This is where DoTerra RADICALLY differs: A vast majority of their oils are safe for ingesting. The reason is because they are Certified Pure Theraputic Grade Essential Oils (CPTG). The oil industry has been very unregulated for a long time – in fact, the FDA only requires oil companies to put 10% oil in a bottle and then they can put anything else in that they want (kind of like how perfume companies can get away with putting phthalates in their chemical cocktails). DoTerra has a very strict standard, and as many people state, they can tell this almost immediately with how powerful they smell.
Simple smells such as lavender, chamomile, and rosewater may help keep you calm. You can breathe in or rub diluted versions of these oils on your skin. Scientists think they work by sending chemical messages to parts of the brain that affect mood and emotion. Although these scents alone won’t take all your stress away, the aroma may help you relax.
The ISO created quality standards for essential oils under the TC-54 Guidelines.  One of these quality guidelines is to use Gas Chromatography to test for the active phytochemical content of each oil and if it does not meet these minimum amounts, the oil is not considered of value.  Most essential oils companies do not even consult these guidelines when purchasing their oils, thus they cannot be of any theraputic value even though they may use that term as a marketing strategy. If an oil is not ISO certified, then do not buy it.

For example, Peppermint Essential Oil is used primarily as a flavoring for candies (i.e. Candy Canes), chewing gum and ice creams. It is often referred to on food ingredient labels as Oil of Peppermint or simply as Peppermint Oil. Because large food/candy manufacturers must produce a consistently flavored product, the intensity, aroma and overall flavor of the peppermint oil they use must remain consistent between each lot of oil that they purchase. Peppermint Oil manufacturers/distributors, therefore typically standardize the essential oils that they sell by establishing a blueprint of the percentage that each important constituent should reach within each essential oil. They then test the oil and then adjust the oil by adding or removing constituents until the resulting oil meets the ideal percentage.
Thank you so much for posting this. I had a reaction to my pure, therapeutic grade Frankincense on my skin and it left me with an itchy rash for over a week. It left me really wondering about the claims the MLM supporters make. I have had great experience in using my oils, but it is foolish to claim they can do no harm. I really appreciate a scientist’s take on all of this.
Mass Spectrometry is used together with Gas Chromatography to further determine the composition of an essential oil. In Mass Spectrometry, the constituents previously separated by GC are ionized and sent through a series of magnetic fields. Using molecular weight and charge, the amount of each constituent can be identified, providing additional insights into the potency of the essential oil.
Ellen – Im sorry but you are mistaken. Essential oils ARE able to be ingested in their purest, natural form. The FDA even acknowledges this and has its OWN list of Essential Oils Generally Recognized as Safe for human consumption. If needed I can gladly link you. The FDA has in fact gone after them, not for “practicing medicine”, but for some of the uneducated reps who made claims that EO’s cured Ebola. At the same time, Dr Bronners people among OTHER companies received the same letters. They also did not file anything, they have sent them letters with “their demands” and now these companies need to meet them. Do not make a mountain out of a mole hill. I am with Young Living oils- because I care where my product comes from.
The importance of soil microbiology is vital to the plant and to the final harvest.EOBBD assesses the soil in which oil producing plants are grown in order to verify that the growing conditions are truly organic or wild-crafted. If the microbes are not measured at a specific ratio, this can indicate that the growing processes are not organic and the final yield may have traces of unwanted chemicals, pesticides and herbicides that can destroy the effectiveness of essential oils.
Information offered on Herbal Academy websites is for educational purposes only. The Herbal Academy makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. The Herbal Academy neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.
"Essential oils are incredibly concentrated and should always be used exactly as recommended," said Elizabeth Bloom, homeopath and founder of Elizabeth Essentials. "They are far more potent than dried herbs - approximately 75 to 100 times more concentrated. A large volume of plant material is needed to produce small amounts of a distilled oil - 220 pounds of lavender flowers, for example, is required to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil."
I was just barely speaking with a girl who is a certified aromatherapist and she said that people need to be very careful with wintergreen because it is such a strong blood thinner. I think this may be part of why it specifically is deemed unsafe for internal use (whether its pure or not). When it says wintergreen oil on ingredients lists I’m willing to bet it is a synthetically created oil or other form of it rather than the essential oil because of its therapeutic properties.

