Dr. Robert Pappas is the President/Technical Director at Essential Oil University. Founded in 1999 by Dr. Robert S. Pappas, EOU is an educational/informational institution dedicated to essential oil production, chemistry and uses and has the largest online database for essential oil chemistry in the world at www.essentialoils.org. Dr. Pappas is also an adjunct Professor at Indiana University. Dr. Pappas work has made him a much-sought-after consultant for companies and individuals all over the world because the information he provides helps with quality assurance and with learning how an essential oil might be useful. Dr. Pappas created the Facebook page Essential Oil University which is dedicated spreading accurate information concerning essential oils and dispelling the myths that have been hyped over the years.
Other essential oil manufacturers/distributors sell certified organic oils; DoTerra does not. other essential oil manufacturers do not use MLM scams to sell their products; DoTerra does. Other essential oil companies tell people up front that the FDA has not “approved this” info; DoTerra does not. Other companies warn people, as the association for aromatherapists does, that these oils should NEVER be ingested: DoTerra tells people to ingest them (BTW, there IS no “safe dose”; the “safe dose” is “none”). Other companies do not pretend to have scientific evidence when there isn’t any. Other companies don’t make up fake “certifications”. Your ridiculous comparison of tylenol or ibuprofen is just that: those are MADE to be ingested, and essential oils are NEVER meant to be ingested.

Lavender 40/42 (Standardized) – This essential oil is the most common choice for applications in glycerin soap, candles, perfume, and cosmetics. The “40/42” refers to the balance of Linalool and Linalyl acetate esters, which is what gives it such a consistent floral scent but also means it is standardized.  For this reason some aromatherapists regard this oil as something that is not considered 'therapeutic grade" or "pure grade" since it is does not come directly from the plant in this form.  Instead this oil is standardized in a lab to ensure consistency in smell. It also has a balsamic woody undertone with a floral, herbaceous fresh scent.
Ron Guba points out that toxicity during pregnancy is almost exclusively due to pregnant women taking large, toxic doses of essential oils, notably pennyroyal (rich in the ketone, pulegone, which is metabolized to the highly toxic furan epoxide, menthofuron) and parsley seed (rich in the dimethyl ether, apiol) in an attempt to abort the fetus.13 And Battaglia shares this insight: “the judicious use of essential oils together with appropriate forms of massage by a skilled therapist can help ease the discomforts of pregnancy and provide a sense of nurturing that will comfort the mother at times she is likely to be feeling rather fragile.”14
I realize that it’s been a while since you posted this question, but hope this information helps anyway. My poor husband had the same problem with leg cramps. Took supplements for potassium and ate bananas and oranges like crazy. No difference. Heard then that the deficiency that causes these cramps is more likely related to magnesium, so he started taking a magnesium supplement. Still no difference.
Lori, I am relatively new to the essential oils world, but I do remember reading somewhere (check planttherapy.com or edensgarden.com) that essential oils are the pure life essence of the plants from which they are derived. An essential fragrance is often obtained with solvent or alcohol distillation which make the essential fragrance a better choice for making fragrances as they are usually less expensive.

I take Genesis Pure products and a friend recommended an “allergy bomb” recipe, which includes 2 drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint, to help my spring allergies. I just went top the local grocery store and bought Aura Cacia oils.. they’re half the price of Genesis Pure and I wanted them that day. Since I’ve been taking them (this is something I’m swallowing) I’ve had high level itching on arms and legs and kind of a rash. Would ingesting impure essential oils cause that? My friend who gave me the recipe thinks I’m just detoxing..?
It’s very important to keep in mind that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates essential oils mainly as cosmetics, NOT as therapeutic supplements, herbs or medications. So if you come across an essential oil company or salesperson who claims their oils can cure certain diseases or mental illnesses, they are violating federal law and can be prosecuted and fined by the US government.
When I had my second baby, my hair thinned out so much. I used essential oils for regrowth. It’s been 8 months and my hair has fully grown back. In an 8oz glass amber bottle, I put 15 drops Cedarwood (Atlas), 15 drops Rosemary (Spanish) and 10 drops Lavender and filled the rest of the bottle with Witch Hazel. I would spray my hair after a shower every day. It worked for me! I use Edens Garden Essential Oils….those are the only oils I use for my family. Also, we’ve been medicine free for about 3 years. I love them. Hope this helps.
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.

