Last week, we took a look at the history of essential oils, their impact upon medicine, chemistry, religion and society as a whole.
This week, we'll take a look at some of the most famous essential oils and products derived from them.
So, without further ado, let's dive into the realm of frankincense.
We've previously covered frankincense but it's worth revisiting here. The Boswellia tree is responsible for the production of this revered oil, specifically Boswellia Sacra.
Variety of the fragrance within the tapped tears of the trees is wide, due to soil and climate differences, even within the same species of tree.
Once tapped, the resin is steam distilled to extract the essential oil. Once extracted, the oil is sold in many different formats, notably as pure essential oil or blended with perfumes.
Characterised as having 'a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone', frankincense remains highly popular throughout the world as a fragrance and in many senses is considered the godfather of all perfumes.
Perhaps less exotic than frankincense (except when tenuously linked to Prince), to many people in the western world, lavender grows aplenty in many climates and regions of the world.
Highly regarded for its cleansing properties, lavender was commonly used in various bathing oils and soaps. It was also found in medicines due to its natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
So popular as a refreshing fragrance, many stately homes in the United Kingdom would have lavender scattered upon the floor or woven into fabrics to provide a more comfortable living space, along with the perceived health benefits of lavender being inhaled.
While the main demographic for eucalyptus is koalas, it's unique fragrance is recognisable the world over.
Renowned for its antiseptic properties and as a useful insect repellent, eucalyptus is often found in many health stores and products, from soaps to topical skin treatments.
So rich in fragrance are the trees that often, on warm days, mist is created by the leaves, creating a cloud of strong eucalyptus fragrance that engulfs the surrounding area and gives rise to the Australian Blue Mountains taking their name from the haze.
Bergamot, for many, is the key to a nice cup of tea. While Earl Grey is lovely, we're looking at the fragrance element.
As early as the start of the 18th Century, bergamot oil was extracted from orange rind and distilled to be used as part of perfumes in Europe.
So important is bergamot in European perfumery that it remains a key ingredient in the original cologne, 4711, originating in 1708 in Cologne, Germany.
Oud has somewhat a darker story than everything else on this list. The fragrance itself is born from infection, where the agar wood is blighted with a mould. The tree then secretes a resin as a defence mechanism. This resin is the key to oud as a fragrance.
Without this infection, the wood and resins are odourless. Once infected, the dark resin is harvested and distilled to create the renowned oud essential oil.
Demand for oud is growing and as such, the market is responding. Superior quality oud oil can sell for over £1,000 per kilo, with some specially sourced oils fetching over £2,000 for five millilitres. These high priced oils have a particularly high potency and can remain on the skin days after application and through multiple washes.
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