How to Select Quality Essential Oils
You may have been wondering about the incredible benefits of essential oils. The big dilemma is how to select quality essential oils. There are SO many companies now offering “pure” or “therapeutic grade” oils that most people don’t know where to begin. There are a few ways to help you make this decision a little easier.
Essential oils are derived from different parts of plants and are obtained by different processes with the distillation method being the most common. There are other methods that are also used such as pressing, solvent extraction, and CO2 extraction. The method used depends on the part of the plant the essential oil is coming from. It takes a GREAT deal of plant matter to produce the essential oil from the plants. The small amount of oil obtained from the total plant is why essential oils can seem pricey at first glance. Essential oils pack a punch and only a drop or two will give potent results. Unfortunately, some companies are less than ethical and will add extenders which are not disclosed to the end user. These additives are generally not detected by the common user since they do not typically affect the smell or look of the oil. There is an upside of this problem. There are tests that can and should be conducted by distributors before their oils are brought to market.
What to Look For When Purchasing Quality Essential Oils
- Does the company openly supply a GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) report? I know this is a mouthful. It is simply a test that can validate if an essential oil has been adulterated and also gives the chemical breakdown of all the components that make up the essential oil. Some companies, when asked about the report, will say they test all their oils or they trust their supplier will meet their high standards or other similar ways to avoid providing this report to the end user. If this is the case with the company you may be purchasing from, it can be a sign that the oils are not up to the standards that command the price of the oil. This test must be done on every batch of essential oil since variations occur during each harvest of the plants. This is due to many environmental factors and various times of the year the plants are harvested. It is a costly test for the distributors and the price is passed on to the consumer but well worth the security of knowing your oils are unadulterated. Who wants to pay for a sub-par product?
- People are more aware of pesticides and chemicals in our everyday products. There is a widespread movement to seek pure products for our health. This is also very important when selecting quality essential oils that will be used. Seek companies that provide organically grown, certified organic, wildcrafted (harvested from wild grown plants and trees), and sustainable farming practices. After all, you want to use quality essential oils to minimize the chemical products that have flooded our supermarket shelves and may be putting our health at risk.
- Aromatherapists purchase their oils from sources that provide the highest standards of purity. This is another indication of quality when selecting a company to purchase your essential oils from.
- Look for essential oils that have the common name and the Latin name clearly stated on the bottle. There are several different variations of oils, such as Lavender and many others. There is only one way to know what type of Lavender you are purchasing and that is by looking at the Latin name. The various types of Lavender will possess differing characteristics and qualities. If you are in doubt as to the specific type you need, read the description offered by the distributor you are purchasing from. Often you can read the GC/MS report for the specific product or request a copy of the report before you purchase the oil. You can also consult a certified aromatherapist or go on line to read the general attributes of the specific essential oil using the Latin name.
- Check to see if the company offers the date of distillation and the estimated shelf life of the specific essential oil.
- Is the batch number given? This is important to know so you can match the batch to its specific GC/MS report. Remember, GC/MS reports are batch specific.
- Does the company state the acceptable application of the oil?
- Are the oils packaged in dark bottles? Have they been stored in a 60 – 65 degree atmosphere in a dark setting?
A Word of Caution
Essential oils are showing up all over the place. You can find them in stores, online, flea markets, and other places. If the price of an oil is very low, beware. A reader shared an experience of a purchase made at a flea market. An oil was purchased for $5 and seemed like a great bargain. The problem, it caused a severe reaction when applied to the skin. This is likely caused by an expired oil that was passed off on an trusting consumer.
Once you have decided on a company you feel provides the quality you feel confident with, make sure to store your oils in a cool environment away from sunlight. Keep track of the distillation date, not the purchase date, to know when your oil is getting past its prime. Typically oils, depending on their make-up, last from one to several years. This information should be available to you when you purchase your oils.
I hope you find this information helpful in understanding how to obtain quality essential oils that you can confidently use in your home. Thank you so much for allowing me to share with you and feel free to share with others. I thank you for being a part of Blue Jean Mama. If you have any questions, please comment or send me an email.