Yes, essential oil adulteration exists, though this doesn’t always involve synthetic chemicals. One of the most common frauds is to add lavandin oil to lavender oil, though this is not difficult to detect with GC analysis. But, the idea that virtually all essential oils that are sold in health stores are, by definition, adulterated, is baseless. There is no evidence for it, and there never has been any.
The findings of the new study are consistent with earlier work. For example, a 2011 study of 131 herbal tea products found that 33 percent were contaminated. Still, the estimates from the new study should be interpreted with caution, and refined with further research, because the study tested products from just 12 out of the 1,000 companies that make herbal products.

Do they promote the unsafe use of essential oils? Some companies, many of the MLM companies included, promote some very unsafe practices, using essential oils. If you want to be a Registered Aromatherapist you have to follow certain safety rules to remain registered, including the use of internal ingestion (unless you are a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level.), undiluted use, and Raindrop Techniques (Aroma Touch or other similar techniques.). These practices are prohibited by the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists) if you want to remain a registered member.  You can read more about essential oil safety and ingestion.
Ingesting essential oils for health benefits has been prescribed for centuries by experienced professionals. This process, when administered safely and correctly under supervision, can have profound healing effects on your body with issues like digestion, immune defense and hormonal imbalances. However, ingesting the wrong oils — or even the right oils in the wrong portions — can have disastrous and permanent effects on your internal tissues and overall health, and worst of all, you may not even realize any damage has been done until decades later in your life.
In our scent tests the Stillpoint’s oils started off smelling mild and fresh, but then after a minute or two they magically blossomed and became very rich, deep, vibrant, stronger and more clear; almost like a fine wine opens up after being uncorked for some time. And for those who may be sensitive to subtle energies, these oils possessed a very clean and high vibration, which is an enormous benefit when using the oils for spiritual practice. No other oils we tested performed this way.
Historically, gas chromatography was sufficient to identify individual components in an essential oil. However, as more sophisticated methods for developing synthetic essential oil products formed, further validation methods were needed. Over time, additional testing methods such as mass spectroscopy, chiral analysis, FTIR Scan, carbon isotope analysis and others have been developed to more accurately identify each individual essential oil constituent.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from over 100 countries, one from each country. ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.
From the cultivation of aromatic plants to shipping, we are acutely conscious of environmental sustainability, conservation of natural resources and recycling options. We promote biological cultivation as an investment in our children‘s future and work with regenerative energy from Greenpeace Energy. Shipping is climate-neutral. We prefer to use FSC® or PEFC-certified raw materials from climate-neutral and sustainable cultivation for packaging, brochures and this catalogue.

I just wanted to correct you, when you say that essential oils should not be taken internally. This is one huge difference, and deciding factor for how I select an essential oil. If I can’t eat it, I won’t use it on my skin. Anything your skin contacts, goes to your blood stream. If an oil is unsafe for consumption, you should not use it. Many oils like peppermint, wintergreen, basil, lemon, lavender, clove, etc. are great for problems like headache, nausea, indigestion, pain, flu, and other ailments. One drop under the tongue, or mixed with a teaspoonbof honey is a great way to get fast releif and healing properties to your cells without harm. This is why the brand does matter. The extraction method is very important and has everything to do with the grade of oil in the end result. Not all oils are created equal, that’s for sure. Young Living is the brand I use and trust.
I remember ringing one of these companies with a question regarding one of their blends, the person answering the phone said that they were ‘sales’ people and didn’t have the capacity to answer any questions relating to contra-indications. How can a company sell blends with big claims, then not be able to provide assistance over the phone? I’m sure the blend was excellent, however, at that time I wanted extra details and could not be provided with the information I wanted. That was the day I decided to become the professional myself and find other essential oil suppliers. Honestly, at first I was still a little hesitant (the warnings about not being able to ‘trust’ other suppliers), but I have found other suppliers who have beautiful therapeutic oils. I still like big company essential oils, however, they aren’t my first option any more.
There are so many essential oil brands on the market today it is indeed a huge industry. However, not all oils are created equal, and in fact most brands are simply not pure. They are often made synthetically, offering no benefits to your health and with some experts saying that they are in fact very toxic. Many “natural” smelling products don’t contain anything natural – no pure oils at all, just fake scents made in a lab.

