This post is the second in a weekly, multi-part series on Using Essential Oils. Last week we discussed Basic Essential Oils for Daily Living – how to get started using essential oils in your daily life. Here we will explore considerations to help you choose high quality essential oils. What should you look for? How can you guarantee an essential oil is pure? What does that even mean? What about cost? We invite you to learn how to choose an essential oil here and then join us weekly for additional articles on topics ranging from essential oil safety, using essential oils in herbalism, and carrier oils.
What I truly want is to be able to wisely and knowledgably use essential oils for myself and family, believing they are a quality that would benefit our bodies. I understand that there are no offical “therapeutic” standards for essential oils, but is there a solid list of “must have” qualifications that I can look for in a brand and feel comfortable using them–even if they may not be the “best” on the market? Like other nutritional supplements, I may not always be able to afford the “best”–but I do want to use products that are trustworthy, safe and effective.
It is important that people research the oils they are using – as not all EO’s are created equally and MANY on the market can be harmful when used improperly. Industry standards are very lax and an EO is only required to have a minimum of 2% essential oil in the bottle to be classified as pure – the rest can be synthetics or fillers. I chose Young Living Essential Oils because I know – without a doubt that from the minute the seed is planted to the minute it goes into the bottle – proper care and precision has been taken to ensure only the highest quality oil on the market. Young Living is the ONLY company in the world who has taken it one step further by having our own farms, doing our own harvesting, cultivating, distilling, testing and bottling of our products as well.
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.
Ordered several from this company. The oils have hardly any smell at all. And are very watery, you try to get out a drop or two and the "oil" just pours out. I should've known by the price that these would be cheap but the reviews were mostly good so I took a chance. Now I regret it. You get what you pay for. Don't bother with these. And the shipping is extremely slow.
Jane Buckle comments “the use of essential oils in pregnancy is a contentious subject, especially during the vital first 3-month period. It is extremely unlikely that a nightly bath containing a few drops of essential oils will cause any problems for the unborn child” and later states “there are no records of abnormal fetuses or aborted fetuses due to the ‘normal’ use of essential oils, either by inhalation or topical application.”11
If it is possible for you to give me any of the documented information from which you have been speaking, or direct me to those sources, I would be grateful. I do not doubt what you are telling me, but I’m sure you would agree that telling others “Robert Tisserand says…” may not be as convincing as “Robert Tisserand provided this documented evidence that says…”
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.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, international standard standing organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland that promotes the development of standards in the areas of intellectual, scientific, technological and commercial activity. For essential oils, ISO provides guidelines for packaging, conditioning, storage, labeling, sampling, testing and quality standards for individual essential oils.
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!

