I asked on Facebook this week what you all would like to learn about essential oils and Nichole answered my query with three questions!! I love that and I intend to answer each one separately. First we’ll start with essential oil brands and why not all essential oils are created equal.
That there are more options than just one or two companies and what to get and keep on hand for basic medical purposes. Also, do we really need special carrier oils sold by the specific companies or can we use ones from the grocery store.
My Essential Oils Background
When I was growing up my mom always kept a few oils in the house. I don’t remember where we got them, or if we ever used them internally or for food, but I do remember them working and making things smell good. When I started researching oils on my own a little over a year ago I found so much information online and from friends and it was all rather overwhelming. So, I want to very simply state how and why I chose the oils I did.
Why Are Some Brands of Essential Oils Considered Better than Others?
If you do any kind of research online you’ll come up with so much info on essential oil brands, independent consultants arguing over whose brand is better, etc and before long you’ll be as confused as I was! That’s why I’m compiling some of the info that helped me make up my mind to buy and use only one brand of essential oils.
Understanding Grades of Essential Oils
If you’ve been in a health food store, or ordered from some place like Mountain Rose Herbs, you’ve probably seen essential oils in little bottles. In fact, you may have even seen them sold in craft stores for flavorings or scents. This last set of oils should never be used internally or for medicinal purposes. In fact, there are three main grades of essential oils.
Synthetic – These oils may contain some real plant oils, but they’re mostly a man-made smell-alike used in fragrances, candles, detergents and room fresheners. Most of these make me sneeze and give me a headache immediately. I stay far away from scented products because of these!
Food – These oils are labeled as safe for food according to the GRAS (Generally Recognizes As Safe) Standard. You’ll find these ‘flavorings’ also known as extracts, in the baking aisle. If the bottle says ‘extract’ on it, there should be some real oils in there, but that doesn’t mean they’re pure or that they haven’t been diluted or mixed with synthetic oils.
Therapeutic – When most people think of essential oils, these are the grade they’re thinking of. Therapeutic grade oils are used in massages and aromatherapy. They are generally a better quality oil, though there is no standard of purity or quality a company must confirm to to label their oils as therapeutic grade. Most of your more well known oil companies fall into this category. And some of them are really good oils! But, that doesn’t mean they all are, or that the tea tree oil you get from company A is going to be the same as the oil from companies B and C.
Where Do Essential Oils Come From?
Well, plants of course. But, where are those plants grown? How does a company source the plants used to make its oils?
Most companies, to save money and regulate the growing conditions, grow their plants near their processing plants, or at least in the same country. The company I order from does this differently and I absolutely love this about them! Each oil you purchase is made from plants grown in the plant’s indigenous area. Why? Lavender grown in Mexico is different from lavender grown in France. The soil conditions, the weather, the hours of sunlight all differ, meaning the nutrients in the resulting plant will differ also. My company firmly believes in sourcing plants where they grow naturally, even establishing communities in those areas to grow plants according to the company’s strict standards if need be, thus providing jobs for people all over the world.
How Are Essential Oils Derived?
This can get really technical so I’m going to link you to this handy article on the methods essential oil making.
Which Essential Oil Brand is Best?
That I can’t answer. I don’t have the knowledge or the equipment to test oils. I think you have to do your own research, decide how you want to use them, if you want to resell them or sell things made from them, etc. What is your end goal?
Why I Chose this Brand of Essential Oils
For me, the choice was difficult at first. I began with a whole collection of oils I found on Amazon.com and while I knew better than to take them internally, I did use them in my diffuser and to make some lip balm. I liked them ok, but as I continued studying I knew I wanted something I could use medicinally and to flavor foods. So, I began reading online, talking to friends who sold oils, talking to people who used oils, etc.
Finally it came down to two brands. I liked them both. Most of my friends sold one brand, but I kinda felt a weird vibe surrounding the brand itself and I didn’t like the way they openly bashed the other brand I was considering. To me, that was unprofessional.
I finally met with a rep and talked with her for hours about the business side of the company I was leaning towards because I felt like I wanted to know how that worked, even if I was only going to use the oils personally and never sell them. After talking to her (and being very impressed) I did even more research online and everything I found on the brand’s family of sites was professional, clinical and precise. The tools provided, education available, and the upstanding business practices by their distributors set my mind at ease. I bought my first oils as a kit, which waived my wholesale enrollment fee, and I eagerly awaited my shipment.
And guess what? I was majorly impressed. I’d thought the cheap oils I bought online smelled good, but I was in for a grand surprise when I got my therapeutic grade oils. They were much stronger and smelled so much better! I use about 1/4 the amount of them in my diffuser as I did the cheap oils because they’re that much better! The same goes for my skin and hair care products.
A few months after using, enjoying, and confirming these oils worked for me and my family, I signed up to sell oils. I continue to learn daily about the benefits of oils and I’m constantly amazed at what a difference they’ve made in my life. Even my kids know to ask for the oils when they’re feeling stuffy or they’ve been bitten by an insect.
Want to learn more about essential oils?
If you’re looking for uses for essential oils, you’ll enjoy my articles and recipes that use essential oils.