It didn’t take much time before humans revealed the healing properties of plants. That’s why people have been using their essential oils since ancient times. And nowadays, the latest technology and research methods have made it available for us to see and prove the benefits of these oils on our health.
The popularity of essential oils has led to the industry blooming. Different oils have different uses: people use them for aromatherapy and massage. On the one hand, this is very beneficial, as it’s made essential oils available for everyone. However, the many options on the market today have made shopping for essential oils quite overwhelming and confusing.
What are the differences between different-labelled essential oils? Does buying pure organic essential oils make any difference in quality? Why is it so important to choose the best oils for you and your family?
The Different Types of Essential Oils
Synthetic Essential Oils
Synthetically made essential oils are made in laboratories from chemicals and are produced to duplicate the smell of a certain plant. They’re often called synthetic fragrances.
Although producers claim they’re safe, they’re not suitable to use therapeutically. They’re much cheaper than natural essential oils, so the price can be a good indicator if the oil you plan on buying is of good quality. As the cheapest option, many industries use synthetically made oils in perfumes and fresheners.
You should avoid using synthetically made oils if you’re aiming toward living more naturally. That’s why natural essential oils are the better option if you want to reap the healing benefits of plants.
Natural Essential Oils
It can be said that all essential oils are natural, as they’re made from aromatic plants we find in nature. They’re usually obtained from the natural compounds of plants in a process called steam distillation. The essential oils from the citruses are an exception, as they’re derived through cold pressing. However, not all essential oils are equally natural.
Many essential oils that are labelled natural include chemical dilutants, alcohols or other fillers. They can be a mix of cheaper oils with more expensive ones. Such additives can be harmful to our bodies and greatly reduce the effectiveness of the oil. That’s why it’s very important to read the ingredient list carefully and choose brands that have proven to be reliable and trusted. The best bet is to stick to essential oils that are labelled pure and organic.
Pure Essential Oils
When an essential oil is labelled pure, 100% pure or all-natural, we’re talking about a whole different standard for purity and potency. Such oils are made from carefully sourced plants from farms that don’t use GMOs, synthetic chemicals and pesticides. They’re completely safe to diffuse for aromatherapy, topically or any other way. This is especially important if you plan to use them for your children. Children’s skin can be much more sensitive than that of adults, and kids are also more prone to allergies.
Organic Essential Oils
Are organic essential oils pure? Organic essential oils are pure oils, steam distilled from plants that have been grown under ACO (Australian Certified Organic) standards. What does certified organic farming mean?
- No chemical pesticides or fertilisers. Organic farming is chemical-free farming. Instead, workers hand-weed the crops, clean up polluted water and take care of the land in the best way possible.
- Use of natural fertilisers, such as compost and animal manure.
- Rotation of the crop. Organic farming rotated the crop instead of using the same crop year after year. This helps keep the soil healthy and reduces the crop.
- Minimised contact between organic and non-organic crops. This stands for the whole production process, from sewing to post-harvest handling. It helps avoid contamination with pesticides and other chemical substances.
- Certification. This is a big one. To grow and sell organic crops, a farm must be certified by ACO. They must comply with the specific standards, keep daily records and pay fees.
To fulfil all of these requirements takes great labour and exhaustive management. Farm owners and workers have to be very careful and make a greater effort than conventional farmers. And, often, the demand surpasses the supply. All these factors contribute to organic products being much more expensive than non-organic ones. The same goes for pure organic essential oils. Is buying organic worth it?
Why Buy Organic Essential Oils?
Using organic essential oils can be as beneficial as choosing organic foods. Yet, many people deny that organic essential oils are better than conventional ones. Their main argument is that many of the plants used for essential oils are naturally pest-resistant and don’t require the use of pesticides anyway. Another view is that, even if there are certain chemicals, they can’t get through steam distillation, including high temperatures.
Although these are reasonable arguments, they’re not entirely true. While many plants are pest-resistant, that doesn’t mean that farmers don’t use pesticides on them and the crops around them. We know how the wind can transfer pollen. Well, it can transfer pesticides the same way. And many of the plants aren’t pest-resistant, and they do require some sort of chemicals to be protected until harvest.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. It takes many plants to fill a little bottle with essential oil. For example, it takes 1.3 kg of lavender flowers to produce just a 15 ml bottle of lavender essential oil. If this doesn’t sound much to you, let’s put it another way. It takes approximately 300 kg of lavender flowers to produce a kilo of its oil. This means that even if there’s a little number of pesticides in plants, it can be too much in a single bottle of oil. And since you will inhale or put oil on your body, it’s crucial that it’s clean and natural to be safe and beneficial.
Another thing to remember is that not all essential oils are produced by steam distillation. For example, citrus essential oils are made from cold-pressed fruit peels. When you choose such oils, it’s best to buy organic.
Since you use essential oils in your personal care or apply them topically for medical purposes, it’s important to choose pure and all-natural essential oils. And buying organic essential oils can free you completely of worry about the possibility of using toxic pesticides. This is especially important when applying oils to babies, older people and people with allergies. Choose the best for you and your family, choose pure and organic.