Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
Essential oils are produced by plants in low amounts to serve a host of beneficial functions. Oils attract herbivores that help the plant reproduce; they also ward off unfriendly pests, fight off environmental threats, and even allow the plant to heal itself if physically injured. When looking at the plant as a whole, they are composed of a small amount of essential oil—on average, just 1–5 percent of a plant’s total composition. Acquiring even just one bottle of essential oil requires an incredibly large amount of plant material. For example:
Approximately three pounds of lavender flowers are required to produce just 15mL of lavender essential oil.
It requires about 242,000 rose petals to distill approximately 5 mL of rose oil.
It requires 6,000 pounds of melissa plant to distill just a single pound of melissa essential oil. That equals around 63 pounds of melissa per 5mL bottle.
Nearly 3,000 lemons are needed to distill just over 2 pounds of lemon essential oil. This equals about 50 lemons per 15mL bottle.
When bottled for human use, essential oils are highly concentrated. For this reason, it is important to be aware that using essential oils is very different from using the whole plant material and only a small amount is necessary to induce a powerful benefit.