Thanks, in part, to increased access to information, essential oils have now reached a fairly widespread level of ubiquity in modern society. Many individuals are now informed as to the benefits of these products and why they might want to use them in their own lives. However, there is still a lack of understanding as to how essential oils are produced. Without knowing the steps that are undertaken to create these products, one can miss out on understanding much of what makes them of interest to modern consumers. To dive into this subject further, we’ve looked to Young Living, a leading essential oil supplier that helped provide information on this fascinating topic of study.
As with any plant-based product, cultivation is the foundation of the process of creating essential oils. This part of the process is so important, that Young Living sources its humble beginnings back to its time as a small organic farming operation. At its start, the company was formed by D Gary Young and Mary Young in an effort to grow their own plants for personal use in making essential oils. This allowed them to control the quality of the products they were making and more carefully construct the oils they were using in their everyday lives.
That first foray into farming and oil production would turn out to be a success, giving rise to the company as we know it today. So important is the cultivation process with regards to essential oil production that one of the company’s first orders of business after its formal creation was to purchase land in Utah and Idaho. Those first land purchases allowed the company to expand its cultivation operations and produce a variety of herbs and other plants that would be used in its oils. Some of the notable selections from this early cultivation process included lavender, melissa, and clary sage. Similar to its roots as a small family-based operation, this focus on sustainable cultivation helps to ensure quality as the company has moved further along the production process.
After harvest, there are many ways to take raw plant material and turn it into an oil. One method that is commonly used in smaller or home-based operations is known as expression. This method is perhaps the simplest technique for extracting oil from plants as it just involves the pressing of plants or seeds in order to harvest the oil that is then expressed. This technique has traditionally been used in the olive oil industry and can often be of use in obtaining oils from citrus peels such as lemon, lime, and grapefruit. It can, however, be an inefficient process in many other contexts so it is typically not used in larger-scale operations.
Instead, a common practice in larger operations is known as distillation. This is an oil extraction method with which Young Living is quite familiar since the company operates the largest oil distillation facility in North America. This process often involves the use of steam by suspended plants over a source of boiling water. As the steam rises through the plant material, essential oils are drawn out of the plant and carried along with the water vapor. As the steam is condensed on a cooling apparatus, the oil is also collected. Since water and oil do not mix, the oil can then be easily separated from the cooled water. While the oil is the main product of interest in this process, the water can sometimes retain certain aromatic compounds, making it of use for some purposes such as cosmetics.
Use in products
Once oil is extracted from plant material, it can then be used to formulate a wide variety of useful products. In its most basic form, the oil itself is often used on its own. This is used by many people along with a diffusor to help disperse aromatic compounds into the air, creating a fragrant and calming environment. Certain oils are also appropriate for use in cooking applications, such as lemon, lime, and peppermint. In these uses, only a drop or two of the oil is used to flavor foods, as the effect can be quite strong in even small doses.
Oils are also often used as an ingredient in other products. In their simplest form, these products can be just a blend of two or more oils. This can allow consumers to gain the benefits of both oils in a single product. Other formulations may use the oils in combination with other compounds in skin care, bath, and household products. This can include soaps, detergents, cleaning supplies, and more. This again allows the consumer to make use of the unique properties of essential oils while forgoing the harsher chemicals that can often be found in conventional household products.
With the above look at how essential oils are produced and utilized, we can also note one of the things that sets the essential oil company apart from its competitors — its seed to seal guarantee. While the process outlined above can seem straightforward, there are a number of ways in which a company might cut corners to create an inferior product. Since much of the appeal of essential oils is their quality and effectiveness, these kinds of shortcuts can often serve to negate some of the benefits of these products.
By contrast, the company’s seed to seal guarantee serves as an assurance of the quality of its products at each stage along its journey. This rigorous set of quality controls extends to the many partners with which it works to cultivate plants. Scientific methods are used to test its products and engage in research to further improve production practices. By ensuring that oils are meeting high benchmarks on a long list of standard checks, the company is helping to ensure that its consumers receive only the highest quality products.
Though large portions of society are now familiar with essential oils and their many benefits, it is clear that these powerful products are still shrouded in some level of mystery. By peering into the process of turning plants into oils, we hope we are effectively pulling back the curtain on that mystery for our readers. The above information from Young Living represents a first step towards that goal. For more on this fascinating topic, visit the company’s website or seek out other resources online or in print.