Natural essential oils by their very nature will vary slightly from season to season. We allow nature to take its course and do not add isolated compounds to the oil to try to standardize the naturally occurring variations of a particular oil. We take both the organoleptic (sight, smell, and taste) and chemical properties into account when selecting and testing NOW essential oils.
Currently organic essential oils are perceived as the answer to these purity and quality problems, but choosing an “organic” essential oil does not mean it is pure or even good quality. Organic herbs and food is an ideal that is worth striving for and it positively impacts our health. Unfortunately, regulating and verifying the organic status of essential oils is not so clear because there are no developed guidelines and routine analytical procedures.
Not all essential oils are created equally, nor does more expensive necessarily mean “better.” There are certain brands I will use in a less therapeutic fashion (like for cleaning), because they’re far less expensive than their counterparts. When you see a wide fluctuation in price between, say, lavender essential oils, you can bet that the far less expensive one is likely lower in quality.

A mucous membrane irritant will produce a heating or drying effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes, nose, and reproductive organs. It is recommended that mucus membrane irritating essential oils not be used in the bath unless they are adequately diluted in a dispersant such as natural bath gel base, polysorbate or vegetable oil. Bay, clove, cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and thyme ct. thymol essential oils should be avoided in baths completely. Table 5 lists some common essential oils considered to be mucous membrane irritants.


Another ridiculous claim by people who understand basically nothing about chemistry. I am not sure I know of anything that will last even as long as the earth remains, with perhaps the exceptions of diamonds and human ignorance LOL. The truth is that while the oil may last in the sense that it “exists” for a long time, there is no question that most oils, pure or otherwise, will eventually go bad due to oxidation reactions that are unavoidable unless you could somehow store them in an oxygen free atmosphere (basically impossible for most people). Even if stored in an inert atmosphere there is still the possibility of some EO molecules reacting with themselves over long periods, changing the oil, many times for the worse.
Much of my frustration comes from mlm companies proclaiming that THEIR oils are the best and that therapeutic grade means everything. Because there are not alot of distilleries around the world, many of us are getting our oils from the exact same places. Yet MLM’s tend to jack their prices up to over double in some cases, and use their claims as being the best to fortify the price increase. I do feel for consumers though. It is hard to know who to trust. I know of quite a few wonderful companies out there, besides mine that have wonderful, well priced oils. Yes, as you said, you will also pay for quality, but you need to trust who that supplier is. MLM’s will always have higher prices because of their structure. While that bothers me, it is their exclusivity that bothers me more, especially when I know we are sourcing from the same places.
Founded in 1993 with headquarters in Lehi (Utah) and offices in Australia, Europe, Canada, Japan and Singapore, Young Living has grown to become a world leader in essential oils. Their company structure is one of “MLM”, meaning multi-level-marketing. This is a type of revenue-sharing model where people become independent distributors and then sign up their friends and family members to shop through them.
If you’re looking for German chamomile, which promotes tranquility and relaxation, don’t just buy any bottle with the word “chamomile” on the label. “The specific species of the plant the oil comes makes a big difference in some cases,” says Dr. Burke. For example, plants in the chamomile group have different chemical compositions. Take German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) for instance; it has a different chemical composition than Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis).”If it just says ‘chamomile’ then you should assume it is a mixture of the cheapest chamomile available,” says Dr. Burke. These are the best essential oils for fighting colds and flu.
Young Living is a legit company, though their founder has been in a bit of trouble and maybe isn’t of the best moral character, thus Dr. Pappas’ last comments on oil myth #10. (The story is out there. It may take a bit of searching to find it if interested) Young Living has spent a lot of their energy bashing your favorite brand in hopes to destroy their reputation, also speaking volumes about the character of the company and many of their reps.
Not all essential oils are created equally, nor does more expensive necessarily mean “better.” There are certain brands I will use in a less therapeutic fashion (like for cleaning), because they’re far less expensive than their counterparts. When you see a wide fluctuation in price between, say, lavender essential oils, you can bet that the far less expensive one is likely lower in quality.

