Quality vs Purity of essential oils: Where lies the difference?

Essential oils ought to be pure to be therapeutic and beneficial for medicinal or healing purposes. But most of the oils that are projected to be pure are not actually pure. Holistic aromatherapy measures an oil by its purity, the ratio of natural constituents present in it. Some oils can be pure and yet be of poor quality. How can this happen? This can happen if pure essential oils are tampered with other natural or synthetic constituents to make them serve a particular purpose, therapeutic or otherwise. This article will help you analyze in depth about the purity and quality of essential oils and how they can influence the therapeutic quality of their usage.

Purity of essential oils: Do not imagine that all the essential oils you come in contact with are pristine. Most of the oils are adulterated during various kinds of processes – extraction, distillation and packaging.  Essential oils’ purity is measured by the optimum ratio of natural constituents present in them. Since oils are distilled for various other purposes like home fragrancing, cosmetics, personal healing and other things, most of them are tampered with many other constituents. This is because manufacturers want what are called standardized oils. Any oil, extracted directly from plant substances, carries natural constituents in different ratios. No two extracted oils of the same plant species, from the same region, are the same. Each plant yields oil that is different in some way or the other from its neighbor. Since uniformity is required in the manufacture of food or perfume products, companies use only essential oils that are standardized and do not vary from shipment to shipment.

Standardization of essential oils: Standardized oils are not pure oils. Sellers standardize oils only to suit the needs of buyers and hence, have several constituents removed/added to pure oils. Peppermint oil is used in the manufacture of chewing gums, ice creams and candies. The oil is used as a flavoring by food and candy manufacturers. Since companies should produce Peppermint-flavored products that have a consistent aroma, intensity or taste, manufacturers buy only standardized Peppermint oils.

Standardization process is not suitable for use in therapeutic aromatherapy. Addition or removal of constituents may make oils impure, adulterated and un-therapeutic. Some manufacturers may adulterate oils to cheat buyers and find profits. Japanese Yuzu essential oil seems to be a combination of Grapefruit and Mandarin. Sellers may use this trait of Yuzu and blend Grapefruit and Mandarin essential oils, and sell it as the costly Yuzu oil. Similarly, Patchouli oil can be extended with the addition of Cedarwood and Lavender oil can be tampered with linalyl acetate.

Quality of essential oils: The aroma and exact percentage of essential oils of each natural constituent contribute to the quality of the oil. Several other factors which contribute to an oil’s quality are – quality of soil in which the plant is grown, temperature of the region, weather/climatic changes/annual amount of rainfall  in which plant is grown, altitude of plant life, distilled part of plant, distillation process, time gap between harvest of plant and its distillation, storage of oil after extraction, type of distillation equipment used etc.
Some of the ways in which essential oils can be adulterated and which can in turn, affect their quality: blending pure oils with less expensive oils; adding synthetics to increase or maintain a particular aroma; extending oils by mixing bad carrier oils; blending an oil of higher quality with one of lower quality and so on. To ensure that you use only oils of good quality, check with your buyer on the soil, region and distillation process of the plants from which the oils are extracted and on the optimum ratio of the natural constituents of the oil.

Does your life lackluster? Make summer out of Citrus essential oils

“If life is giving you lemons, make a lemonade out of it”. The saying is true if you are an aromatherapist. Yes, you can make more with lemon and Citrus essential oils than with other oils. A citrusy aroma is one of the most uplifting of aromas. The very waft of an orange or lemon can brighten up a place and cleanse the mind of worries and troubles. Generally, Citrus oils are made from the rind or peel of Citrus fruits. If you squeeze the rind of an orange or lemon, you will see a tiny quantity of aromatic fluid coming out – that is Citrus essential oil.

Citrus essential oils: Citrus essential oils are used in a variety of things, from air fresheners to room cleaners to perfumes to skin toners. Reason – They carry light, summery aromas that uplift the spirit and brighten any gloomy area or room. They are perfect for winter and fall and they complement most of the Winter Blues oils. Also, Citrus oils are a must while preparing natural blends for men and women as they can make even earthy, bittersweet aromas appear lighter, fresher and more energetic. This article will elaborately discuss on the different kinds of Citrus oils and their profiles/properties/uses.

