Oli essenziali: 8 cose da sapere prima di acquistarli

Essential oils: 8 things to know before buying them

Essential oils are very versatile and suitable for the most diverse uses.

However, we often happen to not know how to choose the essential oil that best suits our personal needs or to buy from a poor producer without realizing it.

That's why we wanted to create this guide, which will allow you to select the best products in an informed way.

Let's find out together.

1. What are essential oils

Essential oils are the active ingredients contained in plants, flowers, roots, fruits, peels (for example those of citrus fruits), woods, resins.

These aromatic principles can have different functions for the life of the plant.
Some, for example, are found on the surface layer of the plant and have a function of attracting insects pollinators. Others, on the other hand, with repellent properties, are found in specific internal sections and are used by the plant as a defense against various predators.

The main characteristic of essential oils, in addition to the odorous component, is that they are very volatile substances because they are made up of extremely small and super concentrated droplets of active ingredients. This classifies essential oils as 100% natural substances, with innumerable beneficial properties.

These beneficial properties have been exploited for healing purposes since ancient times: they were already widely used in ancient China, but also in the world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans... in short, our beloved essential oils definitely have a profound relationship with human history.

But what is meant by essential oils?

There is still some confusion on the subject.
Confusion that often leads to buying low-category products with the mistaken belief that you have bought a pure essential oil (but we'll talk about this later).

A precise distinction must be made between the different types of oils, briefly described below.

  • Vegetable oils.
    These oils are usually extracted from the seeds or kernels of the plant and are mainly used in the food or cosmetic sector;
  • oleoliths.
    Also known as "oil macerated", they are obtained by macerating the plant in an oily solvent and are widely used in massages;
  • essential oils.
    Essential oils, on the other hand, are more difficult to extract and, among the 3 types indicated here, they are the ones that preserve all the active ingredients of the plant in the purest way.
    These oils are obtained from the distillation (or squeezing in some cases) of the plant tissues and are used in aromatherapy to rebalance the yin and yang energy within the body (much used in fact from Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine), as well as for therapeutic purposes for the well-being of the body, mind and to stabilize emotions.

2. Ways of use: internal and external action

At this point you may be wondering: but how can essential oils be used?

In general, based on the type of oil and the needs of the person, we can distinguish two ways of use: for external use and for internal use.

How to take essential oils externally?
Here are some suggestions:

  • via a room diffuser.
    By mixing the chosen essential oil with water in the diffuser (5-20 drops depending on the size of the container) we can at the same time dedicate ourselves to aromatherapy and delicately perfume the environment in which we find ourselves.
    It is important that the diffuser does not heat the oil too much because otherwise it would risk burning it (the maximum recommended temperature is 60°);
  • in the radiators tray.
    In winter, if you don't have a diffuser, you could alternatively use the radiator tray, adding a few drops of essential oil to the water;
  • through the suffumigi.
    In case of seasonal ailments you can resort to the fumigation technique (also called fumenti), adding 5-10 drops of essential oil with balsamic properties to a bowl of hot water (for example eucalyptus essential oil) and inhaling its fumes.
    For a more immediate effect, when inhaling, we recommend placing a blanket over your head so as not to disperse the vapor released by the water. Remember to carry out this practice with your eyes closed to avoid irritating them;
  • in a spray dispenser.
    Essential oils can also be used to perfume clothes, linens or sheets.
    Just add water and a few drops of essential oil of your choice in a bottle with dispenser, and then spray it on the clothes when ironing or use it as an insect repellent (in these cases the most used oils are citronella, lavender, cedar);
  • in washing machine.
    Another technique for perfuming clothes consists in adding a few drops of essential oil to the rinsing water of the washing machine: according to your tastes, you can use lavender, patchouli, mint, etc. essential oils. ;
  • add in hot water.
    By adding the essential oil to the bathtub or hydromassage, depending on the type of oil chosen, you can obtain a pleasant relaxing or toning effect, etc.

How to take essential oils internally?
Many wonder if essential oils are edible. The answer to this question is: most yes, but only those produced and certified for food use.

However, you must always consider the type of essential oil you are using: if you are not sure, we recommend that you ask an expert.