I stumbled on this page and have found it really useful. Just wonder if you could help – I’m thinking of making some homemade lotion bars made with beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil. I’d like to use Sweet Orange essential oil for a Christmassy smell, how many drops would be safe to use? I have found one recipe which uses 50 drops of lavendar (where the recipe uses around 1cup of each of the ingredients), would I be able to use this amount of the orange?


A great many essences are produced from the flowering tops of medicinal plants.  While these are not as homogeneous in their healing properties as other categories of oil source, literally all are anti-bacterial, and many are excellent for digestion, stress reduction, headaches, hormonal balance and colds/flu.  They help us get or stay in harmony, and are often purifying in nature.
If you find yourself counting sheep on a nightly basis, it may be high time that you consider some aromatherapy—there are countless studies that detail just how beneficial certain scents can be for getting quality shut-eye, even in highly stressful situations. For example, one study found that when ICU patients sniffed lavender, chamomile, and neroli, their anxiety levels dipped significantly, and their sleep quality did just the opposite. Another found that the scent of lavender increased slow-wave (deep) sleep, particularly in women. Just taking a whiff of any sleep-inducing oil before bed can help, but to reap the benefits all night long, consider keeping an open jar of an oil dilution on your nightstand or using a pillow spray.
Great post! I am a lover/addict of essential oils and I found it interesting that you said NOT to take essential oils internally.  There are several oils that I take internally daily, in fact, it is highly recommended per Young Living to do so.  The oils I use are from Young Living and I put them in my water, coffee, on a piece of bread and I cook with them since they are more potent than herbs and their frequency is greater.
Ugh. This is a tough one. I think they’re extremely overpriced. For example, 1/2 oz of bergamot YLEO is $32.50 and 1/2 oz of certified organic bergamot EO at Mountain Rose Herbs is $14.50. I see that YLEOs are “kosher certified,” which really doesn’t mean much of anything (as all plants and vegetables are automatically kosher and nothing special happens or is avoided that “makes” them kosher).
How do you know which are the best essential oil brands? After all, this is an industry that isn’t regulated by the FDA. Oil quality can vary based on the distillation process. It also matters if the manufacturer dilutes the pure plant oil with bases or additives. But many of the most popular companies do rigorous testing to prove their oils’ purity.
The volatile constituents of the EOs oils were determined using a Hewlett-Packard 6890 gas chromatograph, equipped with a HP-5975 mass selective detector and HP-5MS capillary column (30 m × 0.25 mm × 0.25 μm diameter). GC and GC–MS were carried out using split (1:30) injection, with injector temperature set at 220°C, column at 60°C, a heating ramp of 3°C min−1 to a final temperature of 240°C, and the MS and FID detectors set at 250°C. Helium was used as the carrier gas at 1 mL min−1. The GC–MS electron ionization system was set at 70 eV. A sample of the EO was dissolved in ethyl acetate for the analyses. Retention indices (RI) relative to n- alkanes were calculated by linear interpolation. Oils components were identified by comparision of experimental RI with reference data [18], by maching mass spectra with NIST software 05® reference spectra and by injection of authentic standards, when available.
I hear many of your colleagues say the same about offering sound advice for the safer uses of EOs while working for a company that does not. My experience in and intense focus on EO sales and marketing would lead me to conclude that these companies that flat out ignore risks to promote unverifiable benefits aren't just naively overlooking their safer use shortcomings. Money is the only reason for marketing and when profit's the name of the game, you'd best consider not one penny is left to chance.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no such thing as a “certified therapeutic grade” essential oil. If anything – we could use the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) guidelines as a bench mark for therapeutic grade. However, I have always argued that these guidelines are more suitable for the pharmaceutical industry and not for plant-based medicines.
doTERRA nor its representatives that I have interacted with have ever claimed any FDA certification. They clearly state that CPTG is a certification created by doTERRA to describe their testing and quality control process, which far exceeds all other industry standards. This makes sense to me since if you are a photographer, farmer, artist, chef, or anything other career you would use advertising or word of mouth to identify why you are the best at what you do and why people should give you their money rather than giving it to Bob Competitor up the street. I also know that when a competitor arises on the scene of a previously monopolized market there are always bitter and hateful words exchanged. Nobody wants to lose money and market share, especially when they are the only one providing that service or product.
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for educational purposes only. The references to safety information, constituents and percentages is generalized information. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.
The author of this book is the founder of Young Living (the Sead to Seal company I mentioned earlier). This is the book I use as my ‘go to’ source as to which Young Living Oils to use. GET TO KNOW THESE OILS, as they are the only ones safe for internal use on the market. Other companies will tell you their oils are safe to ingest. THEY ARE NOT. The only essential oil brand I can recommend for safe internal use with effective healing results is young living. If your 4 year old has leukemia one of the best things you can do for her is to give her 5ml of Ningxia Red per day in addition to essential oils on the feet and through a diffuser. There will be more info for you in the book as well as to where to start. If you would like more info please let me know. I would be happy to introduce you to young living. A woman in michigan named shannon hudson has leukemia and through the use of young living products her bloodwork is 100% NORMAL and I can for sure connect you with her or you can look her up on facebook. Shannon Hudson in Michigan…I am sending prayers and positive thoughts for you and your daughter Dave.
RC and Raven (YL Blends) are a few that I have used for myself and family for breathing issues. And Digize (also a Young Living Blend) is excellent for digestion, acid, and upset. Peppermint and Fennel are also options to look into. As far as best brand, you will have to do your research. I have been very happy with Young Living, but I know many will find the “best” from various sources to make up their essential oil cabinet. You will not want to use a vaporizer for your oils, I would suggest purchasing a diffuser which is designed to disperse your oils, over time essential oils will breakdown plastic tubing. A search on Amazon or Abundanthealth.com is a place to start looking at diffusers. You can also get a free one in premium kits sold by Young Living. Please feel free to contact me.

