What is so “essential” about Essential Oils?

By Jade Shutes, New York Institute of Aromatic Studies

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in their Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2) defines an essential oil as a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.

According to Dr. Brian Lawrence “for an essential oil to be a true essential oil, it must be isolated by physical means only. The physical methods used are distillation (steam, steam/water and water) or expression (also known as cold pressing, a unique feature for citrus peel oils). There is one other method of oil isolation specific to a very limited number of essential oil plants. This is a maceration/distillation. In the process, the plant material is macerated in warm water to release the enzyme-bound essential oil. Examples of oils produced by maceration are onion, garlic, wintergreen, bitter almond, etc.”.2

  • Explore different methods of extracting essential oils here

This is an excerpt taken directly from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. You can read the entire, very interesting article here.
https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-are-essential-oils

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