What Are The Essential Oils We Use In Chakra Aromatherapy?
Even if you’ve never used essential oils before, you’ve most certainly heard of them. Although the word “aromatherapy” was only coined in recent decades, these precious aromatics have been used for thousands of years, for healing, ceremony, and meditation. In addition to the known sense of well being that can be experienced by using essential oils, there is a growing body of scientific study and resulting data that is legitimizing the incredible health supporting effects that essential oils have on our brain and body.
Have you ever been curious about exactly what essential oils are? Today we’ll take a closer look at these powerful substances that make their way into the essential oil products we so enjoy.
What’s In A Name?
After experiencing the wonders of chakra aromatherapy, many of us feel that essential oils are an “essential” part of keeping our chakras balanced! And that’s not where the name comes from.
In the case of essential oils, the word “essential,” comes from the word essence; the oil represents the essence of a particular plant and the concentrated aroma it exudes. Essential oils are not oils in the truest sense of the word. They evaporate very easily and do not leave an oily residue.
Where Did The Practice Come From?
Essential oils have been used throughout history. The first written account of essential oil usage was nearly a thousand years ago when botanist, physician, and scientist Ibn al-Baitar noted the best ways to extract essential oils. Ibn al-Baitar devoted his life to actively seeking new medicines out and recording their uses.
How are Essential Oils Extracted?
Essential oils are extracted via a number of different methods, all of which we’ll discuss in greater detail in a later blog. The method is determined by what type of plant the essential oil is being extracted from.
The most common ways to extract essential oils are:
Steam Distillation - The plant material is put into an alembic, a device that is designed for distillation. Water below the plant is heated, creating steam that passes through the organics of the plant and vaporizes the essential oils. From there the vapor passes through a coil and condenses back into liquid. The essential oil (being lighter than water) floats on the surface and is drawn off. The remaining water is called a hydrosol, or a floral water.
Expression or cold-pressed - Expression is the most common extraction method for citrus oils. The peels are crushed or pressed in order to extract the oil.
Solvent Extraction - Some essential oils, such as those obtained from flowers, are too fragile to stand up to the high heat associated with steam distillation. At the same time, the relatively small amount of oil in flowers means that they are unable to be obtained via expression. That’s where solvents come in such as hexane or supercritical carbon dioxide, which are used to remove the oils and concentrate them.
What Essential Oils Are There?
Not every plant contains these precious aromatics: only 10% of our earth’s plants contain extractable essential oils. Flowers are one of the most common (lavender, rose) as are the peels of citrus fruits (orange, tangerine). Essential oils can also be extracted from berries, leaves, bark, resin, roots, seeds, and even wood. We use dozens of essential oils in our sprays and roll-ons! Here are just a few: lemongrass, rosemary, chamomile, sandalwood, cardamom, frankincense, rose and vanilla.
Essential oils are certainly essential in more ways than one once you realize how they benefit your health and well being. We create calming essential oil blends, invigorating blends, meditative blends, heart healing blends, chakra blends, and many more. Find the perfect one for you or a friend right here!