Make Every Drop Count... How Potent are Essential Oils? Are They Sustainable?
If you use essential oils you've probably heard that they are potent and concentrated.
But have you ever wondered how much plant material goes into creating your favorite bottle of essential oil?
Essential oils typically come in tiny bottles of 5 ml (0.17 oz) to 15 ml (0.5 oz) for most users (larger volumes for aromatherapists and formulators).
Let's start on the low end. To create a 15 ml (0.5 oz) bottle of sweet orange essential oil it typically takes about 14 oranges.
And if you think that's a lot, it takes roughly 75 lemons to create a 15 ml (0.5 oz) bottle of lemon essential oil. Whew! The aromatics of 75 lemons in one bottle? Potent!
And what about favorites like peppermint or lavender? It typically takes 4-5 pounds of plant matter to create a 15 ml (0.5 oz) bottle.
And if you've ever wondered why some essential oils are so expensive here's a clue why -- it takes roughly 10,000 roses to create a 15 ml (0.5 oz) bottle of rose essential oil -- 10, 000! That's an enormous amount of roses...
So as you use essential oils remember this -- a lot of plant material went into creating the essential oil in your hands. Use them wisely and make every drop count.
And it does beg the question is it sustainable to use essential oils? After all it requires an enormous amount of plant matter and resources to grow the plants.
This is why it is important to purchase essential oils from suppliers who responsibly source essential oils, who look for distillers and suppliers who practice sustainable techniques, and to avoid using essential oils that threaten species.
And as a cosmetic formulator it is important to ask the question about using essential oils as part of cosmetic formulations. Yes they smell wonderful, are natural, and offer benefits but we must also consider the sustainability of such practices.
In some instances natural fragrances, plant based fragrances, nature identical options, and perhaps safe synthetic fragrance oils are to be considered.
Essential oils are potent and offer many therapeutic benefits and it is important to remember each drop is precious and an enormous amount of plant material goes into creating each and every drop.
What are your thoughts?