doTerra is not an ethical company, if it was, they wouldn’t propogate lies for profit… The “CTPG” that you refer to is NOT a “certification” for EO’s, as they would have you believe. It is a “Registered Trademark”, signified by the little circled R behind the “CTPG”… There are many other things of which I could address, but that is for another day.
The last century has seen a tremendous amount of change in the field of aromatherapy and essential oil use. A general trend to move away from synthetic chemicals back to more natural cleaning and health products have brought essential oils to the forefront and made them more readily available. With the many different essential oils to choose from, and the many brands, both in our stores and over the Internet, choosing a high quality essential oil can seem a daunting task. As a consumer, what should you look for to help guide your choice?
The E.O.B.B.D standard is not a certification, and it is a not a regulatory agency. Instead, it is a definition of a set of standards and processes that should be used on every batch of essential oils. It guarantees that the essential oil has been subjected to a series of test that confirms all of the characteristics, molecular fingerprint, and botanic definition has been properly done and can be traced back to the producing country, specific location, species of plant, and if applicable the chemotype. These standards were first introduced in France in the 1970's and have since become a standard for evaluating pure essential oils. These standards along with additional standards we require at Be Young make up our 14 step process and our guarantee to you for the highest and most potent essential oils we can offer. 
Chemical constituents of Boswellia sacra essential oil fractions were dependent on duration and temperature of hydrodistillation. For example, when essential oils collected from 0–2 h (Fraction I), 8–10 h (Fraction II), and 11–12 h (Fraction III) at 78°C were compared, longer distillation produced higher percentages of sesquiterpenes, between alpha-copaene and caryophyllene oxide (Table? 1). All three fractions were primarily composed of monoterpenes (82.77-90.67%), including alpha-thujene, beta-pinene, and myrcene. Among the monoterpenes, alpha-pinene was the major compound present in all essential oil fractions, ranging from 65.49% to 78.45%. As anticipated, the abundance of alpha-pinene decreased with longer and higher temperature distillation due to its highly volatile nature. Compounds such as borneol, dimethyl ether orcinol, allo-aromadendrene, gamma-cadinene, and caryophyllene oxide were only present in Fraction III essential oil…
In the holistic use of essential oils, the focus is on bringing the body back into natural balance and harmony. Disease is seen as merely an outward symptom of a deeper, underlying imbalance in the body, mind and spirit. Holistic medicine sees the body as a self-healing mechanism. The body is capable of healing itself of disease by bringing the whole person back into balance. Therefore, the holistic use of therapeutic essential oils focuses on restoring balance in the body, mind and spirit. Success is gauged equally on the relief of symptoms and the improvement of overall wellness, vitality and happiness.
Low Price. When it comes to essential oils, you get what you pay for. Growing, harvesting and distilling essential oils of the highest medicinal quality requires extra time and labor, requiring methods that are frankly slower and “less efficient” than modern large commercial producers. It’s the basic law of supply and demand: a small supply of a higher quality product will always cost more than a large supply of a lower quality product.
Wondering how those great smelling essential oils are made? Turns out, essential oils aren’t “made” at all. They ARE “extracted” from plants, herbs and spices. But just because they are extracted from plants doesn’t mean the way they’re sourced is all the same. In fact, the way they’re extracted from the plant or herb can have a big impact on the quality. Here’s a quick rundown of the two primary ways essential oils are extracted from the plants.
Contrary to what several essential oil companies recommend, the oils generally should not be swallowed, Power says. The body absorbs more this way, boosting the chance that they will interact with medications or cause an allergic or toxic reaction. Even continued exposure to small amounts (a few drops a day in a water bottle) can lead to fatigue and headaches. Taking in larger amounts of certain oils -- like tea tree oil, wintergreen, and camphor -- can lead to throat swelling, a racing heart, vomiting, and even seizures, says the Tennessee Poison Center, which saw the number of toxic essential oil exposures double from 2011 to 2015.
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Holly is correct on the words! One of the best ways to tell if oils are safe and pure is if the common bottles do have “do not consume” or a similar statement on them! I don’t care what the distributor or customer care person says! I have tried over 10 of the top companies oils and all but one has said do not consume. That is a key for you to know the purity. I am allergic to petrochemicals so many I find have them in them! Many of the other dry out the back of many hand. Pure oils should do neither of those. One of these day I will have to do a video for you tube to show this reaction and the brands that do that!

Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I am 36 weeks pregnant and came down with a nasty cough. I couldn’t take any medicine, but yet couldn’t sleep. I used eucalyptus oil on my neck and chest to clear up my cough. I read that eucalyptus oil is not advised for pregnant women to use, however, I could not find any reasons why. Do you happen to know the risks that eucalyptus oil might have on the unborn baby? I have since stopped using the oil, but definitely used it a few times. (I will be calling my doctor, but was curious about your input.) Thank you so much!
The FDA considers essential oils either cosmetics or drugs, depending on their intended use. The FDA makes decisions concerning the regulation of essential oils on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a company claimed that the aroma of an essential oil promoted attractiveness, the FDA would most likely regulate the product as a cosmetic. If a company claimed that an essential oil was effective as an aid for quitting smoking or in treating or preventing any other condition or disease, the FDA is more likely to regulate the product as a drug.

You can dig a little deeper to find out what the specific characteristics and components are in essential oils. “Various countries, including the United States, have published ‘pharmacopeias’ (check out The United States Pharmacopeial Convention) that outline exacting chemical and physical standards along with chromatography specifications for hundreds of botanical oils,” says Artemis. There is also a universal standard for most botanical maintained by The International Standards Organization.


The unfortunate thing is that the information is just passed from rep to rep down the MLM sales chain and the layperson doesn’t question if it is correct or if it could do harm. How easy would it be to assume that you could put a drop of wintergreen oil in a glass of water to relieve pain because you can with all of the others right? Ingesting wintergreen oil is like taking a large quantity of aspirin – highly toxic. However, these oils are sold as harmless, safe and natural. They couldn’t hurt you, right?
I just made some really nice cleaner using a spray bottle of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water and 6 drops citrus oil and a few peppermint oil (DoTerra). Cleaned the bathroom & under the sink areas (reorganizing day). It smells wonderful in there! And I really appreciate not having the chemicals in the house. Little by little I’m getting there. Wishing you well.
Some essential oils can be taken internally. The specific one I am thinking of is peppermint EO. It is known to treat IBS in several studies and can be taken also to combat headaches as well. Of course a topical application near the stomach and tummy is also known to be effect and application to the bottom of the feet can help reduce fever. I am currently in the process of making a guide based on symptoms to help people pick essential oils based on application.
There are so many essential oil brands on the market today it is indeed a huge industry. However, not all oils are created equal, and in fact most brands are simply not pure. They are often made synthetically, offering no benefits to your health and with some experts saying that they are in fact very toxic. Many “natural” smelling products don’t contain anything natural – no pure oils at all, just fake scents made in a lab.
Getting in touch with customer service at NOW Health Group is a little bit less straight-forward. Their website lists all of their corporate offices (with phone numbers), but there is no one toll-free line mentioned for customer service or order inquiries. You can check online FAQ’s, fill out a product feedback form, or fill in an email inquiry form. For those of us who don’t like to deal via email, this could be the deciding factor between choosing NOW or another reputable brand that possibly offers easier access to talking to a real person. That said, NOW is definitely one of the bigger companies overall, and possibly they’d have huge call volumes if they opened their doors with a toll free line.
They tell me this is a myth that quite a number of people are spreading but its hard for me to believe that there are people out there who are actually accepting this as a viable explanation. But I guess there must be a significant amount of people believing it because a number of you have asked me to address this. I suppose it comes from the desperate attempt for people to come up with some kind of positive explanation for any adverse reactions that natural products might cause us. I mean we all know that if something is natural that it must be good for us, right?

