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Essential Oil / Fragrance Oil – what IS the difference?

Essential oils and fragrance oils are often confused as the same thing, but they couldn’t be more different. 

As an example, an aromatherapist would never chose a fragrance oil to treat a client as they contain none of the true therapeutic benefits that are found in an essential oil.

Essential oils are a natural source and used correctly, offer positive healing effects whereas fragrance oils are a synthetic source and even though they try and mimic the aromas found in nature they contain none of the benefits found in essential oils whatsoever.

These pure botanical extracts are highly concentrated essences from plants and very potent.  They are extracted from the flowers, peel, root or bark.  Each essential oil has its own chemical composition found naturally in the plant with specific therapeutic properties.

Fragrance oils are manufactured to produce artificial scents such as ‘Cotton’, ‘Apple Pie’, ‘Fig’ or even ‘Bubble Gum’ and cheap to make compared to the labour intensive and costly extraction methods required to extract the oil from a plant necessary to produce the oil.

Some fragrance oils contain small amounts of essential oils but if at least one of these is artificial, then the fragrance is still synthetic.  Many manufacturers add even more chemicals to an already very synthetic fragrance oil to make it stronger and last longer but many of these chemicals can be hazardous to your health.

Though essential oils may not seem as strong in odour, numerous scientific studies have proven how beneficial aromatherapy oils are, from smelling rosemary essential oil to help memory recall, using lemongrass in Japanese factories to improve productivity and how relaxing lavender can be when sitting exams.

Just a quick search on Google and you will find many studies that have been carried out with clear evidence of the incredible benefits of essential oils. We found once such fascinating study – please see below an extract from an article backed up by in depth research – click here to read the full article and references.

The Power of Scents Reveals Why Aromatherapy Is so Effective

Odor-evoked autobiographical memories typically occur by happenstance, when an unsolicited odor passes by your nose and you happen to catch a whiff. You can, however, harness the power of scents to trigger real physical and emotional responses through the use of aromatherapy. For instance, research shows:

A systematic review of 16 randomized controlled trials examining the anxiolytic (anxiety-inhibiting) effects of aromatherapy among people with anxiety symptoms showed that most of the studies indicated positive effects to quell anxiety (and no adverse events were reported).

People exposed to bergamot essential oil aromatherapy prior to surgery had a greater reduction in pre-operative anxiety than those in control groups.

Sweet orange oil has been found to have anxiety-inhibiting effects in humans, supporting its common use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists.

Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment.

Compared to the controls, women who were exposed to orange odor in a dental office had a lower level of anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness. Researchers concluded, “exposure to ambient odor of orange has a relaxant effect”

Anxiety, of course, is only one use for aromatherapy. Other potential uses are varied and include the following:

Nausea and vomiting – a blend of peppermint, ginger, spearmint and lavender essential oils have been found to help relieve post-operative nausea.

Lavender for pain relief: Lavender aromatherapy has been shown to lessen pain following needle insertion

Peppermint for memory: The aroma of peppermint has been shown to enhance memory and increase alertness.

When you make the switch from scenting your home with synthetic home fragrance products to natural ones your nose will begin to recognize the difference between the true plant source as opposed to a synthetic imitation that offers no therapeutic benefit whatsoever.

I hope this post has de-mystified the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils.  They really are two very different substances and why we use only 100% pure essential oils to create our fragrances in our our scented candles and room essences produced for their purity and therapeutic value.

We all like to have a welcoming atmosphere in our homes and whichever way you like to scent your interior space, whether it’s with candles, diffusers, oil burners or wax melts, we believe there is no better choice than with pure essential oils – they will enhance your emotional wellbeing and promote positive feelings whatever your mood, and, of course, smell fantastic!

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