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Using Essential Oils

by S. Christopherson

Essential oils are volatile aroma compounds extracted from a botanical by steam distillation, expression or extraction.  Many plants contain these volatile compounds and each oil is highly concentracted and has a specific healing property.  The quality of the essential oil depends on a number of factors:  plant species, soil and climate, the extraction method used and storage.  These affect the price of the oil, as do natural disasters such as insect damage or drought.  Extraction methods are labour-intensive and expensive so it is practical to purchase essential oils from trusted sources.  For example, it takes tons of rose petals to make a small quantity of rose essential oil so if someone is offering it for $10 a bottle, you know that it is either synthetic oil or rose oil that has been adulterated with filler oils. 

Essential oils are very highly concentrated and must be diluted with water, plant extracts or hydrosols, or carrier oils before being applied to the skin.  A straight application of the essential oil may not cause a rash the first time it is done but the next time there will be sensitization and a skin reaction.  These oils should be stored in dark, opaque glass bottles and kept in a cool location.  Citrus oils can be kept in the fridge.  When working with essential oils be sure to protect your work surface as the concentrated oils can mar a counter top and dissolve any plastic utensils you are using.  Be sure to work in an open area and wash your hands afterwards.

Just because the essential oils are natural does not mean that they will not cause reactions when used or that more is better.  Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used judiciously.  Always do a patch test when using an oil for the first time by applying a small amount of diluted oil to the inside of your arm and watch for redness or itching.

The essential oils sold at The Soap Farm are meant for topical (external) application only.  They are not to be taken internally.  Please do more research on essential oils for yourself as the information that has been provided above is just a brief overview and is not meant to be comprehensive reference material.


This article was published on Sunday 08 February, 2009.
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Mixed pound of soaps
I received the pound of soaps today. Speedy shipping as usua ..
5 of 5 Stars!

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