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.

Most oils do degrade with age due to oxidation but there are some oils, such as sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, etc. that actually get better with age, at least to a certain point (I am not sure anyone knows what sandalwood looks like after say 5000 years and I am pretty sure well before then the oil would “resinify” and become solid). Its typically the heavier oils that are high in sesquiterpene alcohols that get better with age. However, most oils, especially the citrus oils and the blue oils will degrade with age (at least within human lifetimes). Citrus oils are especially prone to degradation due to the high levels of limonene which oxidizes relatively easily. Even very small amounts of limonene oxide formation can totally destroy the odor of a once good citrus oil. In addition, wax formation in citrus due to monoterpene polymerization is also quite common over time. For this reason its best to go through citrus oils within a year, if possible.
As a busy mom of 5, I am all about being a good consumer. I want people to be able to get excellent oils, good prices, and to see how wonderful they can be for health and well being. Trust how you feel about the oils- they have an energy and a vibration like all LIVING things. If they feel dead, don’t buy them. If they are waaay overpriced, don’t buy them. Thanks again for such a great unbiased article, that shed the light on some issues those of us outside of mlm companies have been discouraged by.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I’m researching essential oils for treatment of an ear infection in my little one, and I wondered about “pharmaceutical grade” vs. other types, and your posts here have given me my answer. Your well-written responses to other people above have given me some great insight. I’ll do my due diligence before using anything on my daughter. You’ve done a great job of underscoring the need to know in order to have a safe and desirable outcome. Thank you.

I did a price comparison from various oil companies, including doTerra and Mountain Rose Herbs. The price differences seem to focus primarily on country of origin, followed by whether they were fair trade. doTerra, for example, sells Frankincense from Oman, and the wholesale price for 15ml is almost $70. Mountain Rose sells USA Frankincense at $20 for 15ml. Eden Botanical sells Frankincense from Somalia at $16 for 15ml. Scents of Earth sells Frankincense from Oman at $45 for 10 ml (or $67.50 for 15 ml).
This is a must-have dietary or culinary oil, Febuary said. They both recommend starting your day with lemon water, using a drop of lemon oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Add a drop to savory foods like fish or chicken recipes that call for lemon juice, and use it to create vinaigrettes and marinades to add a bright flavor to summer salads and grilling.
Matter is made up of tiny chemical building blocks called elements. Although dozens of elements exist, each one is distinct due to the protons it contains. Sometimes, an element can exist in more than one stable form if it has more or less neutrons. When this occurs, the elements are called isotopes. The element carbon exists in two stable isotopes, carbon-12 (6 protons and 6 neutrons) and carbon-13 (6 protons and 7 neutrons). Because essential oils are organic compounds, they are composed primarily of carbon atoms and will have a certain ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 isotopes. This ratio varies based on location around the world.
Exposure to essential oils may cause a contact dermatitis.[20][21][22] Essential oils can be aggressive toward rubbers and plastics, so care must be taken in choosing the correct handling equipment. Glass syringes are often used, but have coarse volumetric graduations. Chemistry syringes are ideal, as they resist essential oils, are long enough to enter deep vessels, and have fine graduations, facilitating quality control. Unlike traditional pipettes, which have difficulty handling viscous fluids, the chemistry syringe, also known as a positive displacement pipette, has a seal and piston arrangement which slides inside the pipette, wiping the essential oil off the pipette wall.
As a busy mom of 5, I am all about being a good consumer. I want people to be able to get excellent oils, good prices, and to see how wonderful they can be for health and well being. Trust how you feel about the oils- they have an energy and a vibration like all LIVING things. If they feel dead, don’t buy them. If they are waaay overpriced, don’t buy them. Thanks again for such a great unbiased article, that shed the light on some issues those of us outside of mlm companies have been discouraged by.