The findings of the new study are consistent with earlier work. For example, a 2011 study of 131 herbal tea products found that 33 percent were contaminated. Still, the estimates from the new study should be interpreted with caution, and refined with further research, because the study tested products from just 12 out of the 1,000 companies that make herbal products.
Oh, my, I need to apologize. I evidently left my reply/question before the entire page of this thread had loaded. I didn’t see that you and others had mentioned doTERRA. That is the company I’m with and I do trust them very much. As I indicated before, much of that trust is based on my experience of their oils compared to other oils I’ve used over the last 20 years.
I have had a beginer/intermediate training in aromatherapy and my teacher then and a current certified teaching aromatherapist I know now, do not reccomend ‘neat’ or undiluted applications unless the oil is high in linalol (a chemical you should be familar with if you’re versed enough to be giving classes) and only on small scrapes, occasionally. NEVER neat applications on a baby, many are not reccomened for babies or young kids at all. The only way it wouldn’t have given them a reaction is if they were diluted and or inferiorly distilled. If you had training in aromatherapy (an actual class w/ anatomy/physiology, chemistry, etc.) you would know that, as well as how dangerous ingestion of EO’s can be to the mucous membranes and not telling the uneducated to just ‘go ahead and drink it’ nor would the company you get them from if they were ethical. Honestly I know you’re not trying to harm anyone, but please get more education under your belt first (a certification would be best) before you do harm someone. This goes for anyone anywhere, remember we live in a sue happy culture!
Essential oils prices at The Ananda Apothecary are fair, not too steep but also not too good to be true. Their specialty oils like Sandalwood, Helichrysum, or Rose are properly and fairly priced higher (as they should be), indicating a true quality product behind the label rather than a quick sale. Certain essential oils are just more expensive due to the incredible amount of effort and volume of plant materials required to produce the bottle of oil you buy.
The quality of essential oils can vary widely. As a consumer (and even as an aromatherapist), it is difficult to assess quality. Essential oils come from all over the world, and suppliers or companies usually obtain oils from farmers or wholesalers whose practices and integrity they have come to trust over time. The end consumer would not be aware of (or have the capability to assess) those relationships and practices. For those interested in learning more about regulating bodies and certifying organizations, some information and links are provided below.
In short: DO NOT TAKE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY unless they have been prescribed to you individually by a qualified and clinically-trained medical professional or Clinical Registered Aromatherapist. When working with essential oils you are ultimately playing with chemistry; if you do not know the specific chemistry of the specific oils, and what that specific collection of chemical constituents in that oil can do to your body, then avoid internal administration and stick with the aromatic processes.

