As the debate on the quality of essential oils rises, it is important we do not get caught up in stories, or well meaning sellers, or a brand war.
What we need to know is that essential oils are sourced from all around the world based on the best geographical locations for the plants to grow.
It is also important to note that there are only so many producers of each essential oil worldwide and in many cases a lot of brands procure their oils from the same suppliers as other essential oils companies.
This is especially true of certified organic oils because there is an even smaller pot of producers to source from. Organic essential oils are usually seen as superior to non-organic oils.
Organic farming is the agricultural practice of growing plants, food and other crops as naturally as possible without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides and other harmful chemical compounds. Organic farmers do not use genetically modified seeds, use crop rotation and inter-cropping to manage the health of the soil, use insect-eating creatures to control pests and generally use non-invasive, non-harmful methods to grow their crops.
Given the amount of plant matter required to extract an essential oil it can be easy to see why essential oils distilled from non-organic farms may have these herbicides and pesticides present in them.
Aromatherapy purists will usually notice the overall quality, therapeutic benefits and aroma of organic essential oils. Like all organic vendors, essential oil companies wanting to comply with organic farming principles will source farms and growers who value the welfare of the land, the people and the planet.
In a number of third world countries where some of the most beautiful essential oils are grown farmers can simply not afford to get organic certification, even though they are grown without pesticides and herbicides. These are considered ‘wild crafted’ and can be as potent as certified organic essential oils. However, there are no guarantees that these oils are without any chemicals.
The safest and only way to know that essential oils do not contain any traces of chemicals is to buy organic, that way you will know that from seed to oil it is as pure as possible and all the constituents that should be in the oil are actually in the oil.
This is where testing is imperative through a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) which gives suppliers a break down on of all the key constituents to make sure the oil confirms to be the best it should be.
Something else to consider in the essential oil world is that the words ‘Therapeutic Grade’ is a misnomer . Essential oils are therapeutic if they are pure and natural and sourced from the best region for the oil to grow.
The most important thing when choosing an essential oil company is that you like the ethos and the values of that company. Make sure you go deeper than the marketing to ensure it matches your own and always know that purchasing essential oils for therapeutic use from a reputable supplier is key!
Ultimately the choice is yours and if you do choose to buy organic you can expect to pay a more premium price since it does cost a lot more to grow plants via organic means to get organic certification.