Hello, I've only been using essential oils for the last year and I've been doing a lot of research trying to buy from the safest place because I know the Sham on the grades and how therapeutic is just a term. My question to you is do you know anything about (Bulk Apothecary) brand? I was buying from them for almost a year and then it was recently I asked them for three of their C of A's they sent them to me, but he gave me a problem when I told him one of the brands they sell of henna was bad. I don't know what I'm supposed to look for on this certificate which I'm trying to research to find out. One of the essential oils it says that complies all the way down the other two it says it complies and then it gives it some type of percentage. I guess I would just like to know if you think that they are real or if you've heard of them they do offer all of the information like you say in your blog to look for, such as the bontanical name how it's been distilled and even the history. I know the smell on every single essential oil we've gotten from them has been very potent. Thank you and anything would help even linking me to the right direction.
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Hi Robert – I know I’ve read that more than a few times in some of the main stream aromatherapy books and think I was told that in my aromatherapy classes – about the 2% thing. So, it is a perception that I myself also have and have, therefore, spent long hours trying to determine if my sources are selling me what they say they are and who my sources should be – long hours and dollars spent to attend conferences to rub elbows with those who should know. However, at that time in 2006, organic essential oils were not readily or at all available. I have also read and have been told by those who should know, that just because an oil is certified organic, there is still no guarantee that said essential oil is not adulterated or for that matter really organic. The argument that I was given was that no one stays around to make sure that the material actually placed into the still was the same that was grown in the organic soil. We live in a world of distrust and for good reason as we look around at the greed in high places. I know this doesn’t address your issues about your article but was and always will be interested in any discussion concerning what constitutes an unadulterated oil. That being said, I would think there are certain things to consider when purchasing an oil and the chances it may or may not be adulterated. Some oils are naturally inexpensive and there would be nothing gained by adulterating them. If you look at how many acres of a particular oil are said to have been grown for a particular year and for that same year there was a great more essential oil sold than could have been produced – then you know you probably have an issue. I know that you know far more about this issue than I do, but I would like to see more discussion concerning what things would throw up a red flag when purchasing an oil from a particular supplier. The internet is now so absolutely full of people selling essential oils and copying and pasting the same old information that it is a bit overwhelming. My concern is the same as other clinical aromatherapists and that is that people will try a particular oil, find that it doesn’t work because it is either adulterated or the person selling the oil really doesn’t have a clue which oil or chemotype should be used for a particular purpose, so the client then assumes that any and all claims made by the aromatherapy industry are false or vastly overstated. This is true in research studies that have been done as well. Is there an answer? I would like to see an article by someone as knowledgeable as yourself that gives you a list of possible red flags and things to consider when looking for suppliers, particularly bulk suppliers.

