Essential oils are nature's source of healing since ancient times. The earliest recorded usage of essential oils dates way back in the early 17th century where they were used mainly for medicinal uses instead of aromatherapy.
Although there was never a clear history lesson on how essential oils were extracted back in the early centuries, we know that farmers, today, go through arduous processes to extract essential oils from farms and plantations.
Here is a step by step walkthrough on how your bottle of essential oil came about:
1. Planting the seeds
Farmers need to know when is the best time to plant their seeds. Weather, soil composition and humidity will determine in the quality of the harvest. This is also the reason why some essential oils smell more sweet, while some are more citrusy. During the winter, it gets harder to plant seeds, so farmers need to pick the most suitable time to plant their seeds well.
2. Cultivate with care
Caring for the plants also play a role in the outcome of the harvest. The amount of sunlight or water the plant receives can make a difference in the harvest. While there is no right or wrong amount to feed a plant, some farmers have a standard guide to follow to make all batches of cultivation as similar as possible.
3. Harvesting at the right time
When the time has come, farmers will then pick the plants for the next step. Essential oils do not come from just the leaves of the plant itself. They also come from flowers, fruits and the bark of trees. Imagine how long a farmer has to wait just for the plant to grow to the right age for the harvest!
4. The fun part - distillation
After harvesting, the farmers then dry the plant materials before placing into a large steam still. The steam then causes the essential oils in the plants to be separated, and rise to the ceiling of the steam still. The essential oils then go down into a cooled coil condenser where it makes it way out of the steam still and into a holding pot of essential oils.
5. Quality manufacturing
Some essential oils may have clumps of residue in them, so before they are bottled into mini bottles of oils, they need to be filtered first. This is an important step to take when producing quality essential oils. Residue in essential oils can cause clogs and blockages in diffuser machines, so it is best to filter out unnecessary residue before bottling them.
This is the step by step process of making essential oils. While it is easy to by oils off the shelves, we should also stop and be grateful for the hard work put in by the farmers because it is all thanks to them that we are able to enjoy such wonderful scents in our home.