Are Essentials Oils Chemical-Free?

Linalool. Linalyl acetate. D-limonene. These are the chemical compounds found in most oils like Lavender, Clary Sage, Lemon, etcetera.


In its strictest sense, saying that we are chemical-free when using oils is inaccurate because oils are actually made up of chemical compounds belonging to different chemical families: monoterpenes, sesquiterpines, phenols, aldehydes, ketones. These chemical families have different characteristics and safety considerations.

I made this inaccurate statement all the time, too but what I really meant was synthetics ๐Ÿ™‚

Right?

Eugenol, for example found in Clove, is a phenol. It is highly skin irritating and according to IFRA, maximum dermal application is 0.5% which means 1d in a 10ml carrier.


When using oils such as clove and nutmeg, tuck them in other skin nourishing oils such as lavender, tea tree, frankincense.
Of course, the probability of skin sensitization is just a probability. Some would argue that they use these oils neat all the time.

It really depends on where you are coming from and your risk appetite.

My risk appetite is low (my husband’s heart was eaten by a bacteria and that is below 1% probability that it could happen but it did) so I always err at the side of caution. ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’šI only teach what I feel and know is safe and it’s up to you to apply it to your blending practice ๐Ÿ™‚

Fragrances vs. Essential Oils and Choosing Essential Oil Suppliers

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:ย 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. Itโ€™s like identifying whatโ€™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 10โ€“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!

Top Essential Oils and their Therapeutic Benefits

I want to share this little graph I made for some of the common oils that you may have in your arsenal. It shows the therapeutic properties of the components that are in the oils.

You may know that companies are not allowed to make any claims on the oils that they sell. This is simply because the oils have not been clinically tested. However, the therapeutic properties that I am posting here are of those constituents found in the oil (linalool, for example) and the research that has been made of them. Because these chemical compounds make up the majority of the oil, we can make some generalizations that the oil would have the same therapeutic properties as its parts.

This is the importance of a GCMS report to aromatherapists. In some cases, thyme essential oil may have the same smell but different chemical constituents because of the environment where they are grown. Companies who provide GC make this distinction: they put in the labels what is Thyme ct thymol and Thyme ct linalool. Thyme ct thymol can be irritating to the skin while Thyme ct linalool is not.

More often than not, oils would have a loooot of therapeutic properties so there is not much need to collect a lot (unless you are like me who is a hoarder and is now studying the oils, really, hahaha nakahanap ng excuse) – look at Lavender and Peppermint.

Through this chart, you can also see which blend you can make in the morning for example for your congested kid – peppermint (assuming he is more than 5 years old if topical application) and lemon to boost immune system and address congestion. But at nighttime, you can use frankincense and cedarwood, because both are good for respiratory support and at the same time, calming oils.

Hope this helps! โค