Potential essential oil buyers should independently check out the marketing information provided by essential oil traders - do not be put off asking for any extra information or reassurances that you are legally entitled to if the situation is not absolutely clear cut. The professional aromatherapist has a duty to be able to provide all relevant safety information relevant to to their clients’ treatment(s) and therefore it is part of ‘due diligence’ to ask questions, require any stipulated proofs, request an MSDS, ask for compositional data & certificate of origin of the batch of oil purchased and have their eyes wide open to marketing ploys & scams of all types - including providing GC’MS print-outs and other information which relate to other batches of oils entirely, and, of course, describing essential oils as ‘therapeutic grade’.

Jane Buckle comments “the use of essential oils in pregnancy is a contentious subject, especially during the vital first 3-month period. It is extremely unlikely that a nightly bath containing a few drops of essential oils will cause any problems for the unborn child” and later states “there are no records of abnormal fetuses or aborted fetuses due to the ‘normal’ use of essential oils, either by inhalation or topical application.”11

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.


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The ISO created quality standards for essential oils under the TC-54 Guidelines.  One of these quality guidelines is to use Gas Chromatography to test for the active phytochemical content of each oil and if it does not meet these minimum amounts, the oil is not considered of value.  Most essential oils companies do not even consult these guidelines when purchasing their oils, thus they cannot be of any theraputic value even though they may use that term as a marketing strategy. If an oil is not ISO certified, then do not buy it.
Oh yes, as a folk herbalist since 2003 I use EOs, I love them, but I don't eat them - they're not a food (even though now some come complete with a "supplement label" to make them appear so - a product of the company's marketing and label design, NOT anyway affiliated with the FDA!) Any Material Safety Data Sheet on EOs will instruct you to seek immediate medical attention if swallowed. (here in the US, that's OSHA guidelines for the handling of hazardous materials, EOs included).
I believe in two of my previous replies I actually said I do occasionally eat a peppermint leaf or slice of lemon. That is not the comparison we are even talking about, so for two previous replies citing using herbs and spices or some products consumed or even using a lemon drizzle made from lemon zest is not an accurate argument to even attempt to bring up. BIG difference in the ratios of essential oils being ingested in either case from, say a couple of drops of said oil in a bottle of water, or straight up (Essential oils cocktail anyone?) And those examples. As for the muscle cream, those oil proportions are diluted of course, because they are in a cream base. The level of even trying to make an argument here is non existent, since there are no intelligent comparisons. And imagine that- GASP- we can agree on one thing: muscle creams are ok because you aren't rubbing toxic oils undiluted on yourself. And yes there are some oils which are considered safe to use undiluted, but through some actual research, we are also finding some of those same oils are even more effective diluted to a less than full strength ratios. I also don't think in any sense we have said was directly about anything other than unsafe use of ingesting essential oils. Feel free to interpret as you will, as that is usually how some will always try to twist things.
According to Avery, while specific dilutions can vary based on personal needs and individual essential oils, the general rule of thumb is to aim for a one to five percent dilution. "A one percent blend is six drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier, while a five percent blend would be 30 drops per ounce of carrier," she says. For specifics, check out Aura Cacia's handy dilution guide.
Young Living frequently cites GC/MS testing to verify both the purity of their essential oils and to verify their claims of the existence of impure oils on the market. Their reps educate consumers about inferior quality oils by noting the price of the oil, and conjuring up the frightening idea that some oils could be intentionally adulterated with toxic additives and then mislabeled as pure. These two reasons are then used to reassure nervous customers that the straight consumption of essential oil is safe, but only if they are Young Living's high priced, "therapeutic grade" oils.
To give you an example the perfume industry requires a standardised scent profile for most of the oils that it uses so that the perfume that they manufacture has a reliable scent.  So  the oils supplied to the perfume industry are usually standardised accordingly. Lavender 40/42 is  where two of the main constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, are added to the oil to make up 40/42% of the oil.
The notion of using essential oils as a replacement for standard medical therapy is not new. Today’s essential oils are yesterday’s herbal remedies. They’re your grandmother’s swamp root, your great-grandmother’s liver pills and your great-great-grandmother’s snake oil (hey, at least we made it back to oil). And as in those days, somebody’s getting rich selling their wares. Why? Because there will always be folks who claim they work and others who buy into the claim looking for a quick fix. My question for believers in the crowd: how do you know the remedy really did the job? Runny noses get better. Coughs and bellyaches go away. Rashes clear up, skin heals and behavior fluctuates.