It mainly involves oral intake:

  • to drink.
    They can be ingested diluted with honey, sugar or vegetable oil. In these cases it is always good to consult a doctor because some essential oils, if taken in the wrong way, can be excessively invasive;
  • in food.
    Essential oils are often used in the kitchen and in pastry to perfume, aromatize and flavor sweet and savory dishes of various kinds.
    In desserts, more citrus essential oils such as orange and bergamot are added to the dough, while for meat or fish dishes (but also - why not - in first courses) rosemary and thyme are a timeless classic .

3. What are essential oils for? What ailments do they relieve? List of main shares and properties

Essential oils are numerous and act on various ailments.
This is because the components present in each plant are really many (about 250-400) and therefore can be used to improve the quality of our life at different levels.

Let's see them in detail.

Remedies for the most common physical ailments:

  • headache.
    Use the essential oils of lavender (soothing, evening use), peppermint (stimulating, daytime use), rosemary (decongestant, in case of colds and flu).
    How to take them?
    Mix in vegetable oil and apply with a delicate massage on the forehead, temples and back of the neck;
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  • [ PROD]peppermint-essential-oil
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  • stomach ache.
    Use essential oils of peppermint, dill, sweet fennel, yarrow.
    How to take them?
    Mix in vegetable oil and apply with a gentle massage on the abdomen, possibly followed by a warm compress on the stomach (it will also relieve any nausea);
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  • earache and otitis.
    In these cases, use lavender (disinfectant) or blue chamomile (anti-inflammatory).
    How to take them?
    Mix in vegetable oil and apply a few drops on the neck or behind the ear. We recommend that you be careful when applying them externally: do not use them directly inside the ear because it is an extremely delicate area;
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  • acne and cold sores.
    Even for these annoying ailments it is necessary to resort to an essential oil with strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties such as lavender oil, perfect for treating this kind of skin problems. The essential oils of clary sage and bergamot are also suitable in this circumstance.
    How to hire them? Mix in carrier oil or aloe vera and spread a few drops on the skin.
    For herpes, on the other hand, pour a few drops diluted in vegetable oil on a cotton ball or cotton swab and apply it to the affected area 4-5 times a day;
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  • cellulite and water retention.
    Also to counteract the annoying blemishes of cellulite we can avail ourselves of the help of some precious essential oils such as rosemary oil (stimulates microcirculation and helps circulation), fennel (counteracts water retention), of peppermint (for tired legs), of basil (tonic), of sage (helps to balance the hormonal) and orange (helps eliminate toxins);
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  • for snoring people.
    Yes, even for those who can't help but snore, essential oils can be an effective remedy! Try with thyme or by making a blend of lavender and basil essential oils to spray on your pillow.

Remedies for the most common emotional disorders:

  • anxiety and stress.
    To combat states of anxiety and nervous tension, relaxing essences are indicated such as lavender,blue chamomile andlemon balm;
  • insomnia.
    Insomnia can also derive from a particular form of anxiety that does not allow us to relax to the point of promoting sleep. In these cases lavender, blue chamomile and clary sage are particularly suitable for their natural sedative properties;
  • depression.
    In the presence of states of depression or emotional weakness, stimulating and energizing essences can be a valid aid, such as the essential oils of  basil, bergamot, helichrysum or sweet orange.

How to hire them?

  • pouring a few drops of essential oil on the pillow or on a cotton ball to insert in the pillowcase;
  • by releasing a few drops diluted in vegetable oil on the skin in the hands and feet area and massaging;
  • by adding a few drops to a nice hot bath before going to bed.

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  • As you may have imagined by now, it is impossible to indicate all the properties of all the essential oils that exist because there are so many!

    For these reasons, in the table below you will find a guide to the main properties of the most common essential oils, in order to have an introductory indication to the world of aromatherapy and better understand how these oils act on our body.

    Essential oils are very versatile and suitable for the most diverse uses.

    However, we often don't know how to choose the most suitable essential oil for our personal needs or buy from a poor producer without realizing it.

    That's why we wanted to create this guide, which will allow you to select the best products in an informed way.

    Let's find out together.

    1. What are essential oils

    Essential oils are the active ingredients contained in plants, flowers, roots, fruits, peels (for example those of citrus fruits), woods, resins.

    These aromatic principles can have different functions for the life of the plant.
    Some, for example, are found on the surface layer of the plant and have a function of recall for insects pollinators. Others instead, with repellent properties, are found in specific internal sections and are used by the plant as a defense against various predators.

