Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils when they are being used topically; they help to carry the essential oils into the skin. Many lotions and skin care products are made with carrier oils, which are vegetable oils derived from the fatty portion of the plant, such as the nuts, kernels or seeds. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils do not evaporate easily and do not give off strong aromas.
Yes, of the 3 brands I am most comfortable using for therapeutic purposes the first is doTerra. Its testing exceeds everything else I’ve come across protecting against not just fillers and chemical extraction, but also against oxidation for potency levels. When air hits the oils for a period of time they oxidize slowly and if that happens they may be less quick and effective than if they had not had that time to oxidize. No other company tests the same number of times for this level of potency. I also love that the testing is done by a third party rather than in house testing.

What is your views on Organic Infusions, if any. I have been using there EO’s for a little over a year and do like them alot. When I first started using oils I did try do terra but there oils seem to have a certain similiar smell, almost as if something was added. I’m not sure why my senses picked that up. I did do some research where I found out they did use a marketing tool to sell products. That being said, the sellers of Organic Infusions never once bashed do terra. They did tell me to try different EO’s and find what works best for me and so far I’ve been happy with their oils.
I prefer Appalachian valley — they are a wholesale distributor as well but you can purchase small quantities from them as well. Use the code – roseotto and you can get their wholesale prices. If you purchase 5, 10, or 20ml bottles when you add them to the cart you will see a discount. I really love their products and got a sample of their frankincense – wow!! Love it.
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I kept seeing the term "therapeutic grade" or "certified therapeutic grade" in relation to essential oils.  After researching and speaking with numerous experts in the field, it became apparent that this was simply a marketing term that was coined in the 90's, and does not have any real meaning.  Essential oils are inherently therapeutic, and while there are specifications for what constitutes an essential oil, set by the International Organization for Standardization, there is not a set of specifications that would define an essential oil as "certified therapeutic" and no independent bodies that certify essential oils as such. 


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Don’t overdo it though. Remember, these oils are extremely concentrated. Prolonged exposure to essential oils can cause ill effects like headaches, nausea or other unpleasant symptoms. Vary your use with different oils of different chemical compounds so that they don’t build up in your system. And avoid letting your diffuser run all day, every day; there is a such thing as too much of a good thing.
All pure essential oils have therapeutic qualities..Just because an essential oil states Do Not Consume,or does NOT state pure therapeutic grade oils does not mean it is not a 100% pure essential oil. I am in Australia and we are not by law allowed to state that essential oils can be taken orally as the above mentioned companies do.That does not make the oils I use any lesser quality than the above mentioned oils.I am a small company and to have every oil I use tested to be able to state that they are therapeutic grade oils is a large expense when anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that all essential oils have therapeutic qualities. In saying this I know that there is possibly companies that do dilute there oils and do not do the right thing so it is up to consumers to know to deal with a reputable company. These American companies mentioned by Holly sell their EOs to individuals but also by pyramid selling from what I have been told . As for Organic…you may have a farm that states they are organic, but if the farm down the road is not organic and sprays their crops…well HELLO you cannot tell me that spray does not get blown in the wind
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An essential oil does not have to be adulterated to be inferior. Plant quality, climate, location, growing conditions, harvest, and production technique have a lot to do with quality. Of course, environmental conditions directly affect the percentages of each component of the essential oil. Botanical variety and Chemotype identification also play a part in quality determination. Like organic, ‘wild crafted’ is another overused term. Many imported essential oils come from non-plantation sources.
There exists so many conflicting opinions touted as facts on the internet that they overshadow our friend of science, PubMed. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same eye-crossing results on Dr. Google when searching for something relating to essential oils. Furthermore, I was a little disappointed in my friendly database for “essential oils quality.” I found some very diverse finds, shown here. Not exactly what I was looking for. (Remember with any blog, including this one, check the references. If there aren’t any, distinguish between an opinion, experience, and a fact.)
Now, before we dig in, it’s important to remember that just because something is regulated, approved, standardized, or widely available doesn’t mean it is inert, especially when misused. This means for the safe use of any substance, natural or synthetic, following the instructions for intended and proper use, not over-dosing, using common sense, and considering the individual’s unique biochemistry and health history are all paramount.
Thank you so much for the work you put into this . I found it very helpful. I’m just getting the oils and haven’t even purchased anything because I had no idea where to start. I started researching and was shocked at all the brands out there. I want to use a good oil but my funds are limited. I also started making candles and wanted a good brand that will hold the scent all the way to the end of the candle.

