Essential Oils - 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the "oil of" the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.[1]

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.

Essential oils have been used medicinally in history. Medical applications proposed by those who sell medicinal oils range from skin treatments to remedies used to support cellular healthand often are based solely on historical accounts of use of essential oils for these purposes. Claims for the efficacy of medical treatments, and treatment of cancers in particular, are now subject to regulation in most countries.

As the use of essential oils has declined in evidence-based medicine, one must consult older textbooks for much information on their use.[2][3] Modern works are less inclined to generalize; rather than refer to "essential oils" as a class at all, they prefer to discuss specific compounds, such as methyl salicylate, rather than "oil of wintergreen".[4][5]

Interest in essential oils has revived in recent decades with the popularity of aromatherapy, a branch of alternative medicine that claims that essential oils and other aromatic compounds have curative effects. Oils are volatilized or diluted in a carrier oil and used in massage, diffused in the air by a nebulizer, heated over a candle flame, or burned as incense.

The earliest recorded mention of the techniques and methods used to produce essential oils is believed to be that of Ibn al-Baitar (1188–1248), an Andalusian physician, pharmacist and chemist.[6]

Distillation

See also: Distillation

Today, most common essential oils — such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil and eucalyptus — are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic (distillation apparatus) over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.

Most oils are distilled in a single process. One exception is ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), which takes 22 hours to complete through a fractional distillation.

The recondensed water is referred to as a hydrosol, hydrolat, herbal distillate or plant water essence, which may be sold as another fragrant product. Popular hydrosols include rose water, lavender water, lemon balm, clary sage and orange blossom water. The use of herbal distillates in cosmetics is increasing. Some plant hydrosols have unpleasant smells and are therefore not sold.

Expression

Most citrus peel oils are expressed mechanically or cold-pressed (similar to olive oil extraction). Due to the relatively large quantities of oil in citrus peel and low cost to grow and harvest the raw materials, citrus-fruit oils are cheaper than most other essential oils. Lemon or sweet orange oils that are obtained as byproducts of the citrus industry are even cheaper.

Before the discovery of distillation, all essential oils were extracted by pressing.

Solvent Extraction

Most flowers contain too little volatile oil to undergo expression; their chemical components are too delicate and easily denatured by the high heat used in steam distillation. Instead, a solvent such as hexane or supercritical carbon dioxide is used to extract the oils. Extracts from hexane and other hydrophobic solvents are called concretes, which are a mixture of essential oil, waxes, resins, and other lipophilic (oil-soluble) plant material.

Although highly fragrant, concretes contain large quantities of nonfragrant waxes and resins. Often, another solvent, such as ethyl alcohol, which is more polar in nature, is used to extract the fragrant oil from the concrete. The alcohol solution is chilled to -18C/0F for more than 48 hour which causes the waxes and lipids to precipitate out. The precipitates are then filtered out and the ethanol is removed from the remaining solution by evaporation, vacuum purge, or both, leaving behind the absolute.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is used as a solvent in supercritical fluid extraction. This method has many benefits including avoiding petrochemical residues in the product and the loss of some "top notes" when steam distillation is used. It does not yield an absolute directly. The supercritical carbon dioxide will extract both the waxes and the essential oils that make up the concrete. Subsequent processing with liquid carbon dioxide, achieved in the same extractor by merely lowering the extraction temperature, will separate the waxes from the essential oils. This lower temperature process prevents the decomposition and denaturing of compounds. When the extraction is complete, the pressure is reduced to ambient and the carbon dioxide reverts to a gas, leaving no residue.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is also used for making decaffeinated coffee. Although it uses the same basic principles, it is a different process because of the difference in scale.

Florasols Extraction

Florasol (R134a), a refrigerant, was developed to replace Freon. Although Florasol is an "ozone-friendly" product, it is still a fluorochemical (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane) and it poses significant danger to the environment due to its global warming potential (GWP; 100-yr GWP = 1430).[7] The European Union has banned its use, with a phase-out process beginning in 2011, to be completed in 2017 [8] One advantage is that the extraction of essential oils occurs at or below room temperature so degradation through high temperature extremes does not occur. The essential oils are mostly pure and contain little to no foreign substances.[citation needed]

Production Quantities

Estimates of total production of essential oils are difficult to obtain. One estimate, compiled from data in 1989, 1990 and 1994 from various sources, gives the following total production, in tonnes, of essential oils for which more than 1,000 tonnes were produced.[9]

OilTonnesSweet orange12,000Mentha arvensis4,800Peppermint3,200Cedarwood2,600Lemon2,300Eucalyptus globulus2,070Litsea cubeba2,000Clove (leaf)2,000Spearmint1,300

For a video on smaller-scale domestic use production and extraction, see The Essential Series: Essential Concoction. <EupterraFoundation.com>

Use In Aromatherapy

Main article: Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to the aromatic compounds in essential oils and other plant extracts. Some essential oils are claimed to have an uplifting effect on the mind. Such claims, if meaningful, are not necessarily false but are difficult to quantify in the light of the sheer variability of materials used in the practice.