The MOA will conduct various tests on each batch of oil. These tests will include Gas Chromatography having a column length 50 or 60 meters in order to accurately determine the oil constituents according to their certification process. This is not the only method that will be used due to the fact that creative chemical engineers can sneak synthetic ingredients into oils that GC equipment alone cannot pick up. However, using other methods, we will be able to determine whether or not an oil has been adulterated.
First let me say if you are using terms like “first pressing” then you’ve really got some catching up to do on your essential oil education. Most all essential oils are steam distilled, in fact this is inherent to the very definition of an essential oil. The only oils that are considered to fall under the definition of the term “essential oil” and are not produced by steam distillation are the citrus oils, which are cold pressed from the citrus peel (and if its done properly there would not be any oil left in the peel for a second pressing LOL). So when one refers to the so called “first pressed” essential oils they do not even portray an accurate method of production of almost every essential oil out there, since almost every oil is produced by distillation, not by pressing. Please avoid this “pressing” terminology unless you want to just sound like a complete novice to the field. When the pressed method is applicable, in the industry we use the terms COLD PRESSED or EXPRESSED to describe the production of citrus oils (some citrus are also distilled but that’s another issue). So this brings us to the whole issue of the claimed “multiple distillations” of the same plant material. Consider this quote from a popular blog:

If you are seriously interested in diving into the world of essential oils, get trained. Start with a workshop in your local area taught by a trained aromatherapist. Whether you are using the oils purely for personal use or really want to get into the business of selling oils and sharing your knowledge, unbiased aromatherapy training from a certified aromatherapist and/or herbalist is invaluable.
I found this on pinterest so thanks for sharing! I personally love essential oils! I use Butterfly express oils and love them! I’ve been getting foot zones and using EOs. It has really helped! I really liked what the lady that does these explained to me about using Butterfly EOs. She said that the man who trained her to do foot zones used Younger Living oils at first and then started using Butterfly’s EOs because he felt they were more sincere in getting EOs out for all to use. I’m told that these EOs have different energies and I feel that this company truly wants all to experience all that they have to offer. I hope that this helps!
I have spent a lot of time on here debunking the myths put forth by glassy eyed cult followers and over zealous MLM reps and the main stream aromatherapy community loves it when I do this. But turnabout is fair play. Now its time to clear up a myth on the other side of aromatherapy. I see almost daily where people say things like “therapeutic grade” doesn’t exist or there is no such thing as a therapeutic grade standard. But to say there is no such thing as a TG standard is like saying there is no such thing as essential oils.
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The author of this book is the founder of Young Living (the Sead to Seal company I mentioned earlier). This is the book I use as my ‘go to’ source as to which Young Living Oils to use. GET TO KNOW THESE OILS, as they are the only ones safe for internal use on the market. Other companies will tell you their oils are safe to ingest. THEY ARE NOT. The only essential oil brand I can recommend for safe internal use with effective healing results is young living. If your 4 year old has leukemia one of the best things you can do for her is to give her 5ml of Ningxia Red per day in addition to essential oils on the feet and through a diffuser. There will be more info for you in the book as well as to where to start. If you would like more info please let me know. I would be happy to introduce you to young living. A woman in michigan named shannon hudson has leukemia and through the use of young living products her bloodwork is 100% NORMAL and I can for sure connect you with her or you can look her up on facebook. Shannon Hudson in Michigan…I am sending prayers and positive thoughts for you and your daughter Dave.
I've been a member of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) for a number of years. Upon renewing my membership several years ago, I spotted that their membership application/renewal form, at that time, prohibited membership to those companies that use these terms. It was that policy that lead me to then take a fresh look at the terms therapeutic grade and aromatherapy grade and realize how confusing these terms can be to consumers. Having said that, I have noticed that NAHA, under different leadership, no longer includes the statements on their applications that prohibit membership to companies that use these terms.
I tested grapefruit oil from Eden’s Garden, tea tree oil from Tea Tree Therapy, and vetiver oil from Nature’s Kiss brand (I think the tea tree oil I bought in a natural food store and the other brands from Amazon?), all on the same strip of yellow construction paper. After 20 minutes, there is a huge oily spot from the Nature’s Kiss oil (and looking at the label, I can see now it is embarrassingly low quality production as it looks sort of cheaply homemade- don’t recommend ever buying that brand if you see it). The Tea Tree Therapy spot is smaller and a little lighter, but still definitely an oily stain. The smallest, lightest one is the Eden’s Garden grapefruit spot, which I’m sort of glad about considering most of my oils are that brand, but I can still definitely see where it was dropped. I can’t really imagine an oil not leaving any spot behind at all, but if I ever find one that does, I would be very impressed.
Yes, of course ! Let's make something clear though - "Therapeutic Grade" and "Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" (CPTG) are creative marketing terms employed by some companies to create a certain perception in the minds of unsuspecting consumers. There is no independent autonomous organization that either defines 'Therapeutic Grade' or certifies an essential oil as ‘Therapeutic Grade’. We could very easily label our products as "Certified Ultra Therapeutic Grade", but that again begs the question as to what is the definition of 'Ultra' versus 'Regular' and who actually 'Certified' it ? We do not believe in employing creative marketing terms to attract customers and rather let our quality and integrity speak for itself. 

