The Aromatherapy industry is a multi-million dollar industry. It is growing in popularity and there are so many companies out there now bottling and packaging essential oils, with statements of "pure essential oils" and "therapeutic grade". As a consumer it can be confusing to figure out which ones to buy.
As an Aromatherapist my goal is to get the oils in people's homes, onto/into their bodies, and ultimately to give people powerful alternatives to using conventional medicines. I know not everyone will believe that peppermint or lavender pure therapeutic grade essential oil will relieve a headache, and will prefer something like Panadol, but it is true. It works! Whether you believe it or not doesn't matter though, you have a choice available to you.
Over the past 20+ years I have used many different essential oil brands, and in recent years more and more brands have appeared.
I am not here to influence in any way, but I do feel it my duty to make sure that you have informed choices. For me, if I am spending money on oils and putting them on and into my/my family's systems, then I want to be absolutely sure that they are the purest I can find.
See below for a simple checklist to help you choose the right oils for you and your family:
1. Smell. It needs to smell the same as what is says on the bottle! You may laugh, but I have smelt some questionable oils over the years!
2. Bottles. Essential oils should always been in dark amber, blue, or green glass bottles. If they come in plastic bottles, don't buy them as essential oils (if they are good ones) eat through plastic. The reason for the dark glass is to protect from sunlight and preserve the essence.
3. Buy from a reputable brand. It's worth noting that shops and retailers mark up their products, so look at buying from wherever they buy from. Also, if buying from a shop, look to see where they are stored e.g. I have seen some stored in hot humid corners under lights, which might have an effect on the oil inside, and watch out for bottles that look old and dusty. Essential oils have varying shelf lives, you want the youngest, freshest oils.
4. Buy "therapeutic grade" essential oils. There is currently no centralised global governing body to monitor the purity of essential oils, which is why so many companies can jump on the bandwagon, so find out which companies do their own testing and quality control. Beware of the term "pure essential oil".....for oils to get on the shelves, they have to contain some pure essential oil....but can also have synthetic fillers and extenders in them too. Don't let the smell of the oil fool you....two of the most expensive oils available - Rose and Jasmine - can be copied synthetically to the point where the untrained nose would not be able to tell the difference between real rose and synthetic rose. Take a look on the back of the more famous perfume bottles - they say "notes of jasmine, rose" etc and you won't find any of those essential oils in the bottle! I can attest to the quality of "doTERRA" essential oils - this is the brand I favor simply because they are pure, they harvest ethically, reasonably priced and above all, they work.
5. Latin Name. Every oil should have the oil's corresponding Latin name printed on the bottle e.g. Lavender is Lavandula Angustifolia (although there are several breeds of lavender so it may have a slightly different second name). If it doesn't a Latin name, don't buy it. I would question the purity of the oil.
6. Colour. The purest oils will have the right color. Some are clear, but not all. The citrus oils are a good test e.g. Orange oil should be slightly orange, Lime oil should be slightly green, and the resin oils like Sandalwood, Frankincense, Benzoin etc should be syrupy in texture and amber in colour. Note, Lavender essential oil is never purple (!), and other essential oils other than those mentioned are going to be more clear in colour.
7. Eithically sourced? Understand where the company sources their oils (not the retailer, you need to know where the actual oil company source from). The companies I have mentioned above either source directly where the flowers naturally grow, or grow their own. High standards are maintained this way. Personally, I look for oils that are ethically sourced, where the local farmers are not disadvantaged and the countryside is not destroyed in the process.
8. Distillation. It is an absolute science and a very delicate process in order to get the oils from plant/flower/tree to the bottle. The climate, temperature, altitude, time of day for picking/processing all weigh in to the equation. Most oils are steam distilled, whilst the citrus oils are pressed.
9. Cost. Be careful here. Whilst it is true that the purest, therapeutic grade oils are more expensive, don't be fooled by a retailer who has inflated the price to give the illusion that they are high quality. The more expensive oils are Rose, Jasmine, Melissa, Frankincense, and Sandalwood and that is the reason there are generally sold in smaller bottles, or sometimes blended in coconut oil, or with Rose it is often blended with Geranium.
10. Read the safety guidelines. Not all oils can be taken internally. You must follow the manufacturer's guidelines.
Finally.....essential oils are very powerful and I have experienced and seen amazing things happen to people and animals through using them. Once you find the ones you like, and you know that they are going to give you the best results, you won't look back! Feel free to drop me a message if you want to know more about essential oils.
If you are drawn to essential oils or want to start using them, you can connect with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the "book a session" tab on my website. There is an "essential oil" session on there. Let's get things moving in your life!