The Uses of Essential Oils and Neroli Oil
Essential oils are important plant products that have many valuable uses. Essential oils contain fragrance, but are also rich in nutrients and even medicinal properties. Most plants use oil in their normal organic function, and are essential to the plants health. Essential oils might contain chemicals that discourage browsing or otherwise stave off infection. Thyme, for example, is well known for being antiseptic, and its essential oil is an ingredient in mouth wash. Oils are extracted from plants through chemical or mechanical means, and have great economic importance.
Before synthetic fragrances, oils derived from plants were the only perfume. They could be obtained through distillation, seeping in water, seeping in alcohol, or even drying out the plant then infusing it in vegetable oil. While these methods are simple compared to the modern solvent extraction process that is used on an industrial scale, it is from these ancient beginnings that many of the world’s favorite perfumes come from. The rose was used as far back as roman days, and the strong aroma of lavender and rosemary have been used since before recorded history.
Essential oils are valuable to the food industry and even medicine. Herbs impart their aroma and taste by being dried out to preserve the oils inside the leaves or flowers. The plant parts are kept whole to prevent these oils from breaking down, and then are finely chopped when the chef decides to add it to stew or some other dish. Oils that degrade easily are called volatile oils, and it is for this reason that whole leaves impart stronger flavor than the powder often sold in shake bottles.
Essential oils are important to medicine because before the industrial revolution, all medicine was derived from the direct use of plants. Aspirin today is synthetic, but was originally derived from willow bark. Thyme and oregano are important medicinal herbs and certain oils inside are found in many disinfectants. Menthol, the common ingredient in cough drops, is widely extracted from many sources, including peppermint and eucalyptus leaves. Guaifenesin, an important drug found in a variety of cough tablets, also came from the bark of a tree.
Herbs were important for medicine in ancient times, and although modern medicine is tested for consistency, many people still choose to use herbs for a variety of reasons. Among other things, the herb does not typically have side effects, and the entire herb is healthy. When several herbs with a particular property are used in combination, the combined effect can be as powerful as an over the counter medicine. Herbs are also good for the nutrients and antioxidants they often contain, and a variety of fresh herbs can be an essential part of a healthy diet.
Neroli oil is not a powerful medicine, but it is unique because of its history and because it is extracted from the flowers of bitter orange. It was originally used by the Princes of Nerola, Italy; and because she was a figure of power and because she had a good sense of style, her use of it made the scent quite popular. She used Neroli oil to perfume her gloves and bath for any number of years, and the distinct smell caught the attention of her company.
Neroli Oil has a refreshing and flowery sweet smell. It is entirely nontoxic and does not irritate or sensitize the skin. A significant fraction of modern perfumes use neroli oil as their base, and it is often mixed with citrus perfume and even synthetic fragrances to make them smell more natural. It is even believed to be used to flavor Coca Cola, but this rumor is only anecdotal.