Well, reading one of my reader’s comments, I came to know that probably not all are really aware of the difference in the plant oils and essential oils. So, I shall try to clarify that a bit.
All oils under this category come as vegetable oils. They can be used for culinary purposes or even for skin care. These oils are generally extracted from the fruits like almond nuts, hazelnut nuts, coconut fruit, etc. Some of the oils are extracted from the waste part like the rice bran oil comes from the rice bran which is generally used as a fodder for cattle. These oils can be used directly for any purpose and there is a danger of these oils going rancid over a period of time.
They are extracted by cold process or a heat processing method. Cold pressed oils are best as the nutrition is intact and the oil goes through the least amount of processing.
Essential Oils are extremely concentrated essences of the various parts of a plant. For example, Essential Oil can be extracted from roots, leaves, barks, stems, flowers of a plant. The oil is extremely concentrated and can not be used directly on the skin or hair. Not all essential oils can be used for culinary purposes. To use these oils, one needs to dilute them with the carrier oils (which are the plant oils).
Essential Oils are extracted using the steam distillation or solvent extraction. Steam Distillation gives the best quality of the Essential Oil. To produce an ounce of Essential oil, huge amount of the plant might be needed and that makes these oils extremely costly. For example, a pound of Jasmine flowers give 1 ounce of Jasmine Essential Oil. So, cost is determining factor of the purity of the Essential Oil. One more thing which characterizes essential oils is its strong fragrance which is generally missing in plant oils.
These oils are extremely delicate and come in very small quantities of 10ml or 50ml and mostly, you will find them in dark-colored bottles. The reason why they are put in dark colored is that the composition of the essential oil may be altered by the sun’s rays so it is always advised to store these oils in the dark. That preserves their stability. Generally, these oils have long shelf life and can be used as preservatives also in homemade cosmetics.
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Also read: Are essential oils good or bad?