AFNOR (Association Francaise de Normalisation) Their "New Approach" provides directives and standards for members of the European Union states to facilitate intra-community trade. All companies wishing to exchange goods within Europe are therefore obliged to comply with their directives. For essential oils, they provide guidelines and information on various topics including determination of water content, chromatographic profiles, determination of acid value, content of phenols, etc.
The popular multi-level marketing companies, dōTERRA and Young Living didn’t make our top picks for several important reasons: their high retail prices, their lack of organic certification for all of their oils, and their insistence that most of their essential oils are safe to take internally not giving any regard to the potential health hazards of self-prescribing without professional clinical supervision.
“Therapeutic grade” is simply a marketing claim with no real independent meaning or value, and no credible third-party standards. However, the quality standards for authentication of essential oils have been long established by authoritative references. Our quality control team tests essential oils to the specifications published in The Essential Oils by Ernest Guenther, as well as Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients by George A. Burdock. These are the same standards used by major European distillers that are the primary suppliers of these oils to our industry.
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
“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.”
A friend of ours recently became associated with doTerra and invited my wife and I to a “party” where doTerra sales reps talked about the benefits of EO’s and offered to sell various package deals or individual bottles of doTerra EO’s. They talked about the independent testing that doTerra has done by outside labs that they call CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade). I came home and have been researching doTerra and Young Living on the internet (and believe me, I am skeptical of what I read on the internet), but I am very skeptical when companies make unsubstantiated claims about their products. I read doTerra’s testing protocol, but they say nothing about using an independent laboratory to perform the tests. Apparently there are no industry standards that apply to EO. doTerra is a MLM (multilevel marketing) company, kind of what I think of as a pyramid scheme, so their products are more expensive because there are many “middle men”. I don’t have a dog in the fight, other than my dollars, so I have spent several hours trying to educated myself about equally good products for less money. I settled on a company called Organic Infusions, and ordered a few of their oils, and when they arrive, I will compare with our friend’s doTerra oils and see if we can tell any difference. As for Young Living, Gary Young seems to be of very questionable character when you read about various schemes and scams he has allegedly been involved in. You can read about him for yourself by googling Gary Young quackery. I am not recommending the company that I ordered from, as I have not tried their products yet. There is a lot of information out there, Let the buyer beware!
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no such thing as a “certified therapeutic grade” essential oil. If anything – we could use the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) guidelines as a bench mark for therapeutic grade. However, I have always argued that these guidelines are more suitable for the pharmaceutical industry and not for plant-based medicines.
The products that ZEVA Essential Oils offers are 100% ISO certified essential oils derived from plant sources, and manufactured to contain active phytochemicals from plants without fillers or chemicals. ZEVA only uses oils certified by the Medicinal Oil Association, and we source our plants from quality suppliers throughout the world. However, because of the differences in organic certification from country to country, and even from one state to another in the U.S., it is not possible to acquire raw materials that are all certified organic. We do check our plant supplies for chemical residues in the form of solvents, herbicides, pesticides, and extenders so we can offer products that are as pure as possible, often exceeding the standards for certified organic products.
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.

If it was me, I would look for a company that is happy to supply GCMS traces for all of their essential oils. Eden’s certificate of analysis is great, but as you say, it’s a shame it doesn’t give more detail on constituents. If a company can’t supply MSDS sheets then run a mile, because that’s essential! If they don’t have or will not share CGMS analyses, then they are not getting with the program. If they don’t have these, why don’t they have them? Why are they not not checking up on the quality of the oil they are buying? If they have them but won’t share them, why not? What do they have to hide? I would also look for organic certification. Aromatics International gives a full constituent breakdown for each of their oils on their website.

A Clinical Aromatherapist IS a healthcare practitioner. They are trained in chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal). Taking them internally can have serious health effects if you don’t know what you are doing. Other countries have a culture of using EOs and therefore know how to use them appropriately and safely. We do not have that here. I’ve known several people who have listened to their Young Living or doTerra Reps and taken EOs internally and ended up with serious health problems.

