Following the essential oil information listed here will give you the basics do's and dont's for these wonderful oils. We enjoy the fragrance of many plants – heady lilacs in the spring, the zest of a fresh orange, peppermint tea – to name only a few. Plants use their scent to attract pollinators or, in some cases, to repel harmful invaders. They store this essence in different areas depending on the plant. Roses store in the blossoms, citrus in the skin of the fruit, peppermint on the leaf, sandalwood deep in the heartwood, ginger in the root, cinnamon in both bark and leaf or even, as with frankincense, in the resin or scab.
The most common way to extract this fragrance is through distillation. The aromatic parts of the plant are either boiled or exposed to steam. As this steam is cooled, the oil and water separate. The oil is collected and the water is sold as hydrosols.
Some plants cannot be distilled. The essence is extracted through the use of chemicals. Jasmine and vanilla are examples of this. The resulting oil is called and absolute. For citrus, the essence stored in the fruit is squeezed out and collected without using any heat or chemicals.
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