The old adage, “you get what you pay for” is generally quite true when it comes to essential oils. Producing and distributing high quality essential oils is a time consuming and expensive process. If you find an essential oil at a price significantly lower than most major brands, you’re not getting a good deal, you’re probably getting a fake product.
In my article I explain why “such terms as pharmaceutical grade, therapeutic grade or food grade have no meaning in relation to the quality of essential oils for aromatherapy.” But, at the end of the article, you inserted a box, with: Read about therapeutic grade essential oils in “Powerful Tools in A Small Bottle”, by Dawn-Mari Yurkovic at www.massagemag.com/powerfultools. OK, I can take a hint, even if it’s thrust in my face.
Demeter stands for products of the biological-dynamic economy way, which is the most sustainable form of land cultivation and ensures the continuous growth of the humus layer. As an international organic brand, Demeter is represented on every continent. The Demeter guidelines for biological-dynamic cultivation is in 38 countries and more than 3,500 companies with an area of around 100,000 hectare accepted. TAOASIS® is a member of the Demeter association for many years now.
But…. and this is a very big but… like any medicine, they have a list of limitations and potential risks if they are not used correctly. Let’s examine some of them. Oh and if you don’t like rants, then maybe you don’t want to read this post (but you should because I make some very good points). If you’re a rep or a convert to brands like doTERRA and Young Living, I hope this helps you, because much of what you’ve been told simply isn’t true.
Some essential oils qualify as GRAS flavoring agents for use in foods, beverages, and confectioneries according to strict Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and flavorist standards.[48] Pharmacopoeia standards for medicinal oils should be heeded. Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals, cats in particular.[49] The internal use of essential oils can pose hazards to pregnant women, as some can be abortifacients in dose 0.5–10 mL, and thus should not be used during pregnancy.[citation needed]
Hi Robert – I know I’ve read that more than a few times in some of the main stream aromatherapy books and think I was told that in my aromatherapy classes – about the 2% thing. So, it is a perception that I myself also have and have, therefore, spent long hours trying to determine if my sources are selling me what they say they are and who my sources should be – long hours and dollars spent to attend conferences to rub elbows with those who should know. However, at that time in 2006, organic essential oils were not readily or at all available. I have also read and have been told by those who should know, that just because an oil is certified organic, there is still no guarantee that said essential oil is not adulterated or for that matter really organic. The argument that I was given was that no one stays around to make sure that the material actually placed into the still was the same that was grown in the organic soil. We live in a world of distrust and for good reason as we look around at the greed in high places. I know this doesn’t address your issues about your article but was and always will be interested in any discussion concerning what constitutes an unadulterated oil. That being said, I would think there are certain things to consider when purchasing an oil and the chances it may or may not be adulterated. Some oils are naturally inexpensive and there would be nothing gained by adulterating them. If you look at how many acres of a particular oil are said to have been grown for a particular year and for that same year there was a great more essential oil sold than could have been produced – then you know you probably have an issue. I know that you know far more about this issue than I do, but I would like to see more discussion concerning what things would throw up a red flag when purchasing an oil from a particular supplier. The internet is now so absolutely full of people selling essential oils and copying and pasting the same old information that it is a bit overwhelming. My concern is the same as other clinical aromatherapists and that is that people will try a particular oil, find that it doesn’t work because it is either adulterated or the person selling the oil really doesn’t have a clue which oil or chemotype should be used for a particular purpose, so the client then assumes that any and all claims made by the aromatherapy industry are false or vastly overstated. This is true in research studies that have been done as well. Is there an answer? I would like to see an article by someone as knowledgeable as yourself that gives you a list of possible red flags and things to consider when looking for suppliers, particularly bulk suppliers.

Take peppermint for example. Peppermint is distilled from the whole peppermint plant and is sourced indigenously from the northwestern United States. The ratio of the constituents menthol to menthone is used as a marker for high quality peppermint oil. Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® peppermint oil should always have a significantly higher proportion of menthol because menthol has been shown to improve the beneficial value of peppermint essential oil. One study tested the cleansing properties of peppermint essential oil from three different species. Peppermint from Mentha piperita was demonstrated to have the highest cleansing properties, which was attributed to its high amount of menthol and low amounts of menthone. Conversely, the Mentha aquatica species was shown to have significantly lower cleansing properties and also had a lower amount of menthol and a higher amount of menthone. (Mimica-Dukić N, Et Al. 2003)
Organic certification only applies to the growing method for the plants used to make the essential oil. It does not carry any guarantee of purity or potency beyond that. On the other hand, many companies (including doTERRA) very carefully source their oils and even though they may not come from certified organic operations (which is expensive and cost-prohibitive) the oils produced are very pure and potent. Check out LearnEssentialOils.com for a free guide to finding high-quality essential oils. Good luck!
I think it’s wonderful that you’re starting somewhere. I used the NOW brand for several years with great results. I’ve recently discovered Young Living and WOW way different. I’ve found that the brands in our local stores are cut with carriers and preservatives. Young Living is completely pure. I mean a small bottle of sandalwood from NOW costs about $15. Young Living’s cost well over $100. The difference is that YL offers completely pure oils. A closer look at my NOW sandalwood bottle showed that it was in a carrier oil. I prefer to buy my own carriers and mix my favorite oils into them on my own. Wishing you continued success!

