A Guide to Sustainable Essential Oils
Essential Oils are a must-have item in your sustainable toolkit. They offer us the chance to make homemade remedies in a sustainable and purse-friendly way but with increased demand, sustainability of the oils themselves is crucial for biodiversity on our already threatened planet.
Whether you are on a mission to eliminate toxic chemicals from your cleaning products or finding ways to introduce more into your skincare regime, they are natural, biodegradable, come in a highly concentrated form (so a little goes a long way) and they allow you to create hundreds of products at home in a simply way.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile and material. Typically, it is the most aromatic part of the used, for example, rose comes from the petals of the rose, while come from the rind. extracts, obtained from a natural raw material of origin by distillation. There are several different kinds of distillation methods including , cold pressing and expeller pressing. The distillation method used depends on the type of
Pure essential oils are all natural but they are extremely potent. On average, they are 75x more powerful than dried herbs and must be handled with care. A couple of drops go a long way and aside from very specific oils, essential oils should always be diluted (for example in ) properly before applying them directly to your .
How are Essential Oils made?
Most pure essential oils are extracted from plants through . Freshly picked plants are suspended over boiling water, and the steam pulls the oils out of the . The steam rises, is captured in a vessel, and is pushed along tubing. Then the steam is rapidly cooled, causing it to condense back into water. Since water and essential oils do not mix, the two separate, and the is collected.
Did you know? A byproduct of this distillation is the remaining water. Some plants contain aromatic compounds that are so water soluble, they remain in the water that is left over after distillation. Such waters are very fragrant and are prized by aromatherapists, who refer to them as hydrosols (or toners). In , hydrosols are used mostly in cosmetics to moisturize .
Benefits of essential oils
Essential oils are prized for their therapeutic effects on the body. They are renowned for easing muscular aches and pains, improving circulation and easing sinus congestion. They also have a positive effect on the ; the molecules' ability to penetrate into deeper layers encourages cellular renewal, enhances blood circulation and helps with issues such as acne, sensitivity and eczema.
Essential oils can also be used in home cleaning products and for general well-being in the context of emotional support and the themselves.
Some of the most popular essential oils, like and sweet orange, cross over into many categories and can be used effectively for many applications.
Although there's no doubt that essential oils boast a multitude of amazing uses, if you are pregnant you should consult your doctor before using them.
How to ?
Dilluting essential oils allows them to work better as when exposed to air along, the molecules of the pure essential oilstend to evaporate very quickly.
For , in addition to avoiding a potential reaction, adding a of the to a carrier substance better facilities the absorption of the by the body. Common carrier substances include neutral, based oils such as sweet almond, jojoba, olive and avocado .
The general rule of thumb is to aim for a 1-5% dilution. Ideally 1-3% for skincare and 3-5% for home and air care. A 1% dilution is 6 drops per 30ml.
If you want to find out how to create your own , see our blog post here.
Sustainably Sourced Essential Oils
Essential oils offer us the chance to make homemade remedies in a sustainable and purse-friendly way but with increased demand, sustainability of the oils themselves is crucial for biodiversity on our already threatened planet.
Aromatic plants contain anywhere from 0.005 to 10% prices per . so that's a lot of material being used to create essential oils (typically 1-2%). This accounts for the difference in
The is dependent on natural resources which has sparked concern over sustainable sourcing alongside worker's rights, climate conditions, pestilence, disease and civil unrest, however if sourced sustainably, essential oils are highly concentrated and if used properly, they can be both environmentally sustainable and economical.
Over-harvesting and threatened species
There are certain essential oils that continue to be unsustainably produced from dwindling resources such as Indian , Agarwood and Rosewood plus and Myrhh which are in great demand but are collected from limited resources in areas of the world that tend to duffer from severe drought conditions. These five highly sought-after and valuable essential oils, in particular, are often subject to illegal poaching and trade.
Illegal logging of Sandalwood
Much of the farming required to produce essential oils occurs in less developed countries where working standards are not necessarily well regulated. Looking for Fairtrade or choosing a brand that sources direct are your best options to ensure workers rights are protected and respected.
certification vs sustainability
It is important also to remember that not all farmers who practice organic farming are necessarily certified so we do need to look beyond certifications sometimes. Some plants distilled into essential oils are not farmed but collected in the wild, especially in forests (so they are not eligible for organic certification which only covers farmed produce). The key for wild plants is to make sure the collection is managed and controlled in a way that allows for a healthy regeneration of the resource and at the long term impact on the environment, the communities and the viability of the activity.
Why we have chosen to stock The Nature of Things Essential Oils
We have chosen to stock essential oils by The Nature Of Things based in Dublin, Ireland. With over 20 years of experience working in the world of sustainable essential oils, the founder Benoit Nicol noticed the market was flooded with underwhelming oils and wanted to use everything he had learnt, from the farmers, distillers and scientists to create a brand that celebrates the best quality and ensure every process of creating the end-product has a record of sustainable practices, finally presenting the products in beautiful packaging to encourage consumers to embrace essential oils as part of their 'sustainable toolkit'. All of the oils are imported from different parts of the worlds directly from producers and bottled in Dublin. Benoit has hand selected producers who have a genuine passion for distilling top quality oils and a proven record of sustainable practices. Their producers work hand in hand with their communities to protect the environment and support their local economies.
"Our policy is that whenever possible, we will source essential oils that are organic certified and/or fair trade certified, whatever the cost. But quality and sustainability will come first as we are committed to offering the best essential oils from the most trusted suppliers."
The Nature of Things are a 1% For The Planet member.
"Sourcing our ingredients and packaging from ethical suppliers is not enough, we also need as an organisation to play our part. As a business, we are committed to:
- Using packaging with the highest possible recycling rate, such as glass, aluminium and paper
- Limiting our operations footprint by reducing our energy and water usage
- Compensating our people fairly and supporting their development
- Supporting organisations that help protect the environment and promote responsible business."
A few of our favourite essential oils
- - Juicy, fresh and zesty
- Mind - Energising, uplifting and ind boosting effects
- - Tonic, but avoid use before exposure to the sun
- Health - Good for winter infections and anti-microbial
- Home - Antiseptic and antibacterials in cleaning formulas and fresheners
- - Balance of aromatic, florl and sweet notes
- Mind - Calming and relazing effect, promotes sleep
- - Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
- Health - Helps healing light burns, wounds and insect bites
- Home - Freshener and antimicrobial
- - Medicinal, herbal
- Mind - Head clearing and stimulating
- - Astringent for acneic , anti-inflammatory and regenerative for wounded
- Hair - Revitalizing and good against lice
- Health - Antiviral and antibacterial
- Home - Antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits, freshener
- - Strong fresh menthol
- Mind - Energy and mind boosting effects
- kin - Muscle pain and tension
- Health - Headaches and colds
- Home - Powerful antiseptic, freshener
To see more of our top 10 best essential oils and how to use them in your health, beauty and cleaning routine, see our blog post here.Safety caution
Note that these properties were compiled from books on and natural wellness. The Kind Store does not endorse health claims and always advises to use basic common sense when using the oils and seek advise from a qualified physician if you suffer from any illness.