| Anointing Oils & Ointments ~ Natural or Synthetic
Anointing oils can be prepared using a wide variety of techniques and ingredients. They can be made using fragranced perfume oils (synthetic - man made chemicals) essential oils, herbs, spices, gums or resins. Some anointing oils are unscented and are made with only a pure high grade olive oil. Consumers should be able to discern the ingredients used to create an anointing oil, ointment, or perfume, by reading the ingredient label on the bottle.
Anointing oils are technically classified as a cosmetic item and are governed by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, and the regulations published by the Food and Drug Administration under the Authority of these two laws.
False and Misleading Labels: There are many anointing oils on the market today that have false or misleading names and labels. For instance there are anointing oils called Frankincense and Myrrh, Spikenard, or Pomegranate that are actually a blend of other cheaper essential oils and/or synthetics and may have little or no authentic ingredients in them. There is nothing wrong with blending anointing oils with cheaper essential oils or synthetics, however, the label on the bottle needs to be accurate and truthful. If an individual making anointing oils does not want to disclose all their ingredients it can be labeled "fragrance" if made with a combination of synthetics and essential oils or a "blend of essential oils" if made with real essential oils. Perfumers and formulators are not required to disclose propriety fragrance formulas, however, they are required to label the product accurately. Reputable companies will list all or many of the key ingredients because of the medicinal attributes the natural plant extracts possess and to assist individuals with health problems, allergies or fragrance sensitivities make informed decisions about the products they are purchasing.
Anointing oils can be used as a symbolic representation of our faith in Jesus Christ to answer our prayers through divine intervention; applied as a healing salve or ointment that has true medicinal attributes, or used as a perfume for hygiene purposes. When synthetic ingredients are added to pure ingredients the medicinal attributes of the plant extracts are often diminished or destroyed.
Terms and Definitions
Fragrance or Perfume Oils: Fragrance oils are compounds of synthetic chemicals put together to create a specific scent or aroma. Fragrance or Perfume Oils have no therapeutic or medicinal benefits. Individuals who are sensitive to synthetic chemicals will want to be careful when purchasing anointing oils made with fragrance or perfume oil.
Essential Oil: An essential oil is a liquid that is generally steam distilled from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. Essential oils contain the essence of the true plant and have natural therapeutic qualities. The quality of the essential oil will depend where it was grown, how it was harvested, and experience of the distiller, etc. Crops may vary from year to year. There are many inferior essential oils being sold on the market today. Thus, the buyer needs to become educated to discern between a pure therapeutic grade oil, poor quality oils, and adulterated oils (synthetics or a blend of cheaper essential oils are added).
Absolutes: An absolute is similar to an essential oil, except the it is extracted in a different way. Solvents or grain alcohol are used to extract the plant essence which is later removed during the final stages of production. Rose of Sharon (Cistus Absolute) is produced using this method.
CO2 Extractions: These plant essences are extracted using carbon dioxide. This is one of the purest forms of extraction because the plant material is not damaged by heat. CO2 plant extractions are often thicker than essential oils or absolutes and are sometimes more difficult to blend with a carrier oil such as olive oil.
Resins: Resins are typically extracted from trees like Frankincense and Myrrh. These trees are injured so that they are forced to produce the resin which is collected and later graded for quality. Resins are difficult to work with as they are sticky and hard to dissolve in a carrier oil. Frankincense and Myrrh essential oil are made by distilling the tree resins.
Carrier Oil: A term to described various vegetable oils used to dilute essential oils, absolutes, or CO2 extraction before applying to the skin. Carrier oils are usually cold pressed from the fatty part of the plant. Carrier oils extracted using heat have less therapeutic qualities and have poor odor qualities.
There are many different types of carrier oils on the market today: olive, almond, jojoba, wheat germ, grapeseed and pomegranate are a few. Each carrier oil has its own distinct therapeutic qualities and shelf life. The term shelf life refers to the length of time the carrier oil stays fresh before is begins to oxidize and eventually go rancid. The shelf life for olive oil is about 1 year. Almond, grapeseed, and pomegranate oils have a shorter shelf life.
Infused Oil: Infused oils are similar to carrier oils except herbs, resins, or plant material are blended with the carrier oil for a period of time, with our without heat, and then strained and removed from the final product. The plant material, herbs and resins usually must be completely removed to prevent the finished product from going rancid.
Enfleurage: This is another ancient extraction method where a layer of fresh flowers are placed on an oil soaked cloth or on a thin layer of lard. The flowers are then replaced by fresh ones every day until the right concentration is obtained. Although this method does not allow a separation of the essential oils, the product obtained will work well for creams, ointments, perfumes, massage oils, and bath oils.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Where can I get instructions to make anointing oils?
A. Please read our page on making anointing oils. Click Here.
Q. Is there a natural Lily of the Valley essential oil or absolute?
A. No. The Lily of the Valley scents currently available on the market are either synthetic, synthetic with the addition of pure essential oils, or a natural blend of essential oils and absolutes.
Q. Where can we buy henna "flower" oil?
A. Currently, there is no authentic henna "flower" essential oil or pure absolute available on the market. There is Henna Leaf Absolute and a Henna Flower
Co-Distillation (distilled with Sandalwood) available. The Henna Leaf Absolute has a deep green earthy aroma. The Henna Flower Co-Distillation has a touch of a floral note, but very faint. Both of these ingredients are difficult to extract and are also very expensive.
Q. What is the difference in Pomegranate "Flower" Fragrance Oil and Pomegranate Absolute?
A. Pomegranate "flower" fragrance oils are made from synthetic ingredients. You will notice synthetic fragrances are very sweet and have long lasting scents. This is because of the chemical fixatives that are added.
Authentic pomegranate seed absolute and pomegranate seed oil have a fruity wine aroma and are expensive. These products are extracted from the seeds. We are not aware of any authentic pomegranate "flower" essential oil that is steam distilled and extracted from the flowers.
Disclaimer: Essential oils and anointing oils are not intended to treat medical conditions. Individuals with health or medical conditions must consult a licensed health-care professional. Do not take these products internally. Pregnant women should not use essential oils or scented anointing oils. Keep all essential oils and anointing oils away from children and pets. Products made with natural ingredients may still cause allergic reactions with some individuals. Discontinue use if signs of irritation develop.
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