The highest quality essential oils come from the same steam distillation process that produces hydrosols. Steam-distillation is an intensive process that requires many pounds of a plant product. For instance, over 60,000 freshly picked roses will yield only one ounce of pure rose essential oil.
Pure essential oils can also be formed by cold pressing or water distilling plant and flower parts. They can be extracted from the bark, stems, leaves, roots, and petals of herbs or flowers. Distilled essential oils have been employed as medicines or topical treatments since the invention of distillation in the 11th century. The shelf life for most essential oils is about 12 months.
Due to the large amounts of plants used to produce small amounts of oil, essential oils should never be ingested. In contrast, hydrosols are much less potent and contain a much smaller portion of volatile oils as wells as trace organic compounds not found in the oil. They can be incorporated into a myriad of treatment options with much less risk. For internal or food-based uses, confirm if any preservatives have been used before ingesting.
A pure essential oil will be 80 to 100 percent pure plant oil, sometimes infused in a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or jojoba, but containing no water.
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