Buying an essential oil is easy. Buying a good quality one can be extremely difficult. So why would anybody buy essential oils that cost more?
Did you know that there are 2 different kinds of essential oils: therapeutic-grade oils and those that are not?
Why buy a $70 dollar bottle of Frankincense when you can get it for $10?
Therapeutic Grade essential Oils
Essential oils are the volatile liquids of the plant. They are obtained from properly distilling any part of the part including the seeds, roots, bark, stems, leaves, fruit, flowers or branches!
According to the book, Chemistry of Essential Oils made easy,
“A therapeutic grade essential oil is defined as one that is specially distilled from plants that are cultivated organically or grown wild in a clean environment. Plants should be from the proper botanical genus, species, and cultivar. No chemical fertilizers are added to the soil, and crop cultivation is free of herbicides and pesticides. Essential oils should be extracted by steam distillation at minimum temperatures and pressures, as was done in ancient times. No chemicals solvents are to be used in the extraction process. And during the whole process, vessels of the right material should be used (like food-grade stainless steel and glass).
Also, essential oils exposed to light will polymerize and lose both their fragrances and their beneficial properties. And so genuine essential oils must be stored in light-proof containers or dark glass – like amber or blue.“
There are many factors that make therapeutic grade essential oil, which include:
The average essential oil may contain anywhere from 100 to 400 known chemical constituents. These constitutes all contribute to the oil’s therapeutic effects.
Environmental Factors – Where the plant is grown; the soil type; fertilizer (organic vs. chemical); altitude, etc;
Physical Factors – How and when the plant is harvested, how it is distilled and even how it is bottled! Oils that have been redistilled two or three times are not as potent as oils that have been distilled only once. Oils that are subjected to high heat and pressure in processing have an inferior profile of chemical constituents, since excessive heat and temperature fractures and breaks down many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the oil — compounds that are responsible for much of the therapeutic action of the oil.
Real therapeutic grade essential oils can promote restoration and provide balance to all of your body’s systems. Synthetic oils do not.
How to Tell the Difference
The type of bottle is your first clue: REAL essential oils are stored in dark bottles with a label that shows all the ingredients, including the botanical name.
Synthetic oils come in clear bottles, do not show the ingredients or if they do, don’t list the botanical name and have absolutely no healing property at all.
Your second clue is the price: Real essential oils cost more; they contain the true essence of the plant. They are very concentrated, therefore representing a great value for money as a little goes a long way.
Therapeutic Essential Oils should vary a great deal in cost. This is because it can take a large amount of raw plant material to create an ounce of therapeutic oil. Some are very rare and can take many pounds to create just a few ounces! It’s a wonder they are even the price they are!
Botanical Name: To be certain that you are purchasing the right ingredient, look for the botanical Latin name on the product label. For example, Peppermint (Mentha piperita), should be listed clearly.
Non Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils (Most Oils Bought in Health Stores)
Unfortunately, most store bought synthetic or fragrance oils are mistaken for therapeutic grade essential oils.
Why You Should Not Buy These Oils:
Chemical additives. These additives fracture the molecular structure of essential oils, altering their chemical constituents, destroying their therapeutic properties. Did you know that there is more “tea tree oil” on the market than there is plant material to have produced it? Why? Because a large amount of what is called tea tree is either synthetic or adulterated to include synthetics.
Artificial. Some of these oils are 100% artificial. These fragrance oils are primarily made from petrochemicals and attempt to duplicate the smell of a specific plant. A 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences reports that 95 percent of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins and synthesizers capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
Most store bought oils are 90% to 95% diluted with a colorless solvent. In fact, CODEX allows for oils to be labeled “pure” with only 3% of the pure oil in the bottle.
No chemical additives or dilution with alcohol or other oils should take place, nor should the essential oils be decolorized.
So, when you buy a bottle of “frankincense” for $20, you can be sure it has been diluted. The Frankincense resin or gum (this is the raw material cut from the tree) sold from Somalia costs about US$30,000 to US$35,000 per ton (907 Kilograms). That’s about US$33 a kilogram. However when this is distilled you may get as little as 5% of this as an essential oil. That makes things pretty expensive.