Monday, November 9, 2009

Essential Oils 101

Today I am starting a new series on my blog called Essential Oils 101.  I will be posting weekly about the benefits of essential oils in our everyday lives.  I realize many people are not aware of the difference between an essential oil and a fragrance oil, so this is a great place to start.  Essential oils are the real essence extracted from a plant, a wood, or a resin.  Because essential oils come from living plant matter they contain all sorts of wonderful properties such as being anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral and antiseptic.  On the other hand fragrance oils may smell nice but they do not contain any of the healing properties of pure essential oils.  They are synthetic version and often times made up scents that do not exist in nature.

Essential oils are grouped into three categories, top notes which are the most volatile (meaning they evaporate the quickest) have uplifting and invigorating qualities, middle notes are stimulating and regulate the main body system, and base notes which are the least volatile and are used for their calming and sedating actions.    Examples of top notes are citrus, juniper, and mints, examples of middle notes are rose, lemongrass and pine and examples of base notes are patchouli, cinnamon, and vetiver.

According to many aromatherapist if you could only have one essential oil, your choice should be lavender.  I thought this would be the best oil to start our discussion on essential oils.   Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils and has been used as far back as ancient times for its calming qualities.  Lavender can help with depression, insomnia, stress, headache, burns, acne, sore muscles and nervous tension.

Lavender is also many peoples favorite scent, it is showing up everywhere these days  from dish washing liquid to room sprays and even in Comet for scrubbing your sink.  Lavender blends well with many other essential oils including bergamot, clary sage, patchouli, rosemary and rose.

I scent most of my soaps with pure natural essential oils.  I sometimes use fragrance oils if the essential oil is cost prohibitive to use in soapmaking.  Essential oil prices differ radically from scent to scent, some of the most expensive being rose, neroli, sandalwood, and vanilla.  As part of my essential oil series I will be selling my soaps with that essential oil at 15% off the regular price.  Below you will see some soaps that are mostly lavender and some that are part lavender, but they all contain the wonderful therapeutic qualities of lavender.

Please take advantage of these savings at my etsy shop and enjoy the marvels that nature provides.


Debsparkles said...

I will be reading your posts. My granddaughter wants to learn about essential oils and making soap. I thought about taking her to a class that our local high school gives in adult ed but she is on 13, maybe I will just have her read your posts as they come up. Thank you!

californiablue said...

Really informative post! I don't know anything about essential oils, but have always wanted to. Lavender is one of my very favorite scents, and we grow some in our backyard!

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