To test if you’re sensitive to an essential oil (which is probably best to do before using it in a skincare preparation): Combine one drop of essential oil with 1/2 tsp carrier oil (like olive, jojoba, or sweet almond). Rub this on the inside, upper portion of your arm and wait a few hours. If no redness or itching develops, you’re most likely not sensitive to that essential oil.
There are many popular, quality essential oils, including those that are Certified USDA Organic, therapeutic grade and 100% pure—with no fillers, bases or additives. For example, being Certified USDA Organic is important for some people because the organic certification can be traced back clear to the seed and plant. Every handler of the product must be certified as well. Additionally, no prohibited pesticides or other toxins are used for Certified USDA Organic products.
I made a blend for a friend going through chemo treatments she hasn’t been using it long enough for me to know the results yet but I will share it if you want to try it. It’s: lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, Clary sage and cypress 10 drops of each in a2 ounce glass spray bottle and top with distilled water. You can add tea tree, lemon and ginger for itchy scalp if needed. Hope this helps.

Taken by mouth, many essential oils can be dangerous in high concentrations. Typical effects begin with a burning feeling, followed by salivation. In the stomach, the effect is carminative, relaxing the gastric sphincter and encouraging eructation (belching). Further down the gut, the effect typically is antispasmodic.[14] Typical ingredients for such applications include eucalyptus oils, menthol, capsaicin, anise, and camphor.[citation needed]

An essential oil does not have to be adulterated to be inferior. Plant quality, climate, location, growing conditions, harvest, and production technique have a lot to do with quality. Of course, environmental conditions directly affect the percentages of each component of the essential oil. Botanical variety and Chemotype identification also play a part in quality determination. Like organic, ‘wild crafted’ is another overused term. Many imported essential oils come from non-plantation sources.
The good news is that the guessing work will be gone in the next few years. Gary Young, founder of Young Living has been asked by the FDA to set up a standards for the United States. So it will not matter what the customer service or distributors say as we will be able to refer to the FDA classify the oil. This will make the true pure oils to stand up and be noticed but also for safety for our health to take the purest of the pure oils for our medicines!
“Extending”, “cutting” or “stretching” which is diluting an oil with a vegetable oil, an isolate from another, cheaper oil, the whole of another cheaper oil, alcohol or other solvent. An oil extended with vegetable oil will leave a stain if dropped on a piece of paper, although this test works better for clear oils like Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), than for darker oils like Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli). Other forms of adulteration are more difficult to detect without the use of gas chromatography and much experience.
From what I have read on various websites and blogs there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” since there is no system in place in this country to determine the grade of an essential oil. Since any brand of essential oils can be used for aromatherapy then all essential oils would technically be therapeutic grade since aroma therapy is a therapeutic use of essential oils.

I will address one more point – AFNOR is an organization that sets standards (for foods) in France, but it does not certify essential oils, nor does the EC. The EC has safety regulations, and any cometic product sold in an EC member country has to abide by those regulations which include, for example, a maximum of 0.1% for cinnamon bark oil. I wonder if all YL products adhere to EC guidelines? There are (international) ISO standards for many essential oils, and almost all essential oil wholesalers and suppliers the world over conform to the ISO standards. None of these have anything to do with a so-called “therapeutic grade” which only exists in the minds of MLM companies.
Essential Wholesale & Labs offers a high quality sweet and floral French Lavender 40/42. For those who prefer a pure Lavandula angustifolia we offer a beautiful certified organic Buena Vista Lavender oil distilled here in Oregon. The Buena Vista Lavender oil is a relatively recent addition and has been a great success. Since we first added it to our offerings in September 2011 we have sold out four times and purchased progressively larger volumes with each order to meet increasing demand. It is our plan to continue adding more certified organic oils to our catalogue. I can only hope they are as well received as well as the Buena Vista Lavender. 
There are always a few bad seeds to a group. Its is not the fault of the company that some people out there are giving false info or claiming an oil to be a cure all in the name of making a buck. These 2 companies have been and are actively talking steps to prevent this from happening further. I find it unfair to point the finger at the company when its individuals who have made bad choices. I use EO and when asked I will share what has worked for me, and I always tell people to do their own research.
Thank you so much for the objective, thorough information! I have some questions about “organic certification”. My understanding, with plants or foods that are produced organically, is that 100% organic is impossible because of cross contamination. So in the case of EO’s is organic less important because any chemical (ie pesticides, herbicides) that is not part of the oil is removed in the distillation process, or it is considered adulterated? For example, a company might state their oils are “certifiably organic” but they could still be contaminated because this certification allows a small percentage of contaminants. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!
I have heard not to use essential oil peppermint around certain ages. That it can interfere with specific ages and their breathing. So if I made an Essential Oil peppermint lotion would I not be able to wear it outside the home incase I came into contact with a person who shouldn’t be exposed to peppermint essential oil OR is this just meant not to diffuse around a child under a certain age. I was on a website that was given the ages of people who shouldn’t be exposed to specific essential oils. I believe peppermint essential oil was one. Others were pointed out as well. So is it ok to wear the diluted essential oil on your skin if that specific essential oil is not recommended for little children? Or are they speaking of diffusing only?
Currently organic essential oils are perceived as the answer to these purity and quality problems, but choosing an “organic” essential oil does not mean it is pure or even good quality. Organic herbs and food is an ideal that is worth striving for and it positively impacts our health. Unfortunately, regulating and verifying the organic status of essential oils is not so clear because there are no developed guidelines and routine analytical procedures.
research, research, research. Some oils are labeled as Generally Regarded as Safe for ingestion. Get a copy of Higley’s book ” Reference Guide to Essential Oils ” and other guides on how to use your oils. I am not a fan but some people swear by it. The books and research will help you know what you can and cannot ingest, how it is recommended that you ingest it, and so on. Do not let the naysayers frighten you. Learn all you can and use facts to make your decisions. I use EOs daily but I prefer them topically and aromatically. You need to decide for yourself what ways your EOs best work for you.