Additionally, inhaling scents bring the chemical - healing plant chemical,  or toxic synthetic chemical - straight into our lungs, while also bypassing the blood brain barrier and this can have nearly immediate effects on our neurological health. Again, this is one of the reasons why oils can be so powerful. We are able to utilize their healing benefits without needing to digest and assimilate anything. Easy entry. This is also why I advise using top quality oils for all oil applications, whether it's on your body or in your home.

Essential oils are all the rage. You know the ones I’m talking about. In fact, you’ve probably been invited to a product party where little vials with expensive price tags promise a wide range of health benefits. You’ve also heard the stories. Essential oils cure warts and ear infections. They soothe rashes and bellyaches. They reduce fever and fight the common cold. Virtually any ailment you suffer has a corresponding dose of liquid magic.


Thank you so much for posting this. I had a reaction to my pure, therapeutic grade Frankincense on my skin and it left me with an itchy rash for over a week. It left me really wondering about the claims the MLM supporters make. I have had great experience in using my oils, but it is foolish to claim they can do no harm. I really appreciate a scientist’s take on all of this.

Yes we all agree that there is no independent standard forTherapeutic Grade that is universally recognized. And while you may not like the promotion ofTherapeutic Grade by various companies, it’s not really correct to say that “thereis no such thing as Therapeutic Grade.” Ithink a better response to those promoting such an idea would be to say”while many companies promote their own therapeutic grade standard, oneshould be aware that there is no universally accepted independent body thatcertifies essential oils as therapeutic grade.” That is a fairstatement that is factually correct that nobody can disagree with and will notcause dialog to shut down between those in the direct marketing companies andthose on the more traditional side of aromatherapy.
AFNOR standards were established by The Association for French Normalization Organization Regulation for the French essential oil industry. The program was so successful that the International Standards Organization (ISO) adopted the AFNOR standards for essential oils and provides a list of these ISO standards and guidance for essential oils on their web site. Surprisingly enough, no USA Company or organization has adopted these standards to date and all continue to make silly claims to try to prove quality without any regulatory body supporting their claims.
Low Price. When it comes to essential oils, you get what you pay for. Growing, harvesting and distilling essential oils of the highest medicinal quality requires extra time and labor, requiring methods that are frankly slower and “less efficient” than modern large commercial producers. It’s the basic law of supply and demand: a small supply of a higher quality product will always cost more than a large supply of a lower quality product.
I made a blend for a friend going through chemo treatments she hasn’t been using it long enough for me to know the results yet but I will share it if you want to try it. It’s: lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, Clary sage and cypress 10 drops of each in a2 ounce glass spray bottle and top with distilled water. You can add tea tree, lemon and ginger for itchy scalp if needed. Hope this helps.
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Some consumers add essential oils to their baths, or use them as home remedies, such as inhaling eucalyptus vapors to relieve congestion.Others may place the oils in a diffuser to scent the air — peppermint is promoted for stimulating alertness, and lavender is often listed as a way to promote calmness, although there are no rigorous studies to support such claims.
My extensive collection of essential oils contains many produced from wood, bark and/or heartwood, including Amyris, Cade (Prickly Juniper), Buddha Wood, Balsam gurjun, Peru Balsam, Atlas Cedarwood, Himalayan Cedarwood, Texas Cedarwood, Virginia Cedarwood, Cinnamon  Bark, Blue Cypress, Emerald Cypress, Balsam Fir, Guaiacwood, Ocean (Maritime) Pine, Ravensara aromatica, Ravintsara, Rosewood, Indian Sandalwood, Australian Sandalwood, Fijian Sandalwood, and Zanthoxylum.
I’m a newbie to essential oils. My daughter-in-law became a consultant for YL oils in the fall. I’m just now researching essential oils and noticed a huge difference in YL oils and others I’ve found online. My question is how do I know when cheaper is just as good, cheaper is the same quality or you get what you pay for, cheap equals cheap quality. Also what is a good carrier for rubbing oils? Thank you for your help.

