Essential Oils: What Determine the Quality Grade? Medical Essential Oils or Not, That is the Question
As a member of different groups and forums, and as a Master in Aromatherapy
I often see comments made by sales agents from different pyramid direct sales’ Companies claiming the “medical grade” of their essential oils.
Let’s be clear about that, there is no medical grade for essential oils whatsoever. How could we possibly claim a plant has a medical grade? By definition, a plant is part of the nature, we can find excellent plants’ qualities, excellent essential oils producers, we can also find organic plants producers, therefore getting organic essential oils. But we cannot find a medical grade.
Or could we?
If you can find a medical grade carrot, a medical grade salad or cucumber…then yes…you also might find medical grade essential oils.
Though, it doesn’t mean you cannot find some mediocre essential oils qualities as well as amazingly rich in plants molecules’ essential oils.
What will determine essential oils quality?
The Essential Oil Chain Production
Each step in the process of essential oil production is crucial to obtain a good quality of essential oils. If you are a faithful costumer of Farmers Markets….you will certainly agree: so many elements are crucial to get a good vegetable in your plate, it will be the same to get a good essential oil in your phial.
Location, location, location
The choice of geographical growing location and quality of soil will largely interact in the essential oil bio chemistry composition. If you travelled around the World, you probably noticed that fruits and vegetables don’t have the same taste, the same texture upon where it has grown. This is due to the sunshine radiance, the minerals in the soil, the flora surrounding the fields (a rich soil with good bacteria, or worms “working the soil and bringing oxygen to the ground for example)
Of course harvesting has to be executed in chemical and fertilizer free areas.
Plant Material, It’s material
It is also to be noticed that the plant material (the part of the plant used for producing your essential oil) is also very important. Some unscrupulous producers will use the whole plant when sometimes only the flowers should be used. Can you imagine receiving a flowers bouquet, with stems only, while paying full price? Or would you imagine to buy apples and to get only the cores??? Still, this doesn’t mean the plant producer can pretend selling medical grade essential oils…
Time is of the Essence
The timing for harvesting is also determining oils composition. Just like a good grape for wine. Did you know that a winegrower will use sophisticated material to measure the degree of fructose present in grapes before harvesting, this will determine the quality and taste of the wine. Some grapes will need to be harvested pretty late in season to get its exclusive quality of taste, composition and tannin…making this wine unique. We can totally relate to this image for essential oils
After Harvesting comes Distillation
Also, plants harvested have to be distilled before molding. Therefore a good synchronicity between the plants producers and the still is essential.
The still vat has to be in stainless steel.
All the still material has to be cleaned by steam and with Castille or Marseille Soap, no strong chemicals which could create chemical sediments and be mixed with essential oils.
Even the Quality and quantity of Water matters
The quality of water used for steaming is important since its chemistry will mix with all the plants chemical substances.
The duration of distillation has to be watched carefully. If distillation is lasting too long, too much water could be present and would compromise the concentration and quality of oils and floral waters. Some examples of distillation ideal length: for lavender essential oil production: 30 to 35 minutes will be necessary.
For lavandin: 45 minutes will be necessary.
Let’s refute the French Author Balzac who said: “The bottle does not matter as much as the drunkenness”, for Essential Oils, the bottle matters!!!
After producing essential oil, handling, bottling and storage are crucial too.
All the hygienical measures, bottle material, light and temperature are extremely important. No need to say: no additive needed in essential oils, an oil should be sold pure, unless indicated on the label.
Bottles have to be in glass or aluminium material to enable to keep oils bio chemistry.
The Words of an Expert
As an Essential Oils specialist and fanatic, I visited numerous essential oils manufactures with whom I am working (understand distillation companies), all the good ones are as passionated as I am, and all of them are fond of nature and natural products….and none of them would ever claim they produce medical grade essential oils….even though, they are very proud to produce the best of the best, and they perfectly know that their oils will naturally cure medical conditions (as thousands of scientific publications are revealing). This is the magic of nature.
Remember what Native American were saying:
The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth
Please, never let big labs pretending they do better than nature 🙂