Email: info@edenbotanicals.com
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an essential oil?
What is an absolute?
What is a CO2 Extract?
What is an Organic Extract?
How do I blend an absolute, extract or resin that is thick or solid?
How do I dilute an essential oil, absolute or extract in a carrier oil (eg,fractionated coconut oil)?
How do I dilute an essential oil, absolute or extract in alcohol?
Are essential oils, absolutes or extracts safe for children?

What should I do if I get an essential oil, absolute or extract in my eye?
What does it mean when an oil is “photosensitizing”?

What is a “chemotype”?
What does it mean when you talk about “constituents” in an oil?

How do I know what percentage of a particular oil to use in a blend?
Is it safe to apply essential oils, absolutes or extracts directly to the skin?


What is an essential oil?

Essential oils are volatile (quickly evaporating) aromatic fluids extracted from plants through steam distillation, or in the case of citrus fruits through expression (or cold pressing) of the rind to obtain an oil that retains a juicy, fresh fruit scent. These “oils” are found in tiny sacs or globules within the plant, are highly aromatic, and although referred to as oils, are not fats. Essential oils can be extracted from the leaves, stems, roots, bark, flower or resin from a wide variety of botanicals, and can be used for fragrance as well as for their therapeutic benefits.


What is an absolute?

Like essential oils, absolutes come from volatile, aromatic fluids extracted from plants. Delicate flowers such as rose, jasmine and orange blossom are oftentimes extracted as absolutes to yield a higher percentage of oil without using the heat that can damage the petals during steam distillation. Absolutes differ from essential oils in that they contain a higher density of colorants, waxes and other constituents from the plant, making the aroma highly concentrated and more true to nature. They are solvent extracted, and since a trace amount of solvent may be present they are not used for therapeutic purposes, but instead, for natural perfumery.


What is a CO2 Extract?

Although the method of extraction is similar to an absolute, CO2 extracts are more comparable to essential oils in that they contain a myriad of therapeutic benefits without any trace of solvent left behind. Instead of hexane, they are extracted using CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas under pressure at ambient temperatures. Under normal atmospheric conditions CO2 is a gas, but in the presence of high pressure it is compressed until it has the density of a liquid and becomes “supercritical” carbon dioxide – neither a gas nor a liquid. It is while in this supercritical phase that CO2 acts as a “solvent” to extract aromatic oil from plants. The beauty of CO2 extraction is that once the oil is extracted from the plant material, the CO2 is simply returned to its gaseous state and quickly and completely dissipates. The advantage of CO2 extraction over steam distillation is that since there is very low heat during the process a greater amount of valuable constituents can be retained. Typically, they have an aroma closer to the natural plant, especially those oils with spicy notes. Although there are some advantages of CO2 extraction over steam distillation, there are oils, such as Patchouli, where steam distillation produces a richer, more full-bodied oil.


What is an Organic Extract?

Our organic extracts are made using modernized technology similar to the ancient method of enfleurage The extraction process uses only certified organic solvents such as fixed oils and alcohol to coax the aromatic essence out of the plant material. The resulting bio-available essence, extracted without added heat, captures the intricate aroma of the original plant material. We are one of a select few in North America who carry organic extracts made from Rose, Jasmine, Carnation, and Tuberose, among others.


How do I blend an absolute, extract or resin that is thick or solid?

We suggest gently heating the oil in a warm water bath. Start by placing the oil in its container in a bowl (or double boiler) with enough warm water to affect the temperature of the oil, but without the possibility of allowing the water to get into the container. Unscrew the cap slightly to accommodate for expansion while warming. Allow it to warm for about 15-20 minutes, replacing the water as needed if it evaporates. Continue warming until you get the oil at the right consistency to work with. It is important to remember that different oils will take varying amounts of time to liquefy, depending on how solid they are and their ability to soften. Also, once the oil has been blended into a carrier (whether vegetable oil or alcohol) with other oils, it may be necessary to re-warm or filter out any non-soluble particles that may be left. CAUTION: repeated heating may degrade the quality of the oil.