First, we are not an MLM company and don’t need those outrageous margins to pay a bunch of middleman distributors. Second, ZEVA was founded by Dr. Tracy Gibbs, a world-renowned pharmacognosist who has dedicated his life to the study of chemistry, hematology and botanical medicine with a goal of finding the right balance of natural products that will enhance consumers’ lives and offer profitable business opportunities to retailers. Dr. Gibbs and the executive team at ZEVA Essential Oils are a group of hard-working, honest business professionals committed to offering only 100% ISO certified essential oils, so consumers can trust the products to be the highest quality, and consultants can have confidence in the products they sell.
I had bedbugs (yikes!) in my hotel room at the Rodeway Inn when I was in Salt Lake City last year for the doTERRA convention. What a place to pose that question – everyone was so helpful! One gal gave me cedarwood oil, another a glass spray bottle so I could mix up cedarwood, peppermint and water to spritz my suitcases with, I sprayed them down before I relocated rooms, dried all of my clothes at high heat through the industrial dryers and the diffused Cedarwood and On Guard in the new room for the rest of the week using a Sprite Diffuser that I had purchased at a great discount from one of the vendor booths at the event.

Plants, like other living things, need to protect themselves from various types of predators. Plants use terpenoid compounds to deter insects and other animals from approaching them. Shawe pointed out that “insects are very rarely found on peppermint plants and the presence of linalol in the peel of citrus fruits confers resistance to attack by the Caribbean fruit fly.” 5 The Douglas fir tree releases a complex mixture of volatile oils, or terpenes, from their needles to defend against the spruce budworm. Even more fascinating is that the Douglas fir trees “will vary the composition and production of terpenes each year thus decreasing the ability of the budworm to develop widespread immunity to specific compounds.6
Crissi is a vegan fitness model, online trainer and coach, director of the Vegan Fitness International group, designer at Vegan Fitness body, Chef at Vegan Fitness body, author of Vegan Fitness Food For A lean Healthy Body ebook, and so much more! Crissi became vegan at age 38 and now makes it a huge part of her message intertwining it with the knowledge she has gained about health and fitness throughout the years. Check out her website here.
I’m sensitive to many sources and when my acupuncturist applied peppermint oil to an aching shoulder it sent me right into orbit. Anxiety and blood pressure were out of control for several days. I have always been able to eat peppermint with no problem but the oil while applied to the skin was way too intense. Now just the scent of it sets me off. Be careful.
Janice, I hope we are not at odds. For the record, whenever people ask me about either Do Terra or Young Living, I tell them that they are very good quality oils, which they are. I mean it when I say I’m glad you are happy with your supplier. And don’t take this as an attack on you – it isn’t – but I don’t subscribe to the MLM business model for aromatherapy. Maybe I am generalizing too much, but what I see is some problematic bending of facts (see above discussion) in order to sell product. And some flirtation with the boundaries of safety that make me uncomfortable. When selling product is your motivation, this is perhaps not surprising. As for me, I do not receive a paycheck from Tisserand Aromatherapy, and almost never mention the company.
First, we need to accept and understand that individual molecules are not alive but merely three-dimensional arrangements of atoms to form unique structures in space, held together by shared electron densities that we call “bonds.” As such, an individual molecule has no "knowledge" of the pathway by which it was created and how it behaves in any system is a function of its three-dimensional structure, not of it’s origin. A molecule of say L-menthol (the main component of peppermint essential oil) will behave EXACTLY the same in any environment whether that molecule of L-menthol was made by the peppermint plant or the BASF Chemical plant. When 10 carbon atoms and 15 hydrogen atoms come together in the arrangement shown in the picture below we have L-menthol, regardless of who or what orchestrated the atoms coming together in this arrangement. L-menthol is L-menthol because of its structure. The structure is what defines the molecule, not its source.
The Ananda Apothecary may be a slightly lesser-known name and strangely hard to pronounce. However, it’s a company of true essential oils people where you can buy almost any type and variety of essential oil you can imagine. Most importantly, they offer wild crafted essential oils, which are oils made from wild harvested plant materials and not plants grown on farms. You can also purchase organic oils certified by both the USDA and Ecocert ICO, and specially AGED essential oils. If all of these things are new to you, find more details in my full brand review here.

