HERE'S WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
The following are excerpts are from Aromatherapy An A-Z, by Patricia Davis, 1988, reprinted 1994, Saffron Walden, The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd., England, pp. 278-280.
QUALITY OF ESSENTIAL OILS WHICH ARE TO BE USED THERAPEUTICALLY IS OF
PRIME IMPORTANCE. It is, obviously, very important to be sure that the
oil you are using is indeed obtained from the plant whose therapeutic
properties you had in mind when using that oil, and the only way to be
certain of this is to use the Latin botanical names for the plants."
an oil which is quite truthfully described as pure may be of poor
quality, and therefore of less value therapeutically. IF AN ESSENTIAL
OIL COSTS MUCH LESS THAN YOU WOULD NORMALLY EXPECT TO PAY FOR IT, the
oil may well be a third or fourth distillate from a batch of plant
material which has already yielded the greater part of its properties to
the first or second distillation."
"AS A ROUGH
AND READY GUIDE... look for simple but informative labeling (botanical
name, part of plant). And avoid any oils that are not packed in opaque
glass. ...and DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THAT IS VERY MUCH CHEAPER."
"THE BEST QUALITY OF ESSENTIAL OILS WILL, NOT SURPRISINGLY, COST MORE... "
Note: SomaTherapy essential oils are
labeled with the part of the plant used, where this is relevant, as well
as with the common name and Latin botanical name; the brochure
indicates countries of origin (at time of printing) - any retailer or
customer can call for any additional information needed, such as
extraction methods, specific gravity, optical rotation, etc.
The following excerpts are from Aromatherapy Workbook, by Marcel Lavabre, 1990, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont, pp. 20-21.
essential oils available on the market are of very poor quality for two
main reasons. The first is that the chemical composition of the
essential oils of a given plant can vary greatly, depending on the
variety, the time, the soil, and the methods of cultivation and
"The second reason is that recent advances in chemistry have flooded the market with synthetic essential oils."
"FOR AROMATHERAPY... ONE SHOULD USE ONLY THE BEST QUALITY OF ESSENTIAL OILS."
The following excerpts are from The Healing Power of Aromatherapy by Hasnain Walji, Ph.D., 1996, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, Calif., p. 28).
"BE GUIDED BY PRICE" (low price = low quality; jp)
"Because the oils are susceptible to heat, light, and air, they
must be kept in dark glass containers. Clear plastic bottles are
definitely not recommended."
"AROMATHERAPY IS NOT MERELY ABOUT
SMELLING NICE... It is a therapy and should be respected as such. Just
as you would not expect your medical practitioner to prescribe
medication that was substandard, so you should not be prepared to accept
anything less than the best that is available..."
The following excerpts are from The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood, 1991, New World Library, San Rafael, California, pp. 90.
"For effective therapeutic use, it is crucial that only pure
essential oils be used...reconstituted products or chemical copies of
natural essences simply do not work..."
"...a large variety of so-called essential oil products have
been devised... In law, all of these products come under the heading
"essential oils", which can be confusing to the inexperienced buyer:
"reconstitutions"; "nature identicals"; "isolates"; "perfume compounds";
and "aromas", such as "lavender aroma". Apart from the range of
products that have been devised to take the place of essential oils in
perfumery, there are other essential oils which, when mixed with others,
mimic the aroma of the essential oil whose name they carry... This is
all very well if perfumery is your concern, BUT NO GOOD AT ALL if the
... oil is required for a therapeutic purpose."
"NO REPUTABLE ESSENTIAL OIL SUPPLIER SELLS ESSENTIAL OILS ALL AT THE SAME PRICE."
"... it is often the case that a synthetic aroma will smell
more pungently of the raw material than the real thing. Do not
influenced by strength, but rather by price, supplier reputation, and,
in time, your own experience and instinct".
The following excerpts are from Holistic Aromatherapy, A. Berwick, 1994, Llewellyn Pub., St. Paul, MN pp. 168.
is important to work with high quality, pure essential oils whenever
you can. Many of the oils on the market are of poor quality."
PRICES MAY ALSO MEAN THE OIL IS A SECOND OR THIRD DISTILLATION OF THE
PLANT MATERIAL, in which case it will have far less therapeutic value.
Sometimes oils are diluted with another plant that has a similar aroma,
but costs less... Obtaining the specific oil you want is more likely if
you know the correct botanical name..."
"The oils should be sold in dark glass bottles, definitely not in plastic".
Methods of Adulteration: A certain quantity of the main chemical
constituent may be added to the essential oil to "stretch" it. Oil from a
cheaper plant may be added. Citronella may be added to melissa &
spearmint to birch. Synthetic aromatic substances may be added. This
can cause irritation, allergies, nausea, headaches, and reduced
therapeutic value. Some of the chemical constituents may be removed.
Since an essential oil is an extremely complex cocktail of hundreds of
chemical constituents, some of them in very small amounts, this will
alter the therapeutic value of the oil. Menthol is often removed from
peppermint oil and used by the pharmaceutical industry. As a general
rule, the more an essential oil is interfered with physically or
chemically, the less clinical value it will have".
Some helpful hints for buyers are noted in the excerpts above. In summary these are:
Look for proper packaging, proper labeling (with common
name and Latin botanical name), and the part of the plant used, when
relevant, and remember that price does
reflect quality in the essential oil market. Although an inferior oil
can sell for a high price, a good oil is not going to sell at a low
The above excerpts should make this clear, as it is a point that is
repeatedly made in publications on the subject. The seriousness of our
commitment to providing high quality essential oils is reflected in our
packaging and labeling; in our brochure which provides extensive
information on the oils as well as on appropriate use and proper
storage; and in our willingness and availability to discuss our oils or
aromatherapy with our retailers and/or their customers by phone.
calls us and expect to speak with someone who is knowledgeable in the
field and has experience with the oils. We are not just a company
marketing the cheapest product available. We work hard to make
professional quality, aromatherapy grade essential oils available to the
public, and we provide follow-up and support services to ensure