CBD doesn’t intoxicate you. This means that people can enjoy the benefits of medicinal marijuana without having their daily lives impacted. More importantly, CBD does not decrease psychomotor skills or psychological functioning. THC acts on CB1 receptors, the pathways that are responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, whereas CBD does not. The way CBD interacts with receptors also makes it non-addictive. It’s safe to use CBD salve for pain, mental disorders, and inflammation without the fear of undesirable side effects.
^ Aizpurua-Olaizola, Oier; Ormazabal, Markel; Vallejo, Asier; Olivares, Maitane; Navarro, Patricia; Etxebarria, Nestor; Usobiaga, Aresatz (2015-01-01). "Optimization of supercritical fluid consecutive extractions of fatty acids and polyphenols from Vitis vinifera grape wastes". Journal of Food Science. 80 (1): E101–107. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.12715. ISSN 1750-3841. PMID 25471637.

With do-Terra all you are doing is “buying into” the name and the fad; not getting a better oil. I am not saying their oil isn’t good, it may be. EO and their uses have been around for 1000’s of years and do-Terra has just marketed a way to create a “new awareness” for a younger or less knowledgeable generation to, in effect, make them seem the “experts” and the “best” company out there There are plenty of companies out there that sell the same thing, same pureness at a lesser price (because you are not paying for the hype). If you are not using them for sales then why are you buying into all hype. They have to pass on the cost of their great marketing to someone and that’s you, the customer.
I signed up to be a DoTerra Essential Oils consultant about a year ago, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. I get high quality 100% pure therapeutic grade oils for a good price. I’ve used Frankincense and Lavender undiluted on my son since he was born. I’ve also taken advantage of my diffuser. My favorite blends to diffuse are their Breathe (which has been a lifesaver when my babe is congested -and the rest of the family too) and their On Guard. We diffused On Guard last fall quite often and nobody in our house caught so much as a cold. Which was so nice, considering the new baby in the house -and considering Hubby is a teach and typically brings bugs home at the start of new school years. My personal favorites are Lemon and Peppermint. I add a drop or two of lemon to my drinks when I feel a sore throat coming on, or when I feel like I need a bit of a mood/ energy lift. And peppermint works well for headaches and aches in general. 🙂 If you’re interested in DoTerra let me know. I live in the Colorado Springs area and I teach EO classes occasionally.
I looked into the proprietary claim a little further and there really isn't much to it. Pure oil is pure oil. You would see the compounds of plant matter and maybe the location of origin. That's pretty much it. The best oils on the planet, each specific one, typically comes from only a few locations, with each region having distillers that work with a specific plant. I sent the following email last year in response to their request for the non-disclosure in exchange for lab results, and their request to know how they were going to be used.
Some essential oils qualify as GRAS flavoring agents for use in foods, beverages, and confectioneries according to strict Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and flavorist standards.[48] Pharmacopoeia standards for medicinal oils should be heeded. Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals, cats in particular.[49] The internal use of essential oils can pose hazards to pregnant women, as some can be abortifacients in dose 0.5–10 mL, and thus should not be used during pregnancy.[citation needed]

Yes, all our products are either steam distilled or cold pressed from premium natural botanical ingredients. Everything from our Select Series essential oils to the natural skin care oils in our Forever collection are sourced from our global network of diligently handpicked farmers, who produce our ingredients naturally and sustainably to our exacting standards. Different plants are native to different parts of the world, and because our oils are species-specific, we source them indigenously to ensure that their natural properties are exceptional.
With the exception of one of our jasmine oil blends, which is clearly labeled as synthetic, all NOW Solutions essential oils are naturally derived. Pure, natural jasmine oil is hard to source and very expensive even at wholesale, which translates to exorbitant retail pricing. Synthetic jasmine is much less expensive and its aroma is equivalent to that of pure jasmine, which is why we offer this option to our customers. We also carry a pure jasmine absolute blended with carrier oil as a natural alternative.

