What Are Essential Oils?
If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you’ve experienced the
aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile
aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers,
and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully
fragrant. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, essential oils
protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their
intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils
have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and
But what exactly is a volatile aromatic compound? In short, these
compounds are small organic molecules that tend to change quickly
from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. They are
called volatile because they change state quickly. When you first open
a bottle of essential oil, you instantly notice that the aroma is potent and
you can smell it typically even from some distance. The physical and chemical properties of the volatile aromatic compounds that compose essential oils allow them to quickly move through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose. Such unique properties make essential oils ideal for applications inclusion in aromatherapy – using these compounds from plants to help maintain a healthy mind and body – as well as other applications. The type of volatile aromatic compounds present in an essential oil determines both the oil’s aroma and the benefits it offers.
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