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Herbal Oils VS Essential Oils

featured herbal oil with floral background

This is very important and often times confusing when reading labels, so listen up! Essential oils mixed into a carrier oil is NOT the same as an herbal infused oil. Note that when you read "lavender oil" or "blue tansy oil" on the back of a label, these are almost always essential oils, not herbal-infused oils. If you're looking for functional, topical herbal medicine, you're going to want to choose the infused oils which contain all of the lipid-soluble compounds of the plant. Also, if the oil is made how we make it here at Slow, it will contain the alcohol-soluble compounds as well.

Let's break down the difference:

Essential oils are extremely concentrated plant matter in liquid form. They are generally extracted using steam distillation (although this varies plant to plant) where the plant is heated inside the still and the essential oil rises with the steam and is then captured. After this process takes place, the plant material is generally discarded without utilizing any of its remaining medicinal compounds that create the synergistic and multifaceted medicinal offerings the plant is here to give. They do not contain any vitamins or minerals and are called "essential" oils because the essence of the plant (the potent scent, aka terpenes) have been captured. They’re also called “Volatile Oils”, being that it is the volatile part of the plant - that which evaporates quickly - that has been extracted. If you rubbed an essential oil onto your skin, it would not leave it oily as an oil would or if you dropped it onto your clothing it would not leave an oil stain but would evaporate over time.

The essential oil market today is extremely oversaturated, and it can be difficult to make sense about what is true. What is true is that essential oils are EXTREMELY potent and should be used ONLY with prior mindful and cautious research. *More light is being shone on research indicating that essential oils are creating disruptions of the microbiome as well as causing skin cell damage.

Sustainable? I think not.
Let's note the massive amount of plant material it takes to extract even just 1 ml of its essence. For example, in Rose Otto Essential Oil, there are 40-60 blossoms in each drop. Quite the opposite of sustainable.

Slow chooses not to formulate with essential oils and instead makes whole-plant infusions that offer an array of medicinal compounds and avoids issues like issues like allergic reactions, eczema, and acne that are often associated with essential oil use. 

Herbal Oils are commonly made by taking whole plant material (fresh or dry), chopping up or grinding and steeping into a carrier oil anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Here at Slow, we add an extremely small amount of high-proof organic cane alcohol to extract the alcohol-soluble compounds while also increasing the shelf life of our oils. Once extracted, the plant material is then strained out, resulting in a medicinally infused oil. When soaked into the skin, herbal-infused oil quickly drops the nervous system into a state of relaxation while nourishing the skin and even strengthening the immune system by keeping your lymph flowing. Herbal Body Oiling is a gentle and effective method to receive herbal medicine in a very nourishing and sensual way.

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