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Essential oils are produced by steam or water distillation of the leaves, wood, petals, buds, needles, bark or roots of aromatic botanicals such as lavender, rosemary, cedarwood, rose, peppermint, and cypress. While most essential oils are water or hydro distilled, citrus essential oils are either cold pressed or steam distilled from the rinds (peels) of citrus fruits. For more information, please read The Parts of Plants that Produce Essential Oils article.

Aromatic oils that are not specifically produced by either steam or hydrodistillation (or cold pressed in the case of citrus rind oils) are not considered and should not be referred to as essential oils. Refer to the Aromatic Ingredients section of AromaWeb’s Article Archive to learn about other aromatic and botanical ingredients and oils that can be used in conjunction with essential oils.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and a little goes a long way. Although they are natural and most smell wonderful, it is important to learn about and respect essential oil safety. Essential oils are highly beneficial and effective when used carefully and with realistic expectations. However, improper use of essential oils can be harmful.

Essential oils, contrary to the use of the word “oil” are not really oily-feeling at all. Most essential oils are clear, but some oils such as blue tansy, patchouli, orange, and lemongrass are amber, yellow, green or even dark blue in color.

Essential Oils are Not the Same as Perfume Oils or Fragrance Oils
Where essential oils are derived directly from natural botanicals, perfume oils and fragrance oils contain artificial substances and do not offer the therapeutic benefits that essential oils offer