When people visit an herbal garden they are usually fascinated by the fragrance of the herbal plants like peppermint, rosemary or lavender. The fragrance of these herbals is the essence of their existence. That’s why the oil extracted from these herbals is called “essential” oil. Because the word “essential” refers to the essence of the oil that has been driven from the characteristic aroma (essence) of plant.
Essential oils are a great source of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. May be it is true, as the expression goes, that when God made the poison he packaged it with antidote. Here is an introduction to the most fascinating essential oils that have some of the most wonderful medicinal properties:
So what are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated substances driven from a plant’s aroma or flavor. However some plants are generous with their scented oil like rosemary, tarragon or mint and others aren’t. If you rub a few leaves of rosemary or tarragon in your hands you can smell their scent. On the other hand, 3 million flowers of Jasmine (1000 Ib) make up only for one Ib of jasmine essential oil.
Essential oils don’t always come from the open flowers; they could also come from different parts of the plant such as flower buds, leaves or stem.
There are three methods of producing essential oil; steam distillation, extraction and expression.
In steam distillation method, the plant is steamed and the essential oil evaporate. Then the hot vapor is cooled into the mixture of both water and oil. Since essential oils aren’t soluble it’s easy to separate the two and extract the essential oil.
In this method the oil is cold-pressed from the plant at room temperature by using machinery or hands. The oils that are extracted by expression method are super sensitive to heat and are easily damaged by steam distillation heat. The Cold-press expression is mostly used for extracting oil from citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, oranges or grapefruit that are sensitive to heat.
In this method a chemical or organic solvent is added to the plant and the essential oils are extracted based on different solubility. The essential oils are soluble in the organic or chemical solvent and when the solvent is evaporated the essential oil remains. However this method can be worrisome since in some cases chemicals might have been added as the solvent.
Top 10 Essential Oils:
2. Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus is a great essential oil for improving the immune system and treating muscle pains, colds, flues and asthma.
3. Lavender: Lavender oil is a great natural skin-care product that can be used for treating burns, wounds and cuts.
4. Chamomile Oil: The chamomile has a gorgeous scent and is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory used for treating skin inflammation and skin irritations.
5. Rosemary Oil: Rosemary can be added to bath or rubbed into the skin and can help to relieve muscle pains. Rosemary blends really well with lavender and sea salt.
6. Orange Oil: The orange oil is great for detoxification and has high levels of vitamin C that can be great for skin care. Orange oil is great for cleaning germs and grease from the floor and has a great scent so your home will smell great!
10. Lemon Oil: Lemon oil has great antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties. Lemon oil is a great natural home cleaner and a great source of vitamin C for skin care. Lemon oil can also improve immune system and the formation of blood cells.