Essential oils have been in existence for thousands of years and yet there is still so much that people don’t know about essential oils. The fact that people don’t know a lot about oils has resulted in a lot of misinformation and myths. The myths have, however, caused harm to consumers. This article will highlight three myths regarding essential oils and the truth behind the myths will be explained.
MYTH #1: Essential Oils Never Expire
Most essential oils don’t come with labels that show when they will expire. This makes people think they don’t expire. Essential oils last for a long time but the longer they stay on the shelf, the more the quality is affected. The best option is to record when you buy your essential oils so you can know the time to discard when you don’t use it fully.
Contaminations and degradation will shorten the lifespan of the essential oil. The first time you open the essential oil is when the contaminations start. Light, heat, and oxygen can also cause constant degradation. Every time you open the bottle is when oxygen enters while light and heat can penetrate the bottle long before you open it.
There are several factors that can influence the impact of degradation and contamination of the essential oil. This means the more frequently you open the bottle, the more it is being exposed. Certain colours of bottles help prevent the degradation of the oil from UV light. Additionally, some essential oils that are being extracted using certain techniques are more or less prone to damage that can be caused by heat.
The shelf life of essential oils can also be affected by its chemical composition. Sandalwood essential oil is a good example. It has sesquiterpene alcohol which increases the potency of the oil. This means sandalwood oil will last longer (have a longer shelf life) than other oil. On the other hand, citrus oil will oxidize faster because of the limonene.
Sandalwood oil that has sesquiterpenes will have a shelf life of about 6 years while essential oils with ketones, monoterpenoids and esters will last for about 4 to 5 years. Essential oils with high phenol volumes will last about 3 years, and those with monoterpenes will last for 1 to 2 years.
MYTH #2: The Quality of Essential Oils is Determined by the Purity
Many companies that produce essential oil label their essential oils as 100% pure. Most time, this label is a tactic to attract new buyers. As a matter of fact, the purity of an oil is an objective quality to whether the oil hasn’t been tampered with or modified while the subjective quality can be influenced by some variables.
It is also possible to have two batches of essential oil from the same supplier, the same extraction process but a different level of quality. Other biological and environmental factors can also affect the chemical profile of the plant during the growth stage. These same factors can also affect the quality of the essential oil during production.
The quality of the essential oil can also be affected by the process of extraction because some extraction methods leave additional plant products in the essential oil. Some even fail to extract all the desired chemicals.
The bottom line is that you will often have to check for the quality of the essential oil yourself. The label claims are sometimes unreliable.
MYTH #3: The Main Components of Fragrance Oils are Essential Oils
There is always confusion between the differences between fragrance oils and essential oils. Fragrance oils can also be called scented oils and they are used in cleaning products and air fresheners. However, some air fresheners make use of essential oils which has led to the confusion.
Understanding the difference between the two oils is also important because essential oils are extracted from natural plants while fragrance oils are synthetic and lab-made, Fragrance oils are cheaper to produce and they have none of the benefits essential oils have. In short, fragrance oils contain chemicals. Fragrance oils could have similar aromatic qualities to essential oils but there don’t have the health benefits of eseential oils.
In conclusion, you can get a wealth of information about essential oils online. Make use of the information to know more about aromatherapy so you don’t fall for myths like the ones above.
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