    The main characteristic of essential oils, in addition to the odorous component, is that they are very volatile substances because they are made up of extremely small and super concentrated droplets of active ingredients. This classifies essential oils as 100% natural substances, with innumerable beneficial properties.

    These beneficial properties have been exploited for healing purposes since ancient times: they were already widely used in ancient China, but also in the world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans... in short, our beloved essential oils definitely have a very deep relationship with human history.

    But what is meant by essential oils?

    There is still some confusion on the subject.
    Confusion that often leads to buying low-category products with the mistaken belief that you have bought a pure essential oil (but we'll talk about this more forward).

    A precise distinction must be made between the different types of oils, briefly described below.

    • Vegetable oils.
      These oils are usually extracted from the seeds or kernels of the plant and are mainly used in the food or cosmetic sector;
    • oleoliti.
      Also known as “oil macerated”, they are obtained by macerating the plant in an oily solvent and are widely used in massages;
    • essential oils.
      Essential oils, on the other hand, are more difficult to extract and, among the 3 types indicated here, they are those that preserve all the active ingredients of the plant in the purest way.
      These oils they are obtained from the distillation (or from squeezing in some cases) of the plant tissues and are used in aromatherapy to rebalance the yin and yang energy within the body (in fact widely used by Ayurvedic medicine and from traditional Chinese medicine), as well as for therapeutic purposes for the well-being of the body, mind and to stabilize emotions.

    2. Methods of use: action i internal and external

    At this point you may be wondering: but how can essential oils be used?

    In general, based on the type of oil and the needs of the person, we can distinguish two ways of use: for external use and for internal use.

    How to take essential oils externally?
    Here are some suggestions:

    • through a room diffuser.
      By mixing the chosen essential oil with the water in the diffuser (5-20 drops depending on the size of the tray) we can at the same time dedicate ourselves to aromatherapy and delicately perfume the room in which we find ourselves.
      It is important that the diffuser does not heat the oil too much because otherwise it would risk burning it (the maximum recommended temperature is 60°);
    • in the radiator tray.
      In winter, if you do not have a diffuser, you could alternatively use the radiator tray, adding a few drops of essential oil to the water;
    • through the suffumigi.
      In case of seasonal ailments, the technique of suffumigation (also called fumenti) can be used, adding 5- 10 drops of essential oil with balsamic properties (eucalyptus essential oil for example) and inhaling its fumes.
      For a more immediate effect, when inhaling, we recommend placing a blanket over your head so as not to disperse the steam released from the water. Remember to carry out this practice with your eyes closed to avoid irritating them;
    • in a spray dispenser.
      Essential oils can also be used to perfume clothes, linen or sheets.
      Just add water and a few drops of essential oil of your choice in a bottle with dispenser, to then spray it on the clothes when ironing or use it as an insect repellent (in these cases the most used oils are citronella, lavender, cedar);
    • in washing machine.
      Another technique for perfuming clothes consists in adding a few drops of essential oil to the rinsing water of the washing machine: you can use the oil according to your tastes essential with lavender, patchouli, mint, etc.;
    • add in hot water.
      By adding the essential oil in the bath or whirlpool, depending on the type of oil chosen, you can obtain a pleasant relaxing or toning effect, etc.

    How to take essential oils internally?
    Many wonder if essential oils are edible. The answer to this question is: most yes, but only those produced and certified for food use.

    However, you must always consider the type of essential oil you are using: if you are not sure, we recommend that you ask an expert.

    It mainly involves oral intake:

    • to drink.
      They can be ingested diluted with honey, sugar or vegetable oil. In these cases it is always good to consult a doctor because some essential oils, if taken in the wrong way, can be excessively invasive;
    • in food.
      Essential oils are often used in the kitchen and in pastry to perfume, aromatize and flavor sweet and savory dishes of various kinds.
      In desserts, more essential oils are added to the dough. citrus fruits such as orange and bergamot, while for meat or fish dishes (but also - why not - in first courses) rosemary and thyme are a timeless classic.

    3. What are essential oils for? What ailments do they relieve? List of main shares and properties

    Essential oils are numerous and act on various ailments.
    This is because the com There are so many components present in each plant (about 250-400) and therefore they can be used to improve the quality of our life at different levels.

    Let's see them in detail.

