Not all essential oils are created equally; just like other products, there’s a spectrum of quality determined by how they’re grown, made and handled. Unfortunately, there is no formal grade or certification standards required for companies to comply with in order to sell essential oils products. However, there are ways you can determine whether or not the essential oils you are using are real and are of high quality.
An essential oil can be pure while simultaneously being of poor quality and vice versa. The quality of an essential oil is determined by how it's produced. While, the purity is a result of the oil being unadulterated; in other words, not being mixed with other chemicals and synthetics. So how do you know if your essential oil is both pure and of high quality?
Essential oils that have been adulterated or tampered with are no longer pure, whole, natural substances. The standardization process of extracting essential oils from plants for commercial products (such as flavoring of food and candy) alter the oils purity. Commercial distillation or extraction usually contain added synthetic compounds or may have important constituents removed. Modifying an essential oil takes away from its purity and ultimately hindering its healing abilities.
The quality of an essential oil is determined by the environment surrounding the plant, the distillation and storage of the oil. Everything including the quality of the soil to the amount of rainfall will affect the quality. As well as, the type of equipment used for distillation and the time that passes between the botanical harvesting time and when it is distilled into an essential oil. Lastly, the way the essential oils are stored could also alter its quality. As the exposer to the sunlight's UV rays will deteriorate the oil. If stored in a material that is susceptible to the essential oil's toxic removing ability, the oil will start breaking down and dissolving the container. The suggested storage for essential oils is in a dark glass container, as it will protect the oil's quality.
What to look out for when buying essential oils
The price between oils should vary
Each oil varies between the time it takes to distill and the number of plants needed to product one bottle of oil. For example, it takes 10,000 roses to fill one 5ml bottle (that’s about the size of your thumb!). While a 5ml bottle of lavender takes less than one bushel. That's why the cost of each oil is different base on its production.
Does the packaging protect the oils?
For reasons listed above, make sure the essential oils are stored in containers that the oil cannot dissolve and breakdown. As well as, a dark amber or blue container so the essential oil is not affected by sunlight.
Watch out for misleading labels
Labelled with the word "pure" doesn’t necessarily mean that it is high quality. Pure essential oils can be distilled from poor quality crops, or be sitting in store inventory or on shelves for years or be stored in a way that damages the oils. Seek out essential oil vendors that provide detailed information about their oils and education in how they are produced.
When sampling essential oils, they should be very pungent. The strong smell indicates that the oils have not been diluted with other products that lower the essential oil's quality and effectiveness.
The Blot Test
If you're having a hard time figuring out whether or not your essential oil is diluted with other products, do a blot test. Take a white piece of paper and add a couple drops of your oil onto it, and let it sit for a few hours. If there is a grease ring around the blot of oil, then the essential oil is mixed with other products such as vegetable oil or synthetic constituents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jocelyn's passion to help others drives her work here at FUM. Jocelyn uses her research knowledge to bring information to the FUM Family on how to improve health. She graduated with a degree in Business Management and Organizational Communication from University of Ottawa and currently lives in Calgary, Canada.