AFNOR standards were established by The Association for French Normalization Organization Regulation for the French essential oil industry. The program was so successful that the International Standards Organization (ISO) adopted the AFNOR standards for essential oils and provides a list of these ISO standards and guidance for essential oils on their web site. Surprisingly enough, no USA Company or organization has adopted these standards to date and all continue to make silly claims to try to prove quality without any regulatory body supporting their claims.


This is a great resource. I’ use a variety of essential oils. I have a drawer full. Some from Young Living, Simply Earth, Do Terra and Isagenix. There are many good brands but I think people get nervous about trying new brands especially when they’ve heard from well-meaning friends that only the MLM versions are safe. While I do think MLM brands are tested extensively because they are held to very high standards and don’t want to get shut down there are some non-mlm oil brands you can safely buy especially if you plan to use them in your diffuser. I wouldn’t ingest an oil unless the bottle specifically states you can. For ingesting the brands I use right now are Isagenix and Young Living (I’m sure there are others that are safe but these state they are ingestable). I’ve written many posts about how to use oils and I switch out brands depending on my needs and what I have on hand.
The 4-ounce bottle of Eucalyptus essential oil from NOW Foods is a bargain when you compare its price to what you’d pay for a much smaller bottle from a different company. But the 100% pure and natural oil comes from steam-distilled leaves and branches of the Eucalyptus Globulus tree. There are no shortcuts in the manufacturing process or fillers in the bottle.
But…. and this is a very big but… like any medicine, they have a list of limitations and potential risks if they are not used correctly. Let’s examine some of them. Oh and if you don’t like rants, then maybe you don’t want to read this post (but you should because I make some very good points). If you’re a rep or a convert to brands like doTERRA and Young Living, I hope this helps you, because much of what you’ve been told simply isn’t true.

You’ll often see companies advertising their "therapeutic grade," "aromatherapy grade," or "medicinal grade" oils. Unfortunately for them, no such thing exists. "There is no formally approved grading standard used consistently throughout the essential oil industry," Lortscher says. Simply put, anyone who says that they have therapeutic grade or "certified" essential oils is lying. "That seal is nothing more than a commercial trademark. It isn’t backed by any scientific body."
Young Living oils are therapeutic grade and some of them can be applied neat but many recommend at least a 1:1 with a carrier. Always research the oils and know how to dilute them but also understand that your body may tell you that 1:4 peppermint is too diluted and isn’t giving you the best benefits. Each person responds to oils differently and should allow their body time to respond to the oil. If after an extended time – YL recommends at least 25 minutes for their oils – you haven’t noticed any affect attempt the oil again with less dilution. Keep track of your responses to each oil and base your use on the notes you have taken.
In a Chinese study, an ointment containing 5% tea tree oil was used by patients whose eyelash follicles were infested with “eyelash mites” (Demodex folliculorum). The ointment was applied to the lid margins with eyes closed, daily for 4 weeks after washing the face, and resulted in considerably less itching and fewer mites. Two of the 24 patients experienced slight irritation from the ointment. The 5% concentration was arrived at after preliminary testing using various dilutions on rabbit eyes (Gao et al 2012).
From the best that I can understand it, YL claims that their method of testing goes far and beyond almost any other in the US. They state that the GC column length should be at least 50-60 meters in order to allow “double-phased ramping–which makes it possible to identify constituents that occur in very small percentages by increasing the separation of compounds.” YL states that almost all US labs only use a 30-meter column in their testing. The extent of this testing apparently is able to spot possible toxins that would be damaging to the brain, etc. at a molecular level.