“CPTG®” and “CPTG – Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®” are terms that d?TERRA has trademarked. As such, the words shown together are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), meaning the words in that phrase are registered, not the oils. Another example is Visa Card’s registered trademark: “Bring Home the Gold.” No one should mistake d?TERRA’s registered intellectual property right as somehow a registration of the essential oils.
For a long time, essential oils have been considered to be used for their medicinal and aromatic benefits. Essential oils are gathered by the process of distillation. Chemists have been using essential oils for various medicinal applications throughout history. There is a lot of research that is being undertaken currently on the medicinal benefits of these oils. There are a number of physical benefits that are associated with essential oils. Some of the benefits and uses are discussed in this article.
Much of this statement is quite misleading and not very well researched. There are a few marketers of EO that have actual farms where the plants are grown and harvested…some may even distil their own oils. There is only one producer of EO that controls the entire process from beginning to market. There is one large co. that claims to be pure and has been proven in court to have been making false statements and claims of purity. There are several companies that own no land and only a building where they do the paperwork and perhaps receive and reship their products because they source it all from someone else.
“companies creating there own standards” is why we have certifying organizations; to ensure truth in advertising and obtainable measureable repeatable standards. If it were ok to have every company creating their own standards we’d have more problems. Oh yeah we do, Sallie and Freddie, Enron… That’s why we voted for Obama because this type of side stepping around responsibility and being honest is not acceptable. Thank you Robert, I was trying to figure out where I got this notion of “therapeutic grade” when I couldn’t find a certifying body that provided that term. I am fairly sure I got it from some YL distributor. It’s one of the reasons I value having found you and bought your books etc. You cut through the cr_p out there. Thank you.
You’ll find essential oils offered everywhere from gifts shops to large retailers, and, of course, online. You may want to start your search for essential oils with reputable companies such as DoTERRA, Young Living Essential Oils, Ancient Apothecary, Living Libations and Edens Garden. Keep in mind, essential oils break down over time, so check your expiration dates; you’ll want one that’s two to three years out from the time of purchase. Make sure you avoid these essential oil safety mistakes.

