You may have noticed the increase in essential oil infused products popping up on shelves everywhere. You may have even seen or bought the oils themselves from your local drug store or Target.
Maybe you haven’t or have no idea I’m talking about.When you hear essential oil you think olive oil, coconut oil, etc. However, essential oils are aromatic volatile liquids distilled from roots, flowers, trees, shrubs and bushes whereas your cooking oils are taken from the fatty portion of the plant. We call oils like olive oil fatty oils or “carrier” oils because they can be used alongside essential oils in many cases (more to come.)
Essential oils are very complex and can have more than hundreds of chemical constituents which all contribute to it’s therapeutic effects. The complexity of distilling plants into oils takes years of research and study.
Despite the need for extensive knowledge due to the complexity of the process itself, it is extremely easy to duplicate the scents and smells of essential oils. This is why it’s important to do your research and know a company’s process, grade of purity and origination of their plants. For me, company philosophy is also important when making a purchase decision.
Not all essential oils are the same. In fact, none of them are.
1. Perfume grade: made to look and smell like an essential oil, but not recommended for anything other than scent and can sometimes be dangerous. 95% of all essential oils are made for the food and fragrance industry. Most of these perfume grade oils are found inside bubble baths, body sprays and other beauty products. These products have been created to resemble a pure essential oil and even may have an essential oil base, but are enhanced by altering chemicals and solvents to be mass produced in order to make more money. While the mindset we are seeing for more natural ingredients is great, we must be careful not to purchase from companies just looking to take advantage of a trend.
2. Natural or food grade may be considered “organic,” but can still contain chemicals and may possess only a few, if any, therapeutic compounds. These are found in your mints, gum and mouthwashes mimicking the flavors mint, cinnamon and wintergreen.
Only a small portion of essential oils are therapeutic grade, safe to use on your body or safe to use internally. So…just because it says natural or therapeutic, do your research. Most likely, chemicals were added to meet demands of a growing trend. Just like products with high fructose corn syrup can say natural, so can any brand selling oils.
3. Pure 100% therapeutic essential oils. Oils go through steam distillation or are cold pressed depending on the plant. Each batch is carefully tested, multiple times to ensure purity and only the strong survive. Meaning only the plants that reach purity standards are sold to consumers. Plants that make up these essential oils are grown organically with zero chemicals ever. These oils are safe to use internally, externally and aromatically. Pure oils also carry all the desired therapeutic benefits such as emotional, physical and spiritual support. The pure power of an essential oil is that much more than the plant itself.
If you’re super overwhelmed and don’t know where to start don’t worry. 1. I won’t leave you hanging 2. You’re not alone. We’re just getting started…
Love & Stuff,
Essential oils: who what when where & why
Homemade lavender makeup wipes