Different Citrus essential oils: There are several kinds of Citrus oils, but we will see only the most popular of them here.

Sweet Orange Essential oil: This is also called Orange essential oil or Orange oil. It is readily available and very inexpensive. It blends with all oils, especially spicy, floral and mint types. Since it is an energizing oil, it is liked by all – men, women and children – and is favored as an important ingredient in diffusers kept at family living rooms. Orange oil is also used in commercial cleaners to clean grease and other dirt. As it has a high-spirited aroma, it is applied to diverse situations and appeals to many people.

Bitter Orange Essential oil: This oil comes with a bitter orange aroma and is not like the above one. It is a combination of the sweetness of Orange and the bittersweet flavor of Grapefruit oil. Though bittersweet, it is favored by many on account of the very same tendency. This oil too has a variety of uses.

Lemon essential oil:
Lemon is all about life and color. Just like its color, it is sunny and summery in aroma and is liked by almost everyone. It can clear any foul-smelling room instantly, thanks to its strong, energizing aroma. Limonene is the naturally occurring chemical constituent in Lemon oil and it is this constituent which gives Lemon its strong aroma. Lemongrass and Lemon Myrtle oilstoo have limonene content in them.

Lime essential oil: Lime is no different from Lemon, but it is the most fruity and aromatic of Citrus oils (except Neroli). Its aromatic influence goes a long way and is fresh, bright and all things sunny. A few drops of Lime oil to any diffuser blend or natural fragrance, will uplift things and make everything look sprightly. It is said to be very effective in clearing the mind of unwanted, disturbing thoughts. A spiritual cleansing and soothing of your aura is also said to be a property of Lime essential oil.

Neroli essential oil: Costliest, but the best of Citrus oils. Neroli oil is distilled from orange tree Citrus aurantium. It is intense in its floral, sweet and citrusy aroma. Thanks to its exotic properties, it is highly concentrated and so a little goes a long way.

Bergamot essential oil: An expensive cold-pressed oil made from Citrus bergamia. Though the aroma has an apparent orange flavor, there is an underlying floral tone to the oil. It is a phototoxic oil and hence, should be applied with care as it can react when exposed to sunlight.

Storing essential oils: 8 dos, don’ts and tips you MUST know

Essential oils, as you know, are plant substances that form the immune system of plants. When steam distilled or extracted from plant parts, they are pure and pristine, without any synthetic elements. Such pure essential oils can change over time. They can go rancid, oxidize, deteriorate and lose their therapeutic properties if they are not handled properly. To avoid any kind of damage, essential oils need to be stored and preserved in the right way. Be it of a small quantity or a large quantity, essential oils need special attention to keep them natural and untainted.

How to store essential oils? Before plunging into the dos and don’ts of storing essential oils, we need to look into the measurements of oils sold in the market. Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and hence a little goes a long way. Owing to this, they are sold only in 5ml, 10ml and 15ml quantities. Some of the costliest oils are sold even in 2ml or one dram sizes. This is being done to help preserve the quality and purity of oils sold. As oils age with time, they can lose their therapeutic value. If sold in large quantities, you may end up with oils that are of no use to you. Below are a few tips on how to store essential oils:

1. Do not store oils in plain, clear glass bottles. Most of the essential oils, especially the Citrus ones, are phototoxic and hence should not be exposed to sunlight. If clear bottles are used, there is every chance of sunlight entering the bottle and deteriorating the oil. To avoid this, don’t buy oils sold in clear glass bottles

2. Store essential oils in amber-colored or cobalt blue color bottles. These bottles filter UV rays from entering the oils inside and hence you have less chance of losing the therapeutic value of the oils.

3. Plastic bottles should be avoided completely. Essential oils react vehemently with plastic and eat it out. This will make them rancid and impure over time. To avoid this, never use plastic bottles.

