Buyer beware when purchasing essential oils

The quality of an essential oil depends on the growing conditions, crop yield, distillation process, and integrity of the distiller and supplier.

by Carol E. Gutierrez — 

Not all essential oils are created equal. The quality of an essential oil depends on the growing conditions, crop yield, distillation process, and integrity of the distiller and supplier. Essential oils are really not oils at all, but plant extracts, so if you place a drop of essential oil on your fingertip, it should not feel oily or leave an oil ring on paper.

One way to be sure you are getting quality essential oils is by purchasing them from reputable companies. Also, it is best to buy organically grown essential oils. The oils should be sold in dark glass bottles and have the Latin name of the plant listed on the bottle.

You should expect essential oils to be priced differently. For example, rose essential oil costs about $80 a teaspoon, whereas a citrus oil costs roughly $6 for the same amount. Rose is expensive because it takes 1,000 pounds of rose petals to yield one pound of essential oil.

Another thing affecting the cost is the purity of the oil. A bottle can claim it contains 100 percent essential oil, which may be true about the essential oil itself, but the essential oil may be diluted in a vegetable oil. This makes a huge difference in the price of the product.

With the surge in popularity of complementary therapy in the United States over the last 15 years, we have seen more products claiming to contain aromatherapy, such as candles, massage oils and lotions. In reality, many of them contain fragrances or “nature-identical” synthetic products made in a lab. Many people today have developed environmental sensitivities or allergic reactions to what they believe to be essential oils, but this really is due to the synthetics.

Quality essential oils are a powerful therapeutic tool. Aromatherapists, classes and books can help you use them wisely.

 

Carol E. Gutierrez holds certifications in holistic nursing, massage therapy, clinical aromatherapy, healing touch and guided imagery. She specializes in reflexology and toe reading and is a certified instructor for the RJ Buckle clinical aromatherapy certifications program. cegrn@yahoo.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

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