    Remedies for the most common physical ailments:

    • headache.
      Use the essential oils of lavender (soothing, evening use), peppermint (stimulant, daytime use), rosemary (decongestant, in case of colds and flu).
      How to take them?
      Mix in vegetable oil and apply with a delicate massage on the forehead, temples and back of the neck;
  • Prezzo di listino
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  • stomach pain.
    Use essential oils of peppermint, dill, sweet fennel, yarrow.
    How to take them?
    Mix in vegetable oil and apply with a delicate massage on the abdomen, possibly followed by a warm compress on the stomach (it will also relieve any nausea);
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  • [PROD ]dill-essential-oil
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  • cold.
    There is no doubt here, rosemary is the essential oil par excellence when it comes to fighting a bad cold.
    How to take it?
    A few drops can be applied directly on the chest/under the nose (also in this case better if mixed with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or the classic almond oil) or through a diffuser (very indicated during night rest);
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  • earache and otitis.
    In these cases, use lavender (disinfectant) or blue chamomile (anti-inflammatory).
    How to take them?
    Mix in vegetable oil and apply a few drops on the neck or behind the ear. We recommend that you be careful when applying them externally: do not use them directly inside the ear because it is an extremely delicate area;
  • Prezzo di listino
    Vedi prodotto
  • acne and cold sores.
    Even for these annoying ailments it is necessary to resort to an essential oil with strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties such as lavender oil, perfect for treating this type of skin problems. The essential oils of clary sage and bergamot.
    How to take them are also suitable in this circumstance? Mix in carrier oil or aloe vera and distribute a few drops on the skin.
    For herpes, on the other hand, pour a few drops diluted in vegetable oil on a cotton ball or Q-tip and apply it on the affected area 4-5 times a day ;
  • Prezzo di listino
    Vedi prodotto
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  • cellulite and water retention.
    Also to counteract the annoying blemishes of cellulite we can avail ourselves of the help of some precious essential oils such as rosemary oil (it stimulates the microcirculation and helps circulation), of fennel (counteracts water retention), of peppermint (for tired legs), of basil (tonic), of sage
    (helps balance the hormonal system) and orange (helps eliminate toxins);
  • Prezzo di listino
    Vedi prodotto
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    Vedi prodotto
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  • for snorers.
    Yes, even for those who can't help but snore, essential oils can be an effective remedy! Try with thyme or by making a blend of lavender and basil essential oils to spray on the pillow or.
  • Remedies for the most common emotional disorders:

    • anxiety and stress.
      To combat states of anxiety and nervous tension, relaxing essences are indicated such as lavender, blue chamomile e melissa;
    • insomnia.
      Insomnia can also derive from a particular form of anxiety that does not allow us to relax to the point of promoting sleep. In these cases lavender, blue chamomile and clary sage are particularly suitable for their natural sedative properties;
    • depression.
      In the presence of states of depression or emotional weakness, stimulating and energizing essences can be a valid aid, such as the essential oils of  basil, bergamot , helichrysum or sweet orange.

    How to hire them?

    • pouring a few drops of essential oil on the pillow or on a cotton ball to insert in the pillowcase;
    • by releasing a few drops diluted in vegetable oil on the skin in the hands and feet area and massaging;
    • by adding a few drops to a nice hot bath before going to bed.

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    Vedi prodotto
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    Vedi prodotto
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  • As you may have imagined by now, it is impossible to indicate all the properties of all the essential oils that exist because there are so many!

    For these reasons, in the table below you will find a guide to the main properties of the most common essential oils, in order to have an introductory indication to the world of aromatherapy and better understand how these oils act on our body.

