I am most likely going to piss off some people with this post, but the information that I found was too good to keep to myself and keep you guys in the dark. As always, you should do your own research and question everything (even me!!).
I ALMOST fell for the ploy. I got really excited, because I felt like I was about to embark on a journey into the world of “top quality essential oils”. I thought that the lines I was being fed about these oils being “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” (or “CPTG”), “100% pure therapeutic grade”, and “therapeutic quality” meant that these essential oils HAD TO BE THE BEST. I was about to find out that all of these descriptions meant nothing in the eyes of the FDA and the aromatherapy world; they were just that, descriptions.
In my ever growing quest to find the healthiest options in my life, I began to wonder what about my essential oils? It’s true that with the help of essential oils (and a healthy GMO-free diet), my family haven’t actually been sick in about a year and a half. That is a LONG time!!!! Before essential oils entered the picture, I was constantly fighting off sinus infections, colds, the flu….you name it, and I was possibly experiencing it. Essential oils have become my go-to every time I have had something come up; from cleaning, to medical, to emotional, each time I have found success in my quest to keep my family healthy. Only now, am I asking, “What about my essential oils?”
What is in a smell?
You may be asking yourself, “so, which brand would you recommend I buy, Christina?” and that would be the same question that I was asking myself. With all of these brands telling me that theirs was the best, I wasn’t sure which brand to pick. I had been using Now Foods essential oils and Aura Casia for quite awhile and was seeing success with these brands. I was curious though, if these more affordable essential oils are working so well, how much better would the “high-end therapeutic grade” essential oils perform?
I decided that it was time that I upgrade my essential oils, and signed up to sell doTERRA essential oils. I didn’t really plan on selling essential oils to many people, as I was just looking to get the 25% off discount that you get for being an “Independent Product Consultant” or “IPC” as they call them. When the introductory 3-pack of essential oils (lavender, peppermint, and lemon) came in, I was really excited to smell the difference! The first one that I opened was the peppermint essential oil and I was shocked at what a candy like smell it had. It smelled so deliciously sweet that I was blown away because all of the other peppermint essential oils that I owned smelled of the herbaceous earthy peppermint that you find in the garden; doTERRA’s peppermint essential oils smelled like the finest peppermint candy I had ever smelled. I assumed, that since these essential oils are 100% pure and “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, that the higher end brands had better smelling peppermint. This excited me, I could smell a difference! I had been afraid that I wouldn’t be able to smell the difference. The funny thing is, I thought that because the doTERRA essential oils smelled better AND are “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, that they were better…but I was only listening to the MARKETING.
Why I will NOT buy my oils from any of the MLM companies…
In my quest, I had gotten so excited that I forgot to look into what these companies were telling me about their products. It took my friend and mentor Jennifer@HybridRastaMama, to point me onto the path of discovery. She recommended I check out a series of posts that a blogger friend of hers had done on this exact topic, which essential oils would be best to purchase. The first of seven posts, is called “The Great Essential Oils Showdown ~ Which Essential Oils Company is Best? – Part 1″ and it is worth every second of reading!
I began to search deeper, trying to find out which essential oils were higher quality and which weren’t until I came across something that opened my eyes as to how I looked at these “high end” essential oils. (doTERRA will be my example, but Young Living is no better and is the example that doTERRA followed when they split off from them.)
The main reason I will not buy essential oils from any of the MLM companies is because they lead their customers to believe that when they say their product is “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, that means something of value in the essential oil and aromatherapy world. There were three shocking things that I learned to lead me to steer clear of these
- The first shocking thing that I learned is that there is no governing body that certifies essential oils.
- The second shocking thing that I learned is that there are no grades of essential oils based upon their quality. There is no grade A, B, C, nor is there an actual classification in the aromatherapy world for “therapeutic grade”. From The ‘Therapeutic Grade’ Essential Oils Disinformation Campaign:
A spokesperson for AFNOR confirmed to Cropwatch (March 2006) that they
(AFNOR) do not have a standard for therapeutic grade essential oils (and
neither do ISO) and so they do not differentiate between any ‘Grade A’ and
‘therapeutic grade essential oils’, as per YLEO claim. This situation wrt AFNOR
policy has not changed since 2006, at the present date of writing (Dec 2009).
Further, essential oils have never been classified in grades described as A, B, C
as suggested by YLEO, and would surely not find any customers for grades less than A grade, even if they did exist! In reality, essential oils used by aromatherapists include minor essential oils, oils of differing geographic origins and specific chemotypes not covered by AFNOR or ISO standards.
- The third and most shocking thing that I learned (this was most shocking because I really felt like I had been lied to when I found this) is that the words that these companies use such as “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, are TRADEMARKED PHRASES by their corresponding essential oil company. This means that the reason each of these companies claims that “no other company can say….”, it’s because their company has trademarked the words…from the doTERRA website:
CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products.
So which essential oils should I buy?
As you can see, the choice for the right essential oil brand can be very convoluted. There are so many brands on the market, it can be hard to sift through the duds to find the right ones. The key is taking a step back and listening to what the companies are saying. You should also make sure to read the labels, your essential oil label should say 100% pure and not “blend” or “with jajoba/almond” as that means they are already diluted and not just pure essential oil. According to The East-West School For Herbal and Aromatic Studies, some of the qualities that you want to look for in an essential oil supplier are:
- the supplier is on the small size and not a large corporation.
- the supplier is owned by an aromatherapy practitioner or essential oil specialist
- the supplier has relations with his/her distillers, if possible
- a supplier who can readily supply a batch-specific MS/GC spec report on each essential oil it sells
- a supplier who is readily able to provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) as needed
- a supplier who has a strong unquestioned noncontroversial reputation in the field
- a supplier who has preferably been in the field for a number of years and is well known to other aromatherapy practitioners and/or educators
The brands that I have used are:
- Now Foods – great price, decent essential oils, especially for cleaning house and scenting your room.
- Aura Casia – great prices and said to have exceptional quality chemistry.
- Mountain Rose Herbs – All organic & pesticide-free, wild-crafted (if available), a wonderful company with great smelling essential oils, for really decent prices.
- Native American Naturals – super fragrant essential oils and are said to be some of the finest quality essential oils out there. The owner of the company makes sure that all of the plants are harvested from their native region, where he feels they give the best plant essence.
- doTERRA – They have a lovely and fragrant smell but the price is much higher than the rest of the companies. They boast that more of their oils are able to be used internally, but in my aromatherapy certification studies, I have learned you should be very careful about the essential oils that you are ingesting, as they are VERY POTENT. One drop of essential oil is equivalent to drinking 75 cups of tea of the same herb.
- 365 Brand (Whole Foods Market) – I have used the lavender from 365 and I find it has a lovely smell and is in a very decent price range. I have used this neat on bug bites and burns and it performed wonderfully.
Take all of the information that I give you, and go searching for yourself. Test out all of the brands that you come across, and ask as many questions as you can. The only way to find the truth, is to start asking questions.
Essential Profiles – A summer of essential oil profiles to teach you aromatherapy 101
This is the first post to kick off my summer of aromatherapy! I know that a lot of you are beginners and want to learn more about what each essential oil can do, so I will be profiling one essential oil a week to give you guys a more in depth look at using essential oils in your lives! Next week we will start off with Lavender, the most basic of the first oils to attain for your home!
Which essential oils have you been curious about?
Check out my other posts for my Summer Aromatherapy 101 Series: