Essential oils are an indispensible part of any home apothecary or natural wellness plan. If you want to harness the power and essence of plants to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and in high spirits, then essential oils are more than worth the investment. They can quite literally be the missing link in modern medicine. Plants provide ecological balance on our planet and they have also been linked to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of its inhabitants. Modern day scientists and researchers still look to the plant kingdom for their research and their latest discovery.
Essential oils are the natural and very potent liquid that is housed within various plants, shrubs, flowers, roots, and trees. Many people purchase essential oils excited about the myriad of possibilities contained therein only to be disappointed by consequences such as irritated skin or other unpleasant reactions. Unfortunately that can happen if you have stumbled upon a product that is not natural and has chemical synthetics. To avoid choosing a product that is not real essential oil, we have prepared this short guide for you. Keep to these basics and you will be able to stay away from fakes.
Read Your Oil Labels Carefully
First, read the label. Many products, foods and fake essential oils included, have been manufactured through the use of harmful synthetic chemicals. But even this cloud has a silver lining – companies must list all ingredients on the label. So, carefully examining the label of your essential oil is one of the best ways to figure out what you are about to buy. Real essential oils should have the Latin name of the plant on the front, below the common name and should be labeled as “100% essential oil”. If you see anything such as “made with natural products”, “perfume oil”, “fragrant oil”, “natural oil”, etc. know to stay away from it – this is certainly a fake.
Understand the Different Species
Look at the latin name of the plant on the label. This gives you the species and from there you can research which species of the plant has the therapeutic values and qualities you want/need. If you want lavender oil, the swiss army knife of the essential oil world, then the species you want is lavandula agustifolia. You do not usually want lavandula officinalis (or lavandin) which is usually what cheap lavender oil actually contains. They have completely different chemical compositions and if you rub lavandin on a burn, it will make things worse. But lavandin is cheaper to make because the plants are bigger and produce more oil.
Another example is cheap Helichrysum essential oil. If you wonder why a retailer can sell a bottle for $20 and another sells their for over $100 you are comparing apples to crab apples. They are not the same species and not the same product. The more expensive bottle may be derived from the most therapeutic and valued species helichrysum italicum. It has wonderful healing and cell rejuvenation properties and is used for a variety of skin issues and wounds. The cheaper product is actually helichrysum gymnocephalum, much less prized and more useful for respiratory health. So if you buy a bottle of Helichrysum hoping to use it to reduce the appearance of scar tissue and you buy the cheap bottle…you are using the wrong remedy! Be aware of what you are buying!
Low Prices Are a Signal for Fake Essential Oils
A dead giveaway for fakes is the price. A steep price is certainly no guarantee of a high quality product, as some imitations could be sold at a price much higher than what they actually cost, but you should still stay away from very cheap essential oils. Good quality essential oils are not a cheap commodity but they are very concentrated and you never need more than just a few drops for any purpose.
It is rather difficult to produce these products. A lot of labor and plant material is required to produce just a small quantity of a certain essential oil. Of course this varies according to the plant that is being used, as some plants are easier to extract and distil than others.
Another aspect to consider is that some oil companies are more mindful of using sustainable harvesting and farming practices. They micromanage every aspect from seed to seal, ensuring only the highest quality. That kind of quality is worth the price.
A popular example is the Bulgarian rose – one of the highest quality essential oils in the world. Hundreds of pounds of roses are necessary to make just a few ounces of rose essential oil. Moreover, the plants need to be grown and picked in a specific way, which requires many hours of hard physical labor. The same is true for Jasmine. Oils such as these are rather expensive when pure. Always opt for the real thing and stay away from the fakes.
Another thing to remember is to not buy essential oils online unless you know and trust the company or person that is selling them. Sadly, some retailers online have been caught selling a sub par brand’s oils inside the bottle of the more desirable brand. Sneaky! Of course there are also many reputable retailers but you should always take caution when purchasing.
Also be aware that even 100% pure therapeutic essential oils can be dangerous if not used appropriately. Use your noggin and research your oils. Do not blindly follow what someone says about an oil and how to use it. Research their method and see if it truly is the safe solution you seek. If in doubt, dilute, even if your online friends tell you to use the oil neat (undiluted). Be safe rather than sorry. Never use a radical remedy such soaking a tampon with tea tree oil. Your delicates are delicate and essential oils are potent! If you are uncomfortable ingesting oils then don’t do it, easy peasy. I don’t say never, I just say not for me.
Essential oils are a fantastic way to improve health and wellness. Aromatherapy can help you find balance and peace. However, this can only happen when you use pure essential oils of the highest quality. Even if you feel you do not have the budget for an elaborate collection of oils, choose a few basic ones rather than spending money on many fake ones.