    Product Action
    ACHILLEA
    • anti-acne
    • muscle cramps, arthritis
    • insomnia
    • stress
    DILL
    • digestion, constipation, stomach pain, dyspepsia
    • headache, nervous tension
    SWEET ORANGE
    • stomach pain, dyspepsia
    • cold, flu, bronchitis
    • stress, nervous tension
    BASIL
    • insect bites, insect repellent
    • stomach pain, dyspepsia, nausea
    • muscle aches, rheumatism
    • cold, cough, bronchitis
    • headache, stress, nervous tension
    BERGAMOT
    • anti-acne
    • insect bites, insect repellent
    • halitosis, inappetence
    • cold, flu, sore throat
    • anxiety, stress
    CHAMOMILE
    • anti-acne
    • insect bites
    • digestion, stomach pain, dyspepsia, nausea
    • joint inflammation, muscle pain, rheumatism, sprains
    • insomnia
    • flu, cough
    • headache, nervous tension
    WILD CARROT
    • anti-acne
    • anti wrinkle
    • digestion, stomach pain, dyspepsia
    • arthritis, rheumatism
    HELYCHRISUM
    • anti-acne
    • anti wrinkle
    • joint pain
    • cold, flu
    • anxiety
    SWEET FENNEL
    • anti-acne
    • anti wrinkle
    • digestion, constipation, nausea, hiccups
    • catarrh, asthma
    HYXOPE
    • bruises, king humatisms, arthritis
    • cold, cough
    • nervous tension
    REAL LAVENDER
    • anti-acne
    • insect bites, insect repellent
    • stomach pain, dyspepsia, nausea
    • muscle aches, rheumatism, premenstrual tension
    • insomnia
    • cold, flu, bronchitis, catarrh
    • headache, nervous tension
    MELISSA
    • insect bites, insect repellent
    • insomnia
    • bronchitis, asthma
    • anxiety, nervous tension
    PEPPERMINT
    • insect bites, insect repellent
    • indigestion, colic, stomach pain, dyspepsia, nausea
    • muscle aches, bruises, arthritis
    • cold, flu, cough, bronchitis, catarrh, asthma
    • headache, stress
    PATCHOULI
    • anti-acne
    • anti wrinkle
    • insect repellent
    • stress
    ROSMARIN
    • anti wrinkle
    • insect repellent
    • stomach pain, dyspepsia
    • rheumatism, muscle pain, sprains
    • cold, flu, cough, asthma
    • premenstrual syndrome
    • headache, stress
    SALVIA OFFICINALIS
    • arthritis, rheumatism, sprains
    • bronchitis, catarrh
    CLARY SAGE
    • anti-acne
    • muscular pain
    • menstrual pain, premenstrual tension
    • disorders related to menopause
    • headache, nervous tension
    TIMO
    • anti-acne
    • insect bites
    • stomach pain, dyspepsia
    • rheumatism, muscle pain
    • cold, flu, cough, sore throat
    • headache, stress
    SMALL VERBENA
    • insect repellent
    • indigestion, abdominal cramps
    • insomnia
    • anxiety, stress, nervous tension

    4. Essential oils in veterinary medicine

    Did you know that essential oils have beneficial effects not only on humans but also on our 4-legged friends?

    In fact, essential oils are also used effectively in veterinary medicine to counteract parasites, tiredness, apathy, depression, eczema, dull coat, wounds, restlessness, allergies, fungal infections, stress, respiratory and digestive disorders...

    For dogs we can rub them directly on the hair with a good massage (always adding a few drops diluted in carrier oil). For cats on the other hand, who do not like oily substances on their fur, they can be used in diffusion in the environment.

    5. Side effects and contraindications: can essential oils be toxic?

    As with all things, when they are abused, if they are taken incorrectly and if you do not consult with experts (if necessary), even essential oils can give undesirable effects.

    Let's not fall into the mistake of believing that, since essential oils are completely natural, they cannot be harmful if taken incorrectly.

    First of all it is very important that you buy certified quality essential oils. Synthetic oils are certainly much cheaper, but they have poor and harmful formulations.

    Even in cosmetics, some essential oils are not recommended in the summer because they are photosensitizing (in practice, heat and sunlight alter the composition of the substance).

    So how to avoid unwanted effects?

    Let's start with a reassurance: the use of essential oils in aromatherapy (therefore by inhalation) usually has no contraindications.

    But we always remember that we are not all the same so, if you are about to use an essential oil that you have never tried (especially in contact with the skin), do a preventive test, applying a drop of product on a small portion of skin : in this way you can verify if that specific essential oil gives you allergies.

    Particular attention instead must be paid in case of oral intake because not all essential oils are suitable to be ingested.
    In these cases we recommend strongly request the advice of a doctor: some pure essential oils can be irritating and very aggressive, or even toxic.

    Finally, in the case of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and with children under the age of 12, it is not recommended to take essential oils orally.

