The fragrance of a flower, smell of a citrus fruit and scent of
eucalyptus or pine trees are all therapeutic. Would you not agree? An Essential
oil is a plant extract that gives out natural aromas specific to the plant. Steam
distillation or cold pressed are the two processes used to extract essential
oils. This depends on the part of the plant that is used to extract oil. If the
nuts are used to extract the oil, then its mostly cold-pressed. Similarly, for
the citrus fruits the rind is the part used. Here too the method of extraction
used is cold-pressed. If the leaves, stems and flowers are used to extract
essential oil, then it’s done through the process of steam distillation.
The word “essential oil” is the short form of the original
word “quintessential.” As per the Aristotelian theory the Matter
consists of the four elements – Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Aristotle in his
theory also mentioned the fifth element or quintessence, where quintessence was
considered to be the spirit or life force. And it was believed that the
processes distillation and evaporation extracted the spirit from the plants.
However, in the modern era we know that the essential oils are not spirits but
are physical in nature and are made up of many complex chemicals.
What are Volatile
Aromatic Compounds of Essential Oils
Naturally occurring volatile aromatic compounds are found in
flowers, roots, seeds, bark and other parts of plants. These small organic
compounds form the essential oils. The naturally occurring Essential Oils emit
distinctive smell, protect the plants and also play a vital role in
The volatile aromatic compounds are small organic molecules that
have the ability to change state quickly from liquid to a gas to solid. Let’s
put it like this. The moment someone opens a bottle of essential oil, say
lavender essential oil, you will immediately notice the strong aroma even from a
certain distance. That is chemical and physical properties of the aromatic
compound of the lavender essential oil propels them to move quickly through the
air and interact directly with the olfactory sensors present in the nose.
What makes Essential Oil Ideal
for Aroma-therapeutical therapy
The unique volatile aromatic compounds present in the plants are
what makes an essential oil ideal for aromatherapy and therapeutical uses.
These organic compounds found in essential oils aids in maintaining a healthy
mind and body. The unique properties of each and every essential oil determines
the Aroma as well as the benefits of
a specific essential oil.
The nature of an essential oil differs from plant to plant within
the botanical families and also from species to species. The composition and quality of any given
essential oil vary depending on the factors such as
- the time of the day it was
- geographic location
- method and duration of
Essential oils have been used by human beings for centuries in
beauty treatment, therapeutic uses, food and also as medicines.