Essential oils occur abundantly in nature. They are mainly extracted from plant matters that are deemed to be beneficial for our mind and body. Aromatherapy is one of the methods in which these essential oils are extensively used. Besides the essential oils are also used across communities for variegated purposes.
How are the Essential Oils Extracted?
If you are wondering about how the essential oils are extracted, then you should know that some of the essential oils can be extracted easily and at home whereas the others have to be done in factories. These essential oils, though generally concentrated, are extracted using complex methods and in industries. This is because, for large scale extraction, powerful types of machinery are implemented to ease the process.
- Distillation process with steam or water – This is one of the most common processes to extract essential oils. In this process water or hot steam is allowed to pass through the plant particles that contain the essential oils. With this process, the essential compounds are pulled out of the plant matters with efficiency and then it is processed and bottled as essential oils.
- Cold pressing technique – This is a commonly used process to extract essential oils. In this process, the plant materials are squeezed and pressed mechanically. These releases the essential oils and juices trapped inside them, which is later processed and bottled carefully to be sold in the markets.
However, in many circumstances, we extract essential oils in our homes and use it for therapeutic purposes like the extraction of lemon oil by squeezing, scratching or peeling the lemon peel or that of the orange.
Though the essential oils are widely regarded as beneficial both for our body and mind, they are also suspected to have a number of side-effects when overused, abused or used in incorrect proportions by people who are underage or those afflicted with disease or illnesses.
Safety Concerns with the Essential Oils
Though the essential oils are organic oils that are believed to be highly beneficial for us that doesn’t imply that they will not have any side-effects. Yes, much like all the other things like food materials and medicines, the essential oils are always safe to use. These plant products contain many bioactive compounds that might cause harm to your health in many ways and these essential oils are no exception. Here are some side-effects of the essential oils which you should consider when consuming these oils.
- They might cause rashes on your skin if it is too sensitive, too oily or already showing signs of rupture or other skin infections.
- The essential oils, when inhaled in doses that exceed the permissible limits, might trigger symptoms of asthma. This might be worse if someone already has asthma and uses essential oils without consulting their physician.
- Essential oils often cause headaches in normal people or those who are already having sinusitis or migraine.
- You might be getting an allergy or two with these essential oils in case they don’t suit your skin or their smell irritates you.
- Burning of eyes, developing symptoms of cough and cold and shortness of breath might also be some other adverse reactions of using the essential oils.
- Though the topical application is generally considered safe when it comes to essential oils, some of these might also show signs of allergic reactions. Furthermore, in many persons, they can cause dermatitis and other kinds of skin irritations.
- Many of these essential oils might lead to the development of photosensitivity and increase risks of heartburn and indigestion.
Therefore, it is safe to conclude that you can use these essential oils but it is safer to consult a physician or someone from the healthcare department before trying them up. Also, it is important to remember that the ingestion of the essential oils is also not very safe. In the case of many essential oils, they come to FDA-approved as their ingredients in food and fragrances and are labelled safe (GRAS). Therefore, it is important to know that sometimes these oils can be toxic and only ingested under medical supervision. However, we need to be extremely sure that no one swallows essential oil in large amounts because that can be toxic. Also, we need to keep in mind to monitor that none of the essential oils is used by pregnant women, children and pets.