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Absolutes – A product that is extracted by a process using solvents to capture the delicate fragrance and oil of some flowers. The nature of many flowers means that steam distillation cannot be used to extract the oil because the intense heat destroys the flowers, causing them to become compacted into a solid mass that the steam cannot penetrate.
Adulteration - Pure essential oils are changed in some way – usually diluted or mixed with synthetic fragrances.
Aromatherapy - The use of pure essential oils extracted from natural botanicals to relax, balance and heal the body and mind.
Base Note – A category used to describe essential oils that have the greatest percentage of larger molecules. They are least volatile (vaporise much slower). They are usually relaxing and intense oils. Often thicker in nature. Examples include; Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Frankincense.
Carrier Oil - A vegetable oil base. Can be used on their own or blended with essential oils to create massage blends and body care products. Examples of carrier oils include Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Jojoba and Grapeseed.
Cold Press Extraction - (See Expression.)
Chemical Constituents - The chemistry of essential oil is extremely complex, and a typical example of oil will contain an elaborate mixture of different chemical components such as alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, lactones, phenols and terpenes which are called the constituents of the oil. They combine to produce a unique set of therapeutic qualities typical to that oil. This complex mixture of natural chemicals is what makes essential oils such as effective healing agents. “Modern” medicine extracts single components from plants and often blends them with chemicals, aromatherapy is effective because of the use of the entire plant (all chemical constituents of the plant) so we gain the synergistic benefits of up to 150 different chemicals reacting together to achieve the desired result. It is for this reason that each essential oil can be used to treat so many different ailments.
Distillate - A product of distillation. For example, Lavender oil is the distillate of the fresh lavender plant.
Distillation - The primary method of producing essential oils is through steam distillation. Water is heated to boiling and steam passes through fresh plant material stacked on a rack above the boiling water, causing the cell walls of the plant to break down and release the essential oil. The water and essential oil vapour then pass through a cooler that condenses the steam and the oil into a liquid. The liquid is collected and the oil separates from the water. Most oils are lighter than water and thus collect on the surface of the water where they are siphoned off. Oils heavier than water sink to the bottom of the collector where they are removed.
Essential Oil - The highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. Information on specific essential oils can be found on the products page. The essential oils are located in tiny secretory structures found in various parts of plants; leaves (eucalyptus), berries (juniper), grasses (palmarosa), flowering tops (lavender), petals (rose), zest of fruit (orange), resins (frankincense) and wood (cedar).
Expression - Method of obtaining essential oil from plant material, such as citrus fruit peel. The complete oil is physically forced from the plant material. Also known as cold press extraction.
Extraction Method - The method by which essential oils are separated from the plant. Common extraction methods include distillation, expression (cold pressed) and solvent extraction (absolutes).
Fragrance - Products labelled as fragrances are not pure essential oils. They are derived by synthetic means.
Hydrosol - Hydrosol is the name for the water left after a steam or water distillation of essential oil. It is mainly water with only a small amount of water-soluble plant constituents.
Middle Note – A category used to describe essential oils that have the largest percentage of molecules considered to be medium-sized. Generally in a blend, they are not the oil you smell first, it may take a few minutes before you even notice them in a blend. They are usually warmer style fragrances. Examples include; Cinnamon, Geranium, Nutmeg, Rose, Ylang Ylang.
Mineral Oil - An oil from petroleum. Not recommended for skin or body care.
Olfactory - Relating to or connected with the sense of smell.
Pure Essential Oil – An oil obtained from a plant, using natural extraction methods, that has not been altered in any way. Vigorous quality checks are required to ensure oils are not adulterated. The purity of the essential oil will determine how successful the treatment is. See Essential Oil above.
Synergistic - “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Often achieved by blending essential oils – the result is usually more effective than you would achieve by using each oil individually. See our Essential Oil Blends.
Synthetic - An artificially produced substance (made in a laboratory) designed to imitate that which occurs naturally.
Top Note – A category used to describe essential oils that have the largest percentage of small molecules and are more volatile (i.e. vaporise quicker). Examples include; Basil, Citronella, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin. Top note oils are almost always fresh smelling and often uplifting. They also act quickly on the skin, their smell dissipates quickest, and it is the smell that hits you first when smelling a blend of oils.
Viscosity - Pertaining to the thickness or thinness of a liquid.
Volatility - The rate of evaporation or oxidation of essential oil.