I have always wondered why I have to pay so much more for do terra than AuraCacia oils and for that reason I am a fan of Aura Cacia. I recently learned that there are 1,2,3 and complete distillation and that first is the best. I unsure what either brand uses and don’t really know how to find out unless I get In direct contact with each company (not that hard). I want to buy some helichrysum italicum oil that through do terra is $100, Native American Nutritionals is $150 and aura cacia is $40. How can a consumer know if the $40 oil is just as good as the $150 oil? I believe they are all the same size. Are these companies taking us consumers for a ride? Thank you for your information.

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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?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies essential oils as food supplements, not drugs. This means producers of essential oils are not allowed to market the compounds as medicine. In fact, they must clearly state the product is “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” According to the Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act of 1994, this classification also means the FDA is not allowed to regulate the sale or use of essential oils unless they can prove a particular product poses a serious threat.

In fact, Améo is the only company endorsed by Dr. Daniel Pénoél, a world renown doctor working in the field of aromatherapy since 1977, with an international reputation as an essential oil researcher, aromatic medicine practitioner, educator, and author. Essential Oils is a Trillion $ industry so there is lots of motivation for better health and wellness. I figure if people throughout the world are spending that kind of money they it MUST REALLY work. You can check it out here: http://www.gnnamerica.com/brand-new-ameo-essential-oils-all-oils-are-not-created-equal-you-dont-want-to-miss-this/
Tomato Leaves are toxic, never ingest them or use for skincare products. Strictly aromatic purposes are okay, like candles, however, Tomato Leaf EO or Absolute is very expensive for such a venture. The fresh leaves loose their wonderful aroma once dried, I tried it already 🙂 Best choice will be a fragrance oil if you want to really capture that smell, I know…not natural, but these are the facts. Good luck!

The Mountain Rose Herbs essential oil company strives to sell the absolute finest quality of essential oils. All of their products are certified organic, and an attitude of “People and Planet before Profit” runs through their whole company. Their sustainability principles range from Zero Waste Certification to an Energy Efficiency operations program that helps reduce their company’s carbon footprint.
The only oils on the market safe to ingest are by a company called Young Living. If you are not a member you can obtain Eucalyptus oil by typing in Young Living Essential Oil Eucalyptus on an ebay or amazon search engine to try it out. One you do, you will surely want to become a member of this company. I use these oils on myself and children and am being healed of YEARS of chronic illness with these products. I am not a salesperson. I feel obligated to get EVERYONE with health issues this REAL AND TRUE HEALING MEDICINE that heals rather than just treating symptoms.
While wholesale companies will often claim they sell pure oils, most don't. Genuine essential oils are very costly to produce, and many companies in the industry cut corners to reduce their expenses. At Choice Essential Oils, we offer 100% pure, Non-GMO essential oils at unbeatable prices. Other companies may dilute their essential oils with cheap carrier oils in order to boost their profit margins.  However, for one to attain the true benefits that essential oils have to offer, it is important to buy only the highest premium quality.
I’m not sure what you mean when you say “gras” but I wouldn’t recommend using just any essential oil, especially when you are putting it in your mouth. American standards only require 2% essential oils in a bottle that is labeled “100% Pure”. It’s really unfortunate we have such lax standards. Be Young uses the International standards for essential oil purity (E.O.B.B.D.)
Now Foods – great price, OK essential oils for cleaning house and scenting your room. You can find these at your local Whole Foods or Central Market or for the best price, on Amazon. They even have a few organic ones as well. I only use this brand for my cleaning needs because I don't like using my precious Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils on something like cleaning. You also have to pay close attention to their labels as they do sell oils that are already diluted with a carrier oil and their Jasmine oil is cut with fragrance oil to save them money, but they DO label it. (Jasmine is very expensive on its own. Don't buy their Jasmine oil because fragrance oils are what you are trying to avoid.) You can read more about NOW Foods on their FAQ page.