These texts, as well as other sources of scientific information, detail specific physical and chemical properties of a particular oil. A partial list of the components that we analyze include Specific Gravity, Refractive Index, Optical Rotation, Flash Point, Infrared Absorption (as published in FCC), Ultraviolet/Visible Spectroscopy (UV/Vis) for pigment detection, Solubility, Taste/Odor, Color/Appearance, Heavy Metals, and Predominant Active Chemical Components.
Ingesting essential oils for health benefits has been prescribed for centuries by experienced professionals. This process, when administered safely and correctly under supervision, can have profound healing effects on your body with issues like digestion, immune defense and hormonal imbalances. However, ingesting the wrong oils — or even the right oils in the wrong portions — can have disastrous and permanent effects on your internal tissues and overall health, and worst of all, you may not even realize any damage has been done until decades later in your life.
When you compare the environmental impact of growing feed corn, thousands of TONs are grown by a single farm just to feed a few cows. Estimates of what we grow so we can eat beef or drink milk are as follows: 2800 lbs of corn to get a single cow to slaughter weight of approx 12-1300 lbs. Or, in the case of hay being fed to milkers, it takes 28 lbs of 88% dry matter to feed one 1200 lb lactating cow a day or 3.2 tons for one herd of 200 cows a day! And most feed corn is grown using pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer along with regular watering during periods of low precipitation. I’m no expert but my guess is that as long as essential oils do not become a “priority” industry with outrageous claims, we are only enjoying what the planet has to offer in a sustainable level. Buy more local vegetables/fruits, eat organic, and consume less meat and you will be helping the environment much more that the average US citizen does. 😉
The truth is that there are MANY therapeutic grade standards. The problem is, which one do you trust? Its important for people to realize that all of these standards are INTERNAL standards developed by the company themselves and may or may not include quality control by a third party lab. Furthermore, if a third party lab is used, does this lab really know what they are doing? It’s also important to know what the company defines as being “therapeutic grade” does it simply mean that the oil is pure or does it mean something beyond purity and carry with it a quality standard as well? Let’s face it, an oil can be pure as the driven snow but still be low quality, I see this on a daily basis in the samples I analyze for my clients in order for them to make good buying decisions. Judgements about essential oil quality take more than just good chemists and good equipment, they require many years of experience in odor evaluation and knowing what specific minor components are desirable in an oil and not just focusing on the major components.

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In my aromatherapy certification studies, I have learned you should be very careful about the essential oils that you are ingesting, as they are VERY POTENT. One drop of essential oil can be equivalent to drinking 75 cups of tea of the same herb. It is best to consult a certified aromatherapist for internal use of essential oils. I personally do not suggest using essential oils for internal consumption. In the US, certified aromatherapists can't find insurance for ingestion in their practice because it's considered a medical practice. If you go further and test to get your RA (Registered Aromatherapist) you are prohibited from including ingestion in your practice because it can't be insured unless you are a certified medical professional. It can be very dangerous taking essential oils internally because they can mix with your current medications, your current medical state, and more. Just like taking pharmaceuticals, you  need to consult a professional so that you don't accidentally create a toxic situation.
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You see with the rise in the popularity and increasing understanding of the effectiveness of the use of essential oils in aromatherapy, several large  direct and multi-level marketing (MLM) companies have moved into the field.  As with any company of this type, they have a very real need to differentiate themselves one from others in the field as well as from traditional businesses.
I’m so glad I found this site when I googled “oils comparable to young living.” I have been using Young Living oils for a few months now, but can’t keep up with the prices. I absolutely love and believe that essential oils help me sleep better, relieve my headaches and improve my life! I have bookmarked your page so I can frequently refer to it. Thank you for putting the time into researching each of these brands and building this site (beautifully done!).
I have bought dozens of essential oils from Piping Rock. Their prices are simply the best, especially considering the free shipping and “Crazy Deals” they offer and change almost daily. You can get 15 ml of 100% neroli oil for about $15, and it’s lovely! They also have a 15 ml bottle of 100% West Indian sandalwood for $39.95, and it smells GREAT. A 15 ml bottle of 100% pure cistus oil is about $13 or $14. It can’t be beat! Many of the normally cheaper oils (peppermint, orange, cedarwood, tangerine, tea tree, pine etc.) are wonderfully priced too -almost a steal. Their rose, jasmine and tuberose blends did not disappoint scent-wise (they weren’t too weak at all). Their oils come in glass bottles with stoppers and pretty labels. I was scared at first because of how cheap their prices are, but I’m glad I took the chance. On top of the great products, they ship SUPER FAST, package well, and my orders are always complete and correct. So happy with this company. Lastly, by signing up with the http://www.mrrebates.com website (it’s free), and accessing piping rock from there, you will get a %10 discount on your purchase, which you eventually receive as a refund in cash that you can have added to your PayPal account. I’ve earned over $50 in refunds! I’ve seen this % go up and down by a little from time to time, but the average is 10% (which it is as of today, 5/8/14). Maybe wait for a “free shipping day” and try some of the cheaper oils to test the waters first. Even when you have to pay for shipping (for orders under $40), the shipping is a flat $3.95 rate!