Beyond experiencing great results with their oils, I happen to like network marketing and have been involved with a few companies in the past. My experience of doTERRA is that there is less hype than with others. There is enthusiasm and dedication which could be seen as “hype,” and they do have a pretty incredible story with a lot of pride in their product.
Chirality, a word derived from the Greek word “hand,” is a term used to describe the 3D orientation of a molecule. Just as you have two hands, chiral molecules exist in two forms, distinguished as either the right or the left hand. You may visualize this principle by looking at your hands; when placed side by side, they are mirror images of each other. However, when placed on top of each other, no matter how you turn them, you cannot get them to line up exactly. In molecules, each “hand” has different chemical properties, which affects their physiologic interactions in the body. One hand is produced predominantly in nature. However, in a laboratory environment, the ratio of right- to left-handed molecules is always 50/50 due to their structural similarities. The ratio of right- to left-handed constituents can be determined through a special type of Gas Chromatography. Although not commonly performed on a batch-to-batch basis, this testing method is used to ensure that no synthetic elements are present.
No, it’s not true that “other” essential oils are harmful, and should not be used internally or externally! Has someone told you that there is something impure about certified organic essential oils? Both Young Living and Do Terra buy many of their essential oils from the same industry suppliers that some of the companies listed above buy from. How do I know? Because I have been in the industry since 1974, and suppliers talk. And anyway, there are only so many producers of certain oils.
These scents are all wonderful. And they are all strong enough that if you sniff them out of the bottle they may singe your nose haha. My favorite is probably sweet orange, but they all have useful medicinal purposes. If anyone in my house gets a head or chest cold I am sure the eucalyptus will be used. The peppermint seems to have a positive impact on my sinuses. I actually just used some of the tea tree oil for a hair and skin care recipe using olive oil and essential oils. It worked out very well, especially for my skin. I tend to have very dry, irritated skin in the winter time, and lotions just don't seem to help for very long. I started using olive oil and then thought, why not try adding the essential oils in the recipe? You can tell the difference between just using olive oil versus using olive oil mixed with this tea tree oil. Therefore, while the olive oil works great, the tea tree oil from this sampler definitely adds to the positive effect it has on my skin.
One of my biggest frustrations of late has been a MLM company, I won’t name names and start a whole “thing”, but they state that they have a patent on “certified therapeutic grade”. In actuality, if you research the information, the only thing that is patented, is the logo that states “certified therapeutic grade”. It has nothing to do with the actual product, just the advertising.
Disclosure: I have chosen not to disclose the company I was in contact with as I don't think it's particularly important. I want to leave it to you to ask the questions and get answers that make sense for you. I am by no means an essential oil expert and so I rely heavily on the decades of experience of the experts that I work with and consulted with for this article.  I am an affiliate of an essential oil company that I trust.  I am not using my affiliate link or naming names in this article as my intention is not to profit off sharing this information but to empower you to really dig in and find your own answers so that you can use oils you trust as part of your healthy life.
doTerra is a Young Living rip-off, but they are still better than most. I got off 4 Rx drugs with Young Living Essential Oils, I use them daily on my skin undiluted and take them internally several times per week. Thanks for your article on oils — just a note that there is a VAST difference between most oils sold in health food stores and cheap online venues vs. true therapeutic-grade oils. =)
“Peppermint is an interesting plant in that it yields more oil than most others. As such, large farms and distilleries extract a bunch of oil from the peppermint plant.  Smaller farms do a first distillation of peppermint that they sell to oils companies for the highest price. The peppermint is then re-distilled at a higher pressure and higher temperature for a 2nd distill, and the resulting oil is sold for less money to soap companies, and the like, that want a lower cost oil, but still desire a slightly “herby” smell. The plant is then re-distilled one more time at a yet higher temperature and pressure for a 3rd distill, which is sold to companies wanting the candy-cane smelling oil.”
you said eo’s should not be taken internally, yet I have been using doterra’s GX Assist for my 33 year old handicapped daughter who has a lot of trouble with yeast and bacteria and GI problems ( all typical of her handicap which is 22q13 deletion syndrome) I’m only giving her one capsule a day and even though it’s a 10 day course I may continue with this for a while as I am seeing a calmer happier person that meds just haven’t been able to achieve…any advise? I am new to eo’s and want to learn all I can and use them wisely as I suspect I have found something much better for her than all the stuff that has been prescribed by her good doctors over the years.
These scents are all wonderful. And they are all strong enough that if you sniff them out of the bottle they may singe your nose haha. My favorite is probably sweet orange, but they all have useful medicinal purposes. If anyone in my house gets a head or chest cold I am sure the eucalyptus will be used. The peppermint seems to have a positive impact on my sinuses. I actually just used some of the tea tree oil for a hair and skin care recipe using olive oil and essential oils. It worked out very well, especially for my skin. I tend to have very dry, irritated skin in the winter time, and lotions just don't seem to help for very long. I started using olive oil and then thought, why not try adding the essential oils in the recipe? You can tell the difference between just using olive oil versus using olive oil mixed with this tea tree oil. Therefore, while the olive oil works great, the tea tree oil from this sampler definitely adds to the positive effect it has on my skin.
You seem to be a bit touchy about research. I would suggest that you go to PubMed and search for “essential oils.” You will definitely find some scholarly research that has been published on the subject….but not nearly enough. (If you need a comparison, do a search for your favorite pharmaceutical drug). Given that publications are the currency for academic research, this would suggest that there aren’t as many researchers studying these essential oils as you seem to think.

Hi i have just recently seen doTerra but have been using Amazing Scents for a while. I would like to know how they compare. They both claim they source their products from around the world where they are best produced. They say doTerra is safe to consume internally whereas Amazing Scents are only for external use. Can someone give me some insight about Amazing Scents and whether EO are safe to ingest.


Some plant material is too fragile to be distilled and an alternative method must be employed. Solvent extraction is the use of solvents, such as petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol, or hexane, to extract the odoriferous lipophilic material from the plant. The solvent will also pull out the chlorophyll and other plant tissue, resulting in a highly colored or thick/viscous extract. The first product made via solvent extraction is known as a concrete. A concrete is the concentrated extract that contains the waxes and/or fats as well as the odoriferous material from the plant. The concrete is then mixed with alcohol, which serves to extract the aromatic principle of the material. The final product is known as an absolute
Smell plays a big role in how essential oils may affect the body: When breathed in, these plant oils stimulate smell receptors in the nose that send chemical messages through nerves to the brain's limbic system, which affects moods and emotions, and may have some physiological effects on the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). (When used on the skin, the oils are absorbed into the bloodstream.)

Most common essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, patchouli, and eucalyptus are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic (distillation apparatus) over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.

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