Hi. I have a question. I have always read that in order to make essential oil you need tons of a plant to get a little bit of the the oil itself, like you mentioned in the article. So it seems like something that can only be made industrially. But I also see recipes for homemade essential oils. So, my question is: Are these homemade oils real essential oils? Or is there another name for those ones? Are they as good in terms of benefits for the skin and its scents properties?
Great resource! It’s so important to understand the difference between essential oils and “real” — oils, seed oils, carrier oils, fixed oils — are there other names? I’m not sure. Both are wonderful, but they are so so different in structure and application. I’ve noticed a fair amount of misinformation going around where essential oils and carrier oils written about as the same thing or interchangeable. Your clear description is super valuable.

I used lavender essential oil with water as a body spray- it turns out THAT was what my skin reacted to– I thought I had hives on my chest, but it didn’t go away. Fortunately, since I had replaced my toiletry items with natural/homemade, it was easy to determine the lavender as the cause by process of elimination. That has to be the biggest reason to go natural– especially if your skin is sensitive…it allows you to personalize and customize while ensuring that you know every particle of what you are using 🙂 Thanks for everything!
Thank you for this wonderful information! I have been inundated with the numerous brands of essential oils on the market. I have read reviews, but by far your information has helped me the most. I have been using oils for my Chronic pain & Neurosarcoidosis, always worried if the oils we’re harvested safely. This information will now allow me to make better decisions on my therapeutic treatment in the future! Thank you for your lengthy research!

Certain essential oils have also been used by midwives to help reduce fear and anxiety during childbirth. A 2007 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine suggests that women who used aromatherapy during labor reported less pain overall and were able to use fewer pain medications. (2b) In fact, a 2016 study published in Pain Research and Treatment showed that “aromatherapy can successfully treat pain when combined with conventional treatments.” (3)
NOW’s founder Elwood Richard said it best when he was asked why NOW’s prices are so much lower than our competitors. “The question shouldn’t be why are our prices so low, but rather, why do our competitors price their products so high?” We use the same quality essential oils as other companies; we just choose to price our essential oils with the best interests of the consumer in mind. By not marking up our essential oils like perfumes, as many competitors do, we can offer essential oils of comparable quality at a lower price.