The only types of essential oils that should EVER be used are THERAPEUTIC GRADE essential oils. Otherwise, all the benefits of the essential oils are lost to the SYNTHETIC PETROCHEMICALS that are in MOST essential oils (even the ones you get at the health food store… I wont name brands)There are only two name brands that I know of that sell therapeutic grade essential oils.(there could be more) Those brands are Young Living ( Which I highly recommend) and Doterra. More expensive does mean better. Young Living does not sell any of its oils to any other company. There are only a handful of distilleries in the world that’s why most E.O’s are poor imitators. They are not all getting the oils from the same place. They are made in a lab instead.
Hi Dave, So sorry to hear about the medical issues your family is facing. There is quite a bit written about using essential oils for cancer though I don’t have the info at my finger tips. I would be happy to see if I can find more info on where to direct you if you haven’t already found it. If you have an email or Facebook or some other way to be reached it might be a better way to converse. But either way one place you can go to get some ideas about other peoples experiences with various oils is oil-testimonials.com you can sign up for the free membership and then do searches on whatever you would like.”leukemia” “child leukemia” “Crohns” etc. It was formed for people using YL oils to share so some of the blends mentioned will be YL but it doesn’t mean you have to use YL to get the results. High quality oils are high quality oils, that said quality is so important especially when talking about treating something as major as the things you are and in my experience YL does produce high quality oils. I myself have treated Tertiary Chronic Lyme and having used both traditional antibiotics (IV, pills, suspension and sometimes all at the same time) and essential oils and can attest to the oils working as well as any other protocol I have been on without the side effects…well you probably see where I’m going. That doesn’t mean Young Living is the only company producing oils of that quality, they aren’t, nor does it mean I’m advocating the MLM approach, signing up was worth while for me to receive the discount since I order so many oils and I will sometimes order for other people at my discount but I have never pursued the business end of it. I also have and do use other companies oils and think investigating and having several sources is wise for various reasons. Anyway, sorry to go on so much your situation just struck a nerve. Feel free to contact me if you would like.
Our writer and researcher for this article is a holistic health practitioner studying nutrition, human anatomy, physiology, spirituality, as well as aromatherapy. After over a month of research and evaluation, we have determined that Stillpoint Aromatics from Sedona, Arizona, offers the best essential oils. They source the finest plants and make the greatest effort to preserve the oils’ pristine quality by keeping them in cold storage, capped with nitrogen. Plus they hand-pour every bottle to order. Stillpoint Aromatics’ unsurpassed quality will give you the greatest freshness and a superior caliber of oils that you can depend on for years and years. Running a close second — and for half the price — Floracopeia’s essential oils smelled very fresh and quite similar to Stillpoint’s, but they lacked the energetic quality we noticed in Stillpoint Aromatics’ products.
There are many companies in the world producing pure essential oils. But finding those companies may not be the easiest of tasks, and even if you find them, they may not be selling their product in small retail bottles. As a general rule, the farther down the supply chain you go the less likely you are to be getting pure product. There are a lot of companies out there selling essential oils and most of them have no ability (or in many cases no desire) to do the necessary quality control to verify what they are getting from their supplier before they pass it on to their customers. Additionally, pure does not necessary equate with good quality. A pure oil can be distilled incorrectly or could have been obtain from a particular variety of plant species that was not ideal. Furthermore, with regards to therapeutic grade, we need to be diligent at discerning what the claim really means. There seems to be a misconception that there is some kind of independent body that certifies oils as therapeutic grade, but to this date there is no such body, at least not one that is widely recognized. Does this mean there is no such thing as therapeutic grade? No, but just realize that any therapeutic grade standard out there right now is an internally derived company standard. Now this standard may be an overall great standard and perfectly acceptable to me or any other analyst or aromatherapist out there but it just needs to be noted that its not an independent standard. Some of the company standards that I have been privileged to access have in fact even been quite exceptional in some cases, surpassing the conventional standards of ISO, etc. In the end, for most people who don’t have access to their own GC/MS, it all boils down to who do you trust to give you the pure oil. If the leader of a company has a history of misinformation, arrest records for practicing medicine without a license, getting sued for injuring people by improper use of essential oils, using the names of credible people inappropriately for personal gain, and questionable ethics in general then its probably not a company whose “therapeutic grade” standard would really carry much weight with the aromatherapy community at large and should also not be taken seriously by an educated EO consumer.