Let's examine some convincing arguments about spotting inferior and potentially adulterated oils by their packaging and cost. One Young Living rep claims, "[i]t is not possible to import the finest Frankincense resin ... then distill and bottle it for $20 per 1/2 oz." The rep convincingly suggests that prices lower than those of the Young Living oils, along with labels warning against their internal use, must mean the oil is inferior and/or adulterated with toxic chemicals.
So, what’s your take on companies like Young Living Oil, which basically give me the vibe of “our oil is the only true and pure one out there”. I’m not sold on the idea, and don’t know that I’ll be purchasing anything other than their Thieves blend, when it comes to EOs for my soaps, lotions, and salves. I know you’re mainly addressing aromatherapy and massage here, but would the same principles apply to homemade healthcare products, as well?
Hi there, I just started using an e,extranio cigarette, read that if you make your own e liquids, (there’s a few kits out there) you can get read of the only scientifically detected ingredient that might pose a threat to health, this is not nicotine it’s called propylene glycol. I want to make my own liquid using just vegetable glycerin and for the aroma, I thought I could use a tiny amount of essential oils. My doubt is, a Swiss just bottle of lets say thyme, is it a 100% the me extracted oil? Or is there any other ingredient? Do you think for vaping essential oils are ok?
One thing I wonder though (couldn’t find it on the websites you listed either) – My grandmother loves the smell of tomato leaves and I ran across a hand cream that was tomato leaf scented once when I was overseas but it was too much liquid to bring home. Is there somewhere I can find an essential oil or make one or something like it to make a nice handcream for her?
We have used Frontier/AuraCacia, MountainRose, RockyMountain, PlantTberaly and are happy with each of them. However, we’ve found Edens Gardens to work well for us. We love their blends, their sales/specials pricing and their customer service. We occasionally use the other brands (especially in a pinch) and sometimes place a order for AuraCacia through our Frontier Co-OP account.
That last sentence has me wondering if Young Living Sales Representatives have to carry their own insurance, so when someone has a bad reaction to a reps recommended usage, Young Living is not found liable. Whether they do or not, sales representatives ARE liable for what you tell people to do with essential oils. So from an educated and frustrated marketing professional and herbal researcher, I say go on, sell and make money - but please, for safety's sake, stop advising customers to ingest essential oils.
Crunchy Betty, I have a question. I am new and learning about using essential oils and loving it, but having a problem with the scents not lasting as a perfume on my body. I mean not lasting even an hour. I am using essential oils purchased at one of the reputable companies that you recommend above. I am using a base of Jojoba and then blending other essential oils to make a scent. What am I doing wrong?
Delivering the freshest product with the highest level of quality control is our top priority, and as a result we only have a small portion of finished product on-hand at any given time. Additionally, growers who produce plants that are both Certified Organic and up to our personal standards are exceedingly rare, and the few growers we’re lucky enough to work with can only produce so much raw material at a time.

Enormous amounts of plants are needed to produce essential oil. In fact, on the extreme end, it takes 4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 pound of essential oil. Other plants like lavender only take 100 pounds of plant material to produce a pound of essential oil. Still, can you imagine how concentrated essential oils must be, in light of how many plants are used to produce them?
"Essential oils are incredibly concentrated and should always be used exactly as recommended," said Elizabeth Bloom, homeopath and founder of Elizabeth Essentials. "They are far more potent than dried herbs - approximately 75 to 100 times more concentrated. A large volume of plant material is needed to produce small amounts of a distilled oil - 220 pounds of lavender flowers, for example, is required to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil."

Crissi is a vegan fitness model, online trainer and coach, director of the Vegan Fitness International group, designer at Vegan Fitness body, Chef at Vegan Fitness body, author of Vegan Fitness Food For A lean Healthy Body ebook, and so much more! Crissi became vegan at age 38 and now makes it a huge part of her message intertwining it with the knowledge she has gained about health and fitness throughout the years. Check out her website here.

