Learn About Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

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Practical Guide To Essential Oils (downloadable pdf)

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Essential Oil Profiles (downloadable pdf's for several essential oils)

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Aromatherapy FAQ

What is an essential oil?

Essential oils are the concentrated aromatic essences of plants, flowers, trees, herbs, and spices.

How do I use essential oils?

Essential oils are prized for varying attributes including aroma, flavor, therapeutic benefits as well as biochemical properties such as antibacterial and antifungal.  Essential oils are frequently used in aromatherapy, homeopathic healing, culinary applications (food grade only), and in the manufacture of cosmetics, soaps, lotions, balms, natural household cleaners, and even insect repellants.

How long do essential oils last?

Essential oils will not spoil, but may lose intensity over time.  We recommend storing essential oils with the caps tightly closed and in a cool, dark place. Our aromatherapy essential oils come bottled in dark amber glass to help protect against the negative effects of light. Sunlight and heat can degrade the oils. If stored properly, most essential oils should last at least one year and often much longer.  Citrus oils degrade more quickly, but can be refrigerated to extend shelf life. If your essential oils look cloudy, lose their intense aroma or have an off smell, it’s time to buy new. 

What are carrier oils or base oils?

Carrier oils, often referred to as base oils, are used to dilute essential oils and as a “base” for blending. Natural vegetable oils are preferred over synthetic for therapeutic and aromatherapy purposes.  Natural carrier oils on their own are excellent skin moisturizers as they are composed of different fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.  Some of the more common carrier oils are grapeseed, sweet almond, and jojoba. 

How are essential oils obtained?

There are basically three methods used to extract the oils from the leaves, bark, rind, and flowers of plants:  steam distillation, cold expression, and solvent extraction.  LorAnn's essential oils are obtained using either steam distillation or cold extraction.  

What is cold expression?

Cold expression, also known as cold pressed, is a method used specifically to obtain citrus essential oils. In this method, the rind of the fruit is either physically pressed or spun in a machine that uses centripetal force to release the oils.  No heat is employed in the process.

What is steam distillation?

Steam distillation is one way of extracting essential oils from plant material.  This method involves placing the botanical material in a large metal container or vat.  Pressurized steam is then run through the material to release and capture the essential oil from the botanicals.  The oil-laden mist is then condensed back into water.  The essential oil that floats to the top is subsequently removed.

What is solvent extraction?

Solvent extraction, which uses chemicals to extract the essential oils from plant material, is often used in the perfume industry; however, due to residual solvent concerns, this process is not recommended for essential oils used for aromatherapy.  LorAnn Oils’ essential oils are not obtained using solvent extraction. 

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy refers to the use of essential oils for well-being. The use of aromatics through massage, inhalation, baths and perfumes to enhance physical and mental health is an ancient art that has been practiced for millennia.  

What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils?

Essential oils are concentrated liquids obtained from aromatic plants.  Fragrance oils are created in a laboratory to simulate a particular fragrance and do not have the same biochemical attributes of natural essential oils. Fragrance oils are used for their aroma and are a popular choice for soaps, lotions, room sprays, and candles.  Because fragrance oils are artificial, the aroma is always consistent, they are typically much less expensive, and do not have the limited shelf life of a natural essential oil.

Essential Oil Blending Chart

Blending-Chart