Essential Oils Versus Dried Herbs

Flashback to last month and essential oils were a brand new concept (at least for those who have been following the blog religiously). To expand on essential oils and what they have to bring to the table – ahh, there’s a good metaphor – we will be covering the difference(s) between essential oils and dried herbs. So, in a sportsmanship-like manner, ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to start a competition between…





Essential oils are extremely concentrated with intense flavor. As a result they are 50 to 70 times more potent than fresh or dried herbs. In turn, less is more, and 1 to 2 drops followed by maybe a couple more will suffice. Dried herbs on the other hand, generally speaking, require at least ½ a teaspoon in a recipe. One teaspoon of essential oil would be approximately 76 drops, and ½ a teaspoon, well you can do the math! That’s pretty asinine. Here is an applicable example of these proportions:

  • 1 drop of peppermint oil = approximately 28 cups of tea.
  • Fresh peppermint leaves need a few leaves for on cup.
  • It takes 5 pounds of peppermint leaves to make 1 ounce of essential oil (look back to previous posts for a closer look at this statement).

That being said, essential oils win out, and having a good set of them is just as convenient as having those dried herbs. Not to oversell, but essential oils (like their frequented counterparts) are an excellent choice for simmering, braising, and stewing.

Essential oils, fresh, and dried herbs all provide flavor and aroma to the maze of culinary creation. Yet, essential oils provide their own remedies in the same way that herbs are known to possess. Funny thing is that dried herbs lose up to 90% of their healing nutrients and only contain 3-5% of their essential oils after the drying process. Leaving us with these facts: essential oils contain virtually all of the plant’s healing nutrients, are 50-70 times more therapeutically potent than the herbs or plants they are derived from, and have a longer shelf life than dried herbs (no stale essential oils). Oh, and if you’re wondering what those healing nutrients are, they include, but are not limited to, oxygenating molecules, amino acid precursors, coenzyme A facts, trace minerals, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and hormones.

So again, essential oils is our winner!

Let’s quickly sum things up and let you avid readers on your way. Essential oils, unlike dried herbs, keep their intense flavor for years. Certain essential oils can be harmful in high dosages, but remember, you must consume a lot to feel or get sick. Essential oils can be used to flavor a variety of dishes and drinks leaving you satisfied with a hunger satiated. Essential oils like herbs can be the star player or the co-star.

Now that you know the difference, go forth my health minions (just kidding), go forth and cook some delicious food that you can brag about to your family, friends, or coworkers. Tune in next time to get the DL (down low) on this month’s pick of an essential oil. You know I can’t wait to give you all the details.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~


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