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Jade

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 

Hello, I am a beginner at aromatherapy, and have purchased a few oils from a company. Since I am not experienced, I really do not know how to tell if the oils they sent me are truly 100% pure and undiluted. They did of course claim they were pure, but I have found out through research that with some places that really isnt the case. Any advice would be helpful Thanks!

Carolyn

Moderator
Registered: 06/20/08
Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #2 

Good Morning Jade, There's really only one way to 'know' whether an essential oil is actually what it says it is on the label, and that is to be there at the distillation. Obviously such a suggestion isn't very helpful when most purchasers of essential oils simply want to be comfortable and confident in the purity and quality of what's in the bottle they're intending to use. So, there are a number of 'qualifications' that should be fulfilled in order to clarify as far as possible the purity and authenticity of the essential oils you're buying. Finding a supplier that will happily answer your questions - no matter how basic or naiive they sound - is a good start, but as you point out they all say their oils are 100% pure etc., anyway - they'd be foolish not to eh? They may offer to send you a copy of the GC/MS print out (Gas Chromoatography and Mass Spectrometry analysis sheets that give an identification 'finger print' of an essential oil). This would be acceptable if you were to receive the GC/MS of the exact batch from which the sample of essential oil would be taken should you wish to purchase, AND if you had technical knowledge to interpret the print out and understand its implications. You would be on surer footing - although not completely iron-cast - if you ask the following questions: What is the bio-type of the essential oil you want to buy? An oil must be distilled (or otherwise extracted if you are asking for expressed citrus oils or solven-extracted absolutes and resinoids) from a defined botanical species and also from a particular genetic strain. This is particularly important when selecting from the wide variation that occurs naturally in plants that grow in the wild and not in cloned cultivation. What is the chemotype or biochemical specificity? The same botanical species can often produce plants that look the same from the outside, but because of where they grow and what environmental conditions prevail, the internal chemical production-line synthesizes different ratios of components that show up in the extracted oil. These differences can be slight or quite dramatic. For example basil, rosemary, and thyme. Where does the essential oi lcome from geographically? Often an oil from a particular area of the world is of a superior quality - maybe because of indigineous preference or distillation skills or government controls. What market or industry is the essential oil originally intended for? The aromatherapy market is by comparison minute to the perfumery, pharmaceutical, and food and flavors industries. Each one requires a different quality and composition very often of final product. The aromatherapy market DEMANDS

Carolyn

Moderator
Registered: 06/20/08
Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #3 

Sorry Jade - I got cut off there for some reason - the aromatherapy market requires and demands whole, complete, unadulterated, authentic, genuine, botanically and biochemically defined products, and so if you can get some form of confirmed guarantee that a specific distributor of essential oils supplies only to the aromatherapy market, you are on surer footing. Ask whether the eo you want to buy is whole and complete. The oil should come from a single distillation - not a composite of a number of distillations or a number of harvests and stored inbetween, or a number of 'sister' plants - unless stated so, and in which case it should be described as a 'population' oil that represents the natural variations found in a wild landrace patch of plants and harvested from the wild. It is generally accepted that very few oils may be adjusted for the aromatherapy market, such as Citrus bergamia which has the furanocoumarins removed to give an FCF (furanocoumarin-free oil) and Mentha x piperita that is rectified more often than not, since it's so aggressive otherwise. Be careful about the 'organic' claim - often simply because the plants are already grown at the cottage-industry level or in areas of the world where so-called 'organic' gardening is the natural or available growing method anyway. Find out if the oils are available in variations of 'natural stands' in the wild or bush - or from purpose-built and managed cultivations. Remember that the yield from a harvest may be much larger from those grown from specially cultivated clones using high-tech methods and chemical management. The final price will reflect this. Expect to pay more for confirmed organically grown products - but remember anyone can slap a bigger price on anything. Very often knowing that the supplier you intend to purchase from is in control of the process from grower to distiller to the shelf give a reasonable level of confidence in the likely quality of the oil in your hands. Remember that an eo is a dynamic product and its components are continually changing through natural intramolecular attractions and repulsions and through factors that degrade the oil quite naturally over time. Oxidation can increase the rate of degradation and so will change the composition and therefore the properties and potential hazards of the eo. Exposure to changes in temperature, sunlight, oxygen, and other chemicals will make the guess-work as to the exact composition, quality and indications for your eo much much harder. Ask about the age of the oil - when was it distilled? How long has it been in storage? Under what conditions? When was it decanted into the size you want to buy? Be aware of offers - reduced prices for citrus and pine needle oils for example in large quantities. They are likely to be near the end of their shelf-life and so the supplier wants to be rid. These oils have a tendency to oxidise more rapidly than others - they react more quickly to exposure with air, light and fluctuations in temperature and so become more potentially irritating and sensitizing. However, you can use them with confidence to clean your household surfaces and diffuse or add to room freshners. Every time you buy through a dealer or distributor - and there are some pyramid selling companies out there who by virtue of their commercial set-up are focused on selling whatever to whoever - you run the risk of someone wanting to take their cut of the action. Buyer beware. There are some companies out there however, - and Auroma is one of them - who have set themselves up to comply with a range of criteria for identifying and qualifying their oils. Australia has its "Therapeutic Goods Act" that dictates certain standards/criteria for all products aimed at the public - identification, lebeling, handling, etc. There are an increasing number of other companies now in the market place with the integrity to instigate similar standards for quality of essential oils and continue to aim to offer the best to customers - honestly. I hope my suggestions will help you find them. Best Carolyn I hope

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