As a certified aromatherapist and organic product formulator, I'm often asked what brand of essential oils I use, safety questions, and everything in between. In this blog. I will go over a few tips and things to look for when you begin your journey with essential oils!
Number One: GC/MS Reports
The most important thing when selecting a good essential oil company is choosing one that provides batch specific GC/MS reports and provides you with the date a batch was made!
What is a GC/MS?
It stands for gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Yes, it's a mouthful. It tests not only the purity of the essential oil, but also breaks down its chemical components. Why is this crucial? Because two of the exact same essential oils can have very different chemistry depending on many factors such as the time of year it was harvested, climate, origin, etc. Knowing the specific chemistry of your batch of oils helps not only to blend safely, but more effectively. For example, you get a batch of Eucalyptus that is particularly high in 1,8 cineole, you know this will be a fabulous oil for helping to open up your airways, but this also tells you to avoid using around children or infants under the age of 10.
If you are making your own blends, it is so important to familiarize yourself with GC/MS reports and also common chemical components. Without knowledge of these two things, it is impossible to make safe blends or recommendations for yourself and others!
Added note: "Pure therapeutic grade" means absolutely nothing in terms of purity. It is a term made up by the essential oils companies that is not governed by any body whatsoever. What DOES mean something, is a company who will provide a batch specific GC/MS report! Can a product still be tainted? Sure. A company could always add synthetic components after a GC/MS report. This is why you must stay vigilant and always ask questions.
Number Two: DILUTION DILUTION DILUTION!
Contrary to the advice of many essential oils companies, essential oils should not be used neat regularly, and some not at all. If you are using an essential oil often, it is best to stick to a 2% dilution for an adult. (10-12 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil such as jojoba oil.) This is not a constant, there are some oils that need to be diluted much more than 2%, so it is always best to check a quality reference (such as Robert Tisserand) or ask a certified aromatherapist!
Using essential oils undiluted regularly can cause a sensitivity/allergy to chemical components in that particular oil. No, it is not true that you cannot be allergic/sensitive to pure essential oils. Sensitivities can also be caused from synthetic components used by the perfume industry. Your body begins to think of certain components as foreign invaders and provokes a response, even to the naturally occurring component!
"But my neighbor Martha has used oils neat for years with no issues.... what gives?" Martha may never develop a sensitivity, but you might! It is very common and not worth the risk to me. I'd rather use oils for a lifetime than heavily for a few years.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather dilute my oils properly to save myself from developing a sensitivity AND money! Many oils are just as effective diluted as they are neat! If a little will do, why use more?
The only four oils I use neat on occasion are frankincense, helichrysum, Roman or German chamomile, and lavender for acute issues only such as a wasp sting.
I see so many people out there giving extremely unsafe advice/selling product in unsafe dilutions when it comes to essential oils. It is so important to give SAFE advice and include proper dilution when you are advising or selling to anyone, especially someone who is new to oils! They can be amazing, but they can also be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. As stated above, make sure you are getting your dilution advice from a quality source, not the company selling you the oils!
Number Three: Ask Questions
If an essential oil company dodges your questions, move on. They should be transparent with their customers. GC/MS reports and batch dates contain no proprietary information. If a company claims this, avoid them. This is a red flag.
Purchase essential oils from reputable companies who are able to answer your questions and provide you with basic things such as a GC/MS report. Only take essential oil advice from qualified professionals, like an aromatherapist or from quality sources such as Robert Tisserand, Andrea Butje with Aromahead Institute, NAHA or other well known sources in the aromatherapy community. Purchasing essential oils or taking advice from your neighborhood essential oil sales person who was never properly trained to begin with can be dangerous.
Stay vigilant, guys! Ask questions. If your essential oil company can't answer your questions, move on to one who can!
An essential oil company should be able to:
1. Provide a batch specific GC/MS
2. Provide a date the batch was created
3. Answer any other questions you may have with transparency and honesty
4. Provide honest safety advice based on scientific evidence and studies
I hope this helps you to begin your journey! Follow @apothepurity to stay up to date with new blog posts like this one and products coming your way soon!
About The Author: Alicia is a NAHA certified level 2 aromatherapist, skin care guru, organic product formulator, wife, and mother to two boys. She is an organic living advocate on a mission to spread the word about living a natural lifestyle.
You can purchase her organic aromatherapy goods at www.apothepurity.com