The term “essential oil” is a contraction of the original “quintessential oil.” This stems from the Aristotelian idea that matter is composed of four elements, namely, fire, air, earth, and water. The fifth element, or quintessence, was then considered to be spirit or life force. Distillation and evaporation were thought to be processes of removing the spirit from the plant and this is also reflected in our language since the term “spirits” is used to describe distilled alcoholic beverages such as brandy, whiskey, and eau de vie. The last of these again shows reference to the concept of removing the life force from the plant. Nowadays, of course, we know that, far from being spirit, essential oils are physical in nature and composed of complex mixtures of chemicals.1
100% Pure. Oils that say “pure” or “100% pure” are allowed to have as little as 51% essential oil by law! Isn’t that amazing? Therefore, “pure” on the label doesn’t really mean pure. And, even if an oil is “pure” in the sense of not being diluted, it may still be adulterated with synthetic chemicals, residual pesticides and with solvents, or it may be of mediocre medicinal quality.

Lortscher says that the purity of different EO’s can vary widely, based on the degree of concentration and where they’re sourced from. "On top of that, the quality of your oils can be affected by adulteration (the purposeful addition of foreign substances), unintentional contamination, inadequate production, or improper storage conditions," he says. "If you keep an essential oil exposed to bright sunlight or oxygen, the composition of the oil can change. It’s best to store them in a cool, dark place."

What a great post! I can’t tell how helpful this is and I will use it. I started to copy it, but the color cartridge on my computer is about empty, so I saved it and will copy it later. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information in this post, as well as all the others. I’ll be passing on the information to all my friends and family. I use essential oils, but you’ve put everything into such a concise and usable format that I they can use, too.
This was such a great education for me, honestly I didn’t know a thing about essential oils, and I am such an avid gardener!! I will look at all my plants differently from now on. I love it that the oils are their essence and life blood. I was looking for something to drop into my drinks while in Peru for 2 months so I don’t get traveler’s tummy or heaven forbid, on-going diarrhea. Would you recommend Grape Seed Oil Extract as being the most reliable or the Thieve’s Oil that I read about on-line. Or generally speaking they are not for internal use which it seems you are saying. Thanks so much.
I have heard not to use essential oil peppermint around certain ages. That it can interfere with specific ages and their breathing. So if I made an Essential Oil peppermint lotion would I not be able to wear it outside the home incase I came into contact with a person who shouldn’t be exposed to peppermint essential oil OR is this just meant not to diffuse around a child under a certain age. I was on a website that was given the ages of people who shouldn’t be exposed to specific essential oils. I believe peppermint essential oil was one. Others were pointed out as well. So is it ok to wear the diluted essential oil on your skin if that specific essential oil is not recommended for little children? Or are they speaking of diffusing only?
Most eucalyptus oil on the market is produced from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus. Steam-distilled eucalyptus oil is used throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and South America as a primary cleaning/disinfecting agent added to soaped mop and countertop cleaning solutions; it also possesses insect and limited vermin control properties.[38] Note, however, there are hundreds of species of eucalyptus, and perhaps some dozens are used to various extents as sources of essential oils. Not only do the products of different species differ greatly in characteristics and effects, but also the products of the very same tree can vary grossly.[39]