But Young Living is not the only provider of pure, unadulterated essential oils. There is only a limited amount of essential oil distillers in the world producing and providing pure, unadulterated essential oils to the rest of us, and common business sense tells you that they aren't just selling their oils to one customer! Young Living does not have a monopoly on the pure essential oils market. So, two clarities arise here:
Don't worry, I won't eat them. It just didn't feel right to me. I drank the one drop of citrus oil in a lot of water, and felt OK about that, but beyond that I don't know. I have seen other EO's on Amazon a lot cheaper too. I don't want to sell them, I think I just want to buy a few more for my own use. I garden a lot, and notice when I use them outside I don't get bit as much, mosquitoes love me. So the best way to use EO's is to just smell them? I think that sounds reasonable. I want to go back and read this all again. Thanks for getting all this info together.
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.
Hi there, I just started using an e,extranio cigarette, read that if you make your own e liquids, (there’s a few kits out there) you can get read of the only scientifically detected ingredient that might pose a threat to health, this is not nicotine it’s called propylene glycol. I want to make my own liquid using just vegetable glycerin and for the aroma, I thought I could use a tiny amount of essential oils. My doubt is, a Swiss just bottle of lets say thyme, is it a 100% the me extracted oil? Or is there any other ingredient? Do you think for vaping essential oils are ok?
Hi. I have been using DoTERRA’s products for approx. 6 months in many ways, topically, diffuser, cleaning, cooking, etc. I recently had surgery and got a bad cold while in the hospital. I started using doTERRA’s OnGuard throat drops and continually got worse (I also suffer from asthma so was using my inhalers as well.). Do you think there is any way the drops killed too much of the good bacteria in my mouth and throat? Just wondering your thoughts on this. Looking forward to your feedback.
Then we purchased bottles of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Lemon (Citrus limon) from each of the seven companies we selected to perform our in-house testing. We gathered a group of four people from our office and administered a formal blind smell test to evaluate which oils smelled the best and which smelled the worst out of the selections.
On speaking to Karen Menehan and Stanford Erickson, two of your editors, I was told that one role of a publication was to present alternative viewpoints. A fair point in principle, but I have read dozens of editorials, guest and otherwise, and don’t remember a single one that presented opposing views in this way. And, I’m still confused as to how my article was listed as someone else’s.
On the bright side, dōTERRA sources their essential oils from growers across the globe who use a distillation process of low-heat steam distillation or cold extraction for select essential oils. Their global botanical network encompasses farmers and distillers in 40 different countries. dōTERRA offers full insight into the consumer journey from essential oil sourcing to delivering the bottle to a consumers’ hand, on their website Source to You. GC/MS quality reports are also available for download on this website.
There are several EO blends or normal oils that are safe, like oregano. There are others that are toxic to the body internally, but fine diffused. When in doubt, do the research. Obviously, if you can eat the plant, like cinnamon, the oil, if taken in a gel tab isn’t toxic. Drinking it directly will burn. Hot oil vs cool oil. Some like lemon, lime, orange, peppermint are fine in water. Learn each oil, as each one, like each child, has its own properties and should be used in the right way.

Aura Cacia essential oils are packaged in amber glass bottles, which ensures that light does not disrupt the oils’ integrity and individual properties. The essential oil products are also 100% pure, not containing any additional bases, fillers, or additives. While not all of their oils are certified organic, they do have some certified organic oils in their line-up. If organic is important to you, shop for those specific product and look out for the correct “certified organic” label.
I used the NOW brand along with many others that I picked up easily at my local health food store for years. I would use what you bought. I say this with caution though, because when using oil that has not undergone testing to prove its purity and that has been held to a high standard, you risk synthetic chemicals, fillers, and less potency. With so many companies out there using unethical practices to extend their oils it can be scary and even toxic to the user. This is why I have now switched to a new provider. I researched about 50 companies thoroughly and only found 3 that I would actually feel fully safe using for both me and my kids. I chose the one I felt like was the best for me and I have been so excited to see how much quicker and more effectively they do their work to help my families bodies in all kinds of situations. I still have some of my old oils like the NOW brand and I will use them until they are gone, but I have switched to not using them directly on my body, and instead just use them for when I am making homemade cleaning products. Examples would be my floor cleaner, my laundry, etc. Never use any NOW oils internally (it says so on the packaging) but if you’re not worried about extra toxins then using a small amount in a diffuser or on trouble areas is something I did with some positive results (though those results were not as pronounced or quick as the results I see now).
The information provided on this Web site, through its social media networks and in supporting materials and communications is intended for basic, general educational purposes only. It does not include all possible precautions, side effects, or interactions that may occur. AromaWeb, LLC takes no responsibility for how you use the information provided. Statements contained on AromaWeb have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should conduct thorough research via multiple sources and consult with a qualified aromatherapist, doctor, medical practitioner or other qualified professional before starting any new treatment. Information on AromaWeb must not be relied upon for medical, legal or financial decisions.
And, I’m not at all sure where the idea that “less than 2% of essential oils sold in health stores are appropriate for aromatherapy” comes from. This is quite simply pure and unadulterated fantasy! Perhaps the most common retail brand is Aura Cacia, and if you go to their website you will find 27 organically certified essential oils listed. A very high percentage of essential oils now sold for use in aromatherapy is organically certified, and some of the ones that are not are simply not available as certified organic oils. This not only applies in the USA, the same is true in most regions. Is an organically certified essential oil not suitable for aromatherapy?
How do you know which are the best essential oil brands? After all, this is an industry that isn’t regulated by the FDA. Oil quality can vary based on the distillation process. It also matters if the manufacturer dilutes the pure plant oil with bases or additives. But many of the most popular companies do rigorous testing to prove their oils’ purity.
This is a must-have dietary or culinary oil, Febuary said. They both recommend starting your day with lemon water, using a drop of lemon oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Add a drop to savory foods like fish or chicken recipes that call for lemon juice, and use it to create vinaigrettes and marinades to add a bright flavor to summer salads and grilling.
Thank you for this insightful article. It is insane to me that Doterra and Young Living advocate and encourage ingesting essential oils. When I first came in contact with a Doterra consultant, she passed around a bottle of doterra peppermint oil. I got an immediate migraine and had to walk out. Doterra is extremely concentrated, to dangerous levels. I believe that Doterra and Young Living are putting people at risk.
Let’s be clear that my beef isn’t with the product – it’s the misleading marketing done by the MLM’s that has led to their gross misuse. Essential oils are fantastic and their biggest benefit is when they are used in an olfactory sense – that is inhaled and smelt. Diffusing essential oils works wonders for stress, anxiety, and moods. Using diluted oils on the skin can be great for relaxation, to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and just to smell nice! They are a very powerful medicine and when used in these safe and non-invasive ways can help to balance the body and promote healing.