While I hope very much that the essential oils that they sell are of high quality, the fact that they are creating this misleading marketing scheme does not give me high hopes for their credibility as a company.  As a general rule of thumb, I would think twice before sourcing from a company that claims their essential oils are "certified therapeutic grade."  They are either completely naive and pretending to have a certification that doesn't exist, or they are not naive and are pretending to have a certification that does not exist.  Either way, not promising.  
Ordered several from this company. The oils have hardly any smell at all. And are very watery, you try to get out a drop or two and the "oil" just pours out. I should've known by the price that these would be cheap but the reviews were mostly good so I took a chance. Now I regret it. You get what you pay for. Don't bother with these. And the shipping is extremely slow.
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No, it’s not true that “other” essential oils are harmful, and should not be used internally or externally! Has someone told you that there is something impure about certified organic essential oils? Both Young Living and Do Terra buy many of their essential oils from the same industry suppliers that some of the companies listed above buy from. How do I know? Because I have been in the industry since 1974, and suppliers talk. And anyway, there are only so many producers of certain oils.
I was personally offended by the way my article was treated; at the very least you could have let me know your intentions ahead of time. And, I appreciate that you have apologized to me for this. As journalists, if you are going to present opposing views, I submit that it is your duty to do some fact checking. You have told me that, since you know nothing about aromatherapy, this would not be appropriate. I respectfully disagree, and in this instance you have contributed, perhaps significantly, to misinformation about essential oils for aromatherapy. Fact and fiction are not “differences of opinion.”
I want to thank you for writing this piece. As a newbie to oils, I appreciate the time, effort, and education. While for some time, I knew there were things to be gained from EOs, the MLM companies pushing them just didn’t sit right with me. They were expensive and only get cheaper once you become a distributor. Sounds kind of like a pyramid scheme to me.
It appears your confusion likely arises from the conflicts in logic created by citing statements from my article that aren't found in it. I DO however state in this piece that I don't fault the reps, and I have no issue examining the reprocussions a for-profit business inflicts upon individuals, ESPECIALLY those companies causing harm and injury to actual people who've agreed to pay them for holistic health and wellness. Just a simple matter of business ethics, nothing personal, because businesses are not people.
When washing clothes I use regular soap (haven’t looked into home made yet), and then put about 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt scented with a few drops of essential oils into the bottom of the washer before adding clothes. Then instead of using fabric softner I fill the dispenser with regular white vinegar. It keeps the washer from getting that funky smell and my clothes come out way softer. At first I was worried you would be able to smell the vinegar, but I have been doing this for 6 months now and you really can’t smell it! The Epsom salt doesn’t really have to have essential oil in it, the scent seems to rinse out in the wash but I like the little burst of scent you get when you dump it in, and use fairly cheap oils like citrus for it. If you want your clothes to actually smell of the oils you can get some wool dryer balls and add an oil of your choice before drying.

