Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, which is a form of alternative medicine Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavor, also called its “essence.” Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence. Essential oils are obtained through distillation (via steam and/or/water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use. The way the oils are made is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils.