Aromatherapy has evolved so much over the past decades. Before, herbalists and aromatherapists are considered as quacks. Not until research on individual chemical components of oils has emerged that we have proven that oils work not just on an anecdotal level.
If you are just looking for a good scent, then fragrances may work for you. I was addicted to this earlier in my life, hoarding MM fragrances. A lot of these oils are wonderfully scented and made me feel good because it made my house smell good. Again, there is nothing wrong with this if this is your goal.
However, if you are looking to benefit from the therapeutic properties of oils, such as anti-inflammatory properties or sedating properties (as seen in the research below), what you need is 100% pure essential oil.
Lavender as a relaxant: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22612017/
Lavender suggested to have anti-edematogenic activity and possesses an anti-inflammatory activity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5878871/
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW?
There is no 100% guarantee, truth be told. I read in an article that 90% of what is marketed as essential oils are NOT pure essential oils. There are no regulatory bodies worldwide so it is easy to get away with labeling your product 100% essential oils.
SO AGAIN, HOW DO YOU KNOW?
At its best, these are the things I look for when choosing an essential oil supplier.
Caveat: this is my own personal choice as brought up by my aromatherapy certification. If you trust your current oil brand, then I am happy for you and we can just discuss other things in the aromatherapy world. If you are unsure, then maybe these could help:
1. They can provide a GCMS report. Not everyone can read a GCMS report and certainly, there is only a handful of companies that supply this. A GCMS report, to lift from my ACP course, is defined as:
Gas Chromatography (GC) is a method of separating the volatile compounds in essential oils into individual components (like linalool) and producing a linear graph that charts these components. Mass Spectrometry (MS) identifies each of these components and their percentages. It’s like identifying what’s in a jar of applesauce. The report would tell us that there are four components in the applesauce: apples, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Essential oils can have from 10–200 components, or more, and the only way to know exactly what they are is through GC/MS analysis.
Again, not everyone can read these reports. Trained aromatherapists can and this helps us a lot in creating effective blends. So what’s the use then? Personally, the effort in putting it out there for those who can read them shows the company’s commitment to transparency. This is not the end-all, be-all of purity but it certainly helps that they test every batch of oils they sell.
2. Label-wise, their oils show the Latin name (there are many types of lavender with different Latin names and different properties!), and possibly even chemotypes! Most legit EO suppliers I use have the countries of origin and plant parts where the oil came from published on their websites.
3. They are not inexpensive. Because oils are so concentrated, it takes an amazing lot of plant material to produce a single drop. This process is not cheap.
4. They teach safe use of essential oils and continuously educate. This is very important to me as this is a personal advocacy. Personally, I could not be with a company that is not aligned with my beliefs and values.
5. They have good reviews from professionals and regular consumers. As I mentioned before, I highly recommend Real Aromatherapy Reviews on Facebook to see what others think about different oil brands. These reviews are coming from different people from different countries.
I hope this helped you somehow understand EOs a little bit more. Have a good night everyone!