The Difference Between Herbal Infused Oils and Essential Oils
Herbal Infused Oils are not the same as Essential oils and it is very important to know the difference when looking to support wellness safely.
We produce a lot of Infused oils each year from the herbs that grow both wild and the ones that we have planted and nurtured over the years. The season begins when the herbs come out and so the days are met with that in mind. When the St. John’s Wort Flowers, Hypericum perforatum, come out it is usually a very hot time of the year. But we endure because the rich red oil this herb creates is amazing and a powerful healing support, especially for nerve pain. Other herbs will come and go over the summer months, and some root herbals more in the fall. The process is easy and takes some monitoring, but well worth it for wellness support by our Great Mother…. Nature’s goodness captured in a gentle manner… and that is the way the Herbal Infused Oils work… gently and safely.
The various herbs are usually collected mid day so they are dry and cut up and put into jars and covered with Olive Oil to allow for the plant to release it’s therapeutic and healing properties into the oil. Other oils can be used but our choice is Olive Oil (regular, not virgin). Dry plants only for infused oil making as any dampness can and will most likely cause mold, and that is not a good thing.
After 6 weeks the plant material is removed and the oil is filtered a few more times over a week to make sure it is cleared of all plant material and is very clean.
After it is filtered, the Oil is ready to be used as it is, or, made into salves and lotions. Using Infused oils on the body is safe to use daily and is very nourishing. Infused oils can also be taken internally in food very safely. Each oil has it’s own properties for use and the nourishment it brings to the body can include nourishing skin and nerves and helping to boost the immune system by keeping the lymphatic system hydrated and flowing. Oiling the body is a great way to safely calm the nervous system and bring body, mind and spirit into balance and harmony. It is safe for children too and is a great way to connect with them. My grand daughter loves getting herself oiled after a bath and she enjoys the touch of care that the loving hands bring with the oil to her body. A lovely night time ritual is rubbing Lavender, Agustifolia Infused oil on her feet. Very soothing and relaxing.
Body oiling with infused oils was used in ancient times and was revered in Ayurveda and honored in the Bible as a daily ritual of bringing self care to every day.
Infused oils are gentle and safe for both young and old.
Essential Oils on the other hand, need to be taken with care. They are super concentrated essences. The essence of the plant is extracted using for the most part steam distillation. There is cold pressing and other extraction methods, which, can be further researched if the interest is piqued.
A great deal of plant material is needed to produce even one drop of essential oil. That is how concentrated it is. Thus the need to know the safety issues around using essential oils. For instance, my grand daughter expresses seizure disorder and I could never give her Eucalyptus, and children under 10 should not be using this at all. Also, with her medication, we must make sure she does not have anything with grapefruit. I use this as an example to highlight some of the considerations when using essential oils. Each person is unique and comes with their own specific needs. It is important to know the general health of the person as one essential oil is not a panathea for all people wanting support for the same thing.
Ok, back to how Essential oils are produced. With steam distillation, the plant is heated inside a still until the essence of the plant is captured. The essence of the extracted plant is what is the essential oil and holds scent and medicinal properties.
Essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly when exposed to air. They are not the same as Infused oils. One would not generally use essential oils to apply directly to the body like one does with Herbal Infused oils. There are, however, exceptions like lavender directly on a burn area, or helichrysm on a cut… and so forth. Best to do the research and or consult a certified aromatherapist who can explore all the safety issues and knows about the chemical components of the oils and provide blends that are safe and effective.
Essential oils are very concentrated and highly potent and the safest way to apply them to the body is by way of diluting with an Herbal Infused oil, which works very nicely. And knowing how to safely dilute the oils is important, for instance, only 1 percent dilution for any face product is the recommended dilution by experienced herbalists and aromatherapists.
As a certified Aromatherapist, I am very concerned about how some people are posting about how to use them. They are not the “go to” for everything. Animals for instance, should never be given essential oils of any kind or amount as their livers are unable to process them. They should never be given in the mouth to calm babies. Too much essential oil can cause sensitivities in people and cause reactions that one may not want to have to endure. Be careful, be safe when using these powerful essences.
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