Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Essential Oils - Dos And Dont's Of Buying And Storage

Essential oils are extremely precious and should be treated with respect - they can also be very expensive. They are damaged by ultraviolet light and deteriorate more rapidly at the blue end of the spectrum than the red. Therefore, essential oils should be stored in amber-coloured bottles (if you do keep your essential oils in blue bottles then they should be kept in the dark - this is less important if your bottles are brown). Never decant the oils into clear glass or plastic bottles. They should never be placed in direct sunlight, so avoid sunny windowsills or shelves on radiators - no matter how attractive the bottles look! Essential oils do not like extremes of temperatures. They are highly volatile which means that they evaporate rapidly. Always replace the caps immediately and ensure that the topS are tightly closed when the oils are not in use.Pure essential oils will last for approximately three years from the bottling date. In excellent storage conditions (i.e. amber bottles in a cool place with no air space) they will keep for about five years. Citrus oils tend to have a shorter shelf-life due to their high proportion of terpenes, as do absolutes and resins which thicken even more with age and the smell of the solvent becomes more noticeable.Once essential oils have been diluted in a carrier oil, the shelf-life reduces dramatically. For maximum benefit use freshly made-up blends. A blend will keep for about three to six months if it is stored in an amber-coloured bottle in a cool place away from sunlight. If wheatgerm oil is added then the shelf-life is approximately six to nine months. If the smell alters and the vegetable oil becomes rancid then you should definitely discard it.DOs AND DON'Ts OF BUYING AND STORAGE1. Clear glass or plastic bottles do not contain pure essential oils. Always buy oils in amber-coloured bottles.2. How old are the essential oils? When were they bottled?3. Are the oils in direct sunlight?4. Are the essential oils all the same price? If they are, then you are definitely not purchasing pure essential oils. For instance, pure essential oil of rose will be far more expensive then lavender or rosemary.5. Have the essential oils been diluted with any carrier oils? If so, when were they blended?6. Have the essential oils been adulterated with synthetic materials or bulking agents?7. Does the aromatherapy trader deal mostly with the perfume and food industries? Always look for an aromatherapy specialist.8. Does your supplier know about the essential oils?9. If blends are being sold, is there a qualified aromatherapist on the staff?10. Has the supplier been recommended to you?11. How long has the aromatherapy firm been established?12. Essential oils should always be kept away from young children. If they are taken internally some essential oils can be highly dangerous.13. Never leave bottled pure essential oils standing on plastic, polished or painted surfaces which can be damaged by the chemical constituents.14. Always store essential oils away from the naked flame.15. Store essential oils away from your homoeopathic medications which may be antidoted by the more powerful aromas.
By: Michael Douglas
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