4. Avoid bottles that have a rubber dropper incorporated into its screw-top cap. Droppers with rubber bulbs should not be kept with essential oil bottles as the oils can react with droppers and ruin them into a gum-like form. In the process, the oils can go rancid and impure.

5. Store all your essential oil bottles away from sunlight, in a cool and dark place. Ensure that they are out of reach of children and pets. A tiny drop of oil can be toxic if ingested without dilution. So, avoid such a scenario at any cost.

6. Store all your essential oil bottles in a wooden box. You can choose any wooden box from craft stores or bazaars. Even unfinished wood is no issue.

7. Check for an oil’s shelf life and properties before buying an oil. For instance, Citrus essential oils tend to deteriorate in six months time. While those like Patchouli or Sandalwood mature with age. If you know the shelf life of every oil you buy, you will be able to use them and conserve them properly.

8. Aluminum bottles are said to be safe for storing essential oils if they are lined on the insides. Check the nature and quality of bottles before you buy oils.

Diffusing fragrances: 4 simple household essential oil diffusers

Diffusing essential oils involves dispersing oils into a room or an area so that the aroma of the oils fill the room/area and is sufficient enough to be inhaled by people. Diffusing oils can be therapeutic and aromatic at the same time, thanks to the pleasant scent of oils or blends diffused. Some people tend to think that diffusing oils requires a lot of work, including purchase of expensive diffusers. Not really. There are methods using which you can diffuse oils with diffusers made of household things. If you are not satisfied with the kind of diffusers you use, you can probably try diffusers that are inexpensive and readily available in stores. This article will elaborate on how to use household things or cheap stuff as diffusers and reap the benefit of using a great diffuser from them.

Diffusing essential oils – Methods: There are several methods to disperse essential oils. Below are a few of them:

1. Simple Tissue Diffusion method: This method involves use of nothing but a tissue. You can use the tissue to diffuse oils instantly and get immediate benefit out of it. Take out a tissue and pour 3 to 4 drops of essential oils or essential oil blends on it. You may not be able to get the full aroma when the tissue is close by. But, when you move across the room, you will scent the fragrance of your blend. Though this diffusion is the easiest, simplest and most immediate, it cannot spread the aroma into an entire room. But this method can be used anywhere and is easily transportable.

2. Steam Diffusion method: A very common method. You can diffuse essential oils by using steam. That is, heat water and pour it into a bowl. Add about 10 drops of oil to the hot water. The heat will diffuse the oils and spread the aroma. Use lesser number of drops in case of oils which may cause irritation to your mucous membrane. Some of such oils include Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Pine, Thyme, Cajuput etc. Relaxing oils diffuse well and make you feel fulfilled and happy. One of the defects of this method is, the aroma does not stay longer. Also, heat can alter the therapeutic effects of oils, unlike in other diffusers.

3. Candle Diffusion method: This is also a common method. You can try this at your home and anywhere you can burn a candle. Light a candle and allow it to burn for a few minutes. Once the candle starts melting, extinguish the light and pour a drop or two of essential oil on to the melted wax (near the wick) of the candle. See to it that your oil does not fall on the wick. Now, light the candle again and enjoy the aroma. The heat of wax and light of the candle will spread the aroma of the oil blend. Though this method is useful, it is not long-lasting and may cause serious danger on account of the high inflammability of essential oils.

4. Clay Pot diffusion method:
This method can be followed if you have a clay pot diffuser made of terra coat. A small pot can be used if you cannot buy a commercial Clay Pot diffuser. Take a small pot and pour essential oil blends in to it. Close the pot with a cork, with just a single opening (of the size of a small hole). The aroma depends on the size of the hole and the quantity of oils in the pot. The aroma is the strongest shortly after you pour oils, but dissipates after time passes.

Cuticle care: Natural essential oil brush-on recipe for cuticles

Skin care should be on top of our agenda during winter time. It is not just the season but also our slackness in personal care that results in increased number of skin problems during winter. Nails need constant care specially and even if your nail is strong and fast-growing, you may need to manicure them carefully to maintain their shape and appeal. Cuticle care comes in only here.

