What is an Essential Oil?

At our shows and through emails we've had many people ask just what are essential oils and how do you use them?  In this article we'll explore:

What is an Essential Oil?

According to Webster’s online dictionary

“any of a class of volatile oils that give plants their characteristic odors and are used especially in perfumes and flavorings, and for aromatherapy”

To get these oils a large quantity of plant parts is used, these parts include stems, leaves, flowers and sap.

Who sells Essential Oils?

There are lots of places to get essential oils but how do you know they are real.  There are no guidelines by the FDA for “Organic,” Therapeutic Grade or any such marketing words used to tug at your heart strings.

The main reason I will not buy essential oils from any of the MLM (Multi-Level Marketing: ie, Amway, Avon, Herbalife, Pampered Chef, etc.) 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”

In addition, two of the largest MLM (Young Living and doTERRA) have their own “certification” process of what is organic not the FDA.

According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences:

Did you know doTERRA has created its own certification system for its essential oils? Why does it matter? Well, they have managed to trademark the term "CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®." So, not only can no other company or aromatherapy professional use this term, it actually confuses the industry-accepted terminology for how essential oils are evaluated, labeled, and marketed. Are we to assume that "CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®" essential oils are superior to organic, sustainable sourced essential oils produced and distributed by boutique distilleries or oils that come with an independent lab report showing the constituent profile and pesticide level if any, or even oils that have nationally and internationally accepted certification such as USDA Organic or NOP Organic?

According to the FDA: According to the FDA, these violations stemmed from Young Living’s claims of curing and treating diseases with the usage of Young Living Essential Oil aromatherapy products, causing the products to be deemed unapproved drugs by the FDA. The Warning Letter may be found here.

In particular, Young Living failed to follow FDA guidance and regulations applicable to cosmetic products, and instead labeled their products for conditions that caused the products to be deemed drugs by the Agency. Thus, it is important for marketers and sellers of aromatherapy and essential oil products to understand and comply with FDA regulations.

As the aromatherapy and essential oil industry has recently seen a rapid increase in popularity, we expect to see more attention to and FDA enforcement in this area. Compliant labeling of products will help to ensure the successful marketing and sale of the aromatherapy and essential oil products.

What makes our Essential Oils different? 

We purchase directly from an essential oil wholesaler who in turn purchases directly from the Organic Farms.  Because there is no such thing as “organic” essential oils, MLM companies can claim their oils are “organic” or “therapeutic grade.”

Our wholesaler purchases from Certified Organic Farms. What does this mean?

Organic Certification allows a farm or processing facility to sell, label, and represent their products as organic. The organic brand provides consumers with more choices in the marketplace. The USDA protects consumer options by protecting the organic seal.”

Our wholesaler purchases from smaller, family run farms to get the best price for their products.  We in-turn purchase directly from the wholesaler.  That means the best prices for YOU, with no other mark-ups, hidden fees or MLM practices.

How do we get the essential oils?

There are our major different ways to extract essential oils.

CO2, expression, solvent, steam-distilled

For our essential oils, we only use steam-distilled.  This is an excellent article on how essential oils are extracted: Exploring Aromatherapy.

“While CO2 is the new method: there are three main disadvantages for this process are cost, potential pesticide residue, and the lack of information regarding their safety and therapeutic benefits. With regard to pesticide residue, Guba comments that “carbon dioxide extraction has been demonstrated to concentrate from 7 to 53 times more pesticide residues in the final extract.” Therefore, it seems pertinent to only use organic plant material for CO2 extraction.”

We only purchase essential oils from USA, FDA and EU certified sources.  We never purchase from China as they are known to use Hexane (a petroleum based solvent) to extract essential oils.  In addition, the BBC article Report: One fifth of China's soil is contaminated shows just WHY the growing process must be organic.

In our next article, we will explore the different essential oils and how to use them in your daily life.

J&J Farm