Essential oils are aromatic, non-greasy extracts from a single plant. These extracts can be found in many different parts of plant from flowers, leaves and bark. They are separated from the plant in one of three main ways; steam distillation, expression or solvent extraction.
Lavender oil, for example, is steam distilled. The plant matter is placed in a jar over hot water. The steam lifts the oils out of the plant material and together they travel up a tube where they cool and drop down into another jar. The water and the oil naturally separate. The steaming process can change the structure and quality of the oil. Steam distillation is an art, not a science.
Citrus oils come from the skin of the fruit. Their outer skin is squeezed and the resulting oil is unchanged. It’s important to buy organic citrus essential oils to avoid contamination of pesticides.
Solvent extraction is used for jasmine flowers, for example. It ‘washes’ the aromatic oils out of the flowers. This solvent, is then put through a further ‘washing’ process to extract the oil, less any unwanted plant constituents that got caught in the first stage. Jasmine flowers contain such a small amount of essential oil that makes solvent extraction a popular method. Steam distillation would also damage the oil.
Sadly, the solvents used with extraction methods can contaminate the oil. Certified organic jasmine oil is extracted in a different way, ensuring purity, and retaining the therapeutic qualities of this most precious oil. The process is a trade secret!
Many expensive essential oils are adulterated with other oils to bring down the price. Adding an essential oil with a similar aroma, or a synthetic fragrance, may mean you get more for your money, but you certainly don’t get what you think you’re paying for.
It’s important when buying essential oils, and skincare products that contain essential oils, that you choose certified organic. This way you reduce the toxic load of pesticides in your system as well as ensuring you’re buying what you think you’re buying. Everyone in the certified organic chain are physically inspected every year to ensure standards are met. Everything has to weigh up so there’s no room for adulteration.
All Mumanu balms are certified organic and contain Fairtrade ingredients. Using only certified organic essential oils, at safe therapeutic dilutions, you can harness the benefits of aromatherapy safely and easily. Explore the Mumanu skincare and massage balm range…