We’re having a problem at our apartment that we fear may be bedbugs, and I’m following a recipe to make a topical treatment that is supposed to protect me from being bitten–since I’m one of those unlucky 30% who are sensitive to their bites–while we undergo whatever steps necessary to rid the premises of the pests. It calls for six drops each of lemongrass oil and tea tree oil, and 10 each of lavender and thyme, in a quarter cup of almond oil. I’m supposed to apply it before bed, but I’m wondering how safe it is to apply on, say, the face, since the insects target any exposed skin, and that’s one of the few areas I can’t really cover. Any knowledge on the matter would be appreciated.
Floracopeia’s goal is not only to offer great essential oils, but also to help create sustainable ecological, environmental and economical situations that support the small, rural farmers and distillers, as well as the planet. Their Eco-Projects, like the wild agarwood trees in Thailand, reduce illegal harvesting and help create a sustainable forestry system while supporting the livelihoods of the local villagers. And just like Stillpoint, David and Sara offer trainings and certifications in Aromatherapy.
Amanda, I don’t know what your qualification is to make such a bold statement. MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY people use Young Living oils internally WITHOUT adverse side effects and WITHOUT burning their esophagus or hurting their gut flora, in fact it improves gut flora if you know what oils to use. Oils ingested are usually done so via a veggie capsule or can be mixed with water or Young Living’s NingXia Red. I myself ingest YLEOs on a daily basis and have been able to get off my proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) medication for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which was causing the nice side effect of osteopenia (pre osteoporosis). If you know what you’re doing and do the research, oils are extremely beneficial without nasty side effects. Yes, I am a YL distributor, but I became one after using the oils for a while myself and on my pets and seeing great improvement in our situation. Hope that clears up the ingestion issue for you.
DoTerra and Young Living are both Multi Level Marketing companies, making the oils more expensive. All pure essential oils are therapeutic. Young Living tried to copyright the term to set them apart. DoTerra is run by people who left Young Living. These two companies, as well as many others, get their oils from the same suppliers. They make their own blends, but there are some standard blends that are very similar from company to company. Ingesting oils is not necessary because they are so easily absorbed through the skin. I get my oils from a smaller company who uses the same suppliers and I get a lot more for my money!
I do have one argument to a rather fabulous post. Please do not use UNDILUTED oils…ANY of them. I accidently poured some lavender on my neck and felt nothing…til 10 days later I had a dozen or more hard nodules under my skin. NONE of them are safe. I’m not allergic; I’m not on any meds to counteract them. The oil is Nature’s Sunshine and very great quality. Just be safe and use a carrier oil always.
This post is a definite BOOKMARK for me…I love all the info. My favorite essential oil to put in my burner is sweet orange – it just makes me so HAPPY! I read your response above about YLEO. I received a package of them as a gift a few years ago from a friend. I love them and have them in my studio all the time, but honestly I would never pay those prices. MLM completely scares me off of them too…just sharing my agreement with you 🙂

First and foremost, the grading systems companies use to grade their products are all relative because there is no regulation of the grades. So when it says "therapeutic grade", that just means it's that companies idea of therapeutic grade. That's not to say they are misrepresenting their products, but there will be variance between products because there is no standard, so finding a brand you trust is important.

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. 

There exists so many conflicting opinions touted as facts on the internet that they overshadow our friend of science, PubMed. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same eye-crossing results on Dr. Google when searching for something relating to essential oils. Furthermore, I was a little disappointed in my friendly database for “essential oils quality.” I found some very diverse finds, shown here. Not exactly what I was looking for. (Remember with any blog, including this one, check the references. If there aren’t any, distinguish between an opinion, experience, and a fact.)

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.


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!
“Young Living owns the 4 largest distillers, partners with the next 2 largest, distills on 5 continents, farms much of their own production, is the first company to use oils Intra-muscularly, the first company to use oils intra-venously, the first company to use oils as dietary supplements, is the only company that is AFNOR, EC and ISO certified Therapeutic Grade, their oils never expire, are used topically neat even on day old infants etc…”
Price can be an indication that an oil is synthetically reproduced or extended. Chemically reconstructed oils called “Nature Identical” are much cheaper but seldom include all the trace chemicals which might be found in any given specimen of a certain plant material. Used mostly by an industry which accepts a standard of between 51 – 96% accuracy, chemically reconstructed oils are not suitable for therapeutic use.
Some oils can be applied directly to the skin, this is called using the oil “neat”. That does not mean to say that you shouldn’t dilute the oil in certain cases. Always dilute when applying to children and always check instructions from the company on how to apply the oil. Some need to be diluted to prevent skin irritation like peppermint. Those oils are considered “hot” and the irritation they cause is unpleasant to say the least. Research the oil before using and allow your body time to respond to each new oil before introducing a new one. Your body will tell you if you need more or less dilution with each oil If you give it enough time to respond.
If you get green lights for all of the above, and you trust the brand and company, you’re likely going to be very happy when your essential oils kit arrives in the mail. If red flags raise up for you, whether by someone else’s review or simply by your own intuition, perhaps look into another brand. There are multiple professional, trustworthy, and reputable essential oil companies out there that are willing to sell you a great essential oil. It’s not just one company that has it all.
EXCELLENT BUY!! As a herbalist and soap maker, I use a variety of oils from various companies all over the world. The price for these was SO low that I thought, at the very least, I could use them for aroma therapy. They arrived in a beautifully designed box - professionally labeled and WOW was I STUNNED - the fragrance of each one showed very little difference from my finest oils that I have paid MUCH more for! As I am not a chemist - I cannot vouch for the percentages of each constituent, but I can tell you that the oils from the set that I have used thus far - have shown themselves to be just as effective as the high dollar bottle I have bought elsewhere! EXCELLENT Job - I sure hope they restock soon - I am buying MORE!
Another important factor to know about the oil is the geographical location each plant was grown. Plants grow naturally and thrive in climates and conditions suitable for their health. Plants farmed in locations outside of their natural habitats will be less effective when distilled. The climate, the soil, the time of year (and sometimes even the time of day) have great effects on the quality of the essential oils and good companies know this.
I use Piping Rock EO and I love them. They do everything that any other brand does advice tried the more expensive ones like DoTerra and I find that Piping Rock is a great product with great results and one that I can easily afford. Sorry but those marketing companies are just about money. I love Essential Oils and how they have helped my family in so many ways with pain and other ailments. I also do not trust anyone who says to ingest the oils and unless a professional medical expert says it’s ok I think you are asking for trouble. You don’t have to pay ridiculous prices for good 100% pure Essential Oils.