Dilution

Essential oils are usually lipophilic (literally: "oil-loving") compounds that usually are not miscible with water. They can be diluted in solvents like pure ethanol and polyethylene glycol.

Raw Materials

Main article: List of essential oils

Essential oils are derived from sections of plants. Some plants, like the bitter orange, are sources of several types of essential oil.

Berries

Seeds

Bark

Wood

Rhizome

Leaves

Resin

Flowers

Peel

Root

Eucalyptus Oil

Main article: Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil is produced from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus. Steam-distilled eucalyptus oil is used throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and South America as a primary cleaning/disinfecting agent added to soaped mop and countertop cleaning solutions; it also possesses insect and limited vermin control properties. Note, however, there are hundreds of species of eucalyptus, and perhaps some dozens are used to various extents as sources of essential oils. Not only do the products of different species differ greatly in characteristics and effects, but also the products of the very same tree can vary grossly.[3]

Rose Oil

Main article: Rose oil

Rose oil is produced from the petals of Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia. Steam-distilled rose oil is known as "rose otto", while the solvent extracted product is known as "rose absolute".

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil has long been used in the production of perfume.[20] However, it can be estrogenic and antiandrogenic, causing problems for prepubescent boys and pregnant women, in particular.[21] Lavender essential oil is also used as an insect repellent.[22]

Dangers

The potential danger of an essential oil is generally relative to its level or grade of purity. Many essential oils are designed exclusively for their aroma-therapeutic quality; these essential oils generally should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted or "neat" form. Some can cause severe irritation, provoke an allergic reaction and, over time, prove hepatotoxic.

Essential oils should not be used with animals, as they possess extreme hepatotoxicity and dermal toxicity for animals. Some essential oils, including many of the citrus peel oils, are photosensitizers, increasing the skin's vulnerability to sunlight.[27]

Industrial users of essential oils should consult the material safety data sheets (MSDS) to determine the hazards and handling requirements of particular oils. Even certain therapeutic grade oils can pose potential threats to individuals with epilepsy or pregnant women.

Handling

Exposure to essential oils may cause a contact dermatitis.[28][29][30] Essential oils can be aggressive toward rubbers and plastics, so care must be taken in choosing the correct handling equipment. Glass syringes are often used, but have coarse volumetric graduations. Chemistry syringes are ideal, as they resist essential oils, are long enough to enter deep vessels, and have fine graduations, facilitating quality control. Unlike traditional pipettes, which have difficulty handling viscous fluids, the chemistry syringe has a seal and piston arrangement which slides inside the pipette, wiping the essential oil off the pipette wall.

Pregnancy

The use of essential oils in pregnancy is not recommended due to inadequate published evidence to demonstrate evidence of safety.[citation needed] Pregnant women often report an abnormal sensitivity to smells and taste,[31] essential oils can cause irritation and nausea.

Gynecomastia

Estrogenic and antiandrogenic activity have been reported by in vitro study of tea tree oil and lavender essential oils. Case reports suggest the oils may be implicated in some cases of gynecomastia, an abnormal breast tissue growth, in prepubescent boys.[32][33] However, these claims have been challenged [34][unreliable medical source?] and the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety has dismissed the claims saying "Since the hormonal active ingredients of Tea Tree Oil were shown not to penetrate the skin, the hypothesized correlation of the finding of 3 cases of gynecomastia to the topical use of Tea Tree Oil is considered implausible." [35]

Pesticide Residues

There is some concern about pesticide residues in essential oils, particularly those used therapeutically. For this reason, many practitioners of aromatherapy buy organically produced oils. Not only are pesticides present in trace quantities, but also the oils themselves are used in tiny quantities and usually in high dilutions. Where there is a concern about pesticide residues in food essential oils, such as mint or orange oils, the proper criterion is not whether the material is alleged to be organically produced, but whether it meets the government standards based on actual analysis of its pesticide content.[36]

Ingestion

Essential oils are used extensively as GRAS flavoring agents in foods, beverages and confectioneries according to strict Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and flavorist standards. Therapeutic grade essential oils are generally safe for human consumption in small amounts.[citation needed] Pharmacopoeia standards for medicinal oils should be heeded. Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals, cats in particular.[37] The internal use of essential oils can pose hazards to pregnant women, as some can be abortifacients in dose 0.5–10 ml, and thus should not be used during pregnancy.

Flammability

The flash point of each essential oil is different. Many of the common essential oils, such as tea tree, lavender, and citrus oils, are classed as a Class 3 Flammable Liquid, as they have a flash point of 50–60 °C.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.