While I am a Young Living Distributer and LOVE their oils, contrary to some of my well meaning colleagues, they are not the only oils out there. There are several good oil companies from which to choose.
While I tell my clients to look for "therapeutic grade oils", legally in the the USA, this term does not exist. That being said, generally oil companies do not make claims of being therapeutic grade unless they are a very high grade oil. There are no legal categories such as grade A, genuine or even therapeutic grade oil. In the USA, essential oils are not yet regulated. Natural mean nothing as the term is not regulated at all. Pure may not be adulterated but can be still be distilled from poor quality crops or improperly handled. And unless it says 100 % organic, only 95% of the product has to be organic. So for the novice, if it claims therapeutic grade, it is saying it is a step higher than fragrance grade.
So how do you find a good oil? First off, if it says not for internal use, it is most likely fragrance or food grade and will not do you any good. If it’s in a clear glass bottle, it is not high quality. Certainly it should say organic, but that being said, it can still be adulterated with other oils. For instance, Lavender is frequently mixed with Lavendin and both may be organic. Lavendin has a very different chemical makeup from lavender. Lavender is excellent for burns, but lavendin has camphor in it and should NOT be used for burns.
You also want an oil company that tests their oils and will provide detailed info on their oils. The latin name of the oils should be listed as well as the country of origin. Be careful of a company that sells all of it’s oils for one price. Rose is extremely expensive, while lemon is not. It takes 10,000 pounds of roses to make 1 pound of rose oil. Surely high quality rose oil will not sell for $5 a bottle. For me price is definitely and indication. It takes money to grow and harvest correctly and to test each batch of oil. a $2 bottle of oil will be hard pressed to meet all of those standards. If in doubt, check several different high quality oil companies and see what they sell their product for. They should all be within the same range. If you are getting an oil that is substantially cheaper, you are NOT getting a bargain. You are getting an inferior oil. If you are making cleaning products and just want it to smell good, by all means, get the cheap stuff. If however you want that antibacterial or antiviral effect, you still have to use the good stuff. If I'm cleaning my daughters room after she has been sick, I will use the highest grade oil.
When in doubt contact a knowledgable aromatherapist. While some distributors are aromatherapist, many are not. There is a LOT of misinformation on the web.
Next blog: Esseential Oil Safety