The quality of essential oils has a decisive influence on the efficacy of aromatherapy. If it is only to be used as a perfume, it is not necessary to be too strict, but the quality of the essential oil is still important if you want to get a good quality perfume.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to adulterate essential oils, synthesize them artificially or reconstitute them using plant extracts.
These types of oils may still be suitable for the perfume industry, but for aromatherapists or others who want to use essential oils to promote health, it is very important to be sure that the oils you are using are naturally pure.
The safest way to do this is to buy from an honest and responsible merchant. They must know exactly where the essential oils in their store come from, whether they are imported directly or through an importer with a good reputation who can offer a guarantee.
Alternatively, you can ask the merchant or importer to send a sample of their essential oils to a laboratory to be analyzed by gas chromatography to determine the purity of the oils.
The essential oil will not change after distillation. If the essential oil contains a small number of chemical contaminants, this may be because the plant was sprayed with artificial pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers when it was growing.
The most effective way to prevent this is to buy essential oils made from wild or organically cultivated plants. Fortunately, more and more farmers, importers, and suppliers are realizing the importance of this and are willing to provide natural, guaranteed essential oils.
There is another problem: the botanical name of the essential oil. The scientific names of plants that are very closely related are also very similar, and the common names used in different countries or regions make these names even more confusing.
When shopping for essential oils it is very important to make sure you don’t buy the wrong one, and the safest way to do this is to remember the Latin name of the plant.
You can tell from the scientific name that Spanish marjoram is a type of thyme; Moroccan chamomile is not chamomile at all, but only has similar properties; calendula refers to two types of calendula British calendula (Calendula officinalis) can treat skin diseases, while French and African calendula (several different kinds of marigold) have completely different qualities and scents.
Worse still: some producers and exporters of essential oils may sell diluted oils adulterated with other ingredients in order to make a profit.
It is also important to know from which part of the plant the essential oil is extracted.
Because the active ingredients and properties of each part of the plant are different, the safety and efficacy of essential oils extracted from different parts of the plant are different. For example, juniper essential oil extracted from the fruit is of better quality, while that extracted from the branches is of poorer quality.
Even if the essential oil is truly natural, it does not mean that the quality and efficacy is good. If the essential oil sells for much less than we would expect, this may be the product of distilling a particular piece of plant tissue for the third or fourth time.
Generally, the first or second distillate is more concentrated, and some of the more volatile substances are completely removed even during the first extraction, making the quality much worse the second time around, let alone the third or fourth.
The safest way to buy essential oils is from someone who can provide you with this information: the region or country where the oil is produced, the scientific name of the plant, the part of the plant used to extract the oil, the method of extraction, and whether wild or organically grown plants are used.
The supplier must also be familiar with the process of producing and marketing essential oils, which means that they must know exactly who is responsible for each step of the process, from production to distribution, to ensure that no fraud occurs in between.
Some suppliers also give their customers special guarantees regarding this information. They will have a laboratory test (gas chromatography) the composition and purity of the oils, or they will only buy from exporters or farmers who have done these tests.
They are also usually more knowledgeable about how to store and store essential oils and do not leave them too long, making it easy to buy quality oils.
If you are buying from a retailer or are unable to ask the supplier questions, you will have to read the label on the oil yourself (botanical name, extraction site, region of origin, wild or organic cultivar, etc.).
Ask several suppliers about the price of the same essential oil so that we have an estimate of the value of the oil, and never buy an oil that is particularly cheap.
The best quality oils will be more expensive than those that offer no guarantee at all, but remember: we must be responsible for our patients, and with only a few drops of essential oil at a time, the investment is worth it in the long run. As an aromatherapist, we must know exactly what essential oils we are using.