    In general always respect the recommended doses and, if you are not sure about the doses, ask your doctor, pharmacist or herbalist for advice. Some oils are particularly irritating if used in excessive quantities, so always follow the instructions on the package and consult an expert if necessary.

    6. How they are produced: the main extraction techniques

    There are several methods for extracting essential oils from plants. Among the most common we find the following:

    • cold pressing.
      The pressing is applied to numerous citrus plants such as orange, lemon, mandarin or bergamot.
      In these cases the essential oil is extracted from the fruit of the plant whose skin, being particularly hard, requires a cold extraction by pressure, a squeezing;
    • enfleurage.
      As the name suggests, it is an extraction method used, especially in the past, to extract flower essences (the extraction takes place precisely from the petals of the flowers ).
      The procedure requires the use of purified fat which, thanks to its particular characteristic of retaining odours, captures the aroma of the plant. When the fat is saturated with perfume, it is then dissolved with alcohol and the essential oil is extracted from this compound;
    • extraction with the use of solvents.
      Typically used with plants that do not resist heat well, such as jasmine, this technique involves the use of a solvent which, when placed in contact with the part of the plant where the essential oils reside (in jargon called "drug"), it allows the release of the essential oil, which is then separated from the solvent by evaporation;
    • steam distillation (aqueous).
      This is the most used method because it allows you to extract very high quality essential oils from most plants.
      To prevent the oils in the plant from undergoing alterations, this technique requires the use of fresh plants. It is a very laborious process: to extract a few ml of pure oils the use of a large quantity of drug is required. For example, about 25 kg of leaves are needed to extract just 1 ml of lemon balm essential oil.
      Incredible, right?

    We at Il Labirinto use precisely this method of extraction, following very ancient artisanal procedures that have their roots in our history.

    But how does the extraction take place?

    With distillation, water is brought to a boil, the vapor of which passes through plants and flowers to extract their active ingredients, which then pass from the gaseous state to the liquid state through a specially cooled coil, at the end of which is placed a container in which they are kept tell you the precious active principles extracted.

    During the distillation process, two different products are created: the first is the essential oil, a concentrate of the properties and active ingredients contained in the flower and plant, while the second is the hydrolat , which has all the water-soluble properties contained in plants and flowers, together with a percentage (albeit modest) of essential oil, but compared to the latter it is less concentrated and for this reason it has a different specific density.

    In fact, during the distillation phase the essential oils "float" in the container, while the hydrosol collects in the space below, in a complementary way with respect to the essential oils.
    This visual difference is also found in the use of the two products.

    In fact, when used, the essential oil is diluted with a carrier oil as it is very intense both from a perceptual point of view and in terms of its beneficial properties.

    Hydrosol, on the other hand, precisely because of its lower concentration of essential oils, lends itself to safer and more widespread use, from cosmetics as the main ingredient in shampoos and creams to food use to flavor a gourmet dish or a hot herbal tea.

    So both essential oils and hydrosols are natural products, useful for well-being and self-care, which find their origin in the same plants, while what differentiates them is the extraction process and intended use .

    7. Do essential oils expire? How are they stored?

    Essential oils, by now we imagine it is quite evident, are not all the same. Each has particular characteristics that also affect their waste time.

    In general, however, if kept tightly closed (because they are easily evaporated), away from heat sources (because they are flammable), in dark glass bottles and away from sunlight, they can also be kept for years without their properties being affected.

    Particular attention should instead be paid to essential oils derived from citrus fruits. These oils (orange, bergamot, lemon, etc.), being produced with the cold pressing technique, have a shorter shelf life since after 1-2 years they tend to deteriorate.

    8. How to select the best essential oils

    Distinguishing between a serious company and one with poor quality products is not always easy.

    It may seem trivial, but one way to distinguish a good essential oil from a poor one is often the price.
    Yes, it is trivial, but if we think about it, it makes perfect sense.
    Extraction is a very complicated process which requires great expertise but also a lot of work and a large quantity of raw materials. For this reason a producer, as in the case of our farm, in order to supply a 100% pure and natural product will have to face onerous costs.

    This is the main reason why many companies that are not very serious, passing them off as pure oils, sell products that are nothing more than synthetic or diluted essences, or even oils extracted with solvents.

    So, be careful!

