What Actually Is An Essential Oil?
You've heard the buzz, you've smelled some testers... but what actually is this stuff?
We love asking this question, because if we can help our customers to truly understand what an essential oil is, they'll also understand the importance of quality, of organic farming methods, of third party certification etc etc.
So, what is this elusive liquid everyone is going so nuts over? Is it the plant matter all mushed up? Is it what you get when you squeeze flowers really hard? Mmmm no, not quite.
The essential oil is more a ‘hormone’ inside the plasma of the plant, closely linked to its physiological functions.
It is the response of the whole plant organism to environmental and life cycle challenges.
The essential oil is active and ever changing within the plant, much like our own endocrine and immune systems are constantly changing to bring balance to our bodies. The plant uses its essential oil for a myriad of survival needs; resisting disease, repelling insects, attracting a pollinator, detoxifying unwanted material, regenerating wounds, protecting against UV rays, communicating with other plants, the list goes on! Pretty cool, right?
This is one of the many reasons why consumers should choose essential oils that come from an organic source.
If a plant has been interfered with (sprayed with pesticides or herbicides) it will not have the same need for protection, and therefore will not produce the biochemicals that we look for within its essential oil.
Essential oils are not controlled or regulated for quality or purity. Unless an essential oil is bottled under the control of an independent third party certification body, consumers have no way of knowing what’s actually in it.
There are many companies distributing essential oils, particularly in the Multi-Level Marketing Arena, that claim to ‘control’ their oils for quality and purity. Unfortunately, when the Supplier plays the role of verifying quality and purity, the control can’t help but be compromised by their vested interest. On the other hand, when an internationally recognized certification body is playing that role, consumers can be assured that all of the information being provided to them is traceable and verifiable, through an unbiased third party (see What's in a Label for more info)
Terms like ‘Certified Pure Tested Grade’, ‘Therapeutic Grade’, ‘100% Pure’, ‘Natural’ etc. are an indication that an oil is not controlled by a legitimate certification body.
The human relationship with the aromatic and medicinal value of plants has ancient and universal roots. You can access this gift of nature through pure, high quality essential oils. All you have to do is become an informed consumer.