Are you buying the right essential oils?
Updated: Jul 24
When buying an essential oil, how do you know you're choosing the most suitable one for you?
In terms of an essential oil purity, which are your selection criteria?
Have you ever wondered about these questions at all?
The global essential oil market size exceeded USD 6.0 billion in 2015 and it is expected to drive market growth over the forecast period.
Growing consumer preference for natural products, no detrimental side effect unlike most conventional drugs and medicines, and widely utilized in cleaning & home products - owing to their superior antibacterial and antiseptic properties- are causing a rapid industrialization. The exorbitant amount of plant matter that is required to create a single litre of essential oil and increasing concerns regarding resource depletion are likely to hamper the industry over the forecast period. Thus, manufacturers in the market have to overcome numerous challenges such as high capital costs and government certification which makes difficult to provide high-quality products with value for money to consumers.
What I'm trying with this financial mini report is to help you picture the actual situation and why is so important to get some clues about doing the right choice. The essential oils manufacturing is becoming a big industry and consequently bringing its inherent problems such as quality loss; prioritising quantity over quality.
Thus let's check which are the essential oils you'll find in the market. There are different types of essential oils, depending on how the plant which they are sourced from has been grown and the production method.
Wildcrafted: these are one of my fav, sourced from the wild, which also means from the country - the soil- they naturally grow.
Bio | Organic: from organic crops, some of these farms comply with the biodynamic agriculture which means they follow the natural rhythms of Mother Earth for sowing, pruning and harvest establishing a strong connection to the moon.
Natural: from a natural source - a plant.
Concrete: this an extraction method used on the most delicate flowers that would not resist the process of distillation by water. In olden days they were made by enfleurage, nowadays these flowers are distilled by a gas/solvent. When the solvent is evaporated you get a fragrant creamy paste.
Absolutes: are obtained purifying a concrete. First you macerate the concrete on pure alcohol and then you distill.
Oleoresin or resinoid: this is a method of extraction by using alcohol instead of water in order to get more waxes, or resins.
Adulterated: these are natural essential oils than have suffer any variation such as adding chemical components to the oil or adding similar essential oil to the original (like adding palmarrosa and geranium to the rose essential oil making it cheaper)
Reconstituted: these are created by getting the alcohol of other essential oils, separating them and blend to other in order to get an imitation of an expensive one. For example: you extract
Citronelol (from Citronela)
Geraniol (from geranium)
Nerol ( from petit grain
Blend them and you will get an imitation of the expensive Neroli essential oil
Synthetics these essential oils could be nearly anything, they are NOT healthy and causes skin and other health issues.
In Spanish aromatherapy, where we follow an alchemical approach we do not use adulterated, reconstituted and synthetic. We only use essential oils from natural, wildcrafted and organic plants preferably grown by a byodinamic system to provide the best results.
Do you know how a pure essential oil is extracted?
The plant might be steamed or directly boiled into the water. What is called in this drawing fragrant water is a by product called hydrosol, not to be confused with a floral infused water. This is the only method along with the extraction of a concrete and absolute you are looking for when buying a pure essential oil. If you are buying from companies that use traditional distillation method there is no need of "triple certify organic" the essential oil. By following traditional methods your essential oils will keep the plant vital force and they'll be suitable for a holistic treatment.
Unfortunately. today essential oils suffer endless adulterations as they are an expensive product and the resources are also limited. The strength of a holistic treatment and its effectiveness rely absolutely on the purity of the essential oils.
Here's an exercise for you to start practising with:
Your nose will play an important role here, therefore I would suggest you to start educating your smell by buying essential oils you can compare aromatically to the actual plant they are sourced from. For example, if you buy lemon essential oil, you can buy organic lemons and smell their zest and compare with the essential oil, Do the essential oil smell the same but stronger, more intense? There are many essential oils you can start playing with like herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme...) also flowers (geranium, lavender) fruits (lemon, orange, lime) and tree leaves (pine needles, cedar, cypress and eucalyptus).
In conclusion, these are the three facts to consider when purchasing essential oils: type of essential oil, extraction and smell. Practice made the master (Spanish say) it's just a matter of exercising your senses!
The upcoming posts will show you how to make the favourable choices for better satisfying your needs and get back the perfect balance on your body mind and soul. Do you know which would be the essential oils that would suit you better? Did you know that by some particular food or by using a determined cooking style you can change your mood? The answers to these questions and more are on their way...