Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile aromatic mixtures of substances which belong to different groups of organic compounds. The aromatic substances extracted from plant raw materials in different ways together with the accompanying non-aromatic substances form the natural aromatic products.
Every essential oil is a delicate and complex combination of many components (organic compounds) which make it unique. Essential oils are formed in essential oil bearing plants that belong to the medicinal plants which have been used in the treatment and prevention of diseases in humans and animals since time immemorial. Essential oil is a liquid which exists in the form of little drops found in special vesicles in the plant. The aromatic substances are localized in specific organs or in the whole plant and their composition and quantity varies. Depending on the location and the quality of the essential oil, the entire plants or parts of the plants are used as raw material for natural aromatic products. In some cases the aromatic substances can be in the whole plant, but only parts of it are used in which the substances are at the highest concentration possible and have the best quality. At a certain time of the year and at certain hours of the day the amount of essential oil in the plants increases and this is the best time to harvest the raw material. Because of its taste, smell, biological properties, cosmetic and therapeutic effect essential oils have a wide range of applications. There are about 2500 kinds of essential oil bearing plants that are used for the production of essential oils. Currently about 200 essential oils are commercially produced. They are used in perfumery, cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in some branches of technology.