    The quality of an essential oil also depends a lot on the experience of the farmer. In fact, it is important to proceed with the harvest when the plants are in their balsamic period, i.e. that moment of their life in which the concentration of aromatic principles is at its maximum: this is the only way to obtain a qualitatively excellent product.

    In the farm of the Labyrinth each product is born in the fields when, after sowing and the careful planting of some plants selected for their superior quality and properties, the color of the flowers dominates the surrounding greenery and in the summer air a balsamic aroma with intense notes is released. Only then does the harvest begin, which takes place strictly by hand, in harmony with the whole process of growth and development of the plants.
    Once the plants and their flowers, the real magic for the creation of essential oils begins.

    So how to identify the best oils?

    Here are some elements within everyone's reach to take into consideration when preparing to choose a product:

    • presence of the production area on the package;
    • indication of the manufacturer;
    • presence of the botanical name on the label;
    • origin of the plants used.

    It is really important that you choose products that are 100% natural, because these will then come into contact with the skin or breathed in through the mucous membranes, or even ingested, therefore a low quality product can lead to concrete health risks.

    For this Il Labirinto has chosen to take care of its fields without using any synthetic product, not even those envisaged by the organic regulations. We follow the process of creating our essential oils with the same attention: all made in an artisanal way and with respect for the generosity of the plants and the environment that surrounds us.

    Essential oils in veterinary medicine

    Did you know that essential oils have beneficial effects not only on humans but also on our 4-legged friends?

    In fact, essential oils are also used effectively in veterinary medicine to counteract parasites, tiredness, apathy, depression, eczema, dull coat, wounds, restlessness, allergies, fungal infections, stress, respiratory and digestive disorders...

    For dogs we can rub them directly on the hair with a good massage (always adding a few drops diluted in carrier oil). For cats on the other hand, who do not like oily substances on the fur, they can be used in diffusion in the environment.

    5. Side effects and contraindications: can essential oils be toxic?

    As with all things, when they are abused, if they are taken incorrectly and if you do not consult with experts (if necessary), essential oils can also give undesirable effects.

    Let us not fall into the mistake of believing that, since essential oils are completely natural, they cannot be harmful if taken incorrectly.

    First of all it is very important that you buy certified quality essential oils. Synthetic oils are certainly much cheaper, but they are poorly formulated and harmful.

    Even in cosmetics, some essential oils are not recommended in the summer because they are photosensitizing (in practice, heat and sunlight alter the composition of the substance).

    So how to avoid unwanted effects?

    Let's start with a reassurance: the use of essential oils in aromatherapy (therefore by inhalation) usually has no contraindications.

    But we always remember that we are not all the same so, if you are about to use an essential oil that you have never tried (especially in contact with the skin), do a preventive test by applying a drop of product on a small portion of the skin : in this way you can verify if that specific essential oil causes you an allergy.

    Particular attention instead must be paid in case of oral intake because not all essential oils are suitable to be ingested.
    In these cases we strongly advise you to seek the advice of a doctor: some pure essential oils can be irritating and very aggressive, or even toxic.

    Finally, in case of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and with children under the age of 12, it is not recommended to take essential oils orally.

    In general always respect the recommended doses and, if you are not sure about the doses, ask your doctor, pharmacist or herbalist for advice. Some oils are particularly irritating if used in excessive quantities, so always follow the directions on the package and consult an expert if necessary.

    6. How they are produced: the main extraction techniques

    There are several methods for extracting essential oils from plants. Among the most common we find the following:

    • cold pressing.
      Squeezing is applied to numerous citrus plants such as orange, lemon, mandarin or bergamot.
      In these cases, the essential oil is extracted from the fruit of the plant whose peel, being particularly hard, requires cold extraction by pressure, a squeezing;
    • enfleurage.
      As the name suggests, it is an extraction method used, especially in the past, to extract flower essences (extraction takes place precisely from flower petals).
      The procedure requires the use of purified fat which, thanks to its particular characteristic of retaining odours, captures the aroma of the plant. When the fat is saturated with perfume, it is then dissolved with alcohol and the essential oil is extracted from this compound;
    • extraction using solvents.
      Typically used with plants that do not resist heat well, such as jasmine, this technique involves the use of a solvent which is placed in contact with the part of the plant in which the essential oils reside (in jargon called "drug") , allows the release of the essential oil, which is then separated from the solvent by evaporation;
    • steam distillation (aqueous).
      This is the most used method because it allows you to extract very high quality essential oils from most plants.
      To prevent the oils in the plant from undergoing alterations, this technique requires the use of fresh plants. It is a very laborious process: to extract a few ml of pure oils the use of a large quantity of drug is required. For example, about 25 kg of leaves are needed to extract just 1 ml of lemon balm essential oil.
      Incredible isn't it?

