What is an Essential Oil?

Imagine taking the refreshing aroma of a whole peppermint plant and putting it into a tiny bottle, or the heart warming scent of rose petals into a single drop. Essential oils are produced naturally by all sorts of aromatic plants and we’ve learned how to extract these oils for fragrance and therapeutic possibilities through the art of distillation.

Aromatic plants create essential oils for a variety of reasons and can be found in multiple plant parts from roots to flowers and fruit peels, leaves and twigs to grasses. They are produced for protection from predators (animals or insects interested in snacking on the plant) or to attract those helpful critters and crawlers who pollinate and propagate.

Once extracted, essential oils are a highly concentrated aromatic material. Because it takes so much plant material to produce a small amount of oil, a little can go a long way. In fact, one drop of rose essential oil contains 60 whole roses!

Want to learn more? Click here for general information and a complete list of the essential oils that we offer. For further information on a specific oil click the Learn More link located under the oil listing. Here is the Learn More link for our organic Peppermint Essential Oil.


Coming next month: Clary Sage Essential Oil


3 Responses to “What is an Essential Oil?”

  1. [...] Read more at The Mountain Rose Blog! /* [...]

  2. avatar ldygwnvr says:

    Hello! I love the blog. Thank you for always offering such great content! I do have a question, actually. It’s something I’ve been curious about for quite some time. So, if essential oils are so much more powerful than the actual herb, what would the benefits be of just using the herb in a remedy? I’m curious about what the pros and cons would be to using a particular herb, versus that herb’s essential oil. Thank you for your time!!

    • avatar Erin says:

      Great question! The best answer I can give is that different medicines like tinctures, salves, teas, and essential oils, offer different healing abilities for different problems. Super potent isn’t always the best course with herbal medicine, and with essential oils less is best.

      Essential oils are so powerful that they should not be taken internally (without the supervision of a licensed healthcare practitioner) due to toxicity issues. Many can cause burning and irritation to membranes as well as damage to organs that cleanse toxins from our body like the liver, which has to process essential oils in the body. Essential oils offer wonderful aromatherapeutic abilities though, and a few drops in bodycare recipes, cleaning recipes, etc., can be very beneficial.

      Teas use water as a solvent to extract plant properties while tinctures are alcohol based extracts. Both are potent mediums that make very good and effective medicines. These methods draw out the water soluble properties of the herb and tinctures also draw out other properties like aromatics, proteins, etc.

      For more information, I would recommend checking out our posts on making tinctures and infusions, as well as the book Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Keville and Green. Great book!

      I hope this helps answer your question.

      Many cheers,

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  • ErinErin (362)
    Erin is the Marketing Director at Mountain Rose and studied herbalism, botany, and ethical wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days making botanical illustrations, playing in the garden, creating culinary gems, and formulating medicine in the magnificent Oregon Cascades.
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