Guideline For Determining Essential Oil Quality
How can I determine the quality of the essential oil I am purchasing? A quick search on Google for essential oils suppliers will show that costs for essential oils varies and they vary a lot! How can you decide which oil to purchase? Here are a few factors to help you determine the level of quality of the oil you intend to purchase.
Essential oils are derived from plants. They go through a process which could impact the quality of the oil being used. The plants can be grown on a farm or “wild crafting” conditions and factors such as soil condition and rainfall affect can impact the oil quality. Essential oil descriptions should also contain the country of origin since the quality of the oil can vary from country to country. The use of pesticides or other chemicals can also impact the essential oil obtained. It is important to note that pesticides may also adulterate the essential oil if it is not eliminated in the manufacturing process. Adulteration becomes important if you plan on using the essential oil for therapeutic purposes. Even if you plan on using the oils as an air freshener, the aroma contains particles that enter your blood stream via inhalation.
Essential oils in the market place can be found in various dilutions or even marketed as perfume oils or aromatherapy oils. There are wide variations and taking the time to read the labels, product descriptions and research your product will help to safely assess the quality of the oil. Perfume oils are not the same as essential oils and they do not share the therapeutic benefits that essential oils have. Aromatherapy oils may have already been blended with other oils or chemicals. Preservatives may have been added to protect and enhance the mixture.
There is nothing wrong with purchasing diluted, pre-mixed blends or perfume oils but just beware of what you are purchasing at what price. As you price shop at various stores online, you will find that many stores claim to sell essential oils, but in actuality, they are only selling a diluted version of the oil or the perfume oil. These oils are excellent for making soaps, creams, bath salts and other beauty body products.
While there are no set standards for the shelf life of essential oils, most can be used within 1 – 2 years after opening. The oils should be stored in a dark bottle (amber glass or blue cobalt works nicely) and tightly sealed. Bottles with rubber stoppers should not be used to store the essential oil since the potency of the oil degrades the rubber and turns it into a gummy substance. The rubber can then fall into the oil thus contaminating the purity of the oil. Also, excessive exposure of the oil to sun’s ultra violet rays, heat, or air will degrade the oil. The oils should also be stored in a cool, dark place once you have them. A wooden craft box works nicely.
Be the informed buyer. Take the time to learn about what you are purchasing and then check if that fulfills your intended use. You will find that the quality of the essential oils can vary greatly and understanding what information is being provided to you will impact your purchasing decision.