Facts and Myths of Essential Oil Adulteration

by Evelyn Vincent
~theveryessenseblog

Adulterating and extending of essential oils to increase profits is common practice in the essential oil and aromatherapy industries, yet few consumers of these products are aware. While at first glance this may seem somewhat insignificant I can assure you that it means the difference between you knowing what you’re spending your money, being misled, and being unaware that the product you’re buying is likely adding toxic chemicals to your body, your families bodies, your pet(s), and to the environment.

If you’re the type of person who tries to live consciously, more Green, natural, and if you’re trying to stay healthy and reduce eventual diseases and health costs caused by toxins; this is very significant news you certainly do want to know.

In this economy, I don’t want to waste my money, I’m sure you don’t either. And I certainly do NOT want to be compromising the quality of my life or health. It only makes sense to buy and use the things that actually have benefit and contribute to staying healthy. Here’s what you need to know about aromatherapy and essential oils so your finances and health are not compromised…

Have you seen any of these printed on labels of essential oils?

  • “100% essential oil”
  • “Pure”
  • “Organic”
  • “Wild crafted”
  • “100% Pure”
  • “Genuine”

Do you know that any of those words is not a guarantee of true purity, that in fact you may believe you’re buying a high quality essential oil when in fact you are not?

The fact is, there are hundreds of ways the essential oil, even if it has an organic label, is adulterated and extended. Most people aren’t aware of this and honestly believe they are getting something that’s high quality.

Definition of Adulteration

To render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance, typically an inferior one: from Latin adulterated- ‘corrupted.’

Effects Adulteration has on an Essential Oil

When an essential oil is adulterated its naturally occurring constituents and synergistic components destroy the essential oils therapeutic benefits.

Organically raised plants are terrific and desired, but… just because the plant is grown and/or certified organic never means that once the plant has been harvested that it has not been adulterated. Thus, the words “organic” is absolutely worthless on an essential oil label. Who cares if it was grown organically if the essential oil was ruined in the distillation process, or just prior to being bottled. The term “organic” is meaningless.

During any point, after the plant is harvested, any number of human interventions that destroy the delicate beneficial molecules contained within an essential oil can and commonly do occur. Primarily because of the perfume and food industries. Both the perfume and food industries require consistency in ingredients; that consistency they require never happens in nature.

Things such as: the amount of rainfall, temperature, the time of day the plant was harvested, where and how the plant was grown, how long the harvested plant material sat in a truck in the blazing summer sun; all of these things have an impact on the essential oil, long before the plant material reaches the distillery. All of these things also have an effect on the smell and flavor of the plant that particular year. The food and perfume industries can’t have such a thing happening! So what do they do? They either add the chemical constituents that aren’t so high so that there is consistency, or they formulate in a lab (using chemicals) the ‘scent’ that a particular plant is known to and expected to possess.

At the Distillery

Once the harvested plant material arrives at the distillery other undesirable things can occur. Like,

  • Toxic chemicals can be used to extract the most essential oil possible out of the plant material
  • Extreme heat can be applied to extract the largest possible amount of essential oil from the plant material
  • Extreme pressure can be applied to extract the largest possible amount of essential oil from the plant material
  • Profits are maximized when the distiller extracts the greatest amount of essential oil using the least amount of time and energy

All of these severely degrade the quality and benefit of the essential oil. As a matter of fact, the quality is degraded so much that there is very little, if any, therapeutic benefit remaining. Sure, these oils may smell ok to the untrained nose; but the fact remains, they have most or all of their life-force energy and synergistic components stripped.

Adulteration at the Hand of the Distiller

Some distillers will actually add a chemical to their distilled essential oils, which also includes plants raised organically, so that when the essential oils are tested for purity the essential oil appears to be of a higher quality than it actually is. Higher quality essential oils are expensive, as such it’s common practice for chemicals to be added to make the essential oil appear better than it is; most companies do not have the proper equipment to analyze and test an essential oil brought in by a vendor to determine if it has been corrupted or not.

Most simply take the word of the vendor, or send the essential oil out for testing, such as Gas Chromatography (GS), Mass Spectroscopy (MS). Yet are unaware that these two tests fall way short and can easily be tricked, they are no guarantee of purity.

Do you see where this is going? Scary, isnt it!?

Every single inch of the way the essential oil is in different hands being handled differently. Even the farmer who has spent the season raising the plants organically can give no assurance that the product he intended to provide you with is in fact anywhere near organic… and we’re not even at the point yet where the essential oil is on the store shelf yet!