Most of us ignore our cuticles and fail to attend to them. They grow long, making the skin around look ugly, unwanted and rough. In such a condition, use of cuticle balms are a must. Handmade cuticle balms are available in small jars/bottles commercially. Though these are good in their job of cuticle cleaning, these kinds of balms are often synthetic, made of caustic chemicals. There is an alternative to this and that is an essential oil blend for cuticle care. This article will elaborate on how to make a cuticle care blend for improving your cuticles.

Aromatherapy oils for cuticles: A clean and manicured cuticle looks better than an ugly, untamed one. To get better cuticles, you need not waste money on commercial brands or local balms. Instead, you can use your own recipe of essential oils. Your recipe will be all-natural and synthetics-free. The paste that you make will also yield an aroma that would rejuvenate you in many ways. You can brush-on this recipe on to your cuticle using a simple nail polish brush. You can use nail polish bottles (empty, new ones) to apply oils on a daily basis. Packaging can also be done in small roll-on bottles with dropper tops too.

Cuticle Oil Recipe: Cleaning your cuticles and manicuring them can be a difficult thing if you do not have the right kind of cream/oil. This cuticle essential oil recipe can help you cleanse and properly maintain your cuticles. To prepare the recipe, you will need the following supplies: ½ fl ounce cold pressed carrier/vegetable oil, 5-8 drops of essential oil and a nail polish bottle. When you plan to choose your cold pressed oil, select only oils that are rich in EFAs. Cranberry seed oil might be a great option. But any cold pressed oil might work. For essential oils, you can use oils that are soft and soothing on skin. Lavender, Tea Tree, Patchouli and Sandalwood may work well. With regard to nail polish bottles, get new or completely cleaned empty nail polish bottles.

Add the carrier oil to the nail polish bottle and add essential oils after it. Close the bottle and shake it vigorously. When the oils are blended well, use the nail polish brush to apply the cuticle recipe on to the skin surrounding your nails. Massage the oil well at least once a day. Discard any remaining cuticle oil every two weeks and prepare a new batch of oils if needed for further use.

Qualified vs quack: 7 ways to identify a professional aromatherapist

Finding a good aromatherapist is often more difficult than finding a good doctor. In the United States. Almost anyone can call themselves an aromatherapist as there is no standardization or Federal certification for aromatherapy or the alternative medicine that uses essential oils. This leads to a number of courses that offer certification on aromatherapy, the art of blending essential oils and so on. Confusion sets in, when your aromatherapy practitioner says he is an aromatherapist and not an aromatologist. There are subtle differences between aromatherapist, aromatologist, aromacologist and aromatherapy practitioner etc. This article will detail on how to identify the differences and find the right aromatherapist for yourself.

How to find qualified from quack? Qualified. You need to find one who has experience, qualification and sound knowledge in essential oils and aromatherapy. Any quack can boast himself as an aromatherapist and loot money from you if you are not shrewd enough to put him to rigorous questioning. Yes, before relating to a qualified aromatherapist, you need to put him to test and ask him about his details – aromatherapy study, experience as practitioner and successful cases handled.

If you live in the U.S., you need to find out what is your State’s stand on aromatherapy eduction and how it licenses/does not license aromatherapists.  If you are in other countries, find out the Federal rule of your country and identify aromatherapists based on your State’s certification principles. It should be brought to light that there is no Fed-recognized certification for aromatherapists right now. There are only two kinds of aromatherapy practitioners – aromatherapists and aromatologists. An aromatherapist is an individual who has formal training in aromatherapy and has hands-on experience in the field of massage, nursing or cosmetology. An aromatologist is an individual who has formal training in the subject, but is not experienced in nursing or massaging or other related study. What is generally offered by aromatherapy institutions is a certificate or diploma in the subject and hence, you need to know the details of the course only from an aromatherapist before you undergo your therapy with him.

