What Exactly Does the Word “Essential” Mean in Essential Oils?

The meaning of _essential_ in essential oils

Aromatherapy is a practice that has been used for a very long time. It has been primarily used to provide both physical and psychological benefits. The practice involves using essential oils as a form of alternative medicine. Essential oils are compounds that are extracted directly from plants. They are extracted and concentrated plant extracts that retain both the natural smell and flavor of the source.

Who Started Calling Them Essential Oils and Who Was the First to Use Them?

Evidence shows that the Egyptians were one of the first people to utilize essential oils and their original use dates all the way back to 4,500 B.C.E. They were well known for their use and knowledge of cosmetology which makes it no surprise that they were the first to discover the many benefits of essential oils.1

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. While the main practice is to utilize them through aromatherapy, they can also be rubbed directly on the skin after being diluted.

the four elements

Why Are They Called Essential Oils?

The term essential oil dates all the way back to the days of the middle ages where Alchemists searched for what could be known as the fifth element beyond water, fire, air, and earth. Through distillation, came the discovery of essential oils as we know them today. However, during these times, anything that produced a liquid that didn’t mix with water was classified as an oil. Thus, when essential oils were discovered, it was considered the ‘fifth element’ and considered to be one of the essential things to all living things. This is where the term essential oil came from and it remains intact to this day despite it not really being an oil at all.2

essential oil bottle being poured

What Are They?

The primary definition of essential oils is a volatile liquid that results from the extraction of a plant that can include grasses, trees, flowers, and even shrubs. Because it can be extracted from all of these things, there have been hundreds of various essential oil discoveries. These oils are soluble in vegetable oils, fatty acids, and various other things, but do not mix with water.

What Makes Up an Essential Oil?

An essential oil is expected to have the following characteristics:

Extracted Through Steam Distillation

The extracted liquid should have required no use of chemicals or solvents.

They are 100% Natural

The extracted liquid should have been from 100% pure plant derivatives.

They are From a Single Origin

The oil should have been extracted from a single origin and contain unique healing and medicinal properties.

water oil mix in glass

A Majority of These Liquids Do Not Mix With Water

Essential oils typically do not mix with water. While there are a few exceptions, this rule generally holds true.

Essential oils can be extracted from a variety of different kinds of plants and different parts of plants as well. A majority of essential oils have other benefits associated with them including being antibacterial, antiseptic, and more which extends beyond their aromatherapy benefits. They are used in a variety of cosmetic products because of the many benefits that they inherently have and provide.3

Because they have shown the ability to heal naturally, the significance of the word essential in their name bears even more important meaning. While they were thought to be the fifth element, being essential to human life, they maintain the importance in today’s alternative medicine. They can provide a lot of different uses that extend into physical and psychological cases. Because of this, they will continue to be considered essential for living beings. Because of the different qualities of the oils, it makes therapeutic use virtually have no bounds which make them essential to everyday life.

It is important to find various natural medicines and things like essential oils because it can help cure various ailments that you might normally need chemicals to do so with. By using natural alternatives, you should be able to heal your various ailments in a way that nature intended. Because there are so many different essential oils that can provide their own unique medicinal purposes, you should be able to find an essential oil that can help with whatever kind of ailment that you might have. Whether used via aromatherapy or in cosmetic blends, you should be able to extract some of the best benefits out of using essential oils which can really help you cure a variety of ailments that you might be faced with.

Rainbow of diffusers

Being able to have these essential oils with you at all times with MONQ’s portable essential oil diffusers can allow you to experience the many health benefits of what was once believed to be the 5th element for life. You can choose from a variety of blends proven to have their own unique benefits.


By Savannah Wilson

Savannah is an aromatherapy enthusiast who takes pride in knowing everything about essential oils, from ylang ylang to chamomile. When taking a break from learning more about essential oils, Savannah likes to spend her time reading books or working out.

Favorite MONQ blend: Sexy

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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