Navigating Essential Oils: Quality
How and why to choose high quality essential oils
*Full Disclosure: I market a line of essential oils as part of an overall wellness line. And, yes, I do think mine are the best! ;-) I am sharing information from neutral sources as the basis of this article.
Essential oils (EO) are trending. We have all heard about them and at the very least know someone who is using them and probably even know a distributor or two that touts the merits of their brand over all others. How do you know? Does the most expensive oil win? Does your friend really know? Or, are they just passing on the marketing information drilled into them by their company of choice?
If you are considering dipping your toe into the world of essential oils, it pays to do your homework.
Using essential oils without some background knowledge could mean you are, at the least, throwing your money away and not getting results or, at the worst, harming yourself or your loved ones in the process. Imagine the power of 75 lemons compressed into one drop of essential oil. That is how powerful this stuff can be. Which means topical application or ingestion can pack a harsh punch, in some cases causing permanent damage, such as skin irritations, allergies or even esophageal burns. It is best to be in the know.
We'll talk in another post about best practices in EO use. For now, let's focus on making sure you are getting the best possible quality in your essential oil arsenal.
Here is a checklist:
-Purity: To ensure high grade oil, look for a manufacturer that guarantees no impurities, no fillers, no synthetics. Also be sure they regularly and stringently test their batches, preferably every batch, to maintain purity standards. I know of at least 9 tests that are performed to test quality of oils. Avoid fragrance oils, compounded oil or perfume oil. These have no therapeutic benefit.
-Storage: High quality oils will be stored in dark colored glass or containers. Avoid clear glass, or oils with droppers.
-Marketing claims: There is no certifying body in the world that assures or certifies an oil brand is "therapeutic" or "medicinal" grade. Any such claims are a marketing ploy that should be checked into carefully before proceeding.
-Botanical Sources: Ask questions as to where and how the botancials used to make oils are sourced. Where are they grown, what conditions, fair -trade practices, etc. Much like grapes in wine-making, the quality of oil can be effected by where and how the botanicals are grown and processed.
-Organic?: If botanicals are sourced from their countries of origin, most will be ineligible to be labeled as organic in the US, simply because the standards of organic are different from country to country and cannot be uniformly claimed. You can still inquire as to the growing practices. You'll find that most reputable companies are on top of this.
If you are looking at essential oils, you are likely already aware that ingredients in store-bought brands are not necessarily what you want to put in or around your or your loved one's body and environment. It just makes sense that you'll need to investigate your "natural" brand products too. Many "green" products are not at all what the manufacturer represents them to be.
What questions have you run across when doing your own research?
Sources: www.aromaweb.com and The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness; Purchon/Cantele