Just wanted to take a moment to thank you. I’ve found this article and others by you to be some of the most clear and truly informative I’ve come across! I’ve used essential oils at times during my almost 12 years as a massage therapist, but I’ve recently started to use them more to benefit the well-being of my family. I’ve been hearing a lot about neat and internal use lately, and I wanted to be sure I know how to use them safely. Thanks to your information, I now feel I know how to do so. So, again, thank you for providing such good information. I truly appreciate it! It’s refreshing to read about essential oils and not feel like I have to read between the lines or cut through loads of bias to get to the truth!


I hate to be harsh here but what an utter load of pure NONSENSE!!! First let me say that I live in Indiana, one of the largest mint producing states in the country. I have visited mint distilleries and farms on several occasions (you can see some photos of one of my visits in the album entitled “Mint Farm in Northern Indiana”). NOBODY STEAM DISTILLS THE SAME MINT LEAVES MORE THAN ONE TIME!! The plant is distilled for basically 2 hours and its done, no more oil is coming out so they shut the still down. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that the distiller, after watching his oil come over, seeing that his oil level is not growing, shuts the still down and then later thinks to himself “gee, I bet if I fire this still back up (wasting thousands in fuel and labor) we can get some more oil out of that spent mint leaf we distilled yesterday.” Where do people come up with this stuff!!?? Now the MINT OIL can, and often is (thank God), taken for some further redistilling and/or fractional vacuum redistilling that can take place to further improve the quality of the oil by removing nauseating components of the whole oil (just tiny amounts of very bad smelling components get removed in this process). But NOBODY distills the mint biomass a second or third time. This is generally true, not just for mint, but for essential oil distillations in general. When I tried to explain it to the person posting this rubbish she basically did not believe me because her “research” of talking to retailers of essential oils apparently was of higher credibility. If people would just use some common sense they could look at this kind of misinformation and come to the conclusion that none of it makes sense. From an energy standpoint, why would anyone plan to shut down their distilling process just to start it up again later? The amount of energy required to get massive amounts of water boiling and enough steam generating to liberate the oil from large vats of biomass is quite astonishing and costly. Why not just keep distilling and just start collecting the oil produced at the tail end of the distillation in a separate container, if you want to collect what you think might be a different quality at the end of the run than at the beginning (by the way this is done with Ylang Ylang oil which is why there are the different grades of extra, I, II, III and complete). But aside from ylang ylang most all essential oil distillations are collected in one combined lot. And the only time I have ever seen a distiller shut down his process and restart it later was because of mechanical problems, running out of fuel, or just getting too physically tired to continue (in the case of sandalwood for example the distillation can go on for more than 24 hours and oil is still in the wood). I hope that this post will finally do some damage to this myth that has been circulated for decades now and we can finally put it to bed. Please share this post with as many people as you can and firmly admonish anyone who continues to state that “my oils only come from the FIRST distillation.” Yeah right buddy, just like everybody else’s oil. LOL
I believe that the reason some (not necessarily all) E.O.’s are not ok to ingest is that some are extracted by means of chemicals as they are difficult to extract otherwise. You can find this out, or SHOULD be able to find this out via the source of your EO’s. Mountain Rose Herbs lists the extraction method and country of origin on each and every EO they sell. I like MRH as they are a local business here in Oregon and I like to support local business. They have also been wonderful about helping answer questions regarding their products, and are wonderful people as I have met them personally while picking up my orders. (NOT affiliated, just a huge fan!)
I have friends who have had great results using Young Living oils for anxiety and insomnia. I agree with you, too, something from nature rather than something from the lab is going to be actually healing rather than masking symptoms– I ONLY use Young Living. When I have anxiety, I often use a beautiful blend called Joy. It sort of depends on where the anxiety comes from though, so I use a variety of oils depending on what’s going on. Sandalwood is great for old fear and terror coming up– better out than in! For insomnia, lavender on the pillow, on the feet, diffussed; RutaVela is a blend of rue, valerian and lavender and is great great great. Peace and Calming, Stress Away… So many wonderful options. I am happy to help, contact me or use my Young Living #1112524.
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.
I do have issues with YL because they are not actually training their distributors in Aromatherapy, just their version. Having had a cousin die from ingesting Wintergreen when she was a toddler. Her mother had been responsible and placed the bottle in a very high cupboard but the older daughter helped her little sister climb up to get it. She was dead by the time her mum found her. By encouraging people to eat essential oils without the appropriate training to understand what oils are actually safe is irresponsible. Many essential oils which we consider to be GRAS are toxic if over-used as well as taken internally. For instance Eucalyptus, my understanding is that it wouldn’t take much when taken internally to kill you.