    We at Il Labirinto use precisely this method of extraction, following very ancient artisanal procedures that have their roots in our history.

    But how does the extraction take place?

    With distillation, water is brought to a boil, the vapor of which passes through plants and flowers to extract their active ingredients, which then pass from the gaseous state to the liquid state through a specially cooled coil, at the end of which is placed a container in which the precious extracted active ingredients are kept.

    During the distillation process, two different products are created: the first is the essential oil, a concentrate of the properties and active ingredients contained in the flower and plant, while the second is the hydrolat , which has all the water-soluble properties contained in plants and flowers, together with a percentage (albeit modest) of essential oil, but compared to the latter it is less concentrated and for this reason it has a different specific density.

    In fact, during the distillation phase the essential oils "float" in the container, while the hydrosol collects in the space below, in a complementary way to the essential oils.
    This visual difference is also found in the use of the two products.

    In fact, when used, the essential oil is diluted with a carrier oil as it is very intense both from a perceptive point of view and in terms of its beneficial properties.

    Hydrosol, on the other hand, precisely because of its lower concentration of essential oils, lends itself to a safer and more widespread use, from cosmetics as the main ingredient of shampoos and creams to food use to flavor a gourmet dish or a warm herbal tea.

    So both essential oils and hydrosols are natural products, useful for well-being and self-care, which find their origin in the same plants, while what differentiates them is the extraction process and intended use .

    7. Do essential oils expire? How are they stored?

    Essential oils, by now we imagine it is quite evident, are not all the same. Each has particular characteristics that also affect their waste time.

    In general, however, if kept tightly closed (because they are easily evaporated), away from heat sources (because they are flammable), in dark glass bottles and away from sunlight, they can also be kept for years without their properties being affected.

    Particular attention should instead be paid to essential oils derived from citrus fruits. These oils (orange, bergamot, lemon, etc. ), being produced with the cold pressing technique, they have a shorter expiry since after 1-2 years they tend to deteriorate.

    8. How to select the best essential oils

    Distinguishing between a serious company and one with poor quality products is not always easy.

    It may seem trivial, but one way to distinguish a good essential oil from a poor one is often the price.
    Yes, it's trivial, but if we think about it, it makes perfect sense.
    Extraction is a very complicated process which requires great expertise but also a lot of work and a large quantity of raw materials. For this reason, a producer, as in the case of our farm, will have to face onerous costs in order to supply a 100% pure and natural product.

    This is the main reason why many companies that are not very serious, passing them off as pure oils, sell products that are nothing more than synthetic or diluted essences, or even oils extracted with solvents.

    So, be careful!

    The quality of an essential oil also depends a lot on the experience of the farmer. In fact, it is important to proceed with the harvest when the plants are in their balsamic period, i.e. that moment of their life in which the concentration of aromatic principles is at its maximum: this is the only way to obtain a qualitatively excellent product.

    In the farm of the Labyrinth each product is born in the fields when, after sowing and the careful planting of some plants selected for their superior quality and properties, the color of the flowers dominates the surrounding greenery and in the summer air a balsamic aroma with intense notes is released.
    Only then does the harvest begin, which takes place strictly by hand, in harmony with the whole process of growth and development of the plants.
    Once the latter and their flowers have been collected, the real magic begins for the creation of essential oils.

    So how to identify the best oils?

    Here are some elements within everyone's reach to take into consideration when preparing to choose a product:

    • presence of the production area on the package;
    • indication of the manufacturer;
    • presence of the botanical name on the label;
    • origin of the plants used.

    It is really important that you choose products that are 100% natural, because these will then come into contact with the skin or breathed in through the mucous membranes, or even ingested, therefore a low quality product can lead to concrete health risks.

    For this Il Labirinto has chosen to take care of its fields without using any synthetic product, not even those envisaged by the organic regulations. With the same attention we follow the process of creating our essential oils: all made in an artisanal way and with respect for the generosity of the plants and the environment that surrounds us.