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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Introduction to Essential Oil Distillation

Note: For an in-depth review of the latest high-tech distillation methods, like CO2's and SCO2's, see our comprehensive articles: Making Essential Oils - Steam Distillation, CO2's and Absolutes

The very essence of Aromatherapy is its essential oils. Extracted from a number of aromatic plants, these oils are highly volatile, as well as concentrated. Being highly volatile, these essential oils evaporate fast, leaving no residue, or oily feel, behind. Parts of the aromatic plants, such as flowers, leaves, and stems, in addition to their barks, fruits, and also their roots are used to extract the essential oils. Though the oils are extracted from the aromatic plants by various methods, the most popular and common process is by distillation.

The Process Of Distillation: There are a number of distillation processes through which essential oils are extracted from aromatic plants. The Steam distillation and the Water distillation are two of the methods among many others. Of these two, the Steam process is more popular. Many are of the view that this is the only way to extract essential oils for aromatherapy.

The Steam distillation process requires close monitoring to ensure that the steam is maintained at a temperature that will not cause the plants to be damaged. For the purpose, a still is used which has a vessel for heating, and another one for cooling. After placing the aromatic plant in the heating vessel of the still, steam is introduced into it. The steam helps release the aromatic molecules and oils of the plant. These aromatic molecules, along with the steam, rise into the cooling device, which is cooled by cold water.

The aromatic vapors condense into liquid on cooling. This mixture of oil and water (oil from condensed aromatic vapors, and water from condensed steam) is collected in another vessel. As is the nature of oil and water they are automatically separated ? oil at the top and water at the bottom. The oil from the top is simply siphoned off. This oil is highly concentrated, and is used in aromatherapy in this form.

For the water distillation process too, a still is used. In this instance, the aromatic plant is placed in it and sunken in water. The water is boiled, which helps release the aromatic molecules and oils of the plant ? as in the case of stream distillation. The aromatic vapors are cooled and then easily separated from water. This method of extraction of the aromatic oils is appropriate for plants that cannot withstand high temperatures and pressures.

One method of distillation is the combination of steam and water. In this process, the aromatic plant is placed in a still and submerged under water. Steam is then introduced to help release the aromatic molecules and oils of the plant. On cooling, the essential oils are collected as explained above.

The aromatic oils extracted by the above methods produce essential oils in their concentrated forms. In case of topical aromatherapy, these oils are never applied to the skin in their concentrated forms. They are diluted with the help of carriers, such as alcohol, lotions, vinegar, or water.

It is essential that the essential oils be stored with care. Properly airtight dark bottles, need be used, and should be away from exposure to high heat and temperatures.

Zena Morris is the author at Aromatherapy Answers, a leading website on aromatherapy, massage and essential oils.

Aromatherapy - Just Give It A Try!

Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to relax after a long stressful day. Using different scents have been proven to change moods and make it easier for you to see the world with a more positive outlook.

Research has indicated that when the senses are stimulated, it can actually reduce the amount of stress that you feel on a day to day basis. It can help to alleviate the negativity that surrounds you and help you to unwind at the end of a long workday. There are many different scents that can be used for different purposes.

People have been using aromatherapy for centuries. The oils and fragrances from the flowers have been used to cure headaches and to rejuvenate the body and relieve stress and tension for hundreds of years. Research has concluded that stress it the number one cause of headaches, and with aromatherapy it can be relieved almost immediately.

Aromatherapy can be used in different ways. It can be used as a ?pot pourrie? style fragrance where a relaxing scent is released into the air. It can also be used during a massage for a totally relaxing experience. It is important that person giving the massage be experienced in aromatherapy techniques. There are certain ways that the oils need to be diluted in order for them to have the desired affect.

Roses, jasmine, lotus blossoms, citrus flowers, and lavender are just a few of the flowers that are used to create the wonderful fragrances of aromatherapy. The benefits of aromatherapy can be dated back to ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. These cultures have known for centuries that aromatherapy can have many properties beneficial to overall mental health. Today, most of the flowers that are used in aromatherapy are grown around Egypt.

Aromatherapy is also used as a medical aid to treat people who suffer from anxiety, stress and tension. It has been used to stabilize mood swings and to bring women out of depression, especially after having a baby. It has also been tested on people who suffer from insomnia. It has proved to work quite well on the majority of people.

It seems like new benefits of aromatherapy are being discovered every day. The most recent discovery is that rose oil, which has always been associated with innocence and purity, it can be used to eliminate jealousy, and it can also be used as an aphrodisiac with the right mixture of the right oils, and have been proven to be quite effective in that role.

In order to truly appreciate the therapeutic, medical, and relaxation properties of aromatherapy, you owe it to yourself to try it. It is so effective in these areas that it is difficult to put it into words, but this is something that you will understand much better after you have experienced it at least once, having the aromatherapy session done by a trained professional who understands the techniques and the effects of the multitude of different oils that can be used.

You have to try it to appreciate it, and once you have tried it, chances are high that aromatherapy will become a part of your regular routine every month!

To get more insights and additional information about Aromatherapy and Aromatherapy Oils please visit our web site at http://www.aromatherapyexplained.com


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