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What is an Essential Oil?

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 health-care practices.

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.

Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds
have been identified to date. The nature of an essential
oil varies from plant to plant, within botanical families,
and from species to species. The delicate ratio of
aromatic constituents found in any given essential oil
are what make it unique and give it specific benefits.

Even with pure essential oils the composition of the oil
can vary depending on the time of day, season,
geographic location, method and duration of distillation,
year grown, and the weather, making every step of the
production process a critical determinant of the overall
quality of the essential oil product.

Essential oils can be used for a wide range of emotional
and physical wellness applications. They can be used as
single essential oils or in complex essential oil blends
depending on user experience and desired benefit. Want
to learn how to use essential oils? Visit our essential oils
usage page to learn how to safely use doTERRA essential