What are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are a concentrated extract of the “Volatile Aromatic Compounds” found in plants. These “VAC’s” are the immune system of the plant and were originally thought to contain the “essence” of the plant, which is where the name “Essential Oil” originates. Lavender smells like Lavender because of the specific blend of VAC’s and other chemicals that are in it, same with Peppermint, Lemon, Frankincense, and all others. These compounds jump off the plant and are “Volatile” or evaporate at normal temperatures (changing from liquid to gas), which is why they smell and taste so potent. These oils play a role in the plant by keeping them safe from environmental threats and some of these benefits are passed on in their essential oil. Essential oils are a concentrated extract of those chemicals.
Using Frankincense again as an example, we see that it is largely made up of alpha-Pinene, Limonene, para-Cymene, and smaller amounts of other compounds, we call all of these, "Constituents". As an example we could say that this Frankincense has 60% alpha-Pinene, 25% Limonene, 10% para-Cymene, and the last 5% is 20 other aromatic constituents in smaller amounts.
These compounds are the VAC's that make up Frankincense oil. The same is true for every essential oil; Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree, Rosemary, etc. each one has a unique recipe of these constituents that make that oil.When you use essential oils either topically, internally, or aromatically, you are choosing to live a more healthy and vibrant lifestyle.