The Strange Apothecary

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Essential oils, usually obtained through mechanical pressing or distillation, are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural scent of their source.

Each essential oil has a unique composition of chemicals, this variation affects the smell, absorption and effects on the body. The chemical composition of an essential oil may vary within the same plant species, or from plant to plant.

In contrast to fatty oils, essential oils completely evaporate. The mixtures consist of a number of chemical compounds whereby most of them are terpenes.

Synthetic oils are not considered true essential oils.

Essential oils are taken up into the body by means of inhalation via the mucous membranes and rubbing into the skin. They reach the blood stream and various organs. In addition, essential oils reach the olfactory nerves via the nose. There, electrochemical signals are created which are passed on as information to the brain. As the brain controls the production of various hormones and influences the immune system, essential oils can have an impact on mood as well as many other benefits.

There are many different uses. Internally, essential oils can for instance stimulate appetite and digestion. They are used in cold preparations like bath oils or soothing bath salts but also to promote circulation in sport ointments. Because of their fragrance properties, they are added as aromatic agents to cosmetics and may be used as perfumed oils to improve indoor air. In the wellness sector, too, essential oils have taken on increasing importance.

Wellness and healing properties are associated with essential oils. In the case of colds and flu the use of preparations with essential oils is often found to be soothing and to alleviate symptoms. Highly diluted essential oils are normally used in medicinal products and cosmetics although undiluted oils are also commercially available.

Essential oils are not safe to consume and can cause significant poisoning even if small amounts are ingested.

On each individual product page, you will find everything there is to know about the Essential Oil of your choosing, i.e. the origin of the oil, the exact plant it has been extracted from, the extraction method used, the type of note, the colour & consistency, the scent, what it blends well with & the group that it belongs too. 

Purity –

Choose oils that are 100% essential oils, ones that are not synthetics, dilutions or adulterations.

Avoid terms such as “nature-identical”, “fragrance oil” or “perfume oil” as these types of oils will often have chemical or artificial ingredients added to them.

Additives and adulteration (meaning adjusting or altering the oil in some way) have the potential to be harmful to the body and they also create weak, ineffective results in aromatherapy.

Quality – 

The quality of an essential oil is determined by a number of factors including;

  • The plant species
  • The quality of the soil
  • The weather conditions/temperature
  • Where the plants are grown – indoors or outdoors
  • The extraction method used

The actual bottle of essential oil will not provide this information so this is where proper research comes into play.

A reputable brand should be aware of the production of their oils from start to finish and provide the general public with information on how this process is carried out.

Always look at the company’s website and any literature they provide.

Price –

The price of essential oil varies enormously and depends on how difficult or easy it is to extract the oil from the plant.

For example, 2 million rose petals are needed to make just 1 ounce of Rose essential oil, making it one of the most expensive essential oils on the market.

Alternatively it takes approximately 30kg of eucalyptus leaves to make 1 litre of Eucalyptus oil, making it one of the lesser expensive oils.

When choosing, make sure the oils are not unusually cheap, especially the more expensive ones like Rose, Melissa, Neroli or Jasmine.

This could mean they may not be pure or of good quality. It is a good idea to compare different brands to get an overall idea of how much your chosen essential oils should cost.

Storage – 

Essential oils are precious and expensive. It is therefore vital that they are stored correcily to ensure both their longevity and effectiveness. When you are purchasing oils or creating a blend at home, the following factors should be adhered to, to ensure you get the most from you oils;

  • Make sure they are contained within dark amber, dark green or cobalt blue bottles. Sunlight can have a detrimental effect on the chemistry of essential oils causing them to deteriorate rapidly and lose their therapeutic benefits. Dark colored glass bottles offer protection from the sun’s harmful ultra violet rays.
  • Ensure the bottles are tightly sealed. Any prolonged contact with the air will cause essential oils to lose their composition and evaporate.
  • Keep essential oils stored in a cool, dry place. Do not store them in an area where they will be subject to extreme changes in temperature. The heat will evaporate the oil whereas the cold will cause it to lose its composition.
  • When purchasing essential or carrier oils, never buy oils that have dust on the cap or bottle This is a sure sign that they have been sitting there for some time. Don’t be afraid to ask the retailer when the oils arrived into the shop.
  • Avoid aluminum or plastic bottles as the molecular structure of the oil will be affected.

Most essential oils have a shelf life of at least 2 years, particularly ones that have gone through steam distillation.

There are some exceptions to this, so make sure you do some research first (Tea Tree oil normally lasts for approximately 12 to 18 months). Citrus oils like Lemon, Orange, Bergamot, Mandarin or Neroli have the shortest shelf life of around 9 to 12 months. It is important to note that carrier oils should be treated with as much careful consideration. They will go rancid very quickly if not stored properly.

Most carrier oils have a shelf life of up to 2 years, with the exception of borage oil and flaxseed oil – these are very delicate and have a shelf life of about 6 months. Coconut and jojoba oils last for about 4 years and are often added to other carrier oils to extend the shelf life of a blend.

There isn’t one best distilation method for all essential oils as they all require different things. To learn more about the distilation methods that may be used, you can watch our YouTube video that covers this topic.

Certain oils are not recommended or should be used with caution.
People with the following conditions should take caution with respect to the below listed oils:
Epilepsy – people with epilepsy or the risk of seizure should stay away from stimulating essential oils such as: sage, sweet fennel, hyssop, eucalyptus, rosemary. Some oils that are safe: lavender, marjoram.
High Blood Pressure – avoid oils that will increase circulation and adrenaline: rosemary, peppermint, hyssop, thyme, eucalyptus and sage.
Low Blood Pressure – avoid oils that are overly sedating clary sage, ylang ylang, and lavender in very high doses.
Pregnancy – Essential oils can have enormous benefit for pregnant women and as long as they are used according the dosage chart can help women have a more pleasant pregnancy and delivery. Keep dosages down to 1 percent essential oils per dilution as per the dosage chart.
Avoid the following essential oils: aniseed, basil, cinnamon, fennel, hyssop, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, and tagetes.
Oils that are safe during entire pregnancy: bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, palmarosa, petitgrain, rosewood, sandalwood, spearmint, orange, tea tree, vetiver and ylang ylang. Oils that are safe after the first trimester: chamomile roman, eucalyptus radiata, ginger, lavender, jasmine and rose (should not be used until ready to go into labor).
Oils that are safe for use in the third trimester or during delivery: cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, peppermint, pine, rosemary and spruce.
Babies & Children under 5 yrs – Keep dosages down to 1% essential oils per dilution as per the dosage chart. Avoid the following essential oils: aniseed, basil, camphor, cinnamon bark, clove bud, clove leaf, eucalyptus radiata fennel, hyssop, juniper, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, parsley seed, peppermint (under 12), pennyroyal, sage, savory, tagetes and thyme.
REMEMBER: the above listed oils that are to be avoided for each specific condition are not going to cause harm unless carelessly, thoughtlessly or purposefully used with intent to cause harm or in very large doses. Used in moderation and according to the dosage chart should not pose any problems or cause harm.

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The Strange Apothecary commited to looking after the envrionment. As a result, all of our packaging is made from recyclable materials.

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Hannabis our CBD brand was awarded the Best CBD Retailer of 2020 & Most Informative CBD Platform & Product Supplier 2023 by GHP Commerical Cannabis Awards.

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Our CBD extract is derived from hemp that is organically grown high up in the mountains of Colorado, USA. We use the finest Rich Pure CBD Oil or 99.8% Isolate CBD.

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The Strange Apothecary uses all natural, organic, vegan friendly and sustainable ingredients where possible making all our products suitable for everyone.

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