Vital Points To Know Before You Purchase Essential Oils

There are many essential oils on the market and it can be overwhelming to sort out the differences between various companies and suppliers. It is important to understand the following terms before purchasing essential oils to be sure you are getting therapeutic quality essential oils from a supplier you trust.

1. “Pure”
In the US, the term “pure” has no legal meaning and is often applied to just about anything. Do not rely on the term pure when shopping for essential oils. It is best to do thorough research on any essential oil company before purchasing their oils.

2. Synthetic Fragrances
Certain oils do not exist in a natural state, and are only available as synthetic fragrances or “bouqueted” fragrances (combinations of essential oils, absolutes, and synthetics). These include honeysuckle, linden, gardenia, frangipani. Typically you can smell the difference between a synthetic fragrance of rose and the actual essential oil or absolute. If a line of “essential oils” is all priced the same, it is good to suspect that these oils are in fact synthetic. The reason for this is that true essential oils range in cost based on the cost of production (labor, plant matter required, etc).

3. Adulteration/Substitution
The more expensive an oil, the greater the risk of adulteration. Some oils are highly adulterated, such as melissa (lemon balm), rose, and sandalwood. Some oils such as birch are substituted with wintergreen, a less expensive but similar essential oil.

4. Chain of Supply
The fragrance industry has many levels of buyers and suppliers. The more levels that are involved, the higher the risk of adulteration. Large volumes of oils sold as “genuine” and “pure” are neither. False advertising is rampant in the aromatherapy world. It is best to get oils from a supplier that works directly with the distiller. A long-term relationship with a trustworthy distiller is key in the aromatherapy industry to assure that high quality essential oils are produced and accurately sold.

5. Grades
Lower grades of oils are frequently sold as higher grades. A good example is ylang ylang: Ylang Ylang Superior is the first stage of distillation, where Ylang Ylang Complete is a combination of all four stages of distillation. In this case, the different grades should be clearly labeled for customers to select their preference. However, some companies may sell Ylang Ylang Complete labeled as Superior to increase their profit.

6. Extenders
Many oils are “extended” using synthetic or natural solvents. Expensive oils are frequently extended with jojoba. Some oils are extended to make them more pourable.