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?


Essential oils rich in aldehydes (e.g., citronellal, citral) and phenols (e.g., cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol) may cause skin reactions. Essential oils rich in these constituents should always be diluted prior to application to the skin. According to Schnaubelt, “diluting such oils so that the resulting solution becomes non-irritant, may require diluting them to concentrations much lower than in normal circumstances. Another option is to blend such irritant oils asymmetrically with other essential oils, which mitigate their irritant effects.”3

Hi Karen, businesses with a multi-level (network) marketing structure need to have higher prices because so many people take a cut from each sale. That’s not to say the quality of the product is not good, but you can get the same quality for less. On the other hand, you can’t necessarily go for the cheapest either! Price is only a rough guide to quality. Check out this blog post: http://tinyurl.com/ler5shs. There are several grades of ylang-ylang oil, – extra, I, II, III and complete, but this does not apply to any other essential oil https://roberttisserand.com/2014/01/re-distilled-essential-oils/
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I have bought dozens of essential oils from Piping Rock. Their prices are simply the best, especially considering the free shipping and “Crazy Deals” they offer and change almost daily. You can get 15 ml of 100% neroli oil for about $15, and it’s lovely! They also have a 15 ml bottle of 100% West Indian sandalwood for $39.95, and it smells GREAT. A 15 ml bottle of 100% pure cistus oil is about $13 or $14. It can’t be beat! Many of the normally cheaper oils (peppermint, orange, cedarwood, tangerine, tea tree, pine etc.) are wonderfully priced too -almost a steal. Their rose, jasmine and tuberose blends did not disappoint scent-wise (they weren’t too weak at all). Their oils come in glass bottles with stoppers and pretty labels. I was scared at first because of how cheap their prices are, but I’m glad I took the chance. On top of the great products, they ship SUPER FAST, package well, and my orders are always complete and correct. So happy with this company. Lastly, by signing up with the http://www.mrrebates.com website (it’s free), and accessing piping rock from there, you will get a %10 discount on your purchase, which you eventually receive as a refund in cash that you can have added to your PayPal account. I’ve earned over $50 in refunds! I’ve seen this % go up and down by a little from time to time, but the average is 10% (which it is as of today, 5/8/14). Maybe wait for a “free shipping day” and try some of the cheaper oils to test the waters first. Even when you have to pay for shipping (for orders under $40), the shipping is a flat $3.95 rate!
Thank you for the information you shared, it is great. Although, I am wondering why the company I am going through says you can consume their oils internally, and use it on your body as it is. Furthermore, I am informed that this company sells the purest form of oil out there. I found oils on Puritan’s Pride, and they say the oils there are 100 per cent pure. I certainly love their prices. I will be checking out the list you have above. I am new to this, so I need as much information as possible, and if you can help me with the above concerns, I will be so grateful. Thank you in advance.
Just wanted to take a moment to thank you. I’ve found this article and others by you to be some of the most clear and truly informative I’ve come across! I’ve used essential oils at times during my almost 12 years as a massage therapist, but I’ve recently started to use them more to benefit the well-being of my family. I’ve been hearing a lot about neat and internal use lately, and I wanted to be sure I know how to use them safely. Thanks to your information, I now feel I know how to do so. So, again, thank you for providing such good information. I truly appreciate it! It’s refreshing to read about essential oils and not feel like I have to read between the lines or cut through loads of bias to get to the truth!

