The Nitty Gritty on Essential Oil Purity

Today, I’ve decided to pull my hair up and get serious about the purity of essential oils. After all, if I’m gonna be rubbing them on my stomach/feet/chest/face (the list goes on and on), sniffing them, and even tasting them—they had better be 100%, no-nonsense pure. Unfortunately, NOT all essential oils are created equal.

Here’s the riff: every essential oil company claims their contents are “pure.” Ugh. So who can you trust?

Personally, I trust certified aroma therapists, dermatologists, massage therapists, oil distillers, naturopathic physicians, and holistic nutritionists. So I researched what these specialists look for when selecting their essential oils. Here are the collective criteria:

  • Rigorous Testing
  • Unadulterated Oils (Yep–those oil companies shouldn’t be committing adultery either)
  • Plant Potency
  • Published Main Chemical Components
  • Scientific Backing

Cheers to Lots of Testing:

When it comes to testing, essential oil companies differ—a lot. Some brands do all sorts of less-than objective tests (cough, cough) or even certify their oils by merely paying “sniffers.” True story. I’m of the opinion that the more tests involved the more trustworthy the oil. And that’s one cool thing I found out about the doTERRA brand. They don’t mess around with verifying their oils objectively, and they definitely don’t test just once a year. Each batch (liter) goes through what I like to call the “Accountable Eight” via 3rd party testers: organoleptic testing, microbial testing, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), hilarity testing, isotopic analysis and heavy metal testing. Only if an oil passes this intense line-up, is it considered CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade).

If oil doesn’t pass every last test, doTERRA rejects the entire batch. And if the oil continues to fail, doTERRA will keep that oil out of stock until it has a batch that passes. Back in 2015, doTERRA did that very thing w/ “Melissa Officinalis” (aka Lemon Balm) and “Roman Chamomile.” Both of these oils are big sellers, so keeping them off the market until they met their standards, well; let’s just say that’s a big trust builder for me.

Young Living also publishes their fairly rigorous testing processes.  But it just doesn’t have the checks and balances to it that I’d like. It’s one of the predominant reasons I felt a bit hesitant to keep using their stuff.

Let’s Talk Science:

I wanted to see if there were any oils/brands that weren’t “poo-poo-ed” by the traditional medicine posse.  So when a nurse told me the hospital she worked at diffused peppermint oil for queasy patients, my interest was piqued!  After a bit more probing, I found that the doTERRA brand is actually used/being studied in a bunch of hospitals across the nation, including the Cleveland Clinic and Vanderbilt Medical Center among others. How’s that for credibility?

Unadulterated and Undoctored:

What makes oil truly essential? It shouldn’t be filled w/ additives, fillers or synthetic stuff and it shouldn’t be grown with any nasty”cides” (pesticides/herbicides). Plus the harvesting, distilling, transporting, and storing are all critical.

Plant Potency:

Happy plants make good oils. Okay, that sounds silly, but honestly, if a plant is grown in the right soil, climate, and temperature, it reaches it’s highest potency levels. This is why I’m a big fan of how doTERRA grows its plants in their indigenous environment—like lavender from France and frankincense from Somalia (both have grown in those respective locations for hundreds of years).  If an oil company is sourcing from 33 countries instead of just a handful—you know it cares about plant potency.

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