Wow, there’s quite the controversy regarding the ingesting of oils and quality of oils. You know what would be amazing… a post that helps newbies in the EO world to know about the various EO distributors aside from YL and doTerra. I feel like the market is saturated with their jargon and I’d like to know about other suppliers so that I can make my own informed decision. Would love it if you could share any other links to companies, or resources, you might now of so I can further educate myself. TIA.
In the case of the blue oils we see evidence of oxidation when the blue color becomes green over time. This is due to the degradation of chamazulene, the hydrocarbon responsible for the blue color in things like German chamomile, blue tansy, yarrow, etc. Its for these reasons that I always recommend that people refrigerate any of the blue oils and be sure to always keep a minimum amount of airspace in the bottle that you are storing these oils in so that the “greening” effect will be slowed down. Of course keeping airspace to a minimum is a good practice for all the essential oils but its absolutely crucial for the blue oils and for citrus oils.
When washing clothes I use regular soap (haven’t looked into home made yet), and then put about 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt scented with a few drops of essential oils into the bottom of the washer before adding clothes. Then instead of using fabric softner I fill the dispenser with regular white vinegar. It keeps the washer from getting that funky smell and my clothes come out way softer. At first I was worried you would be able to smell the vinegar, but I have been doing this for 6 months now and you really can’t smell it! The Epsom salt doesn’t really have to have essential oil in it, the scent seems to rinse out in the wash but I like the little burst of scent you get when you dump it in, and use fairly cheap oils like citrus for it. If you want your clothes to actually smell of the oils you can get some wool dryer balls and add an oil of your choice before drying.
If you are seriously interested in diving into the world of essential oils, get trained. Start with a workshop in your local area taught by a trained aromatherapist. Whether you are using the oils purely for personal use or really want to get into the business of selling oils and sharing your knowledge, unbiased aromatherapy training from a certified aromatherapist and/or herbalist is invaluable.
This actually dates from May 2010, but judging from the related comments, has only recently been noticed. The statement that “Clary sage is the essential oil that is most widely used to treat vision problems” is not true, since there are no essential oils commonly used to treat vision problems. The only evidence for any essential oil treating any eye problem relates to tea tree oil and eyelash mites (see below). The reference to clary sage probably derives from 17th century European herbalists, but this refers to using clary sage seeds, or mucilage made from them, and not to clary sage essential oil: “The seed put into the eyes clears them from motes and such like things gotten within the lids to offend them, and it also clears them from any white and red spots which may be on them” (Culpeper 1652). Another common name for clary sage (Salvia sclarea) was “clear eye” because of this common use of the seeds, which probably pre-dated Culpeper by many years. “Clary” may derive from “clear-eye.”