Additionally, Dr. David K. Hill, D.C., prominently featured on the DoTerra website, and who is identified as “a pioneering expert and dynamic leader in the field of integrative medicine with international acknowledgements (sic). His lecture, research and practice, incorporate Eastern and Western medical practices with emphasis on the use of essential oils. Dr. Hill has authored and published a number of very successful books, pamphlets and brochures and is a popular guest for radio and television. He maintains a high level profile in his field of expertise and is routinely invited to teach and work with other experts in academia, research and medical disciplines.” Strange, if you Google Dr. David K. Hill, D.C. Utah, you won’t find academic articles or information about his work with other experts and international lectures. In fact, what is most prominent is that he is named in a legal complaint in the District Court of Utah in 2005 when Dr. Hill was the managing director of the Young Life Clinic. This lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum. At the time of filing, Young moved his clinic to Ecuador, the assumption being to avoid prosecution. You can see this document at http://www.casewatch.org/mal/younglife.shtml.
The problem is, there aren't four grades of essential oils. There aren't any grades for essential oils at all. The reason is that no government agency or internationally recognized organization has a grading scale like this. While the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the AFNOR group are two prominent, internationally recognized organizations that develop, measure and publish international standards for substances, and do analyze the composition and promote the standardization of essential oils, there is no "grading scale" in place for the certification of essential oils. If this were the case, you would be able to find essential oils labeled as "Grade B", "C", and "D" quality. There aren't any. Either the oil is pure, or it's diluted and adulterated and no longer labeled as a bottle of "100% pure essential oil" by any reputable company.
Organoleptic testing by a seasoned professional and the Gas Chromatography (GC) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) tests provide a means of knowing if an essential oil is pure of all contaminants and adulterants and meets the accepted standard for that oil to be considered therapeutic. Every essential oil has a unique content and range of chemical constituents which gives it active properties. If it falls within the standard for that particular oil then one can assume it will not only be effective but that it will act on the body in a predictable manner (no surprises). Because, separate batches of the same oil from the same source can be different depending on numerous factors: harvesting time, when distilled, distillation temperature, storage to name a few–each batch can vary in quality. Just because you get a good batch of oil from a supplier doesn’t mean that the next one will be as good. Most companies do not do this testing because of cost but I have seen an increase in companies stating that they test their oils, but do not say what standard they use, how they test, and what that really means.
Thank you for asking this question! I have spent countless hours researching this very question, and have even contacted Young Living to get their response, all to no avail! I feel like someone is not being honest, and while I want to just go with YL, the fact that at first they didn’t respond and when the finally did (through a consultant who was on a live chat), the response was vague. It just makes me question if there is corruption in the EO industry like so many others. Would LOVE for someone to respond to this question!
With a fresh zesty scent of citrus and fruity top notes, Grapefruit Essential Oil is popular when scenting facial cleansers and toners. Grapefruit Essential Oil is used in aromatherapy to bring about a cheerful feeling. There is no difference between the quality of the White and Pink varieties, but the Grapefruit Pink Essential Oil is generally considered the sweeter of the two oils. Grapefruit oil is also sometimes added to creams and lotions as a natural toner.
One recent study of 300 patients found that those who breathed a mixture of ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom had much less nausea after surgery. Other research shows that lavender oil can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and inhaling lemongrass aroma before a stressful event can prevent anxiety. Studies also show that tea tree and oregano oils can fight microbes, making them popular treatments for dandruff and toe fungus. Others can be used as an anti-inflammatory.
Estrogenic and antiandrogenic activity have been reported by in vitro study of tea tree oil and lavender essential oils. Two published sets of case reports suggest the lavender oil may be implicated in some cases of gynecomastia, an abnormal breast tissue growth in prepubescent boys.[44][45] The European Commission's Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety dismissed the claims against tea tree oil as implausible, but did not comment on lavender oil.[46] In 2018, a BBC report on a study stated that tea tree and lavender oils contain eight substances that when tested in tissue culture experiments, increasing the level of estrogen and decreasing the level of testosterone. Some of the substances are found in "at least 65 other essential oils". The study did not include animal or human testing.[47]
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