There are many factors that determine essential oil quality. For example, plant species, the techniques used in extraction, soil quality, harvesting, bottling and storage and environmental temperature, can all affect the plants from which essential oils are extracted. There are ways to check that the qualities of Pure essential oils are 100% pure for your essential oil diffuser by: grade, purity, and integrity.
There is no governmental agency or organization that “grades” essential oils as “therapeutic grade,”,” or “aromatherapy grade” in the U.S. There is no approved grading system that is used consistently throughout the essential oil industry.
For those businesses that want to replace their use of the “grade” terms with more appropriate terms, NAHA has suggested:
- pure essential oils for therapeutic applications
- pure essential oils (or organic if that is the case) for aroma-therapeutic use
- quality essential oils used in professional aromatherapy
When purchasing essential oils, particularly those you plan to use for aromatherapy, natural healing, or in cosmetics, it is vital that you look for pure essential oils. Unfortunately, some manufacturers and retailers dilute essential oils— particularly the most expensive ones— with similar-smelling essential oils, carrier oils, vegetable oils, alcohol, or solvents that might not even be derived from plants. When this is done, the resulting product is not capable of delivering the expected results. The term “pure essential oil” can also be overused by some companies. Pure essential oils can be distilled from poor quality crops, or can sit on a store’s shelves for years, which can damages the oils, or be mishandled by vendors so that oils are accidentally mixed during bottling.
When essential oil manufacturers and retailers refer to a certain essential oil’s integrity, they are referring to the fact that the oil comes from a single plant species, often from the same region, and often from the same harvest. In addition, integrity indicates that an essential oil is pure and natural. Essential oils with integrity are not created in laboratories , nor are they created with other similar-smelling oils. An oil without integrity also might contain pure essential oils; for example, inexpensive citronella and lemongrass oils are often labeled as much more expensive lemon balm (Melissa) oil.
Detecting adulterated product is fairly simple. Oils that have been cut with alcohol tend to have an alcoholic odor; those that have been diluted with vegetable oils will separate when frozen. You can also detect carrier oil by placing a tiny drop of an essential oil on a sheet of white paper. If, after a few days, there is still an oily spot on the paper and the fragrance of the essential oil has evaporated, the oil you’re testing has likely been diluted with a carrier oil.
GC-MS Test (Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry)
The best way to assess the purity and quality of each batch of essential oil is by testing the oil. With Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). Gas Chromatography (GC) is a method of separating the essential oils into individual components. And produces a graph that charts them. Mass Spectrometry (MS) detects each of the essential oil components and percentages. This process is used to identify any adulteration. Dilution or blending with vegetable oils, alcohol or synthetic oils) of the essential oil. Adulterated oils do not offer therapeutic effects and may in fact cause some unwanted side effects.