How to Check For Quality Essential Oils
When you begin to use essential oils for therapeutic or aromatherapy purposes, you’ll enjoy the endless natural benefits that can be brought to your lifestyle.
The trouble is that not all essential oils are the same, and if you don’t do your homework and be a smart buyer, you may end up purchasing oils that have very little potency to them.
Since this industry is not regulated by the FDA, it’s easy for suppliers to make claims about their products that aren’t true. To protect your health and ensure that your money is going in the right place, it pays to be a savvy shopper.
Ask for a Recommendation
The best way to find a reputable supplier of essential oils is to ask for a recommendation from a trusted friend, family member or coworker. You may also ask your doctor for a suggestion. If someone offers you a name, ask if they have used the products before.
Sometimes, people see the names of companies and use them as a suggestion, but that doesn’t mean that they have tried the product firsthand. You may also ask for suggestions on Facebook or Twitter; this opens you up to more responses from those in your cyber world.
Do Your Own Research
Let the recommendations you receive from others serve as a base of where to start. It’s still important to do your own research. Read online reviews or testimonials and assess the quality and professionalism of the website. Is there contact information clearly posted on the site?
Does the supplier know the origin of the herbs? Do they share their storage practices? Do they have inside knowledge on the industry that can help you make the right selections?
While not a guarantee, most reputable vendors are honest and upfront about their products and well-versed in the industry. They may have sustainable growing practices, a strict grading system or be able to share inside knowledge on how to distill and store essential oils.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, too. If you get a good response from the company, you can assume that they know their stuff.
Know the Storage Practices
There are many companies out there that are respectable and love what they do, but that doesn’t mean they practice the best techniques.
Essential oils, like herbs, are very delicate. They need to be stored properly and handled delicately in order to ensure their potency. Oils should be stored in dark-colored vials so that light does not pass through. Light will destroy the integrity of the product and cause it lose its aroma and potency.
Some suppliers sell their oils in aluminum bottles, and this is acceptable as long as the inside of the container is lined. Plastic is a definite no since the oils can leech into the plastic material. Although having a rubber eyedropper included with the bottle is convenient, it’s better to steer clear of these vials.
The eyedropper bulb can soak up some of the oil and cause it to be contaminated. Finally, the essential oils should be kept in a dark room with no direct sunlight and proper airflow.
It can be hard to buy essential oils from local vendors, especially if you don’t live near a large city. If you have no choice but to buy online, seek out vendors that test out their essential oils and are willing to supply samples.
Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if you know the answer) to test the supplier for their knowledge on essential oils. Reputable suppliers will often have the Latin names of the herbs, the country of origin and the extraction method.
Be Label Smart
A big issue to watch for is the purity of the essential oil. You may find a great website with strong reviews and solid information, but that doesn’t mean that what they’re selling is of the highest quality. The oil may be acceptable quality, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the herb world, but it may not be the quality you are looking for.
For instance, for an oil to be labeled an “essential oil,” it only has to be 51 percent oil. Chances are, you want 100 percent, right?
Additionally, terms like “fragrance oil,” “nature identical oil” and “perfume oil” should be avoided. These terms indicate that what you’re about to buy is not a pure essential oil. Instead, it’s most likely a combination of oils and other chemicals that are mixed together.
Also, terms like “aromatherapy grade” or “therapeutic grade” are loosely used, and since the FDA doesn’t regulate this market, there is no minimum requirement to meet this “grade.”
Your best bet is to ask the vendor exactly what they mean by their grading system. Some suppliers use therapeutic or aromatherapy grade while others have chosen the more professional-sounding “clinical grade.”
Remember, since there are no requirements, anything is up for grabs.
You need to be careful with organic and certified organic labels as well since organic does not automatically mean quality.
Some oils may have organic ingredients but still be distilled under high pressure. Again, ask questions, do your research and find out why the product you’re about to buy is labeled as such.
Knowing all of this, many people assume that they will just stick to products labeled “pure essential oils.” After all, what else could be in there? But even this is an overused term that doesn’t guarantee anything.
Don’t get carried away and put automatic trust in the product just because it says pure, natural, organic or the like. It could be old, the oils could have been distilled from poor quality crops or the product may have been mishandled.
Again, look for 100 percent pure on the label as well as proper storage techniques, such as the oils being sold in dark-colored vials that are 4 ounces in size and do not contain eyedropper bulbs.
You Pay for What You Get
A final point to consider is the price. We all have to watch our money, so it’s not surprising that you’ll be apt to go after an economically priced essential oil, especially if the label says good things like “organic” or “therapeutic grade.”
Yet price is a big indicator in the quality of the product. Reputable vendors spend a lot of time and money locating high-quality oils, paying fees to test the oils and providing free or low-cost samples upon request.
They have to pay more for the product to begin with because of the harvest and distillation techniques, and all of these costs will be passed down to the consumer.
Also, be cautious about suppliers that charge the same amount of money for all of their essential oils.
Basic citrus oils are the least expensive, and high-quality patchouli will cost more than eucalyptus. It’s also best to work with companies that sell essential oils for aromatherapy and therapeutic uses only.
Vendors that work with the perfumery or food and beverage industries often re-distill their products. Always ask about the distillation methods that the company uses if you choose to buy from a vendor in this industry.
There are many high-quality essential oils on the market that are pure and will offer endless therapeutic benefits. If possible, get a solid recommendation, but also be sure to do your own research to be a smart buyer. It can be difficult to separate high-quality essential oils from poor-quality ones, but the signs are usually right there in front of us.
Just remember that in most cases, you get what you pay for. Opting for an inexpensive oil probably means that it has poor distillation practices and is combined with other oils or chemicals. A truly pure product will cost more, but it will offer you the potency you’re looking for.Share with friends!