The Lamiaceae and Asteraceae plant families yield the majority of ‘whole plant’ oils. This category boasts a broad spectrum of benefits, emphasizing subtle and invigorating effects. They are particularly known for their emotional effects. For example, Geranium can be both uplifting and relaxing, while mints aid concentration.
Leaf oils can include tree leaves and grasses. In particular, eucalypts and trees in the Lauraceae (Laurel) family, alongside various grasses. These oil groups are renowned for their potent antibacterial qualities.
Flower oils offer an array of intricate and delightful scents. These are among the most beloved among essential oils. The particular theme with flower oils is connection, beauty and sensuality.
Needle oils are often used for respiratory support. They are also stimulating and reinvigorating. Ideal to combat fatigue and weariness.
Essential oils derived from wood are relatively scarce and esteemed. This is due to the extended period required for trees to produce mature. Wood oils tend to evoke comfort and serenity. Some having high linalool levels which promotes relaxation and calmness.
Resin oils have a long-standing connection with spirituality. They are sweet, dry and balsamic. Their grounding effects aid in the pursuit of higher consciousness. They are also valued in perfumery for their opulent and exotic fragrances.
Roots & Rhizomes
Root and rhizome oils exhibit distinct characteristics. Root oils lean towards sedation whereas rhizome oils are more stimulating and warming. Rhizome oils are often found in blends for everyday aches and pains. Many also possess calming and grounding properties. These are especially useful in cases of anxiety and excessive thinking.
These oils are extracted from the whole fruit, though some oils originate from specific fruit parts. They offer a diverse range of effects and can be spicy or stimulating. Many of these oils have a warming effect on the body.
Most rind oils come from citrus fruits. They share common traits such as antibacterial, cleansing, and uplifting qualities. Their topical application may be limited due to potential phototoxicity. They can however be diffused to bring freshness and cheer.
The majority of seed oils come from plants in the Apiaceae family, also known as ‘umbellifers.’ These plants, resembling the common hedgerow plant cow parsley, yield seeds from large, airy heads. Seed oils tend to be invigorating and spicy. They offer support to the digestive and respiratory systems. Emotionally, they are warming, rejuvenating, and uplifting.
Oils extracted from bark are relatively rare but include some of the most potent ones. Birch bark, for instance, is renowned for its use in traditional medicine and pain relief. Also yielding from the bark are Cinnamon and Balsam Fir.
There are a few extraordinary oils that distinguish themselves. Moss oils, highly prized in perfumery, are limited in use due to safety concerns. Vanilla oil, unlike most, is extracted from the husks of the fruit using alcohol. It is also available as a CO2 extract, providing a pure vanilla aroma. Lastly we have honey absolute, also known as beeswax absolute. This follows an unconventional path from plant to oil but remains beloved nonetheless.
Click to read the full article about classifying essential oils by the plant part and see examples of essential oils from various parts of the plant.