Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oil Quality Matters

Oh my goodness y’all, I can’t tell you how concerned I’ve been lately about the surge of companies that are selling “pure” essential oil, which is anything but.  This week I’ve been following Dr. Robert Pappas of Essential Oil University, and his exposes of the fraudulent oil found at several major retailers.

As a person who cares about the aromatherapy industry, I can’t tell you how much this bothers me.  One of the major issues with essential oils sales in the United States is that they are almost purely based off of a retail model.  In many other countries, the aromatherapy industry was established as a profession before retailers began to market essential oils.  In this country, many people want to make a buck without worrying about the actual quality of the essential oil they are selling.

This is a problem.  People are purchasing oils that are toxic fragrance and ingesting them.  They are inhaling them.  And they wonder why the oils are not working therapeutically.

My hope is that one day in the near future essential oil companies will be held accountable if they are being misleading or untruthful in their marketing and labeling material.  There are several pieces of information that should be clearly labeled on an essential oil bottle, which include:

  • The exact botanical species.  Both the genus and the species of the plant which was distilled or cold-pressed should be clearly labeled on the bottle.  This is needful information if the oil is to be used therapeutically.  There are many different species of lavender and eucalyptus for example, and each of them work differently.
  • The part of the plant used.  This only applies if the plant produces essential oils from different parts.  For example, the therapeutic constituents found in the leaves of the bitter orange tree varies considerably from the oil produced in the fruit,
  • Chemotype, if applicable. Sometimes a plant grown in a specific geographic location will have a considerably different chemical makeup than a the same plant grown elsewhere.  This is a very common occurrence in Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris).

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis is also a helpful tool to utilize when purchasing essential oil.  While it shouldn’t be considered a “bad” thing necessarily if these reports are not made public, as a consumer I appreciate when this analysis is known.

If the label of an essential oil is extremely vague, run the other way.  Price is also a good thing to look at.  If a company offers  Frankincense and Lemon oil for the same amount, their oil is not pure.

*The proceeding statements about essential oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided here is in no way intended to replace proper medical care.

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