Some consumers add essential oils to their baths, or use them as home remedies, such as inhaling eucalyptus vapors to relieve congestion.Others may place the oils in a diffuser to scent the air — peppermint is promoted for stimulating alertness, and lavender is often listed as a way to promote calmness, although there are no rigorous studies to support such claims.
To help us get a more clear understanding of what to look for in essential oils we spoke with Clinical Registered Aromatherapist, Anna Doxie. She is the founder of the Institute of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy. She’s the Director Coordinator and Director of the Southern California Region of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and an esteemed Aromatherapy instructor. We’ve also combed through NAHA’s educational materials, consulted the prolific writings of Dr. Robert Pappas — a highly respected name in essential oil testing and education — and sought many other independent sources of information to present to you some guidelines for finding the best essential oil:
You see with the rise in the popularity and increasing understanding of the effectiveness of the use of essential oils in aromatherapy, several large  direct and multi-level marketing (MLM) companies have moved into the field.  As with any company of this type, they have a very real need to differentiate themselves one from others in the field as well as from traditional businesses.
"Why do bulls and horses turn up their nostrils when excited by love?" Darwin pondered deep in one of his unpublished notebooks.  Scientists long ago documented a rich array of animal pheromones, everything from seal, fox and civet, various rodents, boars, beavers, musk deer . . . even the effluence discharged by whales.  Discovering biochemical […]
Very simply, you want to read on the label — or information page for every oil — the true Latin name of the plant from which the oil was extracted, as well as the country from which the plant was harvested. Some companies will go further and tell you the method of extraction, the farming quality and also the chemical family of the oil. Plus seeing the batch number on the bottle helps you match it with its testing.
A few can be used on cats, but in general I’d go with the advice of Doing Research On Everything First. If my boys don’t like the smell of something (like my fingers after using an oil and before I can get to washing up…funny story there from when my boys were young) there is no way I’ll us it on them. But there’s also the fact that their systems do react differently.
In fact, the doTerra peppermint oil contained ethyl vanillin which is a synthetic compound used for odor! So much for unadulterated oils. You cannot tell how potent, pure, or good an oil is by how beautiful it smells. Some don’t smell anything like you would expect. All of the peppermint essential oils that I have owned smelled like the peppermint that you find in a garden while doTERRA’s peppermint essential oil smells like peppermint candy.
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^ Forster, P; et al. (2007). "Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing" (PDF). In Solomon, S; et al. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-07-24.
More than 65,000 work-related eye injuries and illnesses are reported annually in the USA, a “significant percentage” of these being ocular chemical burns. They require rapid treatment, and severe burns have a poor prognosis. The standard treatment is copious irrigation with saline solution for 1-2 hours. Contact lenses should not be removed initially (Peate 2007). With essential oils, fatty oil has been suggested as an appropriate first aid treatment though the advantage of saline is that the eyes can be continually flushed, and this is less easy with fatty oil.
I think it’s wonderful that you’re starting somewhere. I used the NOW brand for several years with great results. I’ve recently discovered Young Living and WOW way different. I’ve found that the brands in our local stores are cut with carriers and preservatives. Young Living is completely pure. I mean a small bottle of sandalwood from NOW costs about $15. Young Living’s cost well over $100. The difference is that YL offers completely pure oils. A closer look at my NOW sandalwood bottle showed that it was in a carrier oil. I prefer to buy my own carriers and mix my favorite oils into them on my own. Wishing you continued success!
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By stratifying data for African-American males by birth year, Dr. Hooker also found a statistically significant higher risk of an autism diagnosis in children who had received the first MMR vaccine 1 year earlier, only in children born in 1990 or later. Thimerosal exposure increased in the early 1990s, and it was not removed from most pediatric vaccines until 2001-2004. Dr. Hooker suggests the possibility that there may be some interaction between increased mercury exposure and early MMR vaccination. Further study would be needed to explore this possibility.
Examples of these types of essence include:  Cajeput (White Tea Tree), Cedar Leaf, Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus Blue Gum, Eucalyptus Blue Mallee, Eucalyptus (Mint), True Eucalyptus, Laurel Leaf (pictured), Tea Tree, Mandarin Petitgrain,  Lime Petitgrain, Orange Petitgrain, Manuka, Magnolia Leaf, Niaouli, Nerolina, Rosalina, Purple Sage and White Sage.
If you get green lights for all of the above, and you trust the brand and company, you’re likely going to be very happy when your essential oils kit arrives in the mail. If red flags raise up for you, whether by someone else’s review or simply by your own intuition, perhaps look into another brand. There are multiple professional, trustworthy, and reputable essential oil companies out there that are willing to sell you a great essential oil. It’s not just one company that has it all.
I was wondering. I have a friend that has neuropathy. I do too. I use wintergreen diluted with fractionated coconut oil or a blend called deep blue, and sometimes peppermint oil for this. The friend asked the question, Can you mix all oils safely? As she has found on pinterest a recipe for it where you mix 8 different oils. I am not sure of the oils she has listed, but is this safe?
Whilst the product is very nicely packaged I am very disappointed with the contents. The essential oils are awful, they smell and behave no better than those cheap £1 store ones, I don't believe that they are 100% pure as they smell so awful, cheap and synthetic. I have tried most of the oils in the box and will not be bothering with the rest as they are so bad.
Susie, yes, I have seen most of the Do Terra essential oils, and yes, it’s almost all hype. There are many suppliers to the aromatherapy community, who provide essential oils that are at least as good as Do Terra, and often cost less because they don’t have the whole multi-level marketing structure to finance. I think it’s very sad that the MLM companies find it necessary to resort to negative marketing in order to sell their essential oils.
Whether an oil is organic or FDA certified makes no real differnece. There are no real standards. Organic grown produce only has to be 95% organic, according to the FDA. I usually buy more products that the FDA has NOT approved. To me, I question the FDA and other government agencies more than I question a corporation trying to make the best product on the planet.

