Thursday, June 16, 2011

Purchasing Pure Essential Oils

There are as many types of essential oils on the market for consumers to choose from, so a common question is how do I tell which ones to buy. There are four criteria to consider when choosing an oil: purity, integrity, availability and most importantly efficacy.

Purity of your essential oils is the first thing you should consider when shopping. To gain therapeutic effects from your oils you only want to purchase essential oils labeled as pure and therapeutic grade. By pure the company is telling you that they have not mixed their oils with any carrier oils, chemicals or solvents. The cheaper quality oils you will find in grocery stores, cosmetic shops and aroma therapy shops will most likely all be mixed with cheaper chemicals or oils in order to offer them at inexpensive prices. While these may smell wonderful in your candles, reed diffusers and beauty products, they are also harmful to your health. Many of the chemicals and solvents used in these synthetic oils can not be utilized and flushed from your body by your skin, kidneys, colon, etc., thereby causing toxins in your body that can lead to sickness and have even been linked to cancers. Essential Oils also go through several rounds of distillation per plant batch. When an oil is labeled “Therapeutic”, that indicates that the oil was obtained from the first few distillations thereby retaining the compounds necessary for healing. If your oil is not labeled therapeutic grade, then the company is not proclaiming that their oil will have any therapeutic effects on your body.

The second consideration when purchasing essential oils is, the integrity of the company. Currently in the US, and really in the world, there is no regulating body for essential oils. This effectively means a company can label their product any way they choose and make any claims they choose and they are not held to any set standards. Therefore, you need to know and trust your company. Look into the character of those doing the oil purchasing and make sure you trust them to negotiate and hold their farmers to a high standard. Make sure your company will help guide you in your oil purchases and educate you on your oils. It is important to me to be able to call and talk to the owners of the company. There are many large companies involved in the distribution of oils and when you call to ask questions you get a random telephone operator, not someone experienced in using the oils on their families or who are involved in the purchasing of the oils.

The third criteria is, availability. It is important to have a source that will provide all the oils you may need to heal your family. If you are facing a particular ailment and you want to try three different oils in combination, it is unhelpful to go to the health food store to find out they only have one of the oils you needed. Find a company that can provide all the oils you are interested in. Also look for a company that does therapeutic blends of oils. Many essential oils, such as clary sage, have wonderful healing benefits but they are just too concentrated to be taken alone very safely. If your company understands the art of blending therapeutic oils, they can often offer you blends for specific ailments so that you don’t have to buy three to five oils and try to come up with the proper mixture on your own.

Finally, the most important criteria is efficacy. As with all natural healing much of the process depends on your personal body chemistry, allergies and immune system. The best way to decide on the company you purchase oils from is to try them out for yourself. When you receive your oil, smell it and see if it smells like you would expect. If you order a cedar wood oil and it has a sweet smell to it, that would be a red flag that it is mixed with something and if peppermint smells flowery you have a problem. Know the characteristics of your oil and test that against its smell and color. Next drip your oil on blotter paper or muslin fabric. A pure oil will not leave a grease stain. It may stain the fabric especially if it is a dark color but it should not leave a greasy residue. If it does you have an impure oil. Lastly, try the oil on your ailment. If you see improvement you will know you have a good therapeutic oil that is well suited for your needs. Keep in mind that all oils act differently on different people because they are natural and are metabolized differently by the body than synthetic drugs. So just because your friend got amazing results by using peppermint on her heartburn, it may not work for you, you may need to try wintergreen instead. The wonderful thing about essential oils is their versatility. If you buy peppermint, for example, to treat heartburn and it turns out not to work, you won’t necessarily be out the money because you can also use peppermint to clean, disinfect, for sinus headaches, to stay alert, to flavor teas…and the list can go on and on. If you follow the above mentioned criteria you will easily be able to obtain quality essential oils to start treating your family naturally.

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