Then we purchased bottles of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Lemon (Citrus limon) from each of the seven companies we selected to perform our in-house testing. We gathered a group of four people from our office and administered a formal blind smell test to evaluate which oils smelled the best and which smelled the worst out of the selections.


To answer your questions I have to answer #2 first. Jena is right – there are a limited number of distilleries, D. Gary Young owns 1/3 of them. The products distilled to make EOs are like the contents of tea – they can be distilled multiple times but each time you do so the product you get is progressively weaker. Companies like doTERRA and Young Living only take the 1st distillation which is the strongest and most pure. They label their product therapeutic grade and 100% pure because they have run it through a mass spectrometer and have calculated the constituents in each bottle. Young Living actually refuses to sell any bottle of EO that does not meet their requirements for purity. Less expensive companies use the 2nd, 3rd, and even 5th and 6th distillation. They also dilute their products before marketing them. So it is important to know about the company you are buying from and what distillation they use. Not all distillations are equal.
The uniformity and health of oil producing plants will significantly impact the value of the oil’s final chemical analysis. The EOBBD inspection of the plant and the crop that produce essential oils is extensive. It includes, not only the health of the harvested plant, but also an assessment of nearby plants that may impact the compounds within the final oil yield. 

It seems to me that these companies almost disregard Aromatherapists as being unimportant and unnecessary in their global quest for financial gain and profit. I find this situation crazy as Aromatherapists are the only people truly trained in using Essential Oils!!! Aromatherapists can do so much more for people than what these companies sell, we personalise and individualise our treatments and products 100%. Some companies publish books on aromatherapy, however, it is only promoting their products – people are missing out on variety of other oils that are available!
More importantly, the founders and owners of the companies will have personal relationships with the farmers so they can be certain of what they are getting. There are many tiny, locally operated farms around the world who can’t afford the extremely high costs of organic certification, yet they still practice organic farming which includes: no use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, no genetically modified seeds, and healthy crop rotation to protect the soils. That is what is meant by Unsprayed.
DoTerra states that it is aiming to be “a leader in the essential oil industry . . . looking forward to working with other responsible industry leaders and standard setting bodies to establish high standards for products labeled as pure essential oils.” There are long established entities working towards publishing accurate monographs and identifying compositional standards that would apply to essential oils. What DoTerra should be more concerned with are recommendations of “direct” (which is presumed to be undiluted) skin application and “internal” use of essential oils that might not have G.R.A.S. designation. If they were spending more time on safe usage and less on misleading certification standards, they would stand a better chance of working with “responsible” industry leaders.

To be clear, contamination or adulteration - whatever you want to call it - happens. It's happened with almonds, spinach, protein powders, supplements and seemingly daily with processed food. Obviously, we'd hope the brands we know and trust have systems worked out to ensure this doesn't happen. But sometimes it does. The important thing to pay attention to when it does happen is how the company handles it. Do they own it, take responsibility, and put motions in place to improve, telling their customers how they are going to do better? Or do they deny it and start placing blame elsewhere?


