Ensuring you buy good quality essential oils
I hope my regular readers have become inspired to start using aromatherapy in their every day lives and are making the first steps on purchasing essential oils. However there is so much choice out there and it is hard to know the fakes from the real quality so this post is going to explore what to look for when purchasing essential oils.
Get to know and trust a reputable supplier
Any good quality essential oil provider will be more than happy to answer your questions and help with any queries. Currently there is very little legislation surrounding selling or labelling essential oils in the UK so I recommend checking the Aromatherapy Trade Councils website for a list of suppliers as these have all been checked and approved by a regulatory body. The link for this is https://www.a-t-c.org.uk/membership-list/
Be aware of how much a genuine oil ought to cost
Every oil has a price which is related to the amount of plant material available, the amount of essential oil in this material, the cost of extracting it. Below this price genuine oils do not exist. It takes 1 tonne of rose petals to create 1ml of rose essential oil and this why bottles of rose are so expensive. Should you see one for sale for £10 it is not likely to be a good quality oil and may just be synthetic.
Accept variety in batch to batch of the same oil
Many factors influence the growth - the amount of sun and rain, the soil condition, the height above sea level. The nearer the sun, the cleaner the air, the more energy is absorbed by the plant this all affects the chemistry and also the scent each harvest. For example one year you might have a very fresh smelling lavender and the next a very woody smelling one depending on the rainfall over those 12 months.
Country of Origin
All essential oils should have their country of origin on the bottle and this tells us where the raw material was grown and gives an indication if it is the real thing. Farming methods employed for growing oils should be free of pesticides, artificial fertiliser, located away from main roads and the plants should be grown in countries with suitable weather conditions. For example frankincense only grows in Africa so if it says England on the bottle then it is not likely a reputable supply.
Ask for documents
Gas-Liquid Chromatography, commonly referred to as gas chromatography (GC), determines the components and their relative proportions in a given essential oil. Any good supplier should have these for each batch of essential oil as it shows they are checking the quality of what they are selling and a GC trace is an industry standard test. Certificates of Analysis are also something that companies do so ask for this if you are still not sure.
As with all things you get what you pay for in aromatherapy and knowing what to ask for or who to seek for advice will help you in purchasing good oils that match the properties I discuss.