How to find an aromatherapist: There are several ways and below are a few of them:

1. Check your Yellow Pages: Best and easiest way out. You need to check your local Yellow Pages and find aromatherapists in Aromatherapy or Alternative Medicine columns. You can call the person to verify his credentials.

2. Ask local massage therapists: If you know of any massage therapist, you can ask them of aromatherapists they know. They would definitely be in touch with some renowned ones and so you can find the qualified from the quack.

3. Go online or on the spot: Check online or go to the spot of alternative medicine centers. You will definitely get a few leads to good aromatherapy practitioners.

4. Ask for details: Once you find a list of aromatherapists, you need to verify their credentials. You can do this by asking them about their formal training – Where and how long did you train yourself in aromatherapy? Do you have any certification for the same? This can be an appropriate question.

5. Certificate is not license: Having a certificate from a University is different from being licensed from the State. So, ask for that too.

6. Ask for hands-on experience:
Distinguish whether the person is an aromatherapist or aromatologist. Find out the experience the aromatherapist has in massaging, nursing or other related study. This would help you find the authenticity of the person.

7. Observe the attitude:
This is important. How does the individual feel when you ask all these question? Good, bad or terse or stressed? Or, does the person avoid such questions? This will help you know the true self of the practitioner.

Hit the books: 5 popular books on aromatherapy you can read

Apart from the web and viral information, books are the true source of knowledge when it comes to aromatherapy. If you are a Do It Yourselfer, you cannot practice aromatherapy without books. This article will throw light on several popular books in the field of aromatherapy. Most of these books are written by famous aromatherapists, doctors or alternative medicine advocates who have years of experience in the world of aromatherapy and essential oils.

Popular books on aromatherapy: There are several books on aromatherapy and most of them are written by exceptional practitioners of the field. A few of them are patients who have come forward to write books based on the specific aromatherapy that cured them from a major illness or disease. Before we start to examine the books in the field, let me tell you why you should read aromatherapy books –

1. They are a true source of knowledge, as they are accepted by the society.
2. Some of the current aromatherapists may follow the rules of the book word for word. So, if you know the rules beforehand, you can tell your therapist what you want and do not want.
3. You will know what is true aromatherapy from the fake fragrance oil practices
4. You will gain deep knowledge in the field so much so that even if you don’t become an aromatherapist, you will be able to recommend it to friends and family
5. Books offer you a lot of recipes for aromatherapy blends. And the best part is, you can do all these from the comfort of your home

Below is a list of popular books in the science of this alternative medicine called aromatherapy. This is just an extract from what is available. To know the complete list of books, regularly read book reviews or search online.

1. The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood. A beginner’s must-have book. If you know a bit about aromatherapy and are confused where to start, this is the book to read. It gives you an introduction to essential oils, a chapter on various essential oils and over 600 recipes/synergies. You can read this book to know all about the science and also practice it at the convenience of your home.

2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless. The best book for aromatherapy students, however, it will be useful to beginners even. The book gives an outstanding reference to over 160 essential oils and that means oils for particular remedies like skin problems, pain, common ailments, major diseases etc. The book features an introduction to aromatics, a therapeutic index consisting of essential oils and a section that has monographs of about 165 oils.

3. Advanced Aromatherapy by Kurt Schnaubelt. A 138-page book that is of the size of a textbook and features all and sundry information about the advanced stage of aromatherapy. It talks about Essential oil chemistry, Essential oil profile nuances, selection process and application of particular blends etc.

4. 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller & David Schiller. This is a book of recipes. If you know what is aromatherapy and what it can do to you, then, this is the book to look for. This book gives 500 formulas on aromatherapy blends that you may never or know otherwise. A compilation as this is very useful to one who is practicing aromatherapy.

5. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils and Hydrosols with Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell. This book gives information on both aromatherapy, EO profiles and also on how to use aromatherapy for animals. It details on how to apply aromatherapy for dogs, cats, horses and other pet animals and the dos and don’ts of the therapy.

