How well do you know about aromatherapy and essential oils? If you were to enter a store, and their employees entice you with their bestsellers, claiming that these essential oils are of the best quality with proven results and testimonials, how would you know if the essential oils that you are about to purchase are....pure?
Before you reach for your wallet at the cashier, make sure that you got these 5 very important questions answered - not just for knowledge sake, but for you to ensure that these bottles of essential oils you have in your shopping basket matches the expectations you are looking for.
1. Where are your farms and distilleries?
Many retailers are merely distributors of a larger essential oil brand, and not the actual producers themselves. What makes this an important factor is that distributors are not the ones overseeing the process from farming to bottling. What they do is only procuring the end-product from their suppliers at a bulk price and they sell it to consumers like you and me. Farms? Distilleries? Distributors won't have one - because they are only middlemen merchants. That said, would you put your trust in a brand that doesn't have control over the essential oil production process?
Look for a brand that is able to sell their oils responsibly, and that's not just talking about a retail-to-consumer level, but also as a manufacturer or producer.
2. Are your plants grown organically?
For brands that are able to answer the first question with a "Yes", the next question to ask would be how are these plants grown. The answer you should be looking for is a straightforward "without any chemicals or pesticides". If you receive any answer that contradicts that statement, then it's time you turn away and leave because that is not the kind of substance you would want in your essential oils. Plants should be farmed using natural planting methods, for it to produce essential oils that are natural and organic.
3. What kind of tests do you run on the oils?
It is pretty much an industry practice that all essential oils go through a GC-MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry) test to determine the quality of the oils. The GC-MS test will be able to tell if there are other constituents present in the oil, signifying that the oil has been adulterated. In most cases, if a batch of essential oil fails the GC-MS test, they shouldn't be put out on the shelves, but depending on the company's take on what they do with these essential oils, some will discard completely, or others may sell it to suppliers or bargain hunters at reject-sale prices. If there is an essential oil that you want to confirm on its purity, go ahead and request for their GC-MS test results. Brands that are confident of their products have no reason to hide the results.
4. Can you explain the production process of this essential oil?
While its no harm to understand the process of how essential oils are extracted, it is also good to know how they were handled before extraction. Some delicate plants like roses, for example, are best hand-picked in the wee hours of the morning for it to have the best oil quality. There are many ways of extracting essential oils, the most popular method would be through distillation where the plant source goes through a large chamber that uses steam to extract the aromatic compounds from the plants. Other ways include solvent expression, cold-pressed and water distillation.
5. What are the safety and hygiene standards in your production facility?
Nothing is more important than the safety and hygiene standards of the people behind the products you use. Knowing this also allows you to put your trust in a brand that cares not just about the profits, but also the wellness of their employees and consumers. As essential oils are to be used with precautionary care at all times, it is vital that safety starts from the production facility to the retailers and lastly to you, the end-users.
Now that you have covered these 5 questions, it's up to you to decide on a brand that you truly trust!