In nature, essential oils play an important role in the protection of plants and true essential oils contain a wide variety of properties capable of inhibiting or slowing the growth of bacteria. A pure essential oil then is the plant’s defense mechanism and is more powerful than the botanical itself due to the concentration of healing compounds collected in the oil. It is these qualities that align with our brand's mission to maintain a 'holistic' and 'solutions driven' approach to skin care. For our products, we carefully research and select, those essential oils that possess naturally inherent antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties¹,² properties.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ESSENTIAL OIL?
It isn't really an oil but it is an organic liquid that is taken from flowers, buds, seeds, leaves, twigs, bark, herbs, wood, fruits and plant roots. These aromatic oils are extracted by various methods depending upon the plant material. However, the most popular extraction method is steam or water distillation. This process separates the plant’s healing oil-based compounds from the water-based compounds to produce a single, concentrated aromatic oil.
True essential oils can and should be identified by their botanical names. For example true Lavender oil would be listed as Lavandula Angustifolia or Lavandula Officinalis, depending upon the variety. When a product implies in any way that it is lavender, is lavender scented or contains lavender, we cannot assume that it is true lavender, especially in the handmade industry. However, assuming the manufacturer or distributor practices good housekeeping and truthful labeling, if a label lists Lavender Angustifolia as an ingredient, we can assume it is, or contains true Lavender.
Essential oils differ from fragrance oils in that they are natural, volatile, aromatic compounds extracted from botanicals; whereas fragrance oils are artificial and synthetically created by chemists, who reproduce the chemical composition of a plant’s components. However, although fragrance oils can be created to imitate the aroma of an essential oil, they do not contain the same therapeutic benefits.
Inhaling the scent of a flower equates to experiencing its essential oil’s aroma. They were given the name “essential,” because they were believed to capture a plant’s essence. If you rub your hands over fresh herbs like rosemary or sage leaves, the [essential] oil from these plants will transfer to your hands, leaving their refreshing signature aroma. Thus every plant possesses its own unique scent profile. The aroma of such oil results from the combination of the aromas of all components of the plant material itself. Unlike synthetically derived fragrance oils (parfum), the constituents of essential oils are naturally occurring. Essential oils derived from aromatic medicinal plants have been reported to exhibit exceptionally good antimicrobial effects against bacteria, yeasts, filamentous fungi, and viruses. Why it matters, because these bacteria, yeasts and fungi within the body and on the skin, are the root cause of chronic skin troubles.
Essential oils are also widely used in Aromatherapy to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.
The antimicrobial properties of essential oils have been known for many centuries. In recent years (1987-2001), a large number of essential oils and their constituents have been investigated for their antimicrobial properties against some bacteria and fungi in more than 500 reports. Essential oils of spices and herbs were found to possess the strongest antimicrobial properties among many tested.
The antimicrobial impacts of essential oils and their chemical components have been recognized by several researchers. More recently, the rise in antimicrobial drug resistance has prompted researchers to discover new ways to treat various human pathogens and they have turned back to nature, more specifically essential oils. Studies have shown that the synergistic effect of ingredients in essential oils can be useful in the control of epidemic multi-drug resistant pathogenic microorganisms -and- in combating various infectious diseases, that affect the body and the skin.
Interestingly enough, essential oils are already employed in various applications including aromatherapy, chemotherapy and for the treatment of several diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various cancers.
Stay tuned and we'll discuss [synthetically derived] fragrance oil (often listed as parfum), which possesses NO medicinal qualities whatsoever, then you'll really know why essential oils matter and why you'll be ready to change how think about skin care.
Kalemba D, Kunicka A. Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils. Curr Med Chem. 2003 May;10(10):813-29. Review. PubMed PMID: 12678685. Mallappa Kumara Swamy, Mohd Sayeed Akhtar, and Uma Rani Sinniah, “Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action: An Updated Review,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2016, Article ID 3012462, 21 pages, 2016. doi:10.1155/2016/3012462 Reichling J, Schnitzler P, Suschke U, Saller R, Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview. Complement Med Res 2009;16:79-90