Essential Oils - Types and Uses

©Louise Brodie
A herb and fynbos nursery for essential oil production.

Some examples of crops produced for the extraction of essential oils are rosemary, basil, lavender and lavandin, rose geranium, peppermint geranium, thyme, lemon grass, peppermint and bay leaf. In South Africa essential oils are also produced from aromatic indigenous fynbos plants such as several species of Buchu as well as Cape Chamomile, Wormwood and Pelargoniums. 

The fynbos essential oils are produced in smaller quantities and this forms a minor part of the business. Fynbos essential oils are relatively expensive to produce as the oil yields from fynbos are generally considerably lower than from traditional herbs. However, the fynbos oils have unique fragrance profiles which are of interest to the international fragrance industry and they are thus a much more niche product than traditional herb essential oils.

Essential Oil Uses

In South Africa essential oils are often the base for creating other products and so they have a broad range of uses including use in pharmaceuticals, the base for perfumes, air fresheners, cosmetic fragrance additives, culinary flavours and additives and for use in cleaning products and industrial solvents. They are also the main ingredient in aromatherapy treatments.

By Louise Brodie