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In other words, the aromatic compounds of the plant are removed and separated to create an oil-like substance. (Although essential oils are not technically oils, as true oils are made up of lipids.) Essential oils are typically extracted through the process of steam distillation. Plant matter is placed in a big vat with water and boiled. As the steam cools, the water collects to the bottom of the tank and the essential oils arise and collect in a separate tank. (The water that's collected is known as a hydrosol and contains trace amounts of the essential oil and other components from the plant.) The only exception to steam distillation is with citrus fruits, where the essential oil is sometimes pressed from the rind of the fruit.

Infusions An infusion is made when the plant material is let to steep in water or oil for a period of time. A water-based infusion is made just like you'd make a cup of tea--boil the water and add the herbs to steep for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. With an oil infusion, the steeping time is much longer, from days to weeks. The plant material is steeped in a solution of (usually) 50% alcohol. The plant material steeps for days to weeks to extract compounds from the plant. Essential Oils that Aren't Really Essential Oils You may see a few ingredients listed as essential oils, when in fact, they aren't truly essential oils. The "essence" of vanilla is difficult to extract via steam distillation, so it's typically extracted through steeping in alcohol (most commonly) or in oil. This is the traditional vanilla extract that you'd use in cooking. This is the least concentrated form of vanilla extract.

But, for a more concentrated form of vanilla, there's vanilla oleoresin. (Sometimes you'll see it listed as essential oil.) Oleoresin An oleoresin is created by taking an alcohol-based extract and evaporating out the alcohol. You're then left with a thick resinous material that's a more concentrated form of the aromatics that the plant provides. Vanilla oleoresin is commonly used in personal care products as a scent. Rosemary oleoresin (also listed as rosemary extract) is used as an anti-oxidant in foods and personal care products, helping give oils a longer shelf life. (Do note that it is an anti-oxidant, not a preservative. It will help keep oils fresh but it does not stop bacterial growth.) Absolutes Finally, there are absolutes. This is the most potent and concentrated form of extracts. Absolutes are typically extracted with a solvent like hexane to create a waxy material called a concrete. The concrete is mixed with alcohol to further extract the aromatic compounds. Then, the alcohol is evaporated out and a highly concentrated oil known as an absolute is left behind. Sometimes people will mistakenly list an absolute or oleoresin as an essential oil, whereas they are technically not an essential oil. Plants that are typically extracted as absolutes instead of essential oils include vanilla, jasmine, tuberose, oak moss and mimosa. When it comes to roses, both steam-distilled essential oil and absolutes are made. There are actually absolutes of honey as well, that will extract the delicate fragrance notes from different types of honey. Fake Extracts There are some ingredients that you'll see listed as "extracts" on a product, when they're not really an extract. Japanese Honeysuckle Extract is not a true extract but a highly synthesized preservative. Grapefruit Seed Extract is not a true extract, but a quaternary ammonium compound that's also used as a preservative. (Not to be confused with grape seed extract, which is a totally different thing, extracted from grapes, not grapefruits. Grape seed extract is a true extract.) Vegetable/Carrier Oils Vegetable or Carrier oils are true oils, composed of lipids (fats). These include sunflower, jojoba, safflower, almond, olive, coconut. They are either solvent, or, preferrably, cold-pressed from the seeds, nuts, or fruit of certain plants. Some carrier oils sound like essential oils, when they are not. For instance rosehip seed oil is not an essential oil but a vegetable carrier oil. After the rose has blossomed and created a rose "hip", inside this hip are hundreds of tiny little seeds.

These seeds are taken and pressed to create rosehip seed oil. It doesn't smell like roses, but has a nutty, seed-like aroma. It is pressed from the raspberry seeds and while it does have a mild raspberry aroma (somewhat like raspberry leaf tea) it is not an essential oil and is used for moisturizing properties, not for scent or aromatherapy. CBD and CBD Oil: What Is It and Does It Really Work? The popularity of medical marijuana is soaring, and among the numerous products consumers are seeking are CBD, or cannabis oils. A wealth of marketing material, blogs and anecdotes claim that CBD oils can cure whatever ails you, even cancer. But the limited research doesn't suggest that cannabis oil should take the place of conventional medication, except for in two very rare forms of epilepsy (and even then, it's recommended only as a last-resort treatment).

And, experts caution that because CBD oil and other cannabis-based products are not regulated or tested for safety by the government or any third-party agency, it's difficult for consumers to know exactly what they're getting. Simply put, cannabis oil is the concentrated liquid extract of the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa . Similar to other herbal extracts, the chemicals in cannabis oils vary depending on how the extract is made and what chemicals were in the plant to begin with.


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