What is an essential oil?

What is an essential oil?

An essential oil is a concentrated, volatile, aromatic liquid that is obtained from the fruits, seeds, flowers, bark, stems, roots, leaves or other parts of a plant. There are estimated to be 10,000 aromatic plants (ie that contain essential oils) on Earth, and about 500 of these are processed commercially for essential oil extraction. These oils have been used for centuries for both their healing and aromatic benefits. This is most commonly accomplished by steam distillation (steam is passed through the plant material), and sometimes hydrodistillation (the plant is gently boiled in water). More modern methods include mechanically expressing oils from citrus fruit peel, and solvent extraction. Solvent extracted oils include CO2 extracts and absolutes, and these are not classed as essential oils.