Category Archives: Aromatherapy Facts

Essential oils chemistry: 8 common chemical components of essential oils

Essential oils are very complex by nature on account of their presence in plants. Their molecular structure is complex, consisting of all kinds of atoms, including hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen atoms. Even sulfur atoms are also present sometimes. Though made of several chemical ingredients,  every essential oil acts together as a whole, treating infections or promoting healing, based on the dominant chemicals in them. This article will explain in detail the chemical components of essential oils.

Essential oils chemistry:
Essential oils are complex structures to study. However, studying them or understanding their chemical structure can help with use of them for treatment or therapeutic purposes. Apart from that, when you know the chemistry of an essential oil, you can know its hazardous as well as therapeutic properties. This will make things easy for you if you have allergies against particular chemicals. Below are a list of the common chemical ingredients present in essential oils:

1. Monoterpenes: Found in most essential oils, Monoterpenes are antiseptic and tonic in nature. They are good air purifiers which have about 10 carbon atoms in them. Though Monoterpenes are present in almost every other essential oil, a large percentage of them are found in Citrus oils. They are colorless, highly volatile and deteriorate quickly. Hence, they should be handled with care and kept at cool temperatures. Limonene found in Lemon oil, pinene found in Pine and camphene found in Camphor are examples of essential oils.

2. Sesquiterpenes: Though not as volatile as Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes are effective and have about 15 carbon atoms in them. They have a calming effect, are anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious. Zingiberene in Ginger oil, cedrene in Cedarwood and caryophellene in Clove oil are some of the sesquiterpenes found in essential oils.

3. Phenols: The most antiseptic chemicals found in plants, Phenols stimulate bodily functions in small doses. However, large doses of can be a poison to the nervous system and can cause skin irritations as well as digestive comfort to sensitive people. Thymol found in Thyme oil and eugenol found in Clove are examples of Phenols.

4. Alcohols: A lot of alcohol content is also present in essential oils. Highly antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal and antibiotic, alcohols are good tonic to the nervous system and stimulate immune response in the body. Lavendulol  in Lavender, nerol in Neroli and geraniol found in Geranium oil are examples of alcohols in oils.

5. Ketones: Anticoagulants, Ketones can relax, sedate and heal scar tissues, immune system or respiratory system in the body. However, Ketones can be harmful to the nervous system and can result in miscarriage, convulsions and epilepsy. Examples of Ketones are thyone in Sage, pinocamphone in Hyssop, and carvone in Peppermint.

6. Ethers/Esters: Ethers and esters have similar properties but ethers are the stronger of the both. Antispasmodic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, ethers are gentle on skin and help in rebalancing the nervous system effectively. Cinnamyl acetate in Cinnamon and myrtinly acetate in Myrtle.

7. Aldehydes: Anti-inflammatory, Aldehydes have properties that are similar to Ketones and Alcohols. However, excess of Aldehydes can cause major irritation to the skin and the mucous membranes. Furfurol in Lavender, Sandalwood, Cinnamon and Cypress are aldehydes.

8. Coumarins: Anti-convulsant and anti-coagulant, Coumarins have a relaxing and sedative effect. As these chemicals can be photosensitive, essential oils with these constituents should be used with caution and should not be exposed to the sun. Bergaptene in Bergamot, angelicine in Angelica and Citroptene in Citrus oils are examples of Coumarins.

Essential oils extraction: 4 less-known methods, nuances you should know

Essential oil extraction is a subject for study for aromatherapists. This is because, there are so many things involved in extraction of oils from plant parts like roots, flowers, bark, resin, rinds and fruits etc.  However, there are several extraction methods which are used to extract essences from plants. These methods are often known only to aromatherapists and aromatherapy students and are often practiced on a small scale. The most popular of the methods is steam distillation. This has been prevalent from the eighth century and practiced by the Arabs, Egyptians and others. Distillation is used only for extraction of oils from leaves, barks, seeds, stems and roots.  There are several less known methods of extraction too. They are Expression, Enfleurage, Maceration and Solvent Extraction.

