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But......what are essential oils really?

In the run up to Christmas we spent a great deal of time meeting new customers at various festive events, and one question came up over and over again ….but what are essential oils, really?

The shelves in our high street stores are full of aroma based products and to the untrained eye it can be confusing. Labelling is not always clear about the ingredients in the products and why they are used. So we thought it was important to share our understanding with you all.

Essential oils are not artificial fragrances or chemical scents – they are one of nature’s finest creations and are used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. Naturally safe, they are powerfully concentrated and have few undesirable side effects.

You will have no doubt experienced essential oils without even knowing it…. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the scent of a rose or the lovely aroma when brushing past a lavender bush. Derived naturally from plant sources, essential oils are most often characterised by their strong pleasant aromas, and are made up of compounds extracted from seeds, bank, stems, roots, flowers or other parts of the plant. These compounds are what give a plant its distinctive smell but they can also protect and heal the plant, benefits which can be harnessed when we utilise essential oils ourselves.

There are many varieties of compounds, each with individual and unique characteristics, and it is the mix of these within an essential oil that determines its aroma and its specific benefits. The nature of an essential oil will vary from plant to plant and species to species. The oils can also vary depending on how they are processed, so it’s important to know about the origins of the oil to ensure its purity. Harvesting time, country of origin, weather and even the year grown can impact the oil, similar to a fine wine. Method of production is also significant, with most plant material beings steam distilled and the process of cold pressing being used for citrus oils.

At PFK, we are very aware of how purity can be impacted and how contaminants and other changes can affect the aroma or benefits of an oil. In the past, we have received impure oils from less than reputable suppliers, which is why we now work with a variety of suppliers and always test new batches of oils to ensure our customers get the high quality PFK aroma they have come to love.

Because of the huge demand for essential oils, and their finite supply, many products you’ll see on the high street are impure or even synthetic, whilst still using the phrase ‘essential’ or ‘oil’ to mislead the consumer. It is therefore important to ensure you check the ingredients in the products you purchase, if you wish to take advantage of the natural aroma and wellbeing benefits of essential oils.

We personally believe in the power of pure essential oils and their wellbeing benefits, which is why we only use high quality oils in all our products. We never use artificial fragrances, as they contain chemicals and don’t have the aromatherapy benefits of pure essential oils.

But there is so much more to know about essential oils, so over the coming weeks we will be sharing our knowledge about the benefits of each of the individual oils we use. Just watch this space and find out more about these wonder oils.