In the Hands of the Vendor

This can be, but isn’t necessarily, the next set of hands the essential oil falls into. The vendor, also wanting to make more profit can add chemicals to make the essential oil appear better than it is, or they can simply fudge the test GS and MS results. And once again, the aromatherapy company or other type of business who needs an essential oil can easily be tricked… oh, and they are, all the time.

This is where the value of what Young Living does makes a huge difference. First, they grow a lot of their own plants (organically); the distillers actually sit in the fields so the plant material is in the distillers within 30 minutes after being harvested. There’s no going through other hands.

Additionally, each and every different type of plant has been studied to determine what is the optimal amount of heat, pressure and length of time necessary to produce an essential oil so that all of its beneficial properties remain in tact. There’s no rushing the process! If a particular plant requires 18 hours in the distiller at X pressure and heat, it’s stays in there for that length of time. Young Living is far more interested in producing the best, rather than producing the most within the shortest period of time.

This is where it gets even more interesting…

Even though Young Living has over 4,000 acres of farms / landand grows the plants, they still have to work with and buy from farmers and vendors the plants they don’t grow. When a vendor brings in an essential oil, it goes through a battery of tests on state of the art equipment that is not seen at competitors.

Guess what happens to the essential oils Young Living rejects because the quality isn’t there, or when it has been detected that a distiller or vendor has adulterated? It goes onto the open market where other essential oil and aromatherapy companies can purchase them. It is those essential oils that you find in stores, with labels containing print like the list I began this article with. I think it’s interesting how those rejected essential oils are good enough for those terms but they’re not good enough for Young Living and its customers.

In the hands of Companies

Now, the essential oil has moved even closer to the consumer. This is the last stage before it gets bottled and put onto store shelves. Consider this…

Have you ever bought and used an essential oil and found that you use a lot of it?

Have you ever bought an essential oil and found that it turned bad within 6 to 12 months?

Have the essential oils you bought felt greasy and/or left greasy type stains on your fabrics?

There’s a reason why that happens. It’s because still more profits need to be made. What happens is this, in a 15ml bottle there’s probably between 10-20 drops of essential oil, the rest is a cheap carrier oil.

Using the example of Lavender essential oil let’s see what you’re getting…

Let’s say, XYZ company has their essential oil on shelves at your local health food store and the price for a 15ml bottle is $10… first, if the label also says “Not for Internal Use” you can be 100% certain they are NOT using real lavender but in fact they are using an essential oil that is far less expensive, called Lavadin; which by the way has a high camphor level and if you were to use it on a first degree burn you will more than likely end up in the hospital with a third degree burn because camphor burns the skin.

Real lavender, Landula angustifolia, does not contain any camphor because it’s a different plant species. Also, Lavendula angustifolia is an edible plant; therefore I ‘should’ be able to use that lavender in cooking and as a dietary supplement. Thus, if the label states it’s “For External Use Only” I know right away that the essential oil is very low quality!

But that aside, let’s assume the company is using a lavender which Young Living rejected. Now they’re adding a carrier oil to it, known as an extender. If you’re paying $10 for a 15ml bottle, you are paying an extremely high price, many more times higher than you’d pay for a Young Living lavender. You’re using that essential oil by the handful because it is primarily a cheap carrier oil and doesn’t even contain 15ml of  lavender.

Whereas if you were to buy at wholesale a 15ml bottle of Young Living lavender you would be buying 15ml of Lavendula angustifolia for about $20, no carrier oil included. And you would be using it by the drop, not by the handful!

The savings is enormous! Not to mention you are buying a superior quality essential oil that actually is beneficial.

Did you know that only 2 percent of all essential oils sold to consumers in the entire world are superior quality, and that Young Living makes up most of that 2 percent?

Did you know that France, the largest exporter of lavender oil, exports 100 times more lavender essential oil than they distill?

That means there is a lot of junk being sold and used in products that have very little real lavender in it, if it has any at all.

There is a reason why Young Living sets the world standard in essential oil quality… they are super picky. Which is perfect for me, I don’t like spending my money on junk or on anything that’s not what it should be, it’s wasteful and expensive in the long run. I also do not like to use products that have been corrupted, adulterated, extended, or that fall short of my personal standard of what truly organic and all-natural.

Order your Young Living Essential Oils @ EssentialEverydayOils.com

 

Other resources on this topic:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/purity-test-for-essential-oils.html


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