Extraction nuances: Essential oils extraction is not easy as any other industrial processes. Since we deal with delicate raw materials like plant products, it involves nuances of a subtle kind. The percentage of raw materials is to the end result varies depending on type of plant used. The method of extraction and the quality of plant used determines the oil’s value and price. For instance, it takes 12,000 Rose petals to produce 5 ml of Rose essential oil, while 100 kilos of Lavender to produce 3 liters of Lavender oil. As a result, Rose is about 20 times costlier than Lavender in the market. Similarly, raw materials vary from plant to plant, oil to oil. Lavender is extracted from its flower, Orange/citrus fruits from their rinds, Frankincense from the resin of its tree, Cinnamon is taken from its bark while Pine is extracted from its needles. Soil quality, climatic conditions and harvest time/distillation/extraction process of a plant determine an oil’s purity. There are other nuances like –  Jasmine flowers must be picked by hand at dawn (if they are for extraction) and Sandalwood must be 30 years old and at least 30 feet high to produce best quality oil.

Essential oils extraction methods: Below is a brief of essential oils extraction methods like Expression, Enfleurage, Maceration and Solvent Extraction.

1. Expression: Most of the citrus fruits like Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Bergamot and Lime are extracted from this method. This is a simple method which squeezes the rind of fruits to produce essences.

2. Enfleurage: This method uses a fixed oil, mostly a vegetable oil or animal fat or lard. It involves use of a sheet of glass mounted on a wooden frame. The plant part from which the oil is to be extracted (flower petals) should be placed on the sheet, mixed with fixed oil. Then, the whole sheet is placed in the sunlight. Later, this mixture is dissolved in alcohol and evaporated from it during the final process. Rose, Neroli, Jasmine and Violet are usually extracted from this method. Labeled ‘absolute’, enfleurage is quite rare as it is very expensive.

3. Maceration: Maceration is just like Enfleurage which uses a heated up fixed oil to release the essential oil from the plant parts easily.

4. Solvent Extraction: This is a process in which essential oils is extracted from delicate flowers like Rose, Jasmine, Violet or Mimosa. Here, a solvent like petroleum ether is used to extract essential oils which is later dissolved in alcohol. The procedure is like this: flower petals are placed on metal perforated trays. The extracts are called absolutes and are expensive than enfleurage.

The sin of applying ‘neat’: Sensitization and diluting essential oils

When you apply an essential oil ‘neat’,  you apply it directly on to your skin, without dilution. Undiluted application of pure essential oils is termed as neat application and leads to several problems, including skin disorders. Though not many people know this, it can result in life-long sensitization to that oil, making one develop skin problems the moment he or she comes in contact with the oil. However, this is a debatable topic as a few aromatherapists, even companies, profess that there is no harm in applying Lavender and Tea Tree oil in a neat way. This is not true and this article will explain why.

The sin of sensitization: Sensitization of skin basically means contact dermatitis of skin. Application of pure essential oils without dilution results in what is called sensitization – severe rash or itchy skin that appears every time your skin comes in contact with that particular oil. For instance, if you apply Lavender oil undiluted, you will develop sensitization every time you come in contact with the oil, even after 20 or 30 years. The proof for this is mentioned by Marge Clark in her famous book, ‘Essential Oils and Aromatics’. To avoid any such skin problems, ALWAYS use essential oils only after dilution. This is a must at least for the topical dilution of essential oils.  Because, permanent sensitization can be a curse for life.