Thank You SO MUCH for this article. I recently saw something on tv !@ essential oils- I have been using essential oils for a couple of years – in a diffuser, in baths, roll-ons, etc.. I have been on the computer ‘googling’ for hours-this is the most informative & helpful information I have found-THANK YOU – YOU LISTED EVERYTHING I WAS LOOKING FOR!! (that being said, I am now throwing out the majority of my various botles of essential oils (diff. brands) because they contain synthetics WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY THE LAST THING I WANT OR NEED (I have CFIDS/FM) Thank You Again,
The following properly diluted essential oils appear to be safe for use during pregnancy: benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, chamomile (German & Roman), clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, mandarin, majoram (sweet), neroli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, orange (sweet), tea tree, ylang ylang. 
To the woman who got a rash from putting Frankincense on her skin: First and foremost, you should never be using undiluted essential oils on your skin, except in very specific cases (i.e. you need to heal a cut with helichrysum, etc). If you did that and you got a rash, don’t blame the company who made the oil. You can develop sensitivities to the plants by using them full strength topically… it doesn’t matter who made it. You’re not using them correctly if you are using them undiluted.
Since we are not chemists, nor do we have the resources or equipment to evaluate the chemical purity of the essential oils, we stuck with methods of evaluation available to the average consumer. Out of the nearly 40 different essential oil companies researched we were able to narrow down the list to a total of seven reputable companies by using the parameters listed above in our section ‘What to look for when purchasing essential oils.’
I’ve also been plagued with terrible leg cramps for about 3 years now. So bad at times i couldn’t go up or down steps without cramping. They started like yours at night while I was trying to sleep. They would wake me from a sound sleep with excruciating pain and I couldn’t even move to get out of bed to try to relieve them. Drs could not give me any help they only prescribed muscle relaxers which I didn’t take.
I just want to add a note here on behalf of those companies like NOW and Aura Cacia and all the others from the health food store I’ve tried. They may have all good intentions. They may or may not be testing their oils, anyone can give a test. The mass spectrometry test will pass with a very high amounts of filler oils and chemicals from extraction in it. These issues may not necessarily be from the owners of companies that get oils out there, it may be from the farmers selling the oils and trying to get an extra buck or from somewhere else in the line of business people it goes through before it gets to our shelves. Our world is very focused on money so who knows where the fault really falls. If you’re wondering what brand you should use, I would recommend the three above… doTerra, TRUessence, Young Living… however, I think its better for people to decide for themselves, so maybe do your own smell test. I’ve also been told that if an oil says “not for internal consumption” then there’s a pretty high chance that it is not as pure as it should be to be safe (at least if its is on the FDA’s GRAS list). I know this is long, but hey you asked right? And anyhow, education brings true freedom.
doTERRA wanted to create a purity level that goes above and beyond organic. So they created an internal standard called Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade that is verified by 3rd party testing laboratories. They test their oils 7 different ways to make sure that they are pure and safe for therapeutic use. Even though doTERRA essential oils are not “certified organic“(read why in next paragraph), you can be assured that they are a step above organic.
Couldn't of arrived at a better time. I fell ill with the flu the day after I received them, researched appropriate oils that help with boosting immune system an help sickness etc. Used certain ones in the diffuser and my bath and even with a carrier oil (coconut oil) on my skin and my symptoms lessened. I noticed this because the one day I didn't use the oils or diffuser my symptoms became horrendous as the day went on and I was bedridden. Again the following day I went back to using oils and the flu symptoms eased and cleared within two days. Absolute god send. Love them especially frankincense that's my fave. Thank you.
USE ESSENTIAL OILS TO HELP YOUR MOOD. Lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, chamomile, lemon, ylang-ylang all help produce happy, joyous moods. Clary sage helps with PMS (although there have been reports that overuse of clary sage can lead to intoxication). Rosemary increases focus and concentration. Don’t forget the mood benefits of essential oils. Here’s an information packed aromatherapy reference chart to refer to.
Peppermint supports healthy gut function and normal digestion, she says, and can be used topically to soothe sore muscles. "It's important to note that peppermint is a 'hot' oil, which means it needs to be diluted before applying to your skin," said Dunaway. "Before applying it topically, peppermint oil should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil."
dōTERRA essential oils was founded in 2008 by a group of health-care and business professionals, some of which used to work at Young Living. The founders all shared profound personal experiences with the life-enhancing benefits of essential oils. As per their mission statement, they strive to “bring a new standard of therapeutic-grade essential oils to the world”.

IF Your Bottle Of EO Says 100% Pure But Not For Internal Use It Isn’t Pure. If It Says Ok For InterNal Use It Is Pure. Young Living Did Some Testing On Another Lavender EO froM Another Company And It Tested That It hAd Vanilla In It. The Product Did Say 100% Pure On It. Well If It Was 100% Pure It Wouldnt Have Had Vanilla In It. I Use Yl Eo & I Love Them. I Take Them InternallY.Yes Their Expensive But Im A True BelieveR You Get WhAt You Pay For!


Though the solvents are reclaimed by distillation, these absolute oils are not actually re-distilled because the essential oil portions are left intact and not torn apart into constituents during the distillation process. We only offer these two absolute oils due to the rarity and high cost of obtaining steam-distilled rose or jasmine essential oils, which would be many times the price of our absolute products.

Essential oils are volatile and liquid aroma compounds from natural sources, usually plants. They are not oils in a strict sense, but often share with oils a poor solubility in water. Essential oils often have an odor and are therefore used in food flavoring and perfumery. They are usually prepared by fragrance extraction techniques (such as distillation, cold pressing, or Solvent extraction). Essential oils are distinguished from aroma oils (essential oils and aroma compounds in an oily solvent), infusions in a vegetable oil, absolutes, and concretes. Typically, essential oils are highly complex mixtures of often hundreds of individual aroma compounds.
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“More and more people are choosing to use alternative medicines to treat minor illnesses rather than taking a prescription. Putting essential oils in or near the eyes isn’t something that is widely known about, but there are several that can aid in the treatment of eye problems. Before using essential oils for your eyes, always contact your doctor.