Thank you so much for posting this. I had a reaction to my pure, therapeutic grade Frankincense on my skin and it left me with an itchy rash for over a week. It left me really wondering about the claims the MLM supporters make. I have had great experience in using my oils, but it is foolish to claim they can do no harm. I really appreciate a scientist’s take on all of this.


Organic essential oils are not only good for sustainable agricultural practices, they also have the greatest healing properties, says Josh Axe, D.N.M, C.N.S., D.C. founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition. “Having nothing else added in during the extraction process is the only way to guarantee they are unprocessed and sourced directly from the plant,” says Dr. Axe. Organic is definitely more expensive than conventionally grown, but you’re also getting a superior essential oil.
From what I have read on various websites and blogs there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” since there is no system in place in this country to determine the grade of an essential oil. Since any brand of essential oils can be used for aromatherapy then all essential oils would technically be therapeutic grade since aroma therapy is a therapeutic use of essential oils.
“Therapeutic grade” is simply a marketing claim with no real independent meaning or value, and no credible third-party standards. However, the quality standards for authentication of essential oils have been long established by authoritative references. Our quality control team tests essential oils to the specifications published in The Essential Oils by Ernest Guenther, as well as Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients by George A. Burdock. These are the same standards used by major European distillers that are the primary suppliers of these oils to our industry.

Hi! Is it necessary to dilute an oil if you’re going to inhale the vapor, rather than use it topically? I’m asking because I had been rubbing a drop of frankincense on the palms of my hands and then inhaling to treat asthma. After awhile, I developed a reaction on my skin. Now I’m applying the oil to a piece of paper in a ziploc bag and inhaling from that to avoid skin contact.
Essential oils are widely used for flavor and can be used for recipes provided they are used in small amounts and there is a fat in the recipe to properly disperse the oil throughout. In regards to oregano oil for pastas, the general consensus outside of sales companies seems to be that the flavor it adds is mediocre to awful and whole-herb oregano with your tomato sauces can't be beat. Lydia Bastianich even says dried is better than fresh - I watch a lot of PBS :) I always flavor with whole plant herbs and spices, it's part of what drew me to herbalism.
Essential oils aren’t created with carrier oils – they’re extracted using a variety of methods. The most common are cold-pressing and steam distillation. Most citrus oils are cold-pressed (the name is pretty self-explanatory: they’re pressed), but almost all other essential oils are steam-distilled: the plant matter is placed above steaming hot water, the steam takes essential oil from the plant, and travels through a condenser. After condensing, you’re left with water and a tiiiiiny bit of essential oil floating on top.
So yes, I use them, always diluted, never ingested. What for? All natural Body sprays, pillow sprays, sanitizer sprays, bug spray, and I diffuse them for colds (especially to clear up my kids) and mood enhancement. I drop a few into a bath and add them to my bath salts recipes. But my favorite use for them is scented oil perfumes! I love reading old alchemy books on perfumery and building scents with bottom, middle, and top notes using the secrets of old masters to try to create my own scents. I'm pretty terrible at it lol... but what a fun hobby! I do sell an all-natural line of sprays through my herbal tea business, and have been working on a perfume line for almost 4 years now...no rush. When I'm finally happy with it, I'll release it.