Most oils do degrade with age due to oxidation but there are some oils, such as sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, etc. that actually get better with age, at least to a certain point (I am not sure anyone knows what sandalwood looks like after say 5000 years and I am pretty sure well before then the oil would “resinify” and become solid). Its typically the heavier oils that are high in sesquiterpene alcohols that get better with age. However, most oils, especially the citrus oils and the blue oils will degrade with age (at least within human lifetimes). Citrus oils are especially prone to degradation due to the high levels of limonene which oxidizes relatively easily. Even very small amounts of limonene oxide formation can totally destroy the odor of a once good citrus oil. In addition, wax formation in citrus due to monoterpene polymerization is also quite common over time. For this reason its best to go through citrus oils within a year, if possible.
The essential oil should be labeled with the common name and its Latin one. Remember the example above about chamomile? “The presence of the Latin name of the plant on the label is an added assurance of what you are getting,” says Dr. Burke. There may be few standards for essential oil quality but there are standards set by the Federal Trade Commission about what a company can put on a label. “If you put ‘chamomile’ on the label, you can sell either German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) or Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobillis). If you put ‘matricaria chamomilla’ on the label, you must be selling exactly that,” says Dr. Burke.
The purity and potency of essential oils are measured using scientific analysis. The composition of an essential oil is analyzed by gas chromatography, as used by the International Organization for Standardization for purposes of determining the characteristics "...of the chiral compounds contained in the essential oils." The composition of essential oils, including its adulterants if it has any, is further measured by mass spectrometry. Any reputable essential oil distributor will have the results of their GC/MS analysis available for your review.
More than 65,000 work-related eye injuries and illnesses are reported annually in the USA, a “significant percentage” of these being ocular chemical burns. They require rapid treatment, and severe burns have a poor prognosis. The standard treatment is copious irrigation with saline solution for 1-2 hours. Contact lenses should not be removed initially (Peate 2007). With essential oils, fatty oil has been suggested as an appropriate first aid treatment though the advantage of saline is that the eyes can be continually flushed, and this is less easy with fatty oil.
I LOVE this article!! I have a diploma in aromatherapy from a NAHA approved school and working towards a degree in applied science in CAM specializing in aromatherapy; so much of this information is important and those YL and DT people simply don't get it. I'm pleased to see that contraindications, metabolism, and debunking the grades are all addressed. Thank you again for this!!
You see with the rise in the popularity and increasing understanding of the effectiveness of the use of essential oils in aromatherapy, several large  direct and multi-level marketing (MLM) companies have moved into the field.  As with any company of this type, they have a very real need to differentiate themselves one from others in the field as well as from traditional businesses.

I’ve used YL and DōTERRA and a few other unheard of brands of essential oils and you have got to check out Ameo Essential oils! It’s a brand new company and I’ve been very impressed with the quality of their oils. Another neat thing they do is show results of the testing of every batch of their oils to prove that they are the same high quality, pure, clinical standard oil as used in research and testing. The scientific research is just amazing with these oils.


I’m pleased to hear that you are happy with your supplier. Personally, I prefer certified organic oils, and I don’t look to essential oil purveyors for information about aromatherapy. We already have a problem with conventional health care being controlled by pharmaceutical companies, and going down the same road with essential oils doesn’t feel right to me.
It is not the only credible-looking article of its kind, just a good example of the types of articles, studies, and books you will find while trying to do your own independent research. As the title of my article here points out, all of the articles I have found claiming safe ingestion of straight essential oils have turned out to be written by Young Living representatives, and they are not in short supply.

