Four Key Points
To Keep In Mind
When Purchasing
An Essential Oil

If you are just beginning to delve into the healing practice of aromatherapy, a primary concern is locating a trustworthy source for essential oil.  What do we look for in determining the quality of an essential oil?  Begin by assuming the responsibility to research the product and be able to answer four key questions before spending a dime on any essential oil.  

First, it is important that the essential oil that you are considering for purchase be described by its botanical name.  Of course, the common name for the oil is most likely also noted, but the true, botanical name points to the botanical source of the oil.  If the seller does not include a botanical name, you can’t be sure that what you’re purchasing is suitable for therapeutic use.

Consider Lavender Essential oil to illustrate the importance of the botanical name when choosing to purchase an oil.  If a product is simply labeled ‘Lavender Essential Oil’ drop it from consideration because you really don’t know what’s in that bottle.  Lavender essential oil should be further described by its genus (Lavandula) and followed by a word that defines it species.  Lavandula angustifolia or L. angustifolia  is ‘True Lavender’.   Lavandula latifolia or L. latifolia is ‘Spike Lavender’.  In addition to these two species, there are other Lavandula genus, essential oils on the market.  One species isn’t necessarily better than the other, it all depends on the therapeutic use that you have in mind.

Whereas many essential oils are produced from the entire plant, there are a number of essential oils which are extracted from a specific part of the plant.  In your initial research of any specific oil in regards to a particular therapeutic use, a good aromatherapeutic resource book will state which part of the plant is used in the extraction process.  For this reason, the second point of information that should be readily available to the essential oil consumer is the part of the plant used for that particular oil.

Next, the country of origin should be noted.  Eucalyptus from Australia has a slightly different therapeutic potential than a Eucalyptus sourced from South Africa.  Refer to your aromatherapy resource book beforehand and know the differences between the various species of a single genus and the aromatherapeutic properties attributed to each species.  If your intention is simply general use, it remains critical that the country of origin is established by the seller, as it is an indicator regarding the quality of the product.  

Look for information regarding the method of extraction utilized to capture the essential oil.  Steam distillation and solvent extraction are the two most utilized methods, but there exists a number of ways to extract oils.  The specific process used should be part of the product description or labeling for the essential oil.  

Finally, don’t be fooled by a distributor just because the words ‘essential oil’ are on the bottle.  Be certain that the essential oil hasn’t been modified or diluted with an additional carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond oil.  In addition, there are products out there being sold as essential oils, but are actually synthetic oils or simply fragrance oils.  

For the professional aromatherapist, additional details such as expiry date, batch number and the strength of the essential oil also matter, as they are dispensing oils to patients in a clinical setting.  If the company you are considering making a purchase from includes these variables, along with the four key points, you can rest assured that the product you’re considering is a pure, high quality essential oil intended for therapeutic usage.

Bridget Geegan Blanton’s writing career as a newspaper columnist, a web-site contributor, content writer and French language translator has found new expression as a novelist.  ‘Whispers on the Wind’, Bridget’s debut novel was the first installment in the Celtic Heart Historical Fiction Series that continues with ‘A Woman’s Equal Share’.  The soul-awakening tenets of celtic wisdom embody the spiritual ideal upon which this inspirational series has been crafted. Learn more about the novels and enrich your day spiritually by way of articles and motivational videos at Bridget’s web-site:  

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