with quality essential oils by TAOASIS
Aromatherapy has become increasingly popular in recent years. But many do not even know what exactly essential oils are, where they come from, and where to find a good quality of essential oils. We will give you an insight into the basics of aromatherapy and show you how to use essential oils as part of naturopathy.
Essential oils: The mysterious essences of the plants
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are volatile essences that can be obtained by steam distillation, extraction or extrusion of plants or parts of plants or can be produced synthetically. They evaporate quickly and without residue, unlike fatty oils, such as olive oil or almond oil.
Essential oils act directly on the brain through their fragrance and influence a variety of mental, emotional and physical control mechanisms that we are mostly unaware of. They are extremely versatile and are suitable not only for room scenting, but also ideal for fragrant herbal and flower baths, for inhalations and for the production of natural body and massage oils. In a world that has fallen out of natural balance, the fragrant plant essences could play a part in making us consciously aware of nature and our immediate surroundings.
Essential oils are derived from a variety of plant parts, for example:
- Flowers like rose, jasmine etc. and flowering herbs like lavender
- Leaves like eucalyptus or the whole herb like rosemary etc.
- Roots like spikenard and vetiver
- Needles and twigs like spruce, pine or fir
- Wood like rosewood and sandalwood
- bark like cinnamon bark
- resin from trees like frankincense and myrrh
- Fruits like anise and fennel, Litsea cubeba
- Berries and berry-like juniper cones
- vanilla beans
- Seeds like cocoa beans and nutmeg
- Fruit peel like orange and lemon
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is an integrated part of naturopathy. It regards the human being as a whole and does not understand illness as a cause, but as a consequence of an often mental state, which is out of balance. Different naturopathic methods follow similar principles. Aromatherapy is always focused on strengthening and activating the body’s own self-healing powers.
With the help of aromatherapy, we can learn to deal with the fragrances of nature and use them sensibly. Through the associated sensitization of our sense of smell, we also get our body’s own odors back on track and learn to accept them as part of our self – or to change them specifically, by changing our way of life and diet.
In aromatherapy, not the whole plant is used, but parts of the plant, the essence of which comes into effect in concentrated form in the essential oils. Although essential oils are only an extract from the plant, they contain the same important information and the concentrated life force of the plant. The aromatic plants from which essential oils are extracted are for the most part medicinal plants that humans have been using for centuries for their healing power in a wide variety of diseases.
The extraction of the essence
Essential oils can be obtained in several ways. The extraction methods are differentiated into enfleurage, steam distillation, cold pressing and solvent extraction. The vast majority of aromatic plants, roots and woods are obtained by the classical steam distillation, citrus fruits mostly by cold pressing of the peel and some precious flowers by solvents. On our page “The most important essential oils” you will find the most important essential oils in a short portrait – from anise to stone pine.
The quality of essential oils
Surveys have shown that even many fragrance lovers can hardly distinguish the pure, natural fragrances from the synthetic and nature-identical “twins” from the laboratory. Many people are not aware that lilies of the valley and lilac are not able to produce any essential oil and therefore no natural fragrance. What is offered on the shelves of tea shops and supermarkets are often purely synthetic or nature-identical creations from the laboratory.
Nature identical is not natural
Here, the word “nature-identical” serves to give the consumer the impression that the corresponding fragrance is just like nature – but that’s not true at all. In contrast to essential oils, which are known to have been used by our ancestors in all conceivable applications and have been proven for millennia, there are no empirical long-term studies for the synthetic and nature-identical cocktails.
A study by the University of Witten / Herdecke, commissioned by the BDIH, reveals the difference in the allergic potential of natural fragrances and their nature-identical twins. Tests with fragrance-mix allergic subjects examined the effect of natural lemon oil compared to chemically pure citral, which was recreated as the main ingredient contained naturally in citrus oil.
Higher allergy potential of synthetic and nature-identical fragrances
The result clearly shows the allergic potential: Over 90% of the allergically sensitive persons react to synthetic citral, but not even 3% to natural lemon oil. Therefore fragrance does not always mean the same: Only with accordingly excellent and pure natural essential oils you can be sure that you hold a natural product in your hands.
But even with natural essential oils, there are still big differences in quality. The quality of an essential oil is influenced by several factors that are not always obvious to the consumer when buying.
One factor for the quality is the origin and cultivation of the aromatic plants from which the precious oils are extracted. Origin and cultivation are distinguished in:
- Wild growth or wild collection
- biodynamic cultivation
- controlled organic farming
- conventional cultivation
Pure essential oils from wild collection usually have a very high quality, because the plants have grown in their natural habitat. However, there are some companies that have essential oils from wildly collected plants only limited in the range, which is exemplified by the example of the Australian tea tree. Due to the high demand, too large cuts were made to the wild trees, which endangered the entire population.The solution here is compatible crops – preferably based on controlled organic farming. Demeter and organic farming oils are usually also very good due to species-appropriate and poison-free culture, but still can not set a generally applicable quality standard. This is partly because the culture, the selection of the right seeds and in particular the distillation is a real art, which is often handed down from generation to generation. Nevertheless, biodynamic cultivation as well as controlled organic cultivation is an active contribution to environmental protection and a necessary investment in the future.
The tested purity is crucial
Although the origin of the plants can decisively influence the quality of the essences, the origin or method of cultivation is only one of very many criteria that does not allow generally valid statements. Much more crucial to the quality of an essential oil is purity. Since these are extremely precious oils, it is a trivial matter for many wholesalers to dilute the essences. This is even legitimate due to a lack of legal quality criteria. If a diluted lemon oil has a low citral content according to the European Pharmacopoeia (EuAB), it can be refreshed by adding synthetic citral without this being noticed at all. Synthetic oils that are not suitable for aromatherapy are many times cheaper than natural essential oils.
All this shows the importance of being well-informed and focused on certified manufacturers who make their oils comprehensive and transparent, and who ensure the purity and naturalness of the oils through their own and independent quality controls. How we work at TAOASIS and ensure the highest possible quality of essential oils can be found here:
How to use essential oils
The fields of aromatherapy are as various as the scents themselves. On our themed pages, you will find a wealth of information – from the most important essential oils to their use and dosage to special topics such as aromatherapy during pregnancy.