To understand essential oils better, I think it’s easier to start by differentiating the two kinds of oils produced by nature, the ‘Fixed Oils‘ and the ‘Essential Oils‘. In this post, I have added an excerpt from one of my favorite books of essential oils by Dr. Eric Zielinski of www.naturallivingfamily.com called “The Healing Power of Essential Oils“.
Let’s take a moment to walk through a couple of key terms, starting with the most fundamental of all: FIXED OILS AND ESSENTIAL OILS.
You may wonder why the essential oils you’ve come in contact with don’t seem all that, well, oily. That’s because there are two different types of oils, which different chemical (and, therefore, therapeutic) properties.
Also known as ‘expressed‘ or ‘fatty‘ oils, fixed oils are derived from both animals and plants. Common examples are cooking oils, including, coconut, olive, and other vegetable oils that see in the market. They contain fatty acids such as triglycerides, as well as certain phytochemicals, including vitamins, minerals, and a host of others.
In contrast to volatile oils (aka essential oils), fixed oils DO NOT evaporate (they will leave a stain on an absorbent surface) and thus cannot be distilled. Obtained by expression (the act of squeezing or using pressure) or extraction (drawing out using a solvent), fixed oils vary in consistency depending on the temperature and can be solid, semisolid, or liquid.
Also known as ‘volatile oils’ because they evaporate readily, essential oils are the lipophilic (“fat-loving”), hydrophobic (“water-hating”) volatile organic compounds that are found in aromatic plants. Meaning, they have the tendency to dissolve or combine with fats or lipids, while repelling or not mixing with water.
Somewhat of a misnomer, essential oils aren’t “oily” like the fixed, culinary oils just descrived, and they usually do not leave a residue when applied to your skin. they are generally insoluble in water by soluble in alcohol and fixed oils and can dissolve fatty materials such as grease. Unlike fixed oils, they do not contain any nutritional content like vitamins or minerals.-
These compounds contain physiological and pharmacological properties that affect nearly every organ and virtually every function necessary to human life.
The amount of oil in each plan varies considerably – it takes more than three hundred pounds of rose petals, thirty pounds of lavender flowers, or forty-five lemons to fill just one those itty-bitty 15 ml bottles of essential oil that you have in your home. Just think about how many tons of plant matter it must take to supply the world’s growing need for these precious plant-based compounds!
The compounds contained in essential oil are affected by how the oil is extracted and what part of the plant is used. while you don’t necessarily need this information to buy and start using essential oils, reading it can help expand your understanding of these potent healers.