No point on your feet, sweat glands on your feet, nothing that would actually absorb, only thing you are doing by putting it on your feet is inhaling it as you put it on your feet, but you are already doing that putting it on your chest, why waste it. Just google are there pores on your feet–dermatologist articles all over saying bottom line just what I said.
Thank you so much for all of your information that you share. It seems like when I google something about essential oils, I frequently end up on your site. I am new to essential oils and not sure what to expect. It seems like when I use them in lotion, roll-on, or even a eucalyptus steam the scent dissipates relatively quickly. I am not sure if I am not adding enough essential oils, if I am buying lower quality essential oils, or if I am expecting too much. For instance, a 8 oz batch of lotion (I used 30 drops total of essential oil)that I made last week no longer has a scent to it (at least to me). Any insight on this?
From what I have read on various websites and blogs there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” since there is no system in place in this country to determine the grade of an essential oil. Since any brand of essential oils can be used for aromatherapy then all essential oils would technically be therapeutic grade since aroma therapy is a therapeutic use of essential oils.

Kendra Kirkham wrote a really great article a few years ago for the IFPA Journal “In Essence” about the lack of any formal essential oil “grading” system for aromatherapy and provided clear information about the topic, as well as explain the use of the words “therapeutic grade” as a marketing tool for a certain MLM essential oil company. It’s a shame that many others now elect to coin the bogus term. I understand the thought is to express that their oils may be of higher quality or perhaps used in clinical settings, but use of such terms only adds to consumer confusion. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the masses.

Oh, and there’s no such thing as “Therapeutic grade” essential oils.  All that means is oils that haven’t been adulterated by adding carrier oils, etc. to them.  It’s a marketing ploy to make the oils seem purer than they are.  Really, “pure” essential oils are the bottom level of purity/safety.  Wilfcrafted and organic are the safest and most beneficial.
We apologize if one of our consultants has mislead you in anyway (sic).  All of our oils are FDA approved as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). DoTERRA’s, CPTG essential oils are 100% pure natural aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants.  They do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities and are free of contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.  All of our products are taken through a series of tests including  AFNOR and ISO standards for purity, and all of our manufactures must maintain a GMP certification.  Therefore, we are passing government regulations.  The FDA has provided us with the label of CPTG. We hope we have resolved your concern.
I stumbled on this page and have found it really useful. Just wonder if you could help – I’m thinking of making some homemade lotion bars made with beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil. I’d like to use Sweet Orange essential oil for a Christmassy smell, how many drops would be safe to use? I have found one recipe which uses 50 drops of lavendar (where the recipe uses around 1cup of each of the ingredients), would I be able to use this amount of the orange?
There is a Cinnamon essential oil, however the flavoring kind you get at a grocery store is not an essential oil in that it isn’t therapeutic grade so it has no therapeutic benefits. Many of these are made with synthetic oils (though not all of them) that just taste like what you want and all of these kind of oils have lots of filler oil like the sunflower oil. This does make it ok that you are using so much though. 🙂 If it were real therapeutic grade essential oil that much of it would be such a strongly concentrated flavor that you’d cut back to a drop or two really quick. It also would be an unsafe health choice to take such a large dose of any therapeutic grade oil no matter the type, source, or purity. I do hope that it helps anyway, but I can vouch for the pure therapeutic grade cinnamon along with lemon EO helping control my blood sugar levels. I love essential oils. Aren’t they great?
To minimize the risks of topical essential oil application, it’s best to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, or a neutral oil that can contain the essential oil. "Most allergic reactions are caused by the application of pure oils, or high-concentration products," Lortscher says. "But if you tolerate them or dilute them, they can help with dry, flaky skin, provide some antioxidant benefits, and also help relax your body."
From the United Kingdom, is my favourite (not affiliated to CE by the way) choice, NHR organic oils. They have the largest range of Soil Association Certified organic essential oils in the world. They also sell distiller kits for people who want to make their own oils at home and their selection of organic chocolates made with some of their oils are absolutely amazing.
Hi Clint, the Aura Cacia oregano oil is not solvent extracted. In fact, no essential oils are extracted with solvents. Only absolutes like Jasmine and Rose are solvent extracted, and absolutes are not essential oils. Oregano oil is safe to ingest, so long as you take care to avoid mucous membrane irritation by only taking it in capsules that also contain a vegetable oil.
Marcia, I have enjoyed the comments on this site. I would also like to state that I have been doing research on the subject of Doterra’s purity. I have found that they don’t state that their oils are certified therapuetic by the FDA. They state they are certified pure, that is why the C&P is highlighted. Each and every batch is tested and certified pure by 2 independent labs. I also have sampled many other “pure essential oils” and found them all to be more oily and less impactful than doterra’s oils. My concern is that since essential oils are transdermal and most “pure essential oils” on the market today are in reality impure. People all over the world are being inadvertantly poisoned by the toxins in those oils. Doterra appears to have taken every effort to be transparent in their business practices and their oils are the most potent that I have experienced. I have not found that Doterra is trying to hide anything or deceive anyone. I am curious that if you feel so strongly the other way, why don’t you set up a meeting to talk to the owners of Doterra and compare their oils. Thank you again for providing this blog.