Essential oils, however, are distilled and used not only in holistic aromatherapy, but as mentioned previously, are also distilled for use in the personal fragrancing, home fragrancing, cosmetic and in the food/beverage/flavoring industries. In these industries where purchasers of essential oils use them for mass production, there is far less need for "pure" essential oils and far greater need for consistent, standardized essential oils that do not change from shipment to shipment.
I’m going to put it out there that the short-term use of some essential oils in a therapeutic setting and prescribed by a qualified practitioner, is safe. For example, if I am undertaking an anti-candida protocol with a patient, I may use products which have essential oils in them such as oregano to help to reduce the fungal overgrowth. However, I weigh up the use of these oils and use it carefully in combination with probiotics and other supplements so that it does not do more harm than good.
Hi Robert – I know I’ve read that more than a few times in some of the main stream aromatherapy books and think I was told that in my aromatherapy classes – about the 2% thing. So, it is a perception that I myself also have and have, therefore, spent long hours trying to determine if my sources are selling me what they say they are and who my sources should be – long hours and dollars spent to attend conferences to rub elbows with those who should know. However, at that time in 2006, organic essential oils were not readily or at all available. I have also read and have been told by those who should know, that just because an oil is certified organic, there is still no guarantee that said essential oil is not adulterated or for that matter really organic. The argument that I was given was that no one stays around to make sure that the material actually placed into the still was the same that was grown in the organic soil. We live in a world of distrust and for good reason as we look around at the greed in high places. I know this doesn’t address your issues about your article but was and always will be interested in any discussion concerning what constitutes an unadulterated oil. That being said, I would think there are certain things to consider when purchasing an oil and the chances it may or may not be adulterated. Some oils are naturally inexpensive and there would be nothing gained by adulterating them. If you look at how many acres of a particular oil are said to have been grown for a particular year and for that same year there was a great more essential oil sold than could have been produced – then you know you probably have an issue. I know that you know far more about this issue than I do, but I would like to see more discussion concerning what things would throw up a red flag when purchasing an oil from a particular supplier. The internet is now so absolutely full of people selling essential oils and copying and pasting the same old information that it is a bit overwhelming. My concern is the same as other clinical aromatherapists and that is that people will try a particular oil, find that it doesn’t work because it is either adulterated or the person selling the oil really doesn’t have a clue which oil or chemotype should be used for a particular purpose, so the client then assumes that any and all claims made by the aromatherapy industry are false or vastly overstated. This is true in research studies that have been done as well. Is there an answer? I would like to see an article by someone as knowledgeable as yourself that gives you a list of possible red flags and things to consider when looking for suppliers, particularly bulk suppliers.
Ordered several from this company. The oils have hardly any smell at all. And are very watery, you try to get out a drop or two and the "oil" just pours out. I should've known by the price that these would be cheap but the reviews were mostly good so I took a chance. Now I regret it. You get what you pay for. Don't bother with these. And the shipping is extremely slow.
For example, Peppermint Essential Oil is used primarily as a flavoring for candies (i.e. Candy Canes), chewing gum and ice creams. It is often referred to on food ingredient labels as Oil of Peppermint or simply as Peppermint Oil. Because large food/candy manufacturers must produce a consistently flavored product, the intensity, aroma and overall flavor of the peppermint oil they use must remain consistent between each lot of oil that they purchase. Peppermint Oil manufacturers/distributors, therefore typically standardize the essential oils that they sell by establishing a blueprint of the percentage that each important constituent should reach within each essential oil. They then test the oil and then adjust the oil by adding or removing constituents until the resulting oil meets the ideal percentage.
This is truly what I look for in lavender! I use lavender every single day, so having a great quality oil with value pricing is so important. I do wish shipping was done differently - I paid almost $9 for Shipping, and received my items in a USPS flat rate box that I know costs less than $6, so that was disappointing. The oils, however, never disappoint!
Some essential massage oils may make their way into the placenta, an organ in your uterus that grows along with your baby and helps to nourish it. It’s not clear if this causes any problems, unless you take toxic amounts, but to be safe, it’s best to avoid certain oils if you’re pregnant. Those include wormwood, rue, oak moss, Lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage, and hyssop. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure.
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