Verifying Essential Oil Quality and Purity
Essential oils are not only distilled and used for the purposes of aromatherapy, they are also more commonly used in the personal fragrancing, home fragrancing, beauty, food/beverage and other industries.
The standards for essential oil quality and purity are highest for aromatherapy use. The purity and quality of essential oils affects their therapeutic value, aroma, color and flavor when applicable for the food and beverage industries*. The higher the quality of a particular distillation of oil, often the higher the price the oil commands. Because essential oils with particular characteristics command significantly higher prices, there is a large temptation for distillers and suppliers to adulterate (alter) essential oils.
Aspects of an essential oil's purity and quality can be quantifiably tested. Some aspects of an oil's quality, namely on an olfactory level, however, is a more subjective process.
*Essential oils are used in the food and beverage industries under careful control and extremely low concentrations, in formulas/recipes usually created by highly knowledgeable formulators. Essential oils should NOT be taken internally by those not well educated in doing so.
This topic consists of several separate related articles. Use the links shown below to navigate through the series.
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Why Is the Quality/Purity of an Essential Oil Important?
- Part 3: Aren't Most Essential Oils Pure?
- Part 4: Constituents - What do Essential Oils Consist Of?
- Part 5: Quality vs. Purity - Aren't They the Same Thing?
- Part 6: Quantifiable Testing of Essential Oils
- Part 7: GC-MS Test Results - How Can They Be Used?
- Part 8: Organoleptic Testing of Essential Oils
- Part 9: Other Quantifiable Tests for Testing the Quality and Purity of Essential Oils
- Part 10: Essential Oil Quality and Purity Conclusion: Final Questions/Answers