How to use essential oils: Though essential oils are natural substances, they can be too tough to handle. That is, overuse or abuse of them can result in problems that maybe otherwise caused by abuse of medicines. This is why it is important to treat them with respect and use them like medicines.  Use caution every time you come in contact with an essential oil and ensure that you dilute your oil before topical application.  With regard to essential oils, always remember that less is more. Even with minimum drops, you can reap maximum benefit. Similarly, avoid using essential oils that are hazardous or have the potential to cause skin irritation. These include: Bay Laurel, Benzoin, Cinnamon,  Clove, Fennel, Oregano, Fir Needle, Parsley, Needle, Sage, Tagetes, Thyme and Spruce. Avoid oils like Anise, Bay Laurel, Benzoin, Fennel, Cassia, Catnip, Cinnamon, Citronella, Clove, Peru Balsam, Pine, Star Anise, Tagetes, Melissa, Oakmoss and others that cause sensitization.

Diluting essential oils – methods: A simple and easiest way to dilute essential oils is to add 12 drops of pure oils to 1 fl. Oz (30 ml) of carrier oil. This means a 2% dilution and involves no complex measurements. Though the mixture is not of appropriate measurements, this 2% dilution is enough to ensure that pure essential oils are blended well with carrier oils and do not cause harm on topical application.

Raindrop Therapy (pure application) is said to advocate use of pure oils. Avoid the therapy or check well with aromatherapists before going for any such undiluted topical application of oils.

Essential oils safety sine qua nons: Oils to use (avoid) at different times

You need to be very careful while using essential oils. This is because oils can have contraindications on account of their high concentration and pure properties. Neat or undiluted applications of aromatherapy oils can result in skin problems and even life long sensitizations. To avoid trouble, get to know which oils need to be avoided at different times/situations of life and which are safe to be used. One of the most commonly used oils is Lavender. It is said that Lavender oil is harmless even if applied neat, but this is not true. Also, Lavender oil can be used in a variety of sensitive applications like during times of pregnancy, child birth and for babies. No wonder Lavender oil is often called the mother of oils. It is soothing, relaxing and extremely pleasing to everyone who uses it. These are the reasons Lavender oil finds usage in many applications. First, we will take a look at the dos and don’ts of Lavender oil.

Lavender – The Mother of Oils: As mentioned earlier, Lavender oil is revered by many aromatherapists for its multifarious healing properties. Pregnant women can use Lavender oil anytime, except the first trimester. But use only ½ of the strength of the oil as heavy dose of essential oils are not recommended during pregnancy. Lavender oil helps in reducing blood pressure. If you happen to have low blood pressure, be careful when you use the oil. Similarly, the oil has proved to be safe for babies, even the 6-week infants. If your baby has a stomach upset, rub Lavender oil in a circular, clockwise motion on the baby’s tummy. You can add a drop or two of the oil on baby’s items – pillows or toys – to give the baby a general well-being and good bath. However, you can start using the oils only after 6 weeks of infancy and should avoid it for a week, when you go for vaccination.

Lavender dosage to people: For an infant who is just born, you can use Lavender oil only after 6 weeks, that it more than 1 ½ months. For babies aged from 1 to 5 years should have 2 drops of Lavender per 1 tbs of carrier oil. For use of children from 6 to 12 years of age, use 1 drop of essential oil per 2 tsp of carrier oil.  For adults, 2 to 5 drops of essential oil per tsp of carrier oil, while for the elderly, use ½ strength of the dose used for adults. For pregnant women, use 1 drop of essential oil per 2 tsp of carrier oil. But, there are different opinions on why and how oils should be used.

Essential oils to avoid:
Several essential oils are to be avoided if you have skin disorders, if you are pregnant or if you have heart problems/pain with your body. You can be sensitive and allergic to anything, so keep in mind while using essential oils safely:

1. Avoid Bay Rum, Roman and German Chamomile, Clary Sage, Juniper, Rose, Spearmint, Black Spruce, Thyme etc. during pregnancy.

2. For skin problems, skin irritation or sensitive skin, avoid Bay Rum, Bergamot, Citronella, Ginger, Lemon Yellow, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Scotch Pine, Black Spruce, Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Thyme etc. as they may aggravate the disorder and sensitize the skin further.

