It is not always easy to how to pick quality essential oils especially as a novice, to know whether or not you are buying a pure, natural, good-quality, sustainable essential oil. Being aware of what to look for can help you make a worthwhile purchase. The following guidelines set out key factors to consider when purchasing oils, helping you to assess how to quality checks and choose essential oils, provenance, and to choose the best oils for you.
Natural versus synthetic how to pick quality essential oils
The pure essential oil can be made up of a hundred or more individual chemical constituents, some of which are major constituents, others minor, which all work together “synergistically”. This means that when combined they create an overall effect that is greater than their individual parts. Synthetic fragrances, or isolated compounds, such as menthol, are far cheaper than pure essential oils, and although these may have a pleasant odor, they have none of the therapeutic benefits that make essential oils so special and unique. To be sure that you are choosing a pure essential oil, try to avoid products that contain added ingredients and bulking agents, as these additions increase the volume but reduce the quality of the oil.
Recognizing how to pick quality essential oils
Spend time researching companies and try to identify reputable ones that are likely to go to the most trouble to ensure their oils are of high quality.
Company credentials Some companies have developed their own terminology to demonstrate that their oils are superior. For example, an oil may be described as being of “therapeutic” or “aromatherapy” grade, but ultimately these are marketing terms and not meaningful. It can be more helpful, though not a guarantee of quality, to check if a company is a member of a reputable association, such as the Aromatherapy Trade
Council (ATC) in the United Kingdom or the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) in the United States. Another way to check a company’s credentials is to find out if it runs aromatherapy courses and/or has links with qualified aromatherapy practitioners, which indicates that the company has a deserved reputation.
All in the name If an essential oil is authentic, the botanical name should appear on the label, and compounds
called chemotypes (substances that link oils to a specific plant variety). may also be listed. For example, thyme will list its botanical name Thymus vulgaris, and the label might also mention linalool or thymol, to indicate that the oil is from one botanical species. The label. or a company website may also cite a country of origin, which indicates that it is true plant oil.
Certain oils, such as sandalwood and rosewood, are now available only in limited amounts or are unavailable. due to concerns about sustainability. Check the sustainability policy of a company before you buy oils.
Endangered plants Some plants have been harvested almost to extinction. For example, spikenard (Nardostachys atamans) has a critically endangered status and so this oil should be avoided unless the
supplier can guarantee that it is cultivated. You can check a plant’s status at
Supporting fair trade Fairtrade often ensures sustainability. Harvesting plants for oils can be an important source of income for some communities. With a conservation plan in place, plants are more likely to be protected as an important resource. Frankincense oil from Kenya, for example, is available as a FairWild source, a standard that protects the harvesting of wild species and ensures fair trading When choosing oils, look for fairtrade or fair for life logos that suggest sustainability and help to ensure the benefits of producing oil are felt by the people growing and harvesting the plants.
Organic essential oils and base oils have a higher therapeutic value because they contain the highest levels of antioxidants and are less likely to have potentially toxic residues from pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic production also benefits, farm owners, their families, and neighbors are gentler to the soil and usually have a more favorable outlook for expected crops, livestock, and water supplies. Consult the literature of the business to see if they promote agricultural practices.
What’s on the label?
- Reading a label closely can help you to make an on-the-spot assessment of essential oil. A label that has the following information suggests a high-quality oil:
- The oils’ botanical name and the part of the plant used
- The country of origin
- The distillation or packing date and/or expiration date.
- The batch number and, if applicable, a chemotype (such as thymol),
All essential oils require a large amount of plant matter to make just a small amount of oil. The price of oil is connected to its yield from the plant matter, which can vary greatly, from less than a percent to 25 percent, For example, around 1,000kg (2,2001b) of hand-picked orange blossom produces just 1kg (2¼ lb) of neroli oil – hence the high cost of exquisite nerolis, In contrast, 1 tonne of cloves produces up to 200kg (440lb) clove oil, making this a less expensive Oil.
Any company that sells all of their oils for the same price, or has prices that seem too good to be true, should be avoided. The good news is that because essential oils are so highly concentrated, just a small amount goes a long way, and only a few drops are used at a time. To ensure freshness, buy a small amount regularly, rather than large amounts that might go off before you use them.