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How to Choose Your Essential Oils

Have you ever seen “certified therapeutic", "therapeutic essential oil" or “medicinal” grade written on a label? Have you wondered why?

orange essential oil

These are marketing ploys that in the end increase the cost to the consumer. Essential oils are unregulated and there are no "certifying" groups or grading systems anywhere in the world. It will then be key to know and work with ethical and trusted providers of essential oils.

Essential oil Names

When choosing an essential oil it is key to know its name as many oils such as lavender come in different name types with their different chemical compositions.


The easiest way to go about it is to think of your own name. Example Paul Smith, what sets paul apart from the rest of his family will be his first name. This is the same for Essential oil An example would be Lavender with its family name Lavandula.

When purchasing an essential oil, make sure the botanical name is on the label. These names usually appear in italics, with the first name, the genus (similar to Smith), capitalized followed by the second name, the species (similar to Paul), lowercased—e.g., lavandula angustifolia.

Lavandula is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae

Scientific name: Lavandula

Family: Lamiaceae

Lavandula angustifolia - 'True Lavender' produces the most recognized Lavender scent and is considered to be highly therapeutic. Angustifolia is a somewhat 'fussy' plant that produces smaller batches of essential oil , L. angustifolia oils are more expensive, and are also more prone to adulteration.

Lavandula hybrida -called Lavandin, is a mass-cultivated hybrid of the Lavender species Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia ('Spike Lavender').

This essential oil is more intense, refreshing, and herbaceous. It is relatively higher in the constituents Camphor and 1,8-Cineole. Lavandin can may some of the gentle and floral aspects of L. angustifolia, and does not have the same versatility in terms of its therapeutic benefits.

It is used primarily in perfuming households and personal care products such as soaps, washing powders, fresheners, and cleaners. Its popularity is due to its oil yield, which is larger than that of L. angustifolia, and is make this oil-less expensive.

Being familiar with botanical names will help you select the oil-producing therapeutic benefits you seek.

Essential Oil Labeling

Most essential oils should have the information listed below in some cases they aren't but reach out to your supplier for the information that is needed. This will help build trust as well as learn about the products and suppliers.

If they cannot answer the questions based on the labeling information maybe they do not have the knowledge of the product and may not be a reputable supplier.

  • Common name (e.g., Bulgarian lavender) followed by the botanical name (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • Source (country)

  • Quality (organic/wild harvested/etc.)

  • Extraction (steam distilled/cold pressed/absolute/CO2 extraction)

  • Warnings/cautions (For external use only. Keep out of reach of children. Do not use during pregnancy.)

Build A Relationship

The difficulty with essential oils is the potential for them to be adulterated. This problem has been solved by using the GC/MS (identifies the various constituents in an essential oil and lists how much of each constituent is present as a percentage) but as a consumer how do you read these reports and know what's in your essential oil.

Though great to have I think it's fundamental to build a relationship with those you purchase essential oils from. This will enable trust and if there are any issues concerning the oils you can refer back to them.

From our standpoint, if we are not there with the manufacturers and distillers producing the oils we cannot guarantee a 100% essential oil however building a relationship based on trust goes a long way.

Here are a few questions to ask if you are interested in a GCMS report from a company.

  • Are your oils tested with GC/MS technology?

  • Can you provide the batch-specific GC/MS with the oils I buy?

  • Do you test each batch of oil?

At current we are looking to relabel and rebrand our products and will update labeling to show casing essential oil details.



"In focus essential oils and aromatherapy"

Marlene Houghton

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