3. Safe oils to use: Red Myrtle, Palmarosa, Pink Pepper, Ravensara, Spruce, Tea tree, Vanilla, Vetiver and others.

Bypass your paranoias: 4 essential oil safety myths you should know

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and hence should be handled with care. The moment we tell this, people are panicky and decide to abhor essential oils altogether. This is not required. You need not abhor the whole clan of essential oils for the sake of the caustic effects of a few oils. It is enough if you get clear-headed about the myths surrounding essential oils and the steps needed to avoid the un-safe use of aroma therapeutic oils.

Essential oil safety myths: When something is considered pure, of high value and is a bit unfamiliar, generally, there are two ways of approach to it – under-use or over-use. Yes, people may become paranoiac and refrain from using essential oils or may abuse it by overusing it without following any kind of safety information. This article will explain to you the safety myths surrounding essential oils usage and what best practices ensure the safe use of oils. By following the tips given below, you can pave your way to pure and unadulterated use of aromatherapy. You can even consult your physician or expert aromatherapist in case of doubt.

1. Lavender, Tea Tree can be used undiluted on skin: A myth prevails that Lavender and Tea Tree oil can be used undiluted on skin texture for better therapeutic effect. This is wrong. Whatever be the quality of Lavender, a pure essential oil, when used on skin, can make you extra-sensitive. There have been reported cases of severe sensitivity, where individuals feel the impact of pure Lavender oil even after 10 years or so. If you happen to apply these pure oils on broken skin, it turns all the more worse. So, be careful while using essential oils. Undiluted oils are not meant for application, howsoever soft or fruitful the oil is projected to be. If you ignore this rule, you will be suffering from sensitization forever.

2. Not all individuals are ok with essential oils: Some individuals can respond with allergic reactions to oils. Most of such people will contract dermatitis every time they come in contact with essential oils. To avoid such skin outbreaks, use essential oils only after you do a skin patch test. Apply a drop of essential oil and stick a bandage over it. Wait for 24 hours and check your skin condition after that. Even if a particular oil is supposed to be soothing on your skin, don’t venture into skin application without a patch test. You will save a lot of trouble in future.

3. Essential oils can be ingested:
The worst of myths. Essential oils are not for ingestion and cannot be consumed even if they are harmless or diluted. Only after a detailed consultation with a reputed aromatherapist, your general physician and your family members, you can engage in the intake of essential oils.

4. Essential oils are suitable for any kind of ailment: No. Some oils have contraindications and hence should be avoided at all costs. Most of the oils are not suitable for therapy during pregnancy, after child birth, in case of diseases like asthma, epilepsy, cancer etc. Check thoroughly whether an oil is suitable for your ailment and whether it has any side effects with other ailments you have, before using it.

Way to the bin: How to dispose of essential oils safely?

Essential oils are not ordinary liquids that can be disposed off readily down the drain or in the garden. They are highly concentrated liquids which require proper mode of disposal. Since people are used to storing essential oils in ½ oz bottles, they tend to forget that oils are flammable substances and should be treated with care even while disposing. Essential oils are just like hazardous materials that can be compared to pharmaceuticals, paint thinners, chemicals, gasoline and fuels. You cannot dump them in your garbage can or flush them down the drain. Chances are, these oils may come in contact with water supplies, vegetation and other important organisms on the soil and spoil them for life. This is why there  needs to be a structured way of disposing essential oils. This article will throw light on how to do that.

Why is disposing essential oils important? First, you might wonder why you should dispose off essential oils considering their therapeutic value and uses. There are reasons. Essential oils can age with time and lose their therapeutic properties as years pass by. Some oils can go rancid and emit a foul smell, or a smell that is unlikely of pleasant aromas. Other oils can grow stale and be of no use. The problem of disposal is more if these oils are blends – mixed with vegetable or carrier oils. While pure essential oils at least evaporate with time, blends prepared with carrier oils are heavy and take a lot of time to vaporize. Another reason is, if bad essential oils come in contact with elderly people or children or pets in your home, the result can be devastating. When essential oils age, they cannot be used in skin care or for direct application. This complicates your problem of clearing them off your shelf. If you want to cope up with all these harmful effects of a bad/rancid essential oil, you can use the below guidelines to dispose them off.