How do I dilute an essential oil, absolute or extract in a carrier oil (eg, fractionated coconut oil)?

It is important to start creating your blend using just a few drops of each essential oil, absolute or extract, gradually building until you have the fragrance/blend ratio you desire. After you have your recipe the way you want it, you can increase the amount of each oil based on its percentage within the blend. Then it’s time to incorporate it into a stable, non-fragrant carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. There are varied opinions regarding the correct and safe percentages of aromatic oils to use per part of carrier oil. It all depends on the intended use of the blend. For further information, we suggest a book from our reading list that suits your needs.


How do I dilute an essential oil, absolute or extract in alcohol?

Just as with a carrier oil, it is important to start creating your blend using just a few drops of each essential oil, absolute or extract, gradually building until you have the fragrance/blend ratio you desire. After you have your recipe the way you want it you can increase the amount of each oil based of its percentage within the blend. Then incorporate your blend into perfumer’s alcohol, which is specially denatured for this purpose or, for a less expensive option a light distilled spirit, such as vodka. Again, we suggest a book from our reading list to help you find the correct and safe percentages just right for your blend.


Are essential oils, absolutes or extracts safe for children?

Due to their small size and age, children can be especially susceptible to the effects of essential oils, and it is therefore doubly important to fully understand the effects of their use, both positive and negative. Essential oils should be treated as potentially dangerous substances and kept out of the reach of children. If you choose to use oils with your children, bear in mind that their smaller bodies may react much more strongly to particular oil than an adult would. Do careful research about the possible effects of any oil before use, and in any case, be sure to reduce the dosage as a precautionary measure, and be sure to test with small amounts. Undiluted aromatic oils should be avoided on the skin of children under the age of two, as their skin is very delicate and permeable.  For those children older than two, some oils are safe to use in a light mist, or on a piece of cloth or tissue that is out of reach to fragrance a room. Dosages should be approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of an adult dose. To learn more, visit our suggested reading list.


What should I do if I get an essential oil, absolute or extract in my eye?

With any oil, the eyes should be swabbed with a lint-free cloth dipped in vegetable oil. Some aromatic oils are more irritating than others (eg, Cinnamon Bark), and depending on the oil, a visit to your physician is suggested.


What does it mean when an oil is “photosensitizing”?

Photosensitizing means that an oil can cause skin to become more sensitive to the sun. This is true of many of the citrus oils, especially Bergamot, which contains bergaptene, a constituent that causes photosensitivity.  Eden Botanicals offers both traditional Bergamot, and Bergamot FCF, which is bergaptene-free.


What is a “chemotype”?

A chemotype is the chemical variation of plants that are botanically identical, yet are grown under dissimilar growing conditions, thus have different chemical compositions. For instance, Basil ct. Linalool and Basil ct. M. Chavicol are both of the same species (Ocimum basilicum), but grown under very different climates and regions, creating different chemical constituents.


What does it mean when you talk about “constituents” in an oil?

Constituents are the chemicals that make up an essential oil, giving it its aroma, therapeutic properties and potential contraindications.


How do I know what percentage of a particular oil to use in a blend?

Since there are so many different oils, uses, applications and schools of thought on the subject, we strongly suggest that you check out our suggested reading list for an in-depth guide to blending. Aromatherapy is such a personal and subjective art, that although we want you to have fun experimenting, we also know that they are not just fragrances and need to be handled with respect. Books are available that can provide you with a good starting point, but the perception of fragrances is by nature subjective, and therefore, you will need to experiment to discover the proper amount of dilution for any particular scent.


Is it safe to apply essential oils, absolutes or extracts directly to the skin?

Essential oils, by their concentrated nature, can sometimes cause problems if used in their undiluted form. Education is the key to safety with Essential oils. Be sure that you understand the potential effects and possible hazards before using any Essential oil. Two of the oils that have been found to be safe applied “neat” (undiluted) on the skin are Tea Tree and Lavender. This being said, we strongly suggest that you dilute any oil applied to the skin. Because each individual has their own particular sensitivities, we also advise a patch test when using new oils. Please review our suggested reading list for books on blending and safe dilution protocols.