Essential oils have a much stronger smell, potency, and aroma than plants.
By Preeti Chadha
Essential oils are oil extracts of various beneficial plants. Manufacturing processes extract the useful components from the plants. Essential oils have a much stronger smell, potency, and aroma than plants. They are pure form and contain higher levels of active ingredients which are required to make essential oil.
There are different ways to extract essential oils from plants. Such as:
Steam or water distillation: This process passes water or hot steam through the plants, pulling the essential compounds away from the plant matter.
Cold pressing: This process works by mechanically pressing or squeezing plant matter to cause it to release essential juices or oils. A simple example of this would be smelling the fresh scent of lemon after squeezing or zesting a lemon peel.
After extracting the active compounds from the plant matter, sometimes it has to add them to a carrier oil to get more product from the same amount of essential oil. These products would no longer be pure essential oils, but a mixture.
Essential oils create a wide range of products. The cosmetic and makeup industry uses essential oils to create perfumes, add fragrance to creams and body washes, and even as sources of natural antioxidants in beauty care products. Aromatherapists use essential oils for medicinal purposes, they use a diffuser for diffusing these essential oils into the air as they believe breathing in essential oils might allow them to enter the lungs and bloodstream, where some of the helpful compounds may benefit the body.
Using a mentholated vapor rub to help clear sinuses has used a form of aromatherapy. Ayurveda too believes in Adding essential oils to a carrier oil and massaging them into the skin-delivering the active compounds to the body which heals quickly and calms the inflammatory areas.
Some very useful essential oils are,
Peppermint: used to boost energy and aid digestion.
Lavender: used to relieve stress.
Sandalwood: used to calm nerves and help with focus.
Bergamot: used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions like eczema.
Rose: used to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Chamomile: used to improve mood and relaxation.
Essential oils should be used externally only. As they are extremely concentrated, they can also irritate the sensitive cells inside the body. some people might take oral capsules containing essential oils. they should only do this under the right guidance of the practitioner. However, it is never recommended to use essential oils anywhere near their mouth or other openings of the body such as eyes, ears, noses, anus, and vagina where it may enter the body.
(The author is Founder of IREMIA. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)