Essential oil quality:

  • Quality of essential oils used for aromatherapy:

  • -soil quality:

    Materials from pesticide-free soil This is the best quality ! I know some distillers working in these conditions. Sceptics could add this is wishfull thinking, pollution is spreading, I agree, but there are still a lot of (relative) unpolluted places in the world.

  • -they are certified organic:

    this means that an independent organisation is controlling the farmers!

  • -harvest:

    performed with hand tools vs machinery... Machinery use is no problem IMHO 'hand tools are mainly used with wildharvesting. More important is the moment of harvesting, distiller Henri Viaud made some tests proving that the components of essential oils could change depending on the moment of harvest! (Not only before or after flowering, but also if harvested in the morning or late in the day!) Example: the content of thuyone in Salvia officinalis "Dalmate" is 26 percent harvested in spring and 51 percent if harvested in autumn!

  • -distillation methods :

    Freshly-harvested materials are used in distillation... There are some exeptions where the distillation is easier if the plants are drie (for instance peppermint is easier to distill, the distillation will also be shorter) Ylang ylang need to be distilled immidiatly, to avoid fermentation and loss of fragrance. The seeds of anise, fennel, stocked in good conditions are easier to conserve than the essential oils of them.

  • --distillation is performed at low temperature and pressure
  • -pure spring water and stainless steel equipment is utilized for optimum cleanliness This will also prevent coloring of the essential oils, lavender distilled in old cupper alambics can turn into a red colored essential oil.

  • Hydrodiffusion :

    Is a new method of distillation, steams comes from above. Some authors think it's like making coffee, but it's a normal steam distillation, producing very nice essential oils, if the distillers knows how to work with it, some are unable to use this distillation method! I love essential oils made this way, the act very powerfull!

  • Hydraulic pressure:

    Citrus oils are made with hydraulic pressure exerced on the peels.

  • CO2 extraction :

    Is relatively new, but is more used in food industry . The components are very different from the same essential oils made by steam distillation, so a lot of reseach need to be done!

    Solvent extraction:

    I don't like this method, since hexane, benzene, tolluene is used and residus are possible in the essential oils. Some research proved residus of 6 percent and sometimes 25 percent were found. I believe in medical aromatherapy this method should be excluded, because of the big toxicity of the used solvents. Everybody loves jasmine, but it's produced with hexane!

    I make an exeption for perfumes and some massage oils but I still feel uneasy with it!

  • -The essential oils are 100% pure and not in any way "extended" with cheaper materials

  • -relatively small volumes are produced -good quality essential oils will never be a mass-market line.

    What should be written on the bottles, labeling:

  • -parts of the plant used

    (you can have an essential oil made from the peel, leaves or flowers : Citrus aurantium )

  • -Latin name :

    This is the ONLY way to be able to understand someone from another country talking about essential oils!

    (in some Countries like mine we need to mention this only on the price list: if mentioned on the bottles it could be considered as a medecine, and only to be sold in a pharmacy...)

  • -chemotyping constituents:

    -(Thyme can contain a majority of the component linalol, thymol, carvacrol... and thus have another medical action, so it should be mentioned: Thyme ct linalol)

  • -Country of origin:

    It sometimes makes a big difference, (Lavender-France...)

  • -Designation :

    An essential oil obtained with solvents should be described on the bottle as an absolute.

    An essential oil obtained in synergy with another essential oil (for instance Melissa officinalis, Lippia citriodora, Spirea ulmaria, Tillia silvestris...) should be described on the bottle as an co-distilled essential oil.

    This is neccesary in order to avoid confusion with the 100 % essential oil.

    I believe only companies using the above priciples are really up-to-date.

    Finally, sometimes it's more important to have the right essential oil with the known components, of non organic origin instead of the same organically grown or wil harvested plant, badly distilled or without having a knowledge of it's components. (For specific use)

  • Only a good analysis can really determine the quality of an essential oil!