Do you know where your oils come from? Have they undergone testing to ensure they are free of fillers, pesticides and adulterations?
Did you know there is no regulation in the essential oil industry? There is no standard that needs to be met and no one is checking to see if that bottle of oil labeled “100% pure essential oil” is actually pure, or has any natural essential oil in it at all.
Adulteration is very common in the essential oil industry. This makes it very hard for the average consumer to know whether the oil they are using is actually a pure essential oil.
What is adulteration?
Oils can be adulterated in several different ways. It occurs during the production process and it is intentional—you cannot accidentally adulterate an oil. By adding other substances to the pure essential oil, the producer can get a lot more money out of their oil.
One common method of adulteration is adding other oils. Less expensive essential oils are added to more costly oils in an effort to reduce the cost to produce. Oils similar in chemistry are used (like adding cassia to cinnamon, or cypress to frankincense), making it hard to detect.
Dilution is another way essential oils are frequently adulterated. Adding in a carrier oil, like coconut or canola oil, allows a company to maintain the chemistry of the oil, but have a lot more of it. The problem with this is that it can significantly reduce the potency and effectiveness of the oil.
Another method is adding in natural isolates, which is adding a natural chemical to the essential oil. It’s a chemical you would find in the oil, like alpha-pinene, but it come from something else entirely.
Creating synthetic oils in a lab. We are able to create synthetic chemical constituents, often out of petro-chemicals. “Lavender” can be produced without using a Lavender plant at all. Instead it is synthesized linalool and linalyl acetate, from petroleum-based products. This is far less expensive than actually growing, harvesting and distilling a pure essential oil.
Why does essential oil quality matter?
Purity and potency are of critical importance when you are using essential oils for yourself and your family. You want to know that the oils will be both safe and effective. Oils that have been adulterated will lack potency and have diminished therapeutic value. They may also be harmful to our bodies and they are much more likely to cause allergic reactions or have toxic side-effects.
Oils may be pure and without intentional adulteration, but still contain pesticides or herbicides that we do not want in or on our bodies. This is why it is important to know the company producing your oils conducts thorough testing on the oils to ensure each batch is going to be pure, potent and safe.
What should we look for in our essential oils?
There are so many factors that contribute to essential oil quality and whether the oils you are using will be both safe and effective. Here are a list of some of the most important ones:
- Plant quality: Does the company use high-quality plants to produce their essential oils? Are the plants grown in the right conditions with the right farming practices?
- Production practices: Does the company have safety procedures in place to guard against contamination during the production process? Are oils adulterated or are synthetic fillers added to cut costs?
- Testing methods: Does the company test each batch of essential oil? Is impartial, third-party testing used? Are test results available to the public?
- Storage and handling: Are the oils carefully processed, packaged, and stored to avoid chemical alterations caused by exposure to heat or light? (Amber bottles are typically the best option for essential oil storage.)
How can you know?
Unless the company producing your oils makes this information available to you, you can’t be sure of the essential oil quality. That’s why we use doTERRA. We know and trust their process. The Source to You website allows you to get information on the batch of essential oil your bottle came from, and makes the test results available to you. Learn more about doTERRA’s testing here.
doTERRA conducts these tests on every batch of oil to ensure purity:
- Organoleptic testing
- Microbial testing
- Gas chromatography
- Mass spectrometry
- Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
- Chirality testing
- Isotopic analysis
- Heavy metal testing
Make sure the oils you are using are safe, potent and effective, and that they come from a source you can trust.
Once you are confident in the quality of your essential oils, then you’ll want to be sure you are using them safely.