After much internet research I found that high doses of magnesium helped. I currently take 1 tablespoon of “Calm” magnesium powder diluted in a cup of warm water every night before bed. Magnesium also helps with sleep. The magnesium has not been a cure all for me. I’ve also been going to an acupuncturist for the past 5 months which has also helped greatly but I still get the night cramps occasionally which is very upsetting. I’ve also found that caffeine and alcohol make matters worse so be careful with consumption of both.
I first began studying aromatherapy in the 90s. Thankfully, I never got caught up with particular MLM companies that make marketing claims and promote practices that I find concerning and unsafe. I was avoiding these companies for other reasons and did not realize until I had inquired with NAHA's president at the time, Kelly Holland Azzaro, that the term "therapeutic grade" was apparently coined by one MLM in particular.

Great post! I am a lover/addict of essential oils and I found it interesting that you said NOT to take essential oils internally.  There are several oils that I take internally daily, in fact, it is highly recommended per Young Living to do so.  The oils I use are from Young Living and I put them in my water, coffee, on a piece of bread and I cook with them since they are more potent than herbs and their frequency is greater.
Hi Crunchy Betty, I love your blog and recently bought a whole bunch of carrier oils along with Lavender 40/42 essential oil . I didn’t realise this wasn’t the same as Lavender essential oil and used it (diluted with jojoba oil) on my face – the next morning I had tiny bumps all over my face which were red and very itchy, with slight swelling! Do you know what the difference between these two different oils are, and if the 40/42 is more dangerous to use than the other?  
An absolute is a fragrant liquid that is extracted from the plants using chemical solvents, like alcohol. Though the solvents are removed after the extraction process, there still remains a tiny amount of the chemical in the final product. Absolutes are much thicker and more concentrated than essential oils, and because of this they are often used in skin care products and lotions.
Dermal sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. It occurs on first exposure to a substance, but on this occasion, the noticeable effect on the skin will be slight or absent. However, subsequent exposure to the same material, or to a similar one with which there is cross-sensitization, produces a severe inflammatory reaction brought about by cells of the immune system (T-lymphocytes).7 The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchy or redness, which may be painful to some individuals.
AFNOR standards were established by The Association for French Normalization Organization Regulation for the French essential oil industry. The program was so successful that the International Standards Organization (ISO) adopted the AFNOR standards for essential oils and provides a list of these ISO standards and guidance for essential oils on their web site. Surprisingly enough, no USA Company or organization has adopted these standards to date and all continue to make silly claims to try to prove quality without any regulatory body supporting their claims.
Hannah, all the multi-level-marketing companies say that theirs are the only true and pure essential oils. But, they all buy from the same distillers and wholesale suppliers as every other aromatherapy business. (And notice how they will spin stories that make it sound as if they buy all their oils from unique sources…) Somehow they have to justify their much higher prices, which are needed to support the MLM business model. Their products are similarly priced. Great quality, but you can get the same great quality from many other sources, with less hype, and less mark-up.
Many essential oils affect the skin and mucous membranes in ways that are valuable or harmful. Many essential oils, particularly tea tree oil, may cause contact dermatitis.[19][20][21][22] They are used in antiseptics and liniments in particular. Typically, they produce rubefacient irritation at first and then counterirritant numbness. Turpentine oil and camphor are two typical examples of oils that cause such effects. Menthol and some others produce a feeling of cold followed by a sense of burning. This is caused by its effect on heat-sensing nerve endings. Some essential oils, such as clove oil or eugenol, were popular for many hundred years in dentistry as antiseptics and local anesthetics.
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