Allergens are almost always composed of proteins or polypeptides, which are relatively large molecules. There are no proteins or polypeptides in essential oils. In fact, nitrogen containing compounds are virtually non-existent in essential oils except in occasional trace amounts. Allergens are composed of large molecules. There are no large molecules in volatile or aromatic oils, otherwise they would be neither volatile or aromatic.
The Lime Essential Oil has a fresh, sharp citrusy scent that revitalizes the atmosphere, and is popular in facial cleansers, toners and splashes wherein it acts as an astringent and can be used on oily skin. Key Lime is less sweet and is frequently used in many products, whereas the Tahiti/Persian Lime variety has a uniquely spicy fragrance and is commonly used in aromatherapy.
So you can see from this profile that the maximum amount of Camphor we will allow is 0.5%! A synthetic extract of Lavender called Lavandin contains 5-11% camphor and therefore may not be supportive of certain skin applications because of the camphor level. A truly pure lavender is excellent for the skin so if an oil matched the above phytochemical criteria, it can be called “Medicinal Grade”!
I work for an MD and upon seeing it he’s taking out his Rx pad. I told him I wanted to try this first and if I had trouble I would call. The hand was all swollen when he saw it in the AM, but by that evening when he came back the swelling had gone down. Because he believes in toxic drugs, he wouldn’t say anything the remarkable response I was getting.
As an aromatic food supplement, essential oils are a playground for the nose and probably safe in small quantities. They may be useful in modulating the mind-body connection, but as primary medical treatment for most disease conditions, there is no evidence to suggest they work. I’d recommend spending your hard-earned money on chemical compounds that do.
The essential oil should be labeled with the common name and its Latin one. Remember the example above about chamomile? “The presence of the Latin name of the plant on the label is an added assurance of what you are getting,” says Dr. Burke. There may be few standards for essential oil quality but there are standards set by the Federal Trade Commission about what a company can put on a label. “If you put ‘chamomile’ on the label, you can sell either German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) or Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobillis). If you put ‘matricaria chamomilla’ on the label, you must be selling exactly that,” says Dr. Burke.

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.


Organic essential oils are not only good for sustainable agricultural practices, they also have the greatest healing properties, says Josh Axe, D.N.M, C.N.S., D.C. founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition. “Having nothing else added in during the extraction process is the only way to guarantee they are unprocessed and sourced directly from the plant,” says Dr. Axe. Organic is definitely more expensive than conventionally grown, but you’re also getting a superior essential oil.
"Untrained lay people, especially in the multilevel marketing (MLM) business, will say anything to make a sale," Trattner explains. Some folks, especially MLM bloggers—and even some big companies—suggest methods for essential oil use, without informing people of the dangers of using essential oils incorrectly. They’ll say that you can use them anytime, anywhere. In demonstrations, they might dab some on their wrist or talk about how oils can be used in capsules.

Not only is there no evidence that any essential oil can help with vision problems, age-related or otherwise, but placing any essential oil “in the eye” is extremely dangerous advice. Almost any undiluted essential oil coming into contact with the ocular membranes will be corrosive, possibly causing scarring of the cornea, and certainly causing significant pain.

It did start out quite small for me, however.  Just a small list of companies.  I started out looking into these companies, but the list quickly grew as the series went on and as more and more readers commented and as I went down more and more rabbit trails.  I think you will find the whole thing interesting and I hope you will learn a thing or two about essential oils and the companies that sell them.

This is a good starter kit, especially if you don't want to spend a fortune on something that may not be your thing. We don't use all 6 of these, so I'm glad I didn't get suckered into buying a more pricey brand. I've purchased expensive essential oils and less expensive ones like these, and these are a good value. Don't get caught up buying multi-level marketing brands like **terra, just buy what works for you and your budget and enjoy!
There is also an argument from YL distributors that their oils come from the best crops in the world. As they grow their own crops and only use their own, not sure how they can claim it’s unarguably the best in the world. Every crop is different. Only sampling every crop, every batch would support that claim. Anyway, I am not a qualified aromatherapist either but my research suggests that YL oils and their advice might be best to avoid.
Taken by mouth, many essential oils can be dangerous in high concentrations. Typical effects begin with a burning feeling, followed by salivation. In the stomach, the effect is carminative, relaxing the gastric sphincter and encouraging eructation (belching). Further down the gut, the effect typically is antispasmodic.[14] Typical ingredients for such applications include eucalyptus oils, menthol, capsaicin, anise, and camphor.[citation needed]
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