Insects have been pollinating flowers for over 200 million years. Insects, like humans, are attracted to specific plants for one of three possible reasons: its aroma, its color, or its morphology or physical structure. Scent appears to be more ancient than flower color as an attractant to insects.3 Various insects, including bees, butterflies, and even beetles, are known to be attracted by the aroma of a plant.4a
Frankincense can be used for depression, inflammation, immunity, and to increase spiritual awareness.Today, scientists, physicians and researchers are beginning to return to the use of essential oils as a way to naturally and holistically heal our bodies. Frankincense actually has a history of medicinal use and could be quite helpful in your medicine cabinet.
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for educational purposes only. The references to safety information, constituents and percentages is generalized information. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.
I've been digging into this for over a year now, beginning last summer when I noticed a new multi-level essential oil company sweep into my social media feeds. What struck my curiosity at first was less about the oils and more about the controversy that seemed to surround them - the lawsuits, accusations and most important to me, questions being raised about quality.
Thank you so much for all of your information that you share. It seems like when I google something about essential oils, I frequently end up on your site. I am new to essential oils and not sure what to expect. It seems like when I use them in lotion, roll-on, or even a eucalyptus steam the scent dissipates relatively quickly. I am not sure if I am not adding enough essential oils, if I am buying lower quality essential oils, or if I am expecting too much. For instance, a 8 oz batch of lotion (I used 30 drops total of essential oil)that I made last week no longer has a scent to it (at least to me). Any insight on this?
Janice – no, it’s not at all junk science, and this is what ISO standards are all about – the maximum and minimum ranges of key constituents. This does of course vary with different chemotypes, as well as different species, and it can also vary with geographical origin. So there is an ISO standard for peppermint oil from the USA, and a different one for the rest of the world. (this is not elitism – ISO standards are not US-based.)
The Mountain Rose Herbs essential oil company strives to sell the absolute finest quality of essential oils. All of their products are certified organic, and an attitude of “People and Planet before Profit” runs through their whole company. Their sustainability principles range from Zero Waste Certification to an Energy Efficiency operations program that helps reduce their company’s carbon footprint.
Of course aromatic materials were used in Biblical times for various medicinal, religious and ceremonial purposes but these materials would not have been essential oils, at least not by todays definition of being steam distilled products. This would have been impossible given that steam distillation had not yet even been discovered! Most people attribute the discovery of true steam distillation to a Persian scientist named Avicenna (Ibn Sina) in the 11th century. There was certainly no steam distillation over 2300 years earlier in King Tut's time. Aromatic products used during these ancient times would have been of a crude solvent extracted nature using fats and pressed oils and the like and would not have been very concentrated (not to mention that extracted products yield very different chemistry than distilled products) and therefore their use cannot really be related to how we should use the steam distilled essential oils of today.
Very simply, you want to read on the label — or information page for every oil — the true Latin name of the plant from which the oil was extracted, as well as the country from which the plant was harvested. Some companies will go further and tell you the method of extraction, the farming quality and also the chemical family of the oil. Plus seeing the batch number on the bottle helps you match it with its testing.
Since we are not chemists, nor do we have the resources or equipment to evaluate the chemical purity of the essential oils, we stuck with methods of evaluation available to the average consumer. Out of the nearly 40 different essential oil companies researched we were able to narrow down the list to a total of seven reputable companies by using the parameters listed above in our section ‘What to look for when purchasing essential oils.’
“Peppermint is an interesting plant in that it yields more oil than most others. As such, large farms and distilleries extract a bunch of oil from the peppermint plant. Smaller farms do a first distillation of peppermint that they sell to oils companies for the highest price. The peppermint is then re-distilled at a higher pressure and higher temperature for a 2nd distill, and the resulting oil is sold for less money to soap companies, and the like, that want a lower cost oil, but still desire a slightly “herby” smell. The plant is then re-distilled one more time at a yet higher temperature and pressure for a 3rd distill, which is sold to companies wanting the candy-cane smelling oil.”
For example, Peppermint Essential Oil is used primarily as a flavoring for candies (i.e. Candy Canes), chewing gum and ice creams. It is often referred to on food ingredient labels as Oil of Peppermint or simply as Peppermint Oil. Because large food/candy manufacturers must produce a consistently flavored product, the intensity, aroma and overall flavor of the peppermint oil they use must remain consistent between each lot of oil that they purchase. Peppermint Oil manufacturers/distributors, therefore typically standardize the essential oils that they sell by establishing a blueprint of the percentage that each important constituent should reach within each essential oil. They then test the oil and then adjust the oil by adding or removing constituents until the resulting oil meets the ideal percentage.
In Gas Chromatography, an essential oil is vaporized and passed through a long column to separate the oil into its individual components. Each component will travel through the column at a different speed, depending on its molecular weight and chemical properties, and is measured as it exits the column. Using this testing method, quality control analysts can determine which compounds are present in a test sample.
Any essential oil business that cares about selling only pure essential oils will have their oils tested with at least two tests, usually run simultaneously, the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests, or GC/MS. Responsible essential oil vendors will run these tests on every batch of oil they receive from a distiller. Many of these vendors provide batch-specific GC/MS reports on their websites, and some others will provide them on request, sometimes for a nominal fee. Some high quality essential oil vendors do not provide these reports, but those that do are prefered by trained aromatherapists.
Heavy Metal testing shows the amount of heavy metal content in the essential oil. When properly distilled, essential oils should not contain heavy metals. ICP-MS testing uses a high-energy medium called Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) to ionize the sample. The sample is then run through a mass spectroscope, which separates the sample into its elemental parts and provides a reading about which elements are present and at what quantities.
The third and most shocking thing that I learned (this was most shocking because I really felt like I had been lied to when I found this) is that the words that these companies use such as “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, are TRADEMARKED PHRASES by their corresponding essential oil company. This means that the reason each of these companies claims that “no other company can say….”, it's because their company has trademarked the words…from the doTERRA website:”CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products.”
Are they an eco-conscious company? One of the reasons I choose the essential oil (and herb) company that I use for my personal and business needs, is because of their sustainable practices. I am very passionate about being eco-friendly and when a business goes to such lengths to be a zero waste company as well as put time and money into other eco-conscious projects, I really have to take notice.
Certified Organic: Not officially certified because sourcing happens across a wide variety of countries that don’t all have US matching quality control standards. Same as with the Young Living Oils, they’re not US “certified organic” because of all the rules in the different source countries. Yes – Some of their product line-up is USDA certified organic. Not all of their oils are. 6 out of their 150 essential oils are USDA certified organic. Edens Garden offers both a certified organic line of essential oils, and a conventionally sourced lineup.Both an in-house laboratory and independent labs and consultants perform analyses for product quality.
This is really a good synopsis of important things to know, good job!! Just wanted to correct one point though. According to essential oil expert Robert Tisserand, being allergic to , say, ginger tea does NOT necessarily mean you’d be allergic to ginger essential. Plants and their corresponding EO’s do not necessarily have the same properties or actions. A patch test can be done if one is concerned about the possibility of being allergic to an essential oil.
Most common essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, patchouli, and eucalyptus are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic (distillation apparatus) over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.