, fruit, bark, wood, and /or root from which it was originally derived from. This pure concentration of oil is composed of specific chemical compositions, called chemotypes, which determine therapeutic properties of a specific Essential Oil.

Essential Oils are extremely important in healing the body due to the main fact that the natural complexity of the chemical composition, or chemotype, never lets bacteria or viruses become resistant or immune to the Essential Oils ability to fight them off permanently, unlike synthetic prescription drugs.

Essential Oil vapors, through the use of oil burners or diffusers or even humidifiers, may be inhaled in order to stimulate the olfactory nerves in the brain, to calm and sooth the nerves. Essential Oils are also rubbed or massaged into the skin, only after proper dilution with any good quality Carrier Oil, to relieve pain, tension, or to help with skin problems. Oil baths are also taken to relieve a lot of different ailments.

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What is Aromatherapy?

Sometime in 1920-30’s René Maurice Gattefossé was working in the laboratory of his family owned business on creating new cosmetics. It was during that time that he had accidently burned his hand, and doused it with the closest liquid he could find, which was Lavender oil! He later noticed that the burns on his hand healed rather quickly and without any scaring. Soon after, he coined the term “Aromatherapy” to describe the practice of using Essential Oils, also known as Volatile or Ethereal Oils, taken from plants, seeds, flowers, fruits, bark, wood, and /or roots for healing.

Though the aroma’s themselves are generally not therapeutic, they are, indeed, used to identify therapeutic Essential Oils, as well as to determine adulteration. It is the essence of these Essential Oils, and their known chemical compositions, also known as chemotypes, that provide the full therapeutic properties.

Aromatherapy has been found, by the National Cancer Institute, to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and to promote relaxation, as well as the well being of patients in palliative care, and in intensive care units.                                             (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/aromatherapy/Patient/page2)

It is said that treatment with Essential Oils originated with the Australian Aborigines. It was evident that they had identified Tea Tree Oil as an Essential Oil for use as an antiseptic. The ancient Egyptians also used Essential Oils for embalming purposes and their priests used them for treating many illnesses. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that Aromatherapy was first publicized. During that time Dr. Valnet, a Frenchman, introduced the use of Aromatherapy massage.

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