For instance, let's look at the list of chemicals they've mentioned above. SD40 is denatured alcohol, a common solvent. Propylene glycol is an FDA approved food additive, which is also used in antifreeze but is not antifreeze itself. As the FDA reports, "there is no evidence in the available information on propylene glycol ... that demonstrates, or suggests reason to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in future."
I’m a distributor with Young Living Essential Oils – have been for 4 years. I’ve always used the oils NEAT and my children and I ingest them daily without problem. You’re being very narrow minded with your comment, as you should know (as an aromoatherapist student) that there are a number of different aromatherapy methods out there to which aromatherapist follow…these methods include:
Lavender oil is claimed to have a slew of a health benefits, with aromatherapy practitioners using it for anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, depression, headache, upset stomach and hair loss. Some small studies on using lavender for anxiety have yielded mixed results, and some studies suggest the oil may work in combination with other oils to fight a hair-loss condition called alopecia areata, according to the NIH. However, "there is little scientific evidence of lavender's effectiveness for most health uses," the NIH says.
Yes, many companies do GC/MS testing and infrared. The real test is, what do they compare the results to and what is that company’s standard for what a good oil is? If their standard is high, then they may reject oils which are below that standard. If their standard is not so high, then they will accept and sell more oils, even ones that have been rejected by a company with higher standards.
Hi, I was wondering if you have heard of White Lotus Aromatics? If so what are your thoughts on them? I’m somewhat new to the essential oil life, I just bought a couple of oils from Rocky Mountain Essential Oils, but I’m going further down the rabbit hole in my research for the best essential oils out there. I’ve been reading a lot on White Lotus, but will also be checking out Native Americans.

Just to give anyone interested a typical example analysis, the picture below is of a certified organic lavender that I recently analyzed for a customer. As you can see the peak at 26.435 shows camphor present at 0.25%. Also, if you want peer reviewed literature references showing that camphor should indeed be in lavender, just login to my EO Chemical Reference database and you will see plenty of detailed reports, with journal citations, confirming exactly what I am talking about.

Yes, of course ! Let's make something clear though - "Therapeutic Grade" and "Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" (CPTG) are creative marketing terms employed by some companies to create a certain perception in the minds of unsuspecting consumers. There is no independent autonomous organization that either defines 'Therapeutic Grade' or certifies an essential oil as ‘Therapeutic Grade’. We could very easily label our products as "Certified Ultra Therapeutic Grade", but that again begs the question as to what is the definition of 'Ultra' versus 'Regular' and who actually 'Certified' it ? We do not believe in employing creative marketing terms to attract customers and rather let our quality and integrity speak for itself. 
Essential oils are not really oils. They do not contain the fatty acids that constitute what we would consider an actual oil. Valerie Gennari Cooksley, author of Aromatherapy: Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal defines essential oils as “highly concentrated plant constituents possessing potent medicinal and cosmetic qualities.” However, I think Stephanie Tourles nailed it in Organic Body Care recipes when she said, “I consider essential oils the life force or the soul of the plant.”
Just to give anyone interested a typical example analysis, the picture below is of a certified organic lavender that I recently analyzed for a customer. As you can see the peak at 26.435 shows camphor present at 0.25%. Also, if you want peer reviewed literature references showing that camphor should indeed be in lavender, just login to my EO Chemical Reference database and you will see plenty of detailed reports, with journal citations, confirming exactly what I am talking about.
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Hello! I enjoyed your post and it was very informative. I tried the construction paper test with my Mountain Rose Herbs oils and there was a residue! Tried with peppermint and with fennel. Sigh. I have ordered my oils from this company for years. Any thoughts? I feel like they are a legit company, no multi-level marketing schemes going on, no president with a shady psychotic past. What to do, what to do???

I thought we had cleared up this misconception years ago, however, it seems there are a number of essential oil purveyors claiming to carry essential oils  that are specifically certified as therapeutic grade by the FDA and show this seal below as proof.  Don’t be fooled.  They are not telling the truth.  In reverse order, this is one path to their deception.


Thank you so much for the objective, thorough information! I have some questions about “organic certification”. My understanding, with plants or foods that are produced organically, is that 100% organic is impossible because of cross contamination. So in the case of EO’s is organic less important because any chemical (ie pesticides, herbicides) that is not part of the oil is removed in the distillation process, or it is considered adulterated? For example, a company might state their oils are “certifiably organic” but they could still be contaminated because this certification allows a small percentage of contaminants. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!
Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils and their volatile aromatic compounds, for psychological and physical well-being. Aromatherapy, which also goes by “essential oil therapy,” is defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences of plants to “balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”
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