What would be more accurate is that the more “pure” the oil is the more caution you should use in internal dose (“consumption”) – which is one of the least effective ways to use essential oils because they are broken down by the liver before absorption into the blood stream. If an oil is closer to a synthetic flavoring, like that used in chewing gum, then it would be deemed safer for consumption. I assume what YL sells as pure for use in consumption is similar to pure synthetic flavoring.
Tomato Leaves are toxic, never ingest them or use for skincare products. Strictly aromatic purposes are okay, like candles, however, Tomato Leaf EO or Absolute is very expensive for such a venture. The fresh leaves loose their wonderful aroma once dried, I tried it already 🙂 Best choice will be a fragrance oil if you want to really capture that smell, I know…not natural, but these are the facts. Good luck!
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.
If it was me, I would look for a company that is happy to supply GCMS traces for all of their essential oils. Eden’s certificate of analysis is great, but as you say, it’s a shame it doesn’t give more detail on constituents. If a company can’t supply MSDS sheets then run a mile, because that’s essential! If they don’t have or will not share CGMS analyses, then they are not getting with the program. If they don’t have these, why don’t they have them? Why are they not not checking up on the quality of the oil they are buying? If they have them but won’t share them, why not? What do they have to hide? I would also look for organic certification. Aromatics International gives a full constituent breakdown for each of their oils on their website.
I realize that it’s been a while since you posted this question, but hope this information helps anyway. My poor husband had the same problem with leg cramps. Took supplements for potassium and ate bananas and oranges like crazy. No difference. Heard then that the deficiency that causes these cramps is more likely related to magnesium, so he started taking a magnesium supplement. Still no difference.
General safety guidelines include: avoid application of known dermal irritant essential oils on any inflammatory or allergic skin condition; avoid undiluted application; avoid application on open or damaged skin; and dilute known dermal irritants with appropriate vegetable oil or other carrier. If you suspect a client has sensitive skin, perform a skin patch test. Table 1 lists some common essential oils considered to be dermal irritants.
I know 2 people who are part of the MLM’s, one YL and one DoTERRA. Through their websites I have learned of all this controversy and need to research. You did not answer AJ’s question. How much research is needed to feel qualified to use essential oils effectively and safely and get the most for your money. Should I take a course on them or are there on-line tutorials that are honest?
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Natural essential oils by their very nature will vary slightly from season to season. We allow nature to take its course and do not add isolated compounds to the oil to try to standardize the naturally occurring variations of a particular oil. We take both the organoleptic (sight, smell, and taste) and chemical properties into account when selecting and testing NOW essential oils.


The following oral pathogens were studied: Candida albicans CBS 562 from “Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures” and bacteria Streptococcus sanguis ATCC 10556, Streptococcus mitis ATCC 903, Porphyromonas gingivalis ATCC 33277 and Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 25586 from American Type Culture Collection. The microorganisms were stored at −70°C in Sabouraud Dextrose Broth (SDB, Merck® - C. albicans) and Mueller-Hinton Broth (Difco® - bacteria) with 15% glycerol. It was considered the oxygen exigencies of each microorganism (C. albicans - aerobiosis, S. mitis and S. sanguis microaerophilie and F. nucleatum and P. gingivalis anaerobiosis) to choose bacteria growth conditions.
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.”

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