There is so much marketing among essential oil companies talking about quality and bashing each other for not measuring up based on whatever test they chose to use to prove their case, it makes you wonder if there are any tips available to help you know how to find quality essential oils.
There is no doubt essential oils are a hot topic today, especially when talking quality. After hearing Henry Pouchon, the president of the Confrerie de la lavande in 2000, say that France produces about 50 tons of True and clone Lavender, while brokers export 250 tons doesn’t necessarily give warm and fuzzies about knowing whether or not what you buy is what the label says it is.
Yes… you read that right… this means France export 500% MORE lavender than they produce!!
Gasp!! This means a “100% pure essential oil” could actually be anything from 75% vegetable oil or solvent (or 95% solvent for that matter) to completely synthetic, and still fit within the legal label laws!
Listening to a talk by Dr Eric Z, an authority on essential oils, it is presumed over 75% of essential oils on the market are synthetic or adulterated. The biggest problem with this is that most essential oils are purchased for their health benefits.
Using synthetic or adulterated oils contain an imbalanced constituent structure that the body doesn’t respond as well to, and may actually cause negative effects including skin issues, allergies, Alzheimers, autoimmune disorders, and other adverse reactions (thanks to synthetic fragrances). Our bodies are not designed to metabolize the synthetic ingredients and unnatural amounts of constituents used to create synthetic essential oils or the solvents often used to dilute them. This happens because it is cheaper to manufacture.
So… how d you find quality essential oils?
Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about “organic” labels. Organic oils, just like organic produce doesn’t mean 100% free from pesticides. There are many chemicals used in the farming process with Organic and Certified Organic labels that have little safety studies done. They can also have harmful farming chemicals drifted over in the air or water runoff from neighboring farms that use harmful pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. So you cannot 100% guarantee there is nothing on them. While Certified Organic is likely better than conventionally grown, the quality of essential oil has more to do with how and where the plants are processed, sourced, harvested, and all else that happens prior to bottling.
Pure, unadulterated essential oils can be expensive, but that is because of how concentrated they are.
For example, it takes anywhere from 500-2,000 pounds (or more) of a plant’s material to produce just 1 (ONE) pound of essential oil! This is precisely what entices many companies to take cheap short cuts with synthetic ingredients and additives.
If you’re using essential oils for therapeutic purposes or to remove toxic alternatives from your lifestyle, then you need to know:
- where the plants come from,
- who owns the farms,
- who distills the plants,
- how the plants are treated before being distilled,
- whether or not the farm uses pesticides or herbicides,
- whether the company offers testing and reports,
- how long the company has been in business
The answers to those questions will tell you an incredible amount of information about that brand.
Brands unwilling to answer don’t deserve your hard earned money.
If they’re not willing to answer, then they don’t know or give overly vague answers, then they likely purchase their oils from a broker or have no idea where their oils come from nor are they aware of adulterations that could happen during the transporting and sales processes.
There are absolutely NO 3rd party agencies regulating the essential oil industry – for both the manufacturing AND the educational certification programs.
Every company creates their own standards and conducts or contracts out testing. Neither the US FDA or FTC has any regulation or legal definition designed to create a standard for the essential oil industry.
What does this mean? Each company has their own standards, and whether you chose to believe them boils down to how well you’re able to trust them… and really by that I mean how transparent they are about the farming, distilling, and bottling process.
How to find quality essential oils:
There are a few questions you should ask a company about their essential oils before you decide to purchase from them:
- Where does the company source their oils from?
- Who owns the farms?
- Who distills the oils?
- How are the plants cared for prior to distillation?
- Does the farm use pesticides or herbicides? Remember, if it’s on the plants, it can get in your body.
- When are the plants harvested? Do they do any testing on the plants to know when peak harvesting times are?
- How long do the plants sit before being distilled?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Essential Oils are very popular now. New companies with or without reputable interests are popping up all over the place to cash in on the growing market.
MS/GC… what is it… do you need to see it… or is there more to the story??
I have on that list whether or not a company offers MS/GC reports… but not for the reason you may think. In fact… it’s kind of the opposite. Many companies out there post their MS/GC reports as a form of marketing so you can see how “transparent” they are… and to provide the company with a means to bash on competing companies who don’t offer it.
Personally… I feel as though companies who publish their MS/GC reports do so because the average consumer doesn’t know how to read them. In all reality… it is a marketing technique so they don’t have to answer the hard questions about farming, distilling, and bottling… to sum it up… its lazy.
Another reason I don’t appreciate seeing MS/GC reports is because it provides a lot of pressure for the company to replicate the exact same numbers, knowing full well the soil, time of year, weather… etc… all throw off the numbers. This means… sharing their constituent reports sets the company up to conveniently alter the oil batches in a lab to make sure they match what they post in their MS/GC.
I would rather they be transparent about how, when, who, where details about their oils… complete with the ability to visit the farms and see for ourselves.
How do you know which oil brand is for you?
Often… you don’t until you try it out. This is often very personal because each of our bodies is different. What works for me may or may not work for you. The only way you’ll know is by trying it for yourself, and feeling the difference within your body as you smell and apply the oils. This is why I advocate for people to try more than just what the bloggers recommend or what is available in local stores (especially chain stores).
What brand do you use?
I’ve bounced between several different brands over the past 25+ years (yes! I started using oils when I was 6 years old!!), and spent over a year comparing oils from various different companies looking for a brand that worked the most efficiently for me.
My favorites have been Oshadhi and Young Living.
After reading an eye-crossing amount of information and comparing several brands bought both in local stores and online, I found Young Living’s oils to be the best for me based on how they smell, how I feel during and after smelling them, and their quality guarantee and obvious passion for doing the right thing.
Young Living offers a Seed to Seal Guarantee that no other brand offers.
Young Living quite literally has full control over harvesting the seeds, planting the plants, harvesting the plants, distilling, bottling, and sealing the products, to providing the product for sale online.
They distill their products on site at the farms to make sure the highest quality through distilling almost immediately after harvesting. Testing is also conducted throughout the entire process to make sure their products meet their quality standards. They own farms, and openly invite and encourage their distributors to tour the facilities and assist! They even use their own oils for pest control, taking them a step above organic!!! When using these oils, there is no need to worry about whether pesticides or herbicides (whether they be standard or allowed to use in organic products) were used or if those chemical residues are still in the oils after distilling!
With so many brands of essential oils on the market being diluted with synthetic additives, I fully trust the Young Living brand and their dedication to producing high quality oils that are completely safe to use.
Have you applied the questions above to the essential oils you use?
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P.S. If you need some essential oils, we provide special coaching, resources, and support groups for our members. Just head over to our membership page to create an account or contact us. Don’t forget to come join our online community too!