Hi there! I love your blog! I’m trying to find some information about using essential oils in homemade remineralizing toothpaste. My two year old uses this toothpaste and I’ve been adding the OraWellness Brushing Blend (a mix of several EOs in a base of sweet almond oil) to it. I was interested in also adding orange oil for flavor so I tried googling its safety for children. There’s so much conflicting advice about ingesting EOs and he does swallow the toothpaste almost every time. :/ Thoughts


Nat, I will back you on this. Young Living and DoTerra distributors are confidently spreading lots of false information on essential oils. I would trust Crunchy Betty’s information above over anything YL and DoTerra sellers say. A good friend of mine became entranced by YL a couple of years ago and is convinced that YL is the only company that sells “therapeutic” grade essential oils. As Nat says, do your research, read the best books you can find and caveat emptor.
I used the NOW brand along with many others that I picked up easily at my local health food store for years. I would use what you bought. I say this with caution though, because when using oil that has not undergone testing to prove its purity and that has been held to a high standard, you risk synthetic chemicals, fillers, and less potency. With so many companies out there using unethical practices to extend their oils it can be scary and even toxic to the user. This is why I have now switched to a new provider. I researched about 50 companies thoroughly and only found 3 that I would actually feel fully safe using for both me and my kids. I chose the one I felt like was the best for me and I have been so excited to see how much quicker and more effectively they do their work to help my families bodies in all kinds of situations. I still have some of my old oils like the NOW brand and I will use them until they are gone, but I have switched to not using them directly on my body, and instead just use them for when I am making homemade cleaning products. Examples would be my floor cleaner, my laundry, etc. Never use any NOW oils internally (it says so on the packaging) but if you’re not worried about extra toxins then using a small amount in a diffuser or on trouble areas is something I did with some positive results (though those results were not as pronounced or quick as the results I see now).
A pure, natural essential oil is an oil that is extracted from one species of plant from one specific geographical area.  The aroma profile for these oils will vary slightly from season to season and from geographical location to geographical location.  For example the lavender essential oil we sell at Moon Haven is a high altitude lavender grown and distilled in the mountains of France and we feel this is the best quality oil with the most appropriate and consistent scent profile of the plant Lavendula angustifolia.
I agree heather- I LOVE DoTERRA oils!!!  I use them every day and we have never been healthier!  We have never had a bad reaction to them on our skin, even our little kids, because they are PURE.  I used YL all growing up and always had reactions to them, but the DoTERRA are amazing.  I also love that you can take most of them internally!  I used Oregano to kill strep throat I got last spring!  Can’t say enough good about them.  I especially love how the company is so in to education and helping you keep yourself and your family healthy. 

