News from CRIS: Essential Oils - An Overview

August 17, 2020

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are compounds extracted from various plant parts, including flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, roots, twigs, and more.
Extracting these oils requires a manufacturer to use one of three standard techniques: distill the plant part using water or steam, implement a mechanical process to get the oil, or use a dry distillation process (1,2).
Manufacturers typically use essential oils as flavor or aroma enhancers in cosmetics, food additives, soaps, plastic resins, perfumes, and more.
Note, there is a difference between essential oils and crude plant extracts that includes purity, composition, and the acquisition process. Oils produced by adding chemical solvents to the plant parts are not typically considered essential oils.


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