Quality of Essential Oils

I have realized that when it comes to brands of essential oils, people suddenly get so defensive, like a momma bear protecting her cub. Why is this? What about this makes good, rational thinking people all of the sudden turn crazy and do irrational things? And really, it’s not just with oils. You find this with anything someone has a strong belief in. People don’t like to be wrong, especially when they have so much invested in something. They defend it. And sometimes, irrationally.

With that said, I feel it’s crucial to address the issue of quality in essential oils, especially if you are using them for therapeutic purposes. Using poor quality oils are not only less effective, but may contain ingredients that can cause harm to your body.

Now, I’m not here to say which brand/company is the best or has the purest quality oils. That is something you need to decide for yourself through study and prayer. I’m also not proclaiming I’m an expert on the subject. Through my search for information I have come to realize that you can literally study for years on the topic of essential oils and still not know everything there is about these amazing, God-given gifts! What I will do is share what I have learned in my process, and hope that it can be of some benefit to you.

 

Essential Oil Chemistry 101

Although the chemistry of essential oils can be very complicated, it is important to have a basic understanding of your oils and how they work. Simply put, all essential oils can be broken down into their different chemical elements, or constituents. These constituents are what make up the therapeutic qualities in your oil, depending on the amount and how they are arranged on a molecular level.  In many instances you’ll have the same constituent in different oils, however, they will behave very differently as a result of the synergistic effect that takes place when they come together with other chemical elements.

To me, I kind of picture it like Legos. My 7 year old loves Legos, and was so happy when he got a Ninjago fighter plane for Christmas. I, on the other hand, wondered if I shouldn’t steer him to a different hobby, have you ever put one of those things together? There’s so many pieces! Anyway, when you’re building with Legos, you have all these different pieces: small, large, flat, round, tires, hinges, etc. But what makes the difference between a house and a fighter plane is what pieces you use and how they’re put together.

The same is true for your oils. There are constituents that you want in your oils in their proper percentages and molecular structures for them to be effective in your body. But here’s the kicker- these constituents can change depending on many factors including the growing conditions of the plant, how the plants are harvested and stored, and how the oils are extracted, not to mention any adulteration of the oil after distillation.

 

 

So how do you know what’s in an oil?

15163126-essential-oil-and-lavender-flowersCurrently, the U.S. has no governmental body, or formally approved grading standard, that grades or certifies the quality of essential oils. Although you may see companies using the terms “therapeutic grade” or “medicinal grade” to describe their oils, that is a term given by the company itself, and the way I see it, has no meaning whatsoever.

Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy can help to verify the quality of essential oils. However, the accuracy of these tests rely so much on the skill of the operator. Besides, anyone can fake a piece of paper! The way things are right now, a company can pretty much say whatever they want about their oils and in all reality, it is very difficult for the average consumer to confirm their claims.

I cannot stress how important it is to do your own thinking when it comes to choosing essential oils!  Don’t be blinded by false marketing schemes and glitzy advertising, do some research and use the greatest gift God gave you- a brain and the ability to choose for yourself!!

Some things to consider when researching essential oil companies are:

  • Are the plants they use in making their oils certified organic or grown without pesticides?
  • How has the company established its oil standards? What do they do to guarantee plant identity, proper levels of constituents, as well as being free from pollutants or adulteration?
  • What tests are done to ensure quality? Is the testing done in-house or by independent third parties?
  • Do they use proper distillation methods? Are their oils from first distillations? (Some companies run the plant through second and third distillations to get more oil out of the plant, which results in a very poor quality oil.)

I’m ashamed to admit that when I first started using oils I thought they were all pretty much the same and didn’t think twice about what I was actually putting into my body (I know, makes you wanna just cringe and keel over right?).  It was quite the eye opener when I started learning more about essential oils and the companies that sell them.  Actually, more like scary!  So for me, after I do my part and get all the information I can about a company and it’s products, I muscle test the oils I get to make sure what I’m getting is good quality.  It has been interesting doing this because even though I’ll test and receive an answer that an oil is of good quality, I will ask, “Is there anything I can do to make this oil better?”  and surprisingly, I always receive a “yes”.

 

More than just Chemistry

While it’s true that we have the responsibility to seek out the best quality essential oils, we cannot overlook one very important characteristic of essential oils.

Plants are living things, and the oils that come from them are also living energy. Our thoughts and intent can affect the frequencies of essential oils, thus impacting the affect they have in our body.  Prayer and positive thinking elevates the frequencies while negative thoughts will decrease the frequencies.

Can our thoughts change the inherent chemical make up of an oil?  I don’t know. I haven’t taken the time to test that myself. That would be a good topic for a later post.  There have been times where I have felt my oils “change” depending on my needs and what I’m working on. Was it because of my intent, or were they just reacting to the chemistry of my body? Maybe both? I don’t know.

I believe that as you put forth effort and do your best to make educated decisions, you will be guided on what is best for you and your family.  Don’t disregard the impact prayer and intuition have on choosing what oils you use!  After all, grace is given to us “after all we can do”.

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