Varieties of Aromatherapy Products

April 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy gift is a gift ideal for all occasions. Nevertheless, if you get an aromatherapy gift and do not know how to use it, or not know if it is different from a perfume or not, you will be in a pretty pickle. And even if you do not plan to give or get a gift of an aromatherapy product, you should have some idea about how it is used, for what purpose it is used, and what goes into its making. There is a variety of information related to aromatherapy products. For example, hydrosols, which are also known as floral waters, have certain similarities with aromatherapy essential oils, but are less concentrated.

An aromatherapy essential oil is prepared by steam-distilling or water-distilling a flower or leaf or stem or bark of the plant as is required in the preparation of that essential oil. Though it is called oil, the texture of the distilled product is not that of the oil. It is a clear liquid, sometimes of yellow color. These aromatherapy essential oils are quite concentrated that very little of it has to be used with carrier oils.

As different from this, a perfume, or fragrance oil, may be a synthetically created fragrance. While they may smell divine, they cannot be used in aromatherapy. Absolutes are another cousin of aromatherapy oils, and are also plant extracts. These are not steam-distilled, but extracted with the help of chemical solvents, which are then removed from the product. These are in fact more concentrated than aromatherapy essential oils, and last longer than it.

Yet another group of plant extracts are CO2 extracts. Here extraction is done by liquid carbon dioxide. The plant matter gets dissolved in the carbon dioxide, which is later evaporated to leave behind only the pure aromatherapy essential oils. These are sometimes referred to as absolutes and sometimes referred to as essential oils. This is a harmless extraction process and does not affect the quality of the aromatherapy essential oils.

Aromatherapy essential oils should be applied on the skin only through a carrier oil. Skin cannot stand the onslaught of the aromatherapy essential oil, which is in a very concentrated form, directly on it. Sweet almond oil and cold pressed vegetable oil are two carrier oils that are commonly used. Besides that, many oils like olive oil, coconut oil etc. can be used as carrier oils for aromatherapy essential oils. The texture and color of carrier oils can range widely. It can affect the quality and shelf life of the final aromatherapy product that is used for application.

Another variation of an aromatherapy product is the one where the carrier oil is an infused oil. This means that this carrier oil itself has been infused with some herbs. Here the herbs (e.g. Calendula) increase the therapeutic effect of the carrier oil and thereby that of the aromatherapy.

Resins are a colloidal plant product that oozes out of the plant, or a solid substance obtained from plants. A typical example is benzoin resin that is obtained from the bark of a small type of tree known as Styrax. Benzoin is useful in slowing the dispersion of essential oils into the air. Another resin connected to aromatherapy is Frankincense resin also known as Frankincense tears which is used as incense in burners or is used in making infused oils. In short, aromatherapy essential oils have a wide variety of related products, the usage of which also has to be properly understood to be able to use aromatherapy products correctly.