Essential oils are a hot topic.
They are proving themselves to be more than just another health fad. Not only do they have therapeutic benefits, but there is an increasing amount of research about using oils from issues ranging from depression to sleep.
I am incredibly grateful to have been introduced to these gifts years ago. I can personally attest to their power, and I have a wealth of testimonies from those around me.
Today I’d like to share with you how oils are made with and how dōTERRA has innovated the essential oil industry. Let’s begin!
What's In An Oil
Essential oils are called volatile compounds. They are called volatile because they change state quickly. Essential oils aren’t true oils like almond oil, olive oil, or flaxseed oil — those are called fixed oils.
Fixed oils don’t vaporize the way essential oils do, and they are much heavier. Essential oils are highly volatile aromatic compounds. Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified to date. Essentially, there is an essential oil for everything!
A quick review of chemistry establishes that an essential oil is comprised of volatile aromatic compounds; a lesser known principle, however, is how essential oil chemistry reaches its maximum potency in each individual plant.
Providing each plant its own individual aromatic profile and other characteristics, aromatic compounds may be partially or, at times, dramatically altered due to environmental factors. Although each individual environmental factor cannot be directly controlled—such as rainfall, seasonal temperatures, etc—sourcing appropriate plant material is fundamental to ensuring the most benefit.
Types of Extraction
There are 2 ways to make essential oils: steam distillation and expression. dōTERRA uses both kinds of extraction as they are needed depending on the type of plant.
I will explain both kinds of extraction here:
Steam distillation is the most common way to extract aromatic compounds (essential oil) from a plant. During the steam distillation process, steam passes through the plant material.
The combination of heated steam and gentle pressure causes the essential oil to be released from microscopic protective sacs. As the vapor mixture flows through a condenser and cools, it yields a layer of oil and a layer of water. The essential oil rises to the top and is separated from the hydrosol (floral water) and collected.
The temperature for steam distilling is usually between 140–212 degrees Fahrenheit. Since different plants require different pressures, times, and temperatures, using this particular distillation method makes it possible to adjust the temperature based on the plant type, making it a very effective and precise way to obtain the purest compounds.
Watch the video on steam distillation here:
Unlike steam distillation, expression, sometimes referred to as “cold pressed,” does not involve heat.
In this process, oil is extracted from the product under mechanical pressure. dōTERRA uses expression to extract all of its citrus oils, such as Wild Orange, Lemon, Lime, Bergamot, and Grapefruit, from the rind.
Proper distillation requires a consideration for the uniqueness of pressure, temperature, time, and harvesting practices, each of which may be as diverse as the plants themselves.
A poor distillation process can alter or destroy the necessary aromatic compounds that comprise the essential oil, leaving a substance far different from the intended goal and something that would not be used to support health and wellness.
For this reason, the best distillation artisans dedicate their efforts and work to only a few select plants. This focused effort develops proper knowledge and experience.
Ensuring Essential Oil Purity: The CPTG Process
doTERRA begins the CPTG testing process shortly after distillation, when each oil is reviewed for its chemical composition. The doTERRA production facility carries out a second round of testing to ensure that the oils distilled and tested during the first round are the same ones that arrived at our facility. A third review of the chemistry of the oils is conducted as the oils are packaged into the bottles before they’re shipped out to consumers.
Each test confirms that our essential oils are free of contaminants and that no unexpected alterations occurred during production.
Here are the tests doTERRA uses to ensure essential oil purity:
- Organoleptic testing
- Microbial testing
- Gas chromatography
- Mass spectrometry
- Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
- Chirality testing
- Isotopic analysis
- Heavy metal testing
If you would like to learn more about the details of each test, visit doTERRA’s website here.
Essential oils are here to stay and I am proud to be helping the world hear more about them. I hope that this article has taught you about essential oils and how they are produced. I also hope that you felt inspired by doTERRA’s Co-Impact Sourcing – and the promise for a better future!
If you were inspired by what you read today, I want to encourage you to get doTERRA’s essential oils in your home today. Feel free to use the purchase links below and I’ll throw in some extra goodies for you. I’m also available to help answer any of your questions if you have any.
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