What are essential oils?
Essential oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
** Essential oil **
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For the Midnight Oil album, see Essential Oils (album).
A glass vial containing sandalwood oil
An *essential oil* is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile
aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as *volatile
oils*, *ethereal oils*, or *aetherolea*, or simply as the "oil of" the
plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is
"essential" in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence,
of the plant. Essential oils do not form a distinctive category for any
medical, pharmacological, or culinary purpose.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation. Steam distillation
is often used. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction.
They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for
flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household
Essential oils have been used medicinally in history. Medical applications
proposed by those who sell medicinal oils range from skin treatments to
remedies for cancer and often are based solely on historical accounts of
use of essential oils for these purposes. Claims for the efficacy of
medical treatments, and treatment of cancers in particular, are now subject
to regulation in most countries.
As the use of essential oils has declined in evidence-based medicine, one
must consult older textbooks for much information on their use.^^
Modern works are less inclined to generalize; rather than refer to
"essential oils" as a class at all, they prefer to discuss specific
compounds, such as methyl salicylate, rather than "oil of
Interest in essential oils has revived in recent decades with the
popularity of aromatherapy, a branch of alternative medicine that claims
that essential oils
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