Anonymous asked in HealthOther - Health · 8 years ago

Difference between essential oils and other types of oils?

What is it about the production of essential oils that makes them not suitable for ingestion. I've heard that it's not recommendable that you dissolve even 1 drop into a bottle of water and drink it. I've heard you could get scarred if you use them on your skin. (Some are called "basic types" like almond oil which are fine but others are stronger and shouldn't be abused with.) And at the same time there are cold-pressed oils that we generously pour onto our salads and are used in cosmetics. So, where does the difference come from?


Wheat germ oil comes to mind. I've seen it in a tiny dark bottle that should be used for cosmetic purposes only. And I've seen it it huge bottles meant for cooking.

5 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    True essential oils are distilled and a large amount of plant matter is used to make a very small amount of essential oil. The resultant liquid is very concentrated. This in itself can make the oil unsuitable for ingestion. Also some oils themselves are toxic to the human digestive system (such as eucalyptus) although they may be able to be used externally.

    Essential oils do not dissolve fully in water, so putting them into a bottle of water will not dilute them, the essential oil will still collect in droplets within the container, so can still cause problems. No matter the purity of the oil, this is not a good or effective method of dilution.

    The quality of essential oils also varies, so unless you are buying from a reputable company you cannot be sure what you are getting. Beware of terms such as therapeutic grade, which is not an official grading (there is none) but which is used by some companies. It is not a guarantee in itself of quality.

    Be aware that vegetable oils such as wheatgerm or almond oil are not distilled and therefore are not essential oils.

    Source(s): I am an aromatherapist
  • 8 years ago

    Essential oils are the life blood of the plant; they protect it against disease and other outside threats. There are essential oils that you can eat but they have to be Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils, like the ones you find here:

    Although the label may say 100% pure, the oils you buy at the grocery store etc. cannot be ingested because of the fillers, pesticides and chemicals in them. The FDA has no regulations currently for essential oils and current testing just looks at certain compounds in the oil. If they are there, the oil can be labeled 100% pure. Testing can't differentiate between organic (from the nature that is) or chemical compounds unless the oils are put through thorough testing. This of course costs more and most of the companies aren't willing to do that.

    You can flavor water with the doTERRA oils as long as you use a glass instead of a plastic bottle. The oils tend to eat the plastic and you do not want that in your drink! The oils can also be used as spices in food, to help you body get over sicknesses or to prevent sickness etc. Because these oils are 100% Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, they are very potent and totally different from any other oil that I was used to.

    Hope this helps!


  • Rachel
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Aromatherapy Oils is just a marketing term. Often enough, sadly enough, these aren't even oils that you should use, because most of them are (very) inpure and should not be used in the purpose of therapy through oils, in which form whatsoever. The best thing these offer is a fragrance so that it smells good in your house, just like those boxes or blocks you can find in the general store to place on your toilet so that it smells good. Essential oils are pure oils that are used for therapy through aroma's, either applied with a carrier oil on the skin, evaporated with a aromalamp or inhaled through adding some drops of pure essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Even here, inpure forms are available. But the biggest difference between these 2 will be the price: aromatherapy oils will cost significantly less then essential oils. The process of extracting essential oils is tricky and uses experience, time, precision and specific tools. The cheap stuff isn't even an extraction of material from plants or herbs, it's synthetic stuff... which explains the cheap price.

  • Alex
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils or aetherolea, or simply as the "oil of" the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils do not form a distinctive category for any medical, pharmacological, or culinary purpose.

    Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation. Other processes include expression, or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.

    The oils that are cold pressed and used on your salads are actual fatty oils that are the plant version of the fats found in in animal tissue.

    Think of plant oil to be analogous to the fat that you get after cooking bacon or ground beef. The essential oils are like the musk oil that is produced by glands on some animals.

    @additional - Ah. What you are seeing with the wheat germ oil is the same thing. They are both edible wheat germ oil.

    The difference is that the one for cooking meets USDA standards as a food product. Meaning that all steps are in place to prevent contamination. to ensure quality, and to put it simply...make sure that it isn't going to cause food poisoning.

    The wheat germ oil that is for cosmetic purposes has to fall under less strict guidelines as it will not be used for consumption.

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  • Emma
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Overall, the effects of essential oils may be divided into two basic groups. Some essential oils have actual physical effects. For example, eucalyptus oil can be inhaled to help clear sinuses and the respiratory tract. This would obviously relieve some symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (URI). Some oils may be used topically (directly on the skin, where they would usually be absorbed by the body, or on a wound) to possibly relieve swelling or fight certain infections.

    You can read more about various oils here:

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