Aromatherapy for beginners: 8 do’s and don’ts for a novice aromatherapist

The general misconception about aromatherapy is, people think it to be a complete alternative to traditional medicine and imagine that essential oils can cure everything from cancer to diabetes without the intake of oral drugs. This is wrong. Aromatherapy is just a complementary system of medicine and cannot or should not be used as the only kind of medicine. It can be added to the holistic way of healing you practice as it can alleviate your regular disease-symptoms and give you instant relief. However, that does not mean that essential oils can treat the disease in question.

Aromatherapy for beginners – Tips: Aromatherapy can be a difficult path for beginners if they go into it with preconceived myths or notions.  Many who are new to essential oil usage, do not know what is to done and what is not to be done with regard to oils, their blending or usage properties.

Essential oils – Do’s and Don’ts: Below is a quick reference of how to and how not to use essential oils:

1. Read as much as possible about aromatherapy and the usage of essential oils. Knowing about it can save you time, money and waste of oils. You will get to know how to cure symptoms of serious ailments, common disorders and chronic diseases. Once you start applying aromatherapy principles, you will start feeling happy, relaxed and at home with yourself. You need to know about the various blends, properties of pure essential oils, carrier oils, grain alcohol, CO2s, absolutes etc.

2. Check for the purity of the essential oils you buy. Many companies promise pure quality essential oils when they know pretty well that they sell nothing but bad stuff. Beware of false claims by learning to identify purity through indicators – check for the plant’s Latin name, origin (place, country, growth conditions), extraction and distillation processes etc. with your buyer. If your buyer knows the properties of oils and can differentiate between a true and fake oil, chances are, he is well-acquainted with this aromatherapy business and can guide you in buying oils.

3. Start small. Do not end up making large quantity blends at the beginning. Even if you feel you are an expert in blending essential oils, avoid making blends in large quantities. Sometimes it can be a waste of time, money and effort. Start using oils in 5, 10, 20 drops.

4. Compare prices before you buy. Some essential oils cost more than others. If you know the difference, you will know which oil is worthier than which other. If your buyer sells all the oils at the same price, understand that he is cheating and never buy from him.

5. Don’t buy from buyers who sell oils in containers other than dark-colored glass bottles. This is because most of the oils are photo-sensitive and need to be stored in dark bottles to avoid being transformed due to the effect of sunlight.

6. Don’t purchase oils from village fairs, craft bazaars, farmer’s fairs/festivals etc. Many people sell aromatherapy oils as a hobby. Such people may not give you proper details of oils and may also not sell quality essential oils.

7. Don’t close oils with or buy oils that have rubber glass dropper tops. Essential oils are very concentrated and can turn the rubber into gum spoiling the purity of essential oils.

8. Don’t buy oils in large quantities. Every essential oil has a storage period. Some oils may go rancid if they are stored for a long time. Avoid it by storing oils only for a limited period of time.

Infused wisdom: What are infused oils and how to make them?

By now, you should know that apart from pure essential oils, there are other oils like carrier oils, infused oils, resins and CO2s. Infused oils are as good as essential oils in their therapeutic properties as they are infused with the immune qualities of a herb. In general, an infused oil is a carrier oil “infused” with the wisdom of one or more herbs. Infused oils are more beneficial than carrier oils as they combine the holistic healing properties of both carrier oils and the herbs used.

What are infused oils? Why is there a necessity for infusing essential oils? Some of the plants do not have essential oils to protect them. Their immune mechanism is different and it is very difficult to extract essential oils from such plants. Infused oils bring out the healing qualities of such plants. By infusing such herbs into carrier oils, we infuse the health quotient of those herbs into the carrier oil of our choice. This is especially very useful for aromatherapy purposes as you can use even infuse popular oils with herbs to add to the therapeutic grade of the oils.

Properties of infused oils: Infused oils are no different from carrier oils or essential oils in properties. They are more therapeutic than base oils as they carry the strength of herbs in them. However, most of the infused oils are a bit oily and like carrier oils, can go rancid if not prepared or stored well. It is essential for you to read the safety information on carrier oils/herbs before preparing an infused oil recipe. This is because certain herbs may go rancid if used without caution. There are several ways to prepare infused oils. Two most popular ways are – 1. Preparation of Hot Infused Oils and 2. Preparation of Cold Infused Oils.

