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The methods used to extract the oils are time-consuming and expensive and require a high degree of expertise. Also, the amount of oil obtained from the plant is often minuscule. For example, it takes 20kgs of fresh lavender flowers to produce just over one litre of essential oil. It takes 5 metric tons of Rose petals to make that same one litre of oil! Or 3,000 lemons to produce just 1 litre of essential oil. So the price depends on how easily the plant grows, the extraction method used, and how much of the plant is required to get a litre of oil. Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and effective – so you only need a few drops at a time to achieve the desired effect. Synthetic oils are available at a lower price, but they simply do not have the healing properties of the natural oils.
Essential oils and Aromatherapy products work in two ways. Firstly they have an immediate impact on our sense of smell, also known as "olfaction". When essential oils are inhaled, olfactory receptor cells in the nose are stimulated and the impulse is transmitted to the emotional centre of the brain, or "limbic system" (this is a very rapid response). The limbic system is connected to areas of the brain linked to memory, breathing, and blood circulation, as well as the endocrine glands which regulate hormone levels in the body. The properties of the oil (the chemical constituents), and the fragrance determine stimulation of these systems.
The second way essential oils work is when they are absorbed into the skin through massage, bath and/or applied directly to the skin. They penetrate the skin tissues and find their way into the bloodstream where they are transported to the organs and systems of the body. Essential oils have differing rates of absorption, generally between 10 minutes and 2 hours. Absorption is a very effective treatment (as opposed to taking internally) as the essential oils are not changed in any way by our digestive system.
To obtain therapeutic results in aromatherapy only the very finest quality pure essential oils must be used at all times. It is also important that the appropriate botanical species of each plant is used – for example, there are over 20 different varieties of household lavenders, however ‘Lavendula augustifolia’ or ‘officinalis’ are of the highest therapeutic value. Always check your essential oils have the botanical name printed on their label. Cheaper, inferior essential oils deliver unpredictable results. At best nothing at all will happen when you use inferior quality oils - in other words, you will not receive any benefits, and at the very worst you may have an allergic reaction to the oil and experience skin irritation, sensitisation, or other side effects. This is typical because the pure essential oil has been adulterated with a synthetic chemical component, or perhaps because it is entirely synthetic. Some oils, typically the very cheap ones and/or unknown brands, will often have been 'stretched' by adding cheap synthetics to the genuine pure essential oil to make the product go further. Synthetic or adulterated oils contain little or no therapeutic qualities and generally do not work in aromatherapy.
Always store them in a cool dark area as much as possible.
Essential oils will last from 2-10 years depending on the oil and on how they are stored. The citrus oils will not last as long as the woody oils. Some woody oils (as long as they are pure essential oils such as Dolphin Clinic oils) actually get better with age. Massage oils last 6-24 months – again depending significantly on how they are stored and used. Always keep fingers out of the bottles (the pumps on our massage oils help improve storage hygiene). You can easily tell if a massage oil or essential oil is “off” because the aroma will change dramatically giving a clear “off” smell. If in doubt go into one of our retailers and smell the tester and compare the aroma to the bottle you have at home.