Amazing Facts About Essential Oils

Posted on: January 25th, 2010 by
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Although I’ve studied a lot about essential oils in the course of my aromatherapy studies, I still continually research and revise information for articles which I write for various web magazines and for my own blog. Some of the facts I discover/re-discover continue to amaze me, so I thought that I would share some of what, I consider, to be some of the amazing things about aromatherapy.  Of course there are many more but these are my favorite top ten amazing facts about essential oils! If you have anything to add, please leave me a comment below this blog post!

  • there are only 21 plant families which produce essential oils (source: Aromatherapy Workbook, Shirley Price, 2000)
  • only one per cent of the entire plant species population produce essential oils (source: Aromatherapy Massage for You, Jennie Harding, 2005)
  • essentials oils, as used today, were ‘discovered’ by French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, in 1928, only 82 years ago (although, the use of plant oils, in various forms, have been in use for centuries)
  • on the other side of the coin, ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were using plant oils for medicinal and beauty purposes long before ‘modern day’ aromatherapy was ‘invented’
  • an Arab physician, by the name of Avicenna (980 A.D. – 1037 A.D.), is accredited with the invention of a refrigerated coil which changed the way plants were distilled; this method is still used today
  • the exact chemical components of all essential oils is still not known; scientists have studied the chemical components of many essential oils and are still establishing what some essential oils are made up of.  Rose essential oil, for example, has some unknown chemical components, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to ‘copy’ the exact aroma of rose in synthetic form
  • the bitter orange tree produces three different essential oils: petitgrain essential oil (from the leaves), neroli essential oil (from the flowers) and bitter orange essential oil (from the fruit).  The sweet orange tree produces one essential oil from the fruit
  • many plant species/families produce different varieties of similar or different essential oils; examples include the lavender essential oils, the sage essential oils and the chamomile essential oils
  • essential oils are versatile in their use; known for their healing properties, essential oils can also be used in the home as a natural cleaning product, to repel insects, in the use of pets and even assist plants in the garden, effectively taking them back to their source!
  • an ‘essential oil’ is not always an essential oil – it may actually be a concrete, resin, resinoid, oleoresin or hydrosol.

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