How to make Infused Oils: Making infused oils can be very useful and can be used in bath water, as body powder and in even food and other aromatherapy recipes. For instance, you can infuse basil into  Olive oil, Calendula into Sweet Almond oil etc. While the former will make a great salad dressing, the latter is a remarkable skin toner.
Hot Infused Oils: Hot Infused oils are prepared in low heat. To make a hot infused oil, you will need the following supplies – Double Boiler, Cheese cloth, 250 g of herbs, 3 cups of carrier oil  of your choice – Olive oil, Sunflower oil, Sweet Almond oil and Avocado oil. Place the herbs in double boiler and cover with oil. Let the mixture simmer for 3 hours. Stir well and see to it that the herbs are infused into the oils. Remove from heat after the herbs are fully infused and filter the whole blend through a cheese cloth. Then, pour the oil into bottle and store in a cool, dark place.

Cold Infused Oils: You require the same supplies for this, except for the stove. Dry the herbs completely and place them in a large jar. Add oil and keep the mixture in sunlight for about 2 to 6 weeks. The infusion process will take place in the presence of sun.

When it is thicker than water: 6 tips to work with thick aromatic oils

If blending essential oils involves a lot of quintessential things, working with thicker oils involves more than that. Not all oils are of water-like consistency. There are some which are thicker than water in viscosity and are very difficult to handle. A few are even solid at room temperature so much so that you need to first bring them to a workable consistency to use them. Some steam distilled oils like Patchouli, Sandalwood, CO2s, absolutes, balsams and resins are of a solid consistency which makes it difficult for aromatherapists to prepare the oils for working.

Working with thick aromatic oils: Many resins, including Benzoin, are often thicker and more solid in room temperature. You can bring such oils to a workable consistency if you know the trick of the trade. But this is easier said than done as you need to bring an oil to a workable consistency without losing any of its therapeutic properties and this is not easy. The general way to come of the “thickness” of essential oils is to heat them. But heating plainly seldom helps as oils can vaporize or lose their originality when heated.

Below are a few tips to work with thick aromatic oils:

1. Water bath technique: While heating on the stove plainly can be simple, heating using this technique can be different. This is because it retains the aroma, quality and properties of the oil intact without any adulteration or evaporation. To follow this technique, gently heat the bottle containing essential oil in a warm water. Do not place the bottle or pan containing bottle directly on the stove. Instead, pour warm water in a pan and keep the bottle in it for 10 minutes. Keep changing warm water as and when it is cooled. This method can keep the oil’s quality intact and at the same time, bring the consistency of the oil to a workable level. You can use this method to work with resins, balsams and thick CO2s. This technique can be used even to open bottles that are difficult to open. If your Patchouli or Olive oil bottle is difficult to open, place it upside down in warm water for 15 minutes. The bottle will open after the water bath treatment.

2. Heating with triple boiler: Though heating with double boiler helps, heating with triple boiler helps more. Place your small bottle of oil in tea cup with a some warm water. Place the tea cup on a large container of warm water and heat accordingly.

3. Measure by weight: When your oil is warm, it is difficult to weigh it drop by drop. Avoid doing so and measure by weight. You can use a digital scale that has a tare reading, to allow you to measure only the content of oil in a bottle.

4. Warm carrier oil too: What will happen if you pour a warm oil into a cold carrier oil? You will get blobs instead of therapeutic oils. To avoid this, warm your carrier or blending oil too.

5. Alcohol is better: Often, alcohol is better than carrier oil. Some oils do not dilute in carrier oils too. But all oils can be diluted with alcohol and this is the advantage of using alcohol with beeswax and cocoa.

6. Warm water tray technique: If you want to do things at one go, heat all the oils you want to heat/dilute or bring to a workable consistency by placing their bottles in a tray of warm water. This is especially useful if you are blending two oils and want both to be in the same warm conditions.