Difference between essential oils &; extracts

There are a lot of customers asking us “ What is the difference between Essential Oil and Extract”. The difference of Essential oil and Extract is the process of extracting it. Both are extracted from different parts of the plants and methods to extract are different. The process of acquiring a plant’s essential oil is a bit more complex. It must be obtained through distillation. While extract is from plants, and it is soaked in a liquid to isolate the quality of flavour.

                    The Process To Extract Essential Oil

 The Process of Extraction 

Oils that are collected from the different aromatic parts of plants like leaves, roots, flowers etc. are known as essential oils. When plant materials are soaked into liquids such as water or aqueous solutions for a longer period of time in order to infuse their flavors, medicinal properties and aroma to the liquid, then they are called extracts. Significant differences are observed between simple plant extracts and plant essential oils. Despite both of its use in aromatherapy, essential oils are the ones that carry medicinal properties. These essential oils are mostly used in massages and aromatherapy sessions. Plant extracts are commonly used in cooking and in preparations of perfumes.

4 Major Differences between Essential Oils and Extracts

  1. Essential oils generally have more prominent aroma than extracts. When beauty products are made and developed at home, it is beneficial to use essential oils instead of extracts for the sake of preparing a product filled with a significant fragrance or aroma.
  2. There are some plants which do not have their essential oils but their extracts can be widely collected and used.
  3. Plant extracts are very easy to prepare but this is not the same case for essential oils. Essential oils require proper environment, equipment and machinery.
  4. A Little amount of essential oil preparation requires a lot of plant materials because of the complicated process. But extracts do not require that high amount of plant materials during the process.

 Essential oils  

Essential Oil Extraction

Essential oils are concentrated in nature and are prepared by proper steam distillation of the aromatic parts. The aromatic parts are placed inside a steam chamber. Steam is released over those parts and essential oils are finally collected by squeezing those parts under the steam pressure. For proper understanding, when a rose flower is crushed, the usual released substances from the rose petals are oily in nature and the substances released from the peels possess liquid spray like nature.

After oily and spray like substances are collected in the steam chamber, they are taken to a condenser and are cooled. The condenser creates water and keeps the oil separated into a more concentrated form. These separated oils are the desired essential oils.

Example of Essential Oils- Rose

Steam distillation is used to collect and prepare rose essential oil. Fresh Rosa damascene is used to collect the aromatic compounds. Among the thousands of aromatic compounds- ethanol, eugenol, farnesol, citral, citronellol, phenylacetaldehyde, phenyl geraniol and nonanol act as the major contributing compounds in the preparation of rose essential oil. While preparing the rose essential oil, this particular species of rose is used because it has proved to have the strongest fragrance and the highest oil content.

Health benefits of Rose essential oil

  • Skin care and treatment– Rose essential oils are believed to reduce the inflammation marks, under eye dark circles or stretch marks occurred by acne, chicken pox, pimples, scars and stress. Stretch marks due to pregnancy and weight loss are also reduced by this essential oil. This is because of the excessive presence of anti-oxidants in the oil.
  • Wound treatment- Application of rose oil on to the skin can reduce the development of infection and help the wounds to be septic.
  • Depression treatment– Patients admitted in rehabilitation centers can be prescribed rose oil along with their normal medication to enhance the anti-depressant effects.
  • Inflammation reduction– Rose oil is immensely helpful in calming down a patient’s fever, gout, arthritis pain because of its analgesic properties.
  • Stomach disorder reduction– Excessive gas, digestive disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and heart burn can often lead to severe stomach diseases. But these can be reduced or sedated by using rose oil.
  • Bacteria inhibition– Rose oil acts as an important bactericide. It is vastly used in treating diarrhea, cholera, other diseases caused by the manifestation of bacteria. Sometimes, the internal digestive organs are inflamed by bacteria. Usage of rose oil in these cases also render helpful in eliminating the bacteria.


The extracts are collected after straining off the plant materials from the liquid and the final product becomes concentrated. Another way of obtaining extracts from herbs are to dry the herbs and grinding them in mortar and pestle. There are some other notable ways of preparing extracts.

Tea- The most common process of extraction of herbal tea is to put tea leaves or fresh gingers in boiling water for 15-20 minutes.

Tinctures- In this process, the plant matters are soaked in 50% alcohol for a period of weeks to remove its active compounds.

Health benefits of Rose extracts

  • Skin hydration– Rose extracts possess highly intense hydrating properties. It can be used to keep the skin hydrated. For people with dry skin, this can be of good help to reduce the dryness.
  • Redness and skin irritation treatment– Rose extracts have anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals which help to reduce skin irritation and redness. It also provides smoothness to dry and sensitive skin.
  • Wrinkle reduction– The over exposure of skin to sunlight is responsible for early signs of wrinkles on skin and loss of elasticity in collagen. Using rose extracts can reverse this process with their anti-oxidants against the skin’s cellular oxidation.

Rose Essential Oil and Rose Extract both serve the similar kind of purposes as the main ingredient is the same in the oil and in the extract. But there are often differences observed between the usage of rose essential oils and extracts. Regardless of the differences, essential oils and extracts have major health benefits which cannot be denied. They perform vastly in skin diseases and disorders.

   Green Herbology Essential oil

Green Herbology Extract

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