Aromatherapy Oils – What Exactly Are They?

Aromatherapy Oils are thought of by most people as the oils that are usually fragrant and bought in screw top, dark glass bottles from Aromatherapy Suppliers, Aromatherapists or Herbalists. The general opinion is that these oils are natural essences produced from naturally growing plant life; however like most things in life things are not as simple as that.

Many websites and a lot of literature on the subject Buy CBD Oil ONLine contains information about Aromatherapy Oils but behind this accepted and catch-all title we will often find references to Essential Oils, Absolutes, Carrier Oils, Vegetable Oils, Base Oils, Fixed Oils, Fragrance Oils, and Extended Oils. Even these terms overlap in meaning and even have disputed definitions. To try and define Aromatherapy Oils it will be necessary to explain some of these other terms (many of the oils and processes described below may also be relevant to the perfume , soap making, household cleaning products and food production industries but in general I have tried to describe what these terms mean in the production of Aromatherapy oils)

Essential Oils: –

This is where it all starts from. Essential Oils (sometimes referred to as Volatile Oils or Essences) are extracted from leaves, flowers, stems, fruits, roots, bark and other parts of plants grown in many parts of the world. They are produced by the processes of expression or distillation which gives a volatile, sometimes aromatic, substance (generally in liquid form). They generally carry the essence and scent of the plant. Although they have been used for thousands of years they have become more popular with the growth of what is now known as Aromatherapy. Generally Essential Oils are very concentrated and are often too strong to use in their “neat” form and require some kind of dilution this is usually achieved by the use of solvents or vegetable based Carrier Oils; there are few that can be diluted using water. There is also controversy about whether Essential Oils can be taken orally; some countries allow it some ban it or at least they highly recommend the practise is not encouraged.

Absolutes: –

Absolutes are sometimes referred to as Essences.They are however like Essential Oils in that they are concentrated, aromatic, oily mixtures extracted from plants. Most Essential Oils are produced by steam distillation; this method of extraction can often be too strong for more delicate flowers and plant materials resulting in the possible loss of the often delicate fragrances. The production of absolutes usually relies on either solvent extraction techniques or through enfleurage.

Enfleurage involves placing the plant materials on fat which over a period of days absorbs and becomes saturated with the fragrance producing a “Pomade”.

Solvent extraction involves a solvent mixture being added to the plant materials, when the solvent has been fully absorbed the mixture is distilled leaving a “Concrete”.

The Pomades or Concretes have alcohol added to remove the fat. What is left is then distilled to produce the Absolute Oil.

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