So if you are among those in the denial crowd please rethink your position about TG. You may not like the promotion of TG but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I think a better response instead of just saying “there’s no such thing” would be to say that “while many companies promote their own therapeutic grade standard, one should be aware that there is no independent body that certifies essential oils as therapeutic grade.” That is a fair statement that makes you look like a rational, logical and thoughtful human being instead of knee-jerk MLM hater. If you want a make a difference to people who are being fed a bunch a garbage by a narcissistic EO messiah then you must remain as objective, scientific and as non-emotional as possible. If you come off antagonistic it will be a barrier to productive dialog. I hope my friends in the traditional aromatherapy communities don’t take offense at this and look at it as just some friendly advice. I am not taking any sides here, the only side I am on is the side of truth. Read Dr. Pappas responses to the comments on this myth here.
Are they an eco-conscious company? One of the reasons I choose the essential oil (and herb) company that I use for my personal and business needs, is because of their sustainable practices. I am very passionate about being eco-friendly and when a business goes to such lengths to be a zero waste company as well as put time and money into other eco-conscious projects, I really have to take notice.
I am all new to this, so don’t judge to hard. I am wondering if ESSENTIAL OILS HELP WITH PAIN/SORENESS? For example, getting leg cramps in the middle of the night where it wakes you up from a dead sleep and all you can think of doing is walking it off and then the aftermath soreness is still there gets quite aggravating after about the first two times. Being a semi non believer in pills, I’m looking for alternatives. Would essential oils be something that would help in this particular situation? If so, any recommendations? THANKS IN ADVANCE!
I would highly recommend that anyone who is interested in essential oil toxicity to read this article regarding safety, including ingestion or neat application. I found it to be very helpful. It is a comprehensive article that was also published in an aromatherapy journal. Ron Guba, the author, is a well known Australian aromatherapist. http://www.agoraindex.org/Frag_Dem/toxicitymyths.html
Purity is a major issue when using essential oils, particularly if you are using them therapeutically, internally or topically.  The most important issue is to know your company.  What type of testing do they do?  Do they test all batches?  Are the oils grown indiginously?  How are they harvested?  If your oil company cannot answer these questions to your satisfaction, then use another company.  In my opinion, there are a few companies that have consistently high quality oils.  Good luck!
If you dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil to do the “patch test” to see if you are sensitive to the essential oil, and you get a reaction, you could be reacting to the carrier oil. Whatever essential oils you use, you should follow the information that comes with it. If it doesn’t come with any guidelines on the label, I would not use it at all. Some are safe to ingest, some are not. Some need to be diluted, some do not (except on babies and small children, when you should dilute).
“from what I’ve read” – Just remember that everyone has an agenda – Even the person who wrote what you read. Young Living at least has something to show for what they charge. They own farms around the world, grow everything organically, pay people to hand weed the crops before harvest so they don’t have to use weed killers… they have and operate their own distilleries and labs and have giant warehouses with lots of employees. And yet a bottle of lemon oil still only costs $11. There are groups of people in the Aromatherapy world who dislike Young Living because they follow the French model of aromatherapy and the other groups follow the English and German models. The camps dislike each other and there is so much negativity. The French have shown that if the oil is pure you can ingest it with no problems. The other models have studies and histories of oils harming people but their oils came from the perfume industry and were polluted with synthetics. Most Aromatherapists don’t even know about the different models and are taught from a one-sided view and have a “we are right” attitude and turn their noses up at Young Living because it is MLM. Yet Young Living actually is a wholesale membership club a lot like Sams or Costco. Only 5% of it’s members actually run it like a MLM. Most just join and buy their own oils.
Not all essential oils are created equally, nor does more expensive necessarily mean “better.” There are certain brands I will use in a less therapeutic fashion (like for cleaning), because they’re far less expensive than their counterparts. When you see a wide fluctuation in price between, say, lavender essential oils, you can bet that the far less expensive one is likely lower in quality.
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.
There are at least 30 + single plant essential oils that can be applied neat ( straight or undiluted) a far cry from a few. Most of the rest only need approx 1 to 1 dilution. Again the same goes for undiluted oils for babies and children. Now naturally their skin is more sensitive so you need to be more watchful and careful and possibly only place these oils on a babies feet and use a 1/4 to 1/2 drop of the oil instead of the full dose.
Yes you can mix Tea Tree and Rosemary EOS (essential oils). And while using less expensive brands for cleaning might make sense to some,they will not disinfectant the way pure oils will. I would only use a proven pure EO on my body internally and externally. Anything you put on your skin goes into your body in 26 seconds. Young Living owns their own farms, everything is beyond organic, they distill in their own distilleries which are open along with the farms world wide for any member to visit and learn from. The oils are 3rd party tested. By law an EO manufacturer can put 100% pure on their bottles and only have 5% pure EO, they don’t have to say what the other 95% is. My recommendation… Do your homework!
PRODUCT WARRANTY. Company hereby represents and warrants (the “Limited Warranty”) that the Products shall conform to their applicable food label, and be fit for human consumption for the applicable shelf lift for each particular Product (as applicable, the “Warranty Period”).  COMPANY HEREBY DISCLAIMS ALL OTHER WARRANTIES REGARDING THE PRODUCTS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR NONINFRINGEMENT.
I have heard not to use essential oil peppermint around certain ages. That it can interfere with specific ages and their breathing. So if I made an Essential Oil peppermint lotion would I not be able to wear it outside the home incase I came into contact with a person who shouldn’t be exposed to peppermint essential oil OR is this just meant not to diffuse around a child under a certain age. I was on a website that was given the ages of people who shouldn’t be exposed to specific essential oils. I believe peppermint essential oil was one. Others were pointed out as well. So is it ok to wear the diluted essential oil on your skin if that specific essential oil is not recommended for little children? Or are they speaking of diffusing only?
Smell plays a big role in how essential oils may affect the body: When breathed in, these plant oils stimulate smell receptors in the nose that send chemical messages through nerves to the brain's limbic system, which affects moods and emotions, and may have some physiological effects on the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). (When used on the skin, the oils are absorbed into the bloodstream.)