How to dispose essential oils safely? It is always easy to dispose off small quantities of essential oils. But understand that with regard to concentric oils like essential oils, even less is more. Adding 2 or 3 drops down your toilet drain for aromatic purposes is fine, but making it a mode of disposal is not recommended. Especially so if you have a large inventory of oils to be disposed. Below are a few steps to help you out:

1. Contact the Waste Management Department of your region/community/city. Get from them tips on how to dispose essential oils. Some of their procedures may sound unreasonable and too complicated. But they are no big if you are willing to take on them. Follow the procedures and dispose all your essential stuff.

2. Most of the procedures recommends mixing the highly concentrated oils with an inert substance like sand and sealing them in an approved container. You can look into the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the oils from your retailer or supplier. This sheet will have all the details on product safety, guidelines to follow during disposal, harms that the product/oil can inflict etc. Follow the MSDS and stick to it.

3. Another popular way of disposing essential oils is to dig a hole in your garden and pour your oils into it. However, you need to check how this may affect the growth of your garden plants and whether it will have an impact on your underground water system.

4. The best way is to find other uses for remaining oils. But for this, you need to first detect in which way your oils have aged – therapeutic or aromatic. If your oils have lost their aromas, you can get a load of old couch roll and pour it onto it and wrap in a bag and throw it in the bin. The oil will vaporize in a short period of time. If your oils have lost their therapeutic properties, you can always find aromatic uses for them as toilet fresheners, for drain scenting etc.

No oils? Not a sin. Substituting essential oils with same family oils

There are multifarious essential oils in the market and you do not get to use all of them for your recipes. Yes, there are times when you lack certain oils for your essential oil blends or recipes. This can be devastating if you have built your hopes on a particular recipe and cannot imagine forgoing it. Say, you have been using a particular diffuser for your home-office and all of a sudden, you cannot find a particular oil to prepare the blend you are used to – it can be terrible if you are a person who takes time to accustom yourself to blends. In such a case, without letting doom befall on you, you can substitute the required oils with other essential oils. But there are rules for substitution and those should not be taken lightly.

Substituting essential oils: As you would have deemed, it is not easy to substitute essential oils with other similar oils. You need to know a few things before you do that – 1. the properties of both the oils (both aromatic and therapeutic properties), 2. the blending nature of the oil that replaces the originals, 3. the purity and quality of the oil that replaces. You need to choose from the same family of oils while substituting stuff. Also, you need to decide on your purpose behind substituting essential oils. If it is just for aromatic purposes, you can choose from oils of the same family of aromas – floral, earthy, spicy, citrus etc. If you want to substitute for therapeutic purposes, you need to take into account only the therapeutic benefit of the oil that replaces the original one.

How to substitute essential oils: Most of the substitutions are aromatic. This is because one cannot gauge the aroma of the oil that will be created if one substitutes for therapeutic purposes. And since you go only by the therapeutic properties, you can hardly expect a pleasant aroma. On the other hand, if you are substituting essential oils for aromatic purposes, you can do so by using oils from the same aroma family.

For instance, you can substitute Mandarin oil with Sweet Orange as both have a similar aroma. Though Rose Otto and Rose Geranium do not complement each other in properties, the aromas are a bit similar and you can substitute one for the other. Similarly, you can substitute Lemon for Grapefruit, Tangerine for Sweet Orange, Lavender for Lavendin, Spearmint for Peppermint, Benzoin Resin for Vanilla Absolute and Clove for Cinnamon (as both are spices) or vice versa. In much the same way, you can substitute and replace Neroli oil, Jasmine oil and Ylang Ylang oil. Though all three are different from each other in almost everything, they have the same aroma and that makes a huge difference when it comes to substituting the right oils.

Therapeutic substitution of oils follows a different thumb rule and all properties of both the oils used should be studied carefully before substituting one with the other.

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.