Choosing The Right Essential Oils
Not All Essential Oils Are the Same
Those who are new to the exciting world of essential oils may think that one essential oil brand is pretty much like any other essential oil brand. However, nothing could be farther from the truth; essential oil quality can differ widely, and while a lower price may sometimes seem tempting, unfortunately you often get what you pay for.
There are no regulations or set of rules that can be relied upon to help you make your purchasing decision, so a bit of understanding about essential oils is essential in helping you to make the right purchase choice.
Essential Oil Grades
While there is no ‘official’ grading of essential oils, companies that sell these products will usually provide a grading of the oil. Make sure that when you do purchase an essential oil that it is designated as a certain grade. If no grade is given, it would probably be wise to avoid it. One way to help is whether the oil is graded as an essential oil, or as a fragrance oil – essential oils are those that are actually made from plants while fragrance oils are usually created artificially, in a lab; fragrance oils are synthetic oils.
- Therapeutic essential oils are categorized as Grade A oils. These oils will contain nothing but the actual oil that was in the particular plant. The best of these will have been distilled or cold pressed from the plant without the use of chemicals. These are the highest grade of essential oils, and will cost more than lower grades. Many of these oils are produced from plants that have been grown organically, without the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides.
- Food, or Grade B, essential oils still contain at least some of the natural essential oils found in the plant, but these oils can contain synthetic ingredients, carrier oils, and are not grown organically – pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers could well have been used in their production.
- Perfume grade oils, Grade C oils, can contain mostly synthetic oils and have been made using solvents which will give a greater yield of oil, but at the cost of purity.
- Floral water is the last essential oil grade, and it consists of what is left over after distillation. The quality of floral water can vary widely, depending upon the distillation method used.
Does It Make Any Difference?
You may well be asking yourself whether it really makes any difference what grade of essential oil you use; after all a Grade C oil might smell just as nice as a Grade A oil, but, it has been found that the grade of essential oil does actually make a difference in results.
To begin with, when you use a Grade A oil, you will be getting a product that is pure and organic. More care has been taken to produce this oil, which will necessarily be reflected in price. Tests have actually shown that better results have been achieved with therapeutic grade oils as opposed to food or perfume grade oils. Massages were administered using the several grades of lavender oil – Grade A lavender oil proved to be two times as effective at reducing stress and anxiety levels as the other grades.
Always remember, when choosing an essential oil, that this oil will be going into or onto your body, and choose wisely.