Actually John, that isn’t entirely true. Unlike many products EOs are not required to list everything that is in them. Some grocery and drug store brands of EOs come already diluted only this isn’t mentioned on the bottle. You can unknowingly over dilute your EOs by adding additional carrier because you think the product you have gotten from the drugstore is pure.
Bergamot Essential Oil has a fresh and delightful citrus aroma with strong citrus notes and a hint of the exotic, and has been made popular by Earl Grey Tea. This refreshing essential oil is suited for aromatherapy and induces a more relaxed and happy feeling, while reducing oiliness of the skin. Widely used in the perfume industry, it is also used in cleansers and toners.
Aromatherapy is an ancient practice of natural healing and plant medicine that has been documented in human civilizations around the world for over 6,000 years. The use of prescribing aromatic plant extracts for massage, for bathing and for mental, emotional and spiritual imbalances has proven benefits through both practical and scientific evidence.
So just to be clear – there is no “therapeutic grade” for any essential oil that relates to AFNOR, the EC, or ISO, and there are no separate essential oil standards set by AFNOR or the EC. So we are left with one thing – YL conforms to ISO standards. Great, that’s a good thing, but it’s far from unique. I think I already said most of this in the article that these comments derive from.
However, a small variation in price differences on the higher end will NOT mean a better essential oil. It will just mean a higher price. (A little birdie also told me that there are also only a handful of essential oil distilleries in the world, which means that most essential oils come from the exact same places – thus there is little difference in quality between the more “typically priced” EOs.) What I’m saying here is: Understand that you DO have to pay for quality, but that if you’re just using essential oils in non-therapeutic fashions, it’s okay to use less expensive oils (like the Beeyoutiful ones pictured at the top of this post, or NOW brand essential oils). But if you want high quality, I suggest using an ethical supplier that offers organic essential oils (grown without pesticides or toxic fertilizers).

Hi Clint, the Aura Cacia oregano oil is not solvent extracted. In fact, no essential oils are extracted with solvents. Only absolutes like Jasmine and Rose are solvent extracted, and absolutes are not essential oils. Oregano oil is safe to ingest, so long as you take care to avoid mucous membrane irritation by only taking it in capsules that also contain a vegetable oil.
Good question. I wonder what the moisture content of the estimated weights are (HUGE difference as water makes up the majority of a plants’ weight). Nevertheless, I would guess that the environmental impact is minimal to none as most of these plants are numerous compared to harvesting other plants such as hardwoods, rain forest plants, and even corn. Take lavender for example, if it takes 100 lbs to extract 1 lb, that is barely nothing when you consider that lavender grows wild and is abundant. One acre of lavender would probably produce over a ton of plant parts in one mowing for oil extraction (I am guessing based on my experience with a variety of different plant “harvesting”). And it grows fast. To compare weight, imagine mowing a one acre field of mixed weeds 3 ft tall down to 6 inches, you would have a few thousand pounds of plants that would quickly and naturally grow back in a couple weeks. The rose petals are at the extreme ratio but are expensive and used far less than the common oils.
With a fresh zesty scent of citrus and fruity top notes, Grapefruit Essential Oil is popular when scenting facial cleansers and toners. Grapefruit Essential Oil is used in aromatherapy to bring about a cheerful feeling. There is no difference between the quality of the White and Pink varieties, but the Grapefruit Pink Essential Oil is generally considered the sweeter of the two oils. Grapefruit oil is also sometimes added to creams and lotions as a natural toner.
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