Known and traded since ancient times, essential oils are highly volatile organic compounds distilled from plants. Each type of oil imparts the “essence,” or characteristic odor, of the plant from which it is derived. This aroma can rarely be reproduced using synthetic components. Essential oils are used for flavoring food, scenting perfume, and in medicine. Clove oil, for instance, is used in dentistry, and eucalyptus oil as a disinfectant.