For those who could do with an intro to essential oils – here is a simple version!
When you crush a leaf of eucalyptus between your fingers do you not get a whiff of smell similar to what you find in balms used to fight cold? The aroma of freshly plucked mint – does it not transport you? It is so refreshing and soothing, is it not? Or the scent of a tangy flavor you get when you scratch the skin of a lemon or an orange – hmmmm!
The volatile compounds that produce these smells and aromas are what combine to make essential oils. Broadly, essential oils are complex mixture of volatile chemical compounds that are found in the leaves, flowers, stems and roots etc. of plants. The most popular method used to extract essential oils from plants is through steam distillation.
Most plants produce essential oils as protection or as means of communication with nature (like ‘I am ready for pollination’ or while getting over 'stress' of drought etc). These oils have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and even anti-inflammatory properties. Essential oils of value are those from aromatic and medicinal plants”.