What are essential oils?

Che cosa sono gli oli essenziali?

Essential oil is a substance extracted from plants, can be extracted from different parts of the plant such as leaves, flowers, bark, peel, etc. When talking about essential oils, reference is made to the substance that has the property to determine the scent of the same. When we rip the fresh leaves of a plant or peel an orange, the liquid substance that is released is just the essential oil. The same plants, cultivated in different habitats and conditions, can produce essential oils with completely different characteristics; there are varieties of the same species that have different characteristics in the composition of essential oils: this botanical "profile" is called Chemiotypo. Although the starting plan is the same, each chemistry has different uses and benefits.

Essential oils extraction techniques:

- Cold Squeezing: By using this extraction technique, the Essences are obtained. It is a mechanical process that involves pressing cold parts to extract the active ingredients. It applies to the extraction of citrus essences by pressing the fruit plum.

- Steam distillation: Steam distillation extracts essential oils from the most resistant and dry plant tissues such as leaves, sprigs, bark and wood. Steam distillation is applied by the use of a distiller, a watertight device connected to a steam generator and a cooling coil. The distiller, thanks to the cooling coil, is able to separate the e.e. from the remaining liquid.

- Enfleurage and solvent extraction: these techniques are only used in special cases to increase yield or to damage parts of the extremely delicate plant.

With the enfleurage of the flowers you get the essential oil of neroli while with the steam stream distillation of sprigs, leaves and barks you get the essential orange oil.

The quality of an essential oil depends on the quality of the plants used and the capabilities of the distiller. A meter of partial judgment, but that can give us a first indication, is the quality of labeling.

A complete and professional labeling should include:

- Botanical name (and common name)
- Chemotype
- Part of the plant used
- Harvest Place
- Extraction method
- Expiry date
- Cautions (internal use, children, pregnancy, etc.)

The price of an essential oil can depend on 3 factors:

1. The distillation time: it is different from one plant to another: it can go for an hour and 30 minutes (eg lavender), up to 6 hours (eg: Angelica).

2. From the cost of labor:
- Collection times, transport to distillery
- Vegetal Rarity: This term refers to the plant quantities available during a harvest cycle. 3. From the "Yield of essential oil": for example, to get one kilogram of Melissa essential oil, we need from 5 to 10 tons of product and only 150 kg of lavender.

Essential oils exist since the dawn of time.
The first essential oil used in the world was that of rose; extracted from the famous Arabic Avicenna doctor in 4000 a. C. Even the Ancient Egyptians, at the dawn of the predinational period, used the essential oils to embalm the dead. But it is to René-Maurice Gattefossé who belongs to the father of modern aromatherapy; in 1910, while working on producing some scents, he accidentally burned an arm; accidentally finding her close to her lavender, she tried to put her on the wounded side; she felt immediate relief and avoided her limb being gangrene!

17/01/2018 by Gisa srl