"Essential oils are incredibly concentrated and should always be used exactly as recommended," said Elizabeth Bloom, homeopath and founder of Elizabeth Essentials. "They are far more potent than dried herbs - approximately 75 to 100 times more concentrated. A large volume of plant material is needed to produce small amounts of a distilled oil - 220 pounds of lavender flowers, for example, is required to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil."


“Aromatherapy grade” and “fragrance grade” means it not 100 percent pure essential oil, but has had other oils added, such as carrier oils and/or synthetic components of the natural oil. “To be considered a therapeutic oil, it must be completely free of any and all chemicals as well as slowly and carefully extracted via methods that keep the original compounds in its natural state,” says Dr. Axe. These healing scents will help you feel better.
Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. I still feel a bit muddled about the subject, and still don’t feel that I have confident, validated proof to stand up to my YL friends and acquaintances, but maybe things will become more clear if I am able to study things out more for myself. There are so many differing opinions out there about how to use essential oils–would be nice to just have some straight, hard facts.
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”!
Essential oils are all the rage. You know the ones I’m talking about. In fact, you’ve probably been invited to a product party where little vials with expensive price tags promise a wide range of health benefits. You’ve also heard the stories. Essential oils cure warts and ear infections. They soothe rashes and bellyaches. They reduce fever and fight the common cold. Virtually any ailment you suffer has a corresponding dose of liquid magic.

An essential oil does not have to be adulterated to be inferior. Plant quality, climate, location, growing conditions, harvest, and production technique have a lot to do with quality. Of course, environmental conditions directly affect the percentages of each component of the essential oil. Botanical variety and Chemotype identification also play a part in quality determination. Like organic, ‘wild crafted’ is another overused term. Many imported essential oils come from non-plantation sources.


There are several variables when growing plants for essential oils—weather, altitude, the time of year the plant was harvested, and even the time of day the plant was harvested. However, Dr. Burke says the processing of the oil is at least, if not more, important than growing the plant. There are specific processing procedures, depending on the species of plant. Steam distillation is the most common for extracting essential oils. “The expression method (or cold-pressing) is used to extract oils from citrus fruits because the heat from steam distillation damages the citrus oils,” explains Dr. Axe. A newer method growing in popularity is the carbon dioxide extraction, which uses carbon dioxide to carry the oil away from the plant. This method is used for oils such ginger, clover, turmeric, frankincense, and myrrh.


Hi. I’m hearing conflicting opinions regarding using lavender oil on my children. I have a 10 yr. old son & 7 yr. old daughter. I love to use the lavender with peppermint & lemon for my son’s allergies. I will also rub some on his temples for a headache. I will also apply to my daughter’s temples for a headache or put a couple drops in her bath. Is this OK? I’ve heard especially in boys that you should not use lavender because it has estrogen in it.
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.’
Don't stress: Relaxation is only a whiff away. While there are plenty of science-backed scents for finding calm (rose, sandalwood, lavender, frankincense, and orange among them), Avery points out that in the end, you do you: "Any aroma that speaks to you and brings about a sense of calm and relaxation can be beneficial." Our favorite trick for alleviating tension in 30 seconds flat? Massage an oil blend with calming scents into your temples, which are pressure points.
"Essential oils, like supplements, are not regulated by the FDA, so it's very, very important to do your research before purchasing essential oils, and have confidence in the purity of your product," said Lauren Dunaway, registered dietitian, owner of Essential Simplicity and distributor of Young Living essential oils. "Make sure that the company you purchase essential oils from has a commitment to quality and purity, from the fields in which they plant their seeds to how they distill the oils."
Only pesticide residues that are hydrophilic, thermostable, and volatile can be carried over into an essential oil during distillation. Few pesticides possess these characteristics, so pesticide levels found in distilled oils are typically insignificant. In one large database, out of 73,541 analytical results on distilled essential oils, only 0.55% had positive results for pesticide detection.

^ Forster, P; et al. (2007). "Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing" (PDF). In Solomon, S; et al. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-07-24.

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