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Secrets of Essential Oil Durability: The NEOS Guide to Perfect Storage and Optimal Use

Secrets of Essential Oil Durability: The NEOS Guide to Perfect Storage and Optimal Use

Essential oils are concentrated essences extracted from plants and are valued for their therapeutic properties and distinctive aroma. However, to get the most out of these properties, it is crucial to manage them correctly, as they are susceptible to deterioration through oxidation, a process that gradually reduces their therapeutic efficacy and alters their organoleptic qualities.
**Preservation and durability guide for essential oils:**
**Optimal storage conditions:** To maintain the quality of essential oils for as long as possible, it is advisable to store them in coloured glass containers (preferably dark to filter direct sunlight) and in a cool place.
It is important to seal the containers tightly to prevent contact with oxygen, which accelerates the oxidation process.

**Identifying oxidation:** Signs that an essential oil is losing its qualities include a change in odour, cloudiness or change in consistency. For example, an oil that becomes more viscous or changes texture may suggest the onset of oxidation, unless these changes are specific to the chemical composition of the oil and reversible at room temperature.
**Estimated shelf life:**
- **1-2 years** for oils rich in monoterpenes, such as those extracted from most citrus fruits. These oils are more prone to rapid oxidation due to the high concentration of limonene.
- 2-4 years** for oils with a high concentration of compounds such as aldehydes, oxides, monoterpenols, esters, ethers, phenols and ketones. These represent the majority of essential oils and have moderate durability.
- 4-8 years** for essential oils rich in sesquiterpenes and/or sesquiterpenols, which not only retain their aroma better over time, but may also have evolving therapeutic effects. However, for therapeutic use, it is preferable to consume them within the first 4 years to benefit from maximum efficacy.

**Additional information for effective management:**
- **Labelling of oils:** To make it easier for you to monitor the life of each oil, apply labels to the containers noting the date of opening and the estimated life. This makes it easy to keep track of when the oil is best to use.
- **Watch the source:** The quality and durability of an essential oil can be significantly influenced by the source of the plant, extraction method and bottling conditions. Opt for oils from reputable producers who provide transparent information about their production process.
- **Responsible use:**
In addition to proper storage, it is essential to use essential oils responsibly, following dilution recommendations and precautions specific to each type of oil to avoid adverse reactions.
By adopting these practices, you can maximise the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
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