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CARE OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are aromatic, volatile extracts, comprised of concentrated natural chemicals. In the closed bottle, essential oils are clustered vaporous, aromatic molecules that take liquid form. With the exception of the more viscous oils, medium and light density essential oils will become gaseous very rapidly when exposed to the air and, if given enough time, will waft off completely, sometimes leaving absolutely no residue of their former selves behind at all, and sometimes leaving only a little sticky puddle (the denser molecules) . . . becoming but a fragment of the synergistic whole at its birth.
Following some simple guidelines, you can create the optimum conditions for your essential oils to last up to 2-5 years. We have discovered pots of unguents in the tombs of ancient Egypt that remain vibrantly scented today. If used within 6 months to a year, a 5ml or 15ml bottle of any essential oil should remain fresh and vibrant if stored properly.
OXYGEN IS THE ESSENTIAL OIL’S FIRST WORST ENEMY. If you are storing quantities of essential oils, they will stay stable longer if you keep the oxygen (referred to as ‘head room’) in the bottle to a minimum. Oxygen causes oxidation and deterioration. There are several things you can do in this regard. As you use and deplete the essential oil in any one bottle to less than two-thirds full, place remaining contents in a smaller bottle, which will automatically reduce the head room. Always re-label immediately to insure accuracy of contents in your new bottle. You can also add liquid nitrogen to larger bottles of essential oil (available from fine wine making stores) to deplete oxygen to its minimum.
SUNLIGHT IS THE ESSENTIAL OIL’S SECOND WORST ENEMY. You can provide protection from damage caused by ultraviolet light by always storing essential oils in dark colored bottles in a closed dark cabinet in a cool and relatively constant temperature. It is recommended by some to store all cold-pressed citrus oils and the blue oils in a refrigerator.
Essential oils enjoy constant, cool temperatures and darkness. The effects of sunlight are damaging to the fragile composition of an essential oil, both by the effect of temperature variation and the adverse effects of ultraviolet light. Essential oils are best stored in dark glass bottles (amber, cobalt or other dark glass) in a cool, dark place. Fluctuating temperatures and direct sunlight can adversely affect all phyto-extracts, including essential oils, absolutes and CO2 extracts. Because of concentrated potency, always keep essential oils out of reach of children and away from open flames.
Essential oils should always be well labeled to insure accuracy of contents. It is a good idea to cover paper labels with clear tape so that information doesn’t smear and labels are always readable.
Never use rubber bulb stoppers/dispensers with pure essential oils. A reputable supplier will provide essential oils in small bottles with dropper inserts made of a tough plastic that can withstand the corrosive effects of essential oils and aid convenience for dispensing drops in blending. For your convenience in re-bottling, Samara Botane offers 5, 10 and 15 ml bottles with dropper insert caps available in packages of 6 each and amber glass bottles with plain caps in sizes ½ to 32 oz.
Information regarding the Latin name of the single botanical extracted, country of origin, method of extraction and quantity (usually in mils) should always be on your bottle (or on a separate list provided by your supplier), along with specific lot and batch information.
When you add your essential oils to a fixed oil, cream or lotion base, the shelf life of the carrier becomes the determining factor for shelf life, not the essential oil. It is best to make small batches of products that you will use within a short period of time. Your finished products keep longer when refrigerated, also.
It is suggested to keep essential oils away from homeopathic dilutions, since they can be affected by the strong odors of essential oils like eucalyptus or the mints.
When working with essential oils, always make sure that the environment and all measuring tools and equipment are clean and disinfected. It is possible to use antiseptic/antibacterial essential oils themselves for this purpose. Citrus oils that have begun to oxidize are good elements for cleaning and, combined with a little Tea Tree for anti-bacterial action, are extremely useful for cleaning all surfaces. It is helpful to clean orifice reducers, caps and bottle necks periodically with alcohol to prevent contamination.
When blending or bottling essential oils, remember to protect yourself from over-exposure. Avoid contact with undiluted (neat) essential oils, especially on broken skin. Wear adequate gloves and lab covering. Ensure adequate ventilation and take frequent walking breaks in fresh air. You will find more information to assist you when working with essential oils in BLENDING TIPS AND TOOLS and individual ESSENTIAL OIL MONOGRAPHS.
Essential oils should be used with caution. Please refer to BE SAFE AND
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