Our Commitment To You.
At Alypsis, we import aromatics from around the world and bottle them for distribution across North America. We stock over 70 different essential oils. Our goal is to bring you pure, unadulterated material through an ongoing testing program where test reports are linked with oil batch numbers. We are constantly searching for the most direct route to growers and oil distillers to ensure the lowest prices on premium quality essential oils and absolutes.
Please click on the following questions to view the answers:
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are volatile, aromatic substances that are derived from plant material. They reside in glandular cells or pockets and have sometimes been referred to as the "quintessence" or "Life Force" of the plant. In Greek, they are called "ethereal oils". They are what make a lemon and a cedar chest smell the way they do. When you rub the underside of a household geranium leaf with your fingers you will smell the essential oil which gives that plant variety it's own unique aroma.
Several processes are used to obtain the best aromatic material to satisfy the needs of the aromatherapist, perfumer and flavorist. The three most common are steam distillation, cold expression and solvent extraction. Steam distillation is used to obtain oils from spices (cinnamon and clove), woods (cedar and sandalwood), grasses (citronella and vetiver), herbs (basil and rosemary) and resins (frankincense and myrrh). Expression or pressure is used to extract oils from citrus peels including bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit and mandarin. Delicate flowers such as rose and jasmine require solvent extraction to produce what is called an 'absolute'.
Essential oils consist of dozens and even hundreds of organic compounds. All essential oils and the compounds that comprise them are volatile to varying degrees. Their compounds and groups of compounds have various therapeutic properties including, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and some even anti-viral. Different essential oils may be uplifting or relaxing through their ability to speed up or slow down bodily processes such as circulation and respiration. They may be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions.
Contrary to their name, they are not oily or greasy. Most are watery in consistency while others are more viscous. They can be as transparent as water but most are slightly to heavily colored.
What are carrier or fixed oils?
These are vegetable fats that are extracted by crushing seeds (rosehip seed and grapeseed), nuts (sweet almond, coconut and macadamia), fruits (avocado and jojoba) and leaves (aloe vera). Essential oils will not dissolve in water. Carriers are used to dissolve as well as dilute essential oils to a concentration of 1-3% before applying to the skin. Carrier oils are vulnerable to heat, light and air and must be protected to avoid rancidity.
Why do essential oils vary so much in price?
Different plant materials contain varying degrees of essential oils. Rose petals yield from .02-.05% whereas cedarwood contains about 3.5% essential oil. So cedarwood can give up 175 times as much oil as rose. Other factors enter into the picture, however. Cedarwood oil is a by-product of the lumber industry making it inexpensive. Roses are grown exclusively for oil production and entail a good deal more labor input as the petals are picked by hand. It takes a couple of tons of rose petals to product one kilogram of oil!
How are essential oils used?
They are used primarily in the fragrance and food industries as well as therapeutic agents. In the natural products industry they are used to make candles, soaps and a wide range of body care products from lotions to shampoos to body creams. In aromatherapy their therapeutic properties are employed to treat a wide range of psychological and physical conditions.
How do I use essential oils and what precautions should I take?
In aromatherapy essential oils can be employed in a variety of ways: in massage, facial application, in the bath, for inhalation and as room deodorizers and body care products. Each of these applications, however, requires that the consumer dilute the essential oils to a safe level of concentration before use. Otherwise, serious harm may result. Do not assume anything before using substances you are not familiar with. Do your research! Natural does not necessarily mean safe. We carry a range of literature on essential oils and aromatherapy to assist in the safe and prudent use of these concentrated substances. Never use essential oils around the eyes! Special precautions apply when one is pregnant, nursing or suffering from chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or epilepsy. One must be extra cautious when using essential oils with children. We do not recommend essential oils for internal use. In France only MDs are qualified to prescribe for internal use.
How do I look after my essential oils?
Aromatics are highly volatile which means they evaporate quickly. They must be well capped when not being used. They are vulnerable to light, heat and air. So store them in a cool, dark place. Some oils are more susceptible to breaking down than others. Citrus oils, for instance, are very susceptible to attack by oxygen, whereas wood oils have a much longer life span. Some believe that sandalwood oil actually improves with age.