The FDA considers essential oils either cosmetics or drugs, depending on their intended use. The FDA makes decisions concerning the regulation of essential oils on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a company claimed that the aroma of an essential oil promoted attractiveness, the FDA would most likely regulate the product as a cosmetic. If a company claimed that an essential oil was effective as an aid for quitting smoking or in treating or preventing any other condition or disease, the FDA is more likely to regulate the product as a drug.
The Aromatherapist generally desires to use the whole, naturally balanced, pure, natural oil. Pure essential oils may contain trace constituents, which may not as yet have been detected or identified which make up the totality of the oil. These would not be present in a reconstructed or synthetically produced oil. It is perhaps best to trust that nature will provide the correct balance. We are, after all, dealing with the soul of the plant, and who among us can reconstruct such a thing?
As for being the “heartbeat of the plant kingdom,” Most plants don’t even produce essential oils so where is their heartbeat? I am not really sure what that statement is supposed to mean, I guess somebody just thought it sounded marketable and ran with it. Concerning the “life blood” claim, as I have said here before, essential oils do not have the same function in the plant that blood does in the human body. Our blood primarily performs the function of circulation and transport of oxygen and nutrients to the all the cells and organs of the body. Essential oils do not play this role in the plant.
“This study is a re-analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data pertaining to the relationship of autism incidence and the age at which children got their first measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Statistically significant relationships were observed when African-American males were considered separately while looking at those individuals who were vaccinated prior to and after a 36-month age cut-off. CDC officials observed very similar relationships as early as November 2001, but failed to report them in their final publication. In addition, a relationship is seen when specifically considering children who received a diagnosis of autism without mental retardation. Although this was reported in the original 2004 paper, it was not discussed, nor was any follow-up study conducted. Preliminary results also suggest the possibility of a synergism between thimerosal exposure and MMR timing leading to a greater risk of autism.”
No essential oil retailer carries every single aromatherapy essential oil, so over time you may find yourself buying from several different retailers. When you check the GC/MS reports to determine which retailers have the oil with the constituent profile you want, and then compare price (do not forget shipping), availability, customer support, and any other criterion that is important to you, you will be better able to determine which oils you wish to buy from the various high quality oil suppliers.
I could go on to describe exactly what I smell, but, like I said, this is my first meeting and my brain needs to sit with it and dissect it. I will just say that it is very complex. Because people describe it as being similar to valerian, I thought there was a good chance that I'd hate it as much as valerian. Just the complexity in itself is interesting and alluring to me, and the elements that I can pick out and name are all ones that I like.
Florasol is another solvent used to obtain essential oils. It was originally developed as a refrigerant to replace Freon. Although Florasol is an "ozone-friendly" product, it has a high global warming potential (GWP; 100-yr GWP = 1430).[11] The European Union has banned its use, with a phase-out process that began in 2011, to be completed in 2017.[12] One advantage of Florasol is that the extraction of essential oils occurs at or below room temperature so degradation through high temperature extremes does not occur. The essential oils are mostly pure and contain little to no foreign substances.[citation needed]
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