When you are using essential oils for aromatherapy, natural remedies, cooking, or personal care, it's important that you research the type of oil you're getting to make sure that you're using the highest quality possible. Not all the essential oils you see for sale on the internet or in stores are necessarily as pure as you may want. In order to make a more informed decision about which essential oil will work best for you, it’s necessary that you understand that there are several types of essential oils, and some are much better than others.
Essential oils can be prepared from literally any part of the plant: flowers, stems, leaves, and roots. Oils are extracted by distillation, expression (cold pressing), solvent extraction, or by ecuelle a piquer (sticking). These methods can be used for any grade of essential oils, and often the process used will have a direct bearing on the use of the oil. However, distilled oils are considered to be ‘weaker’ than are oils produced by expression, and those produced by solvent extraction can be contaminated. Ecuelle a piquer is a newer method whereby some fruits, such as lemons or oranges are pricked thousands of times to allow the oils in the cells to be released.
Choosing Premier Essential Oils
The difference in essential oils comes about because of the quality of the ingredients to begin with, and then with the method by which they are processed. Another determining factor is whether or not the oil has been contaminated with any other substance, or is even an essential oil at all. Be sure to carefully read the label of any oil you are considering purchasing, and if no mention is made of its grade, you can probably assume that it's not of the highest.
1. Therapeutic Grade Essentials.
Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils are considered to be the “Crème de la Crème” of oils. These are the purest of the essential oils, and are suitable (depending on their particular qualities) to be used for aroma therapy or personal care. These oils should have come from plants either obtained from the wild or that were grown organically.
2. Wellness Grade Oils.
Wellness Grade Oils are a step below Therapeutic Grade Oils, but are still of a very high quality. They are produced by distillation, and their source may have used artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
3. Natural Oils.
Natural Oils are those that you will most commonly see for sale. The term ‘natural’ actually has little meaning, and these oils have been ‘run through the mill’ so much that most of their healing properties have been destroyed. They may still smell nice, but will provide you with few actual benefits.
4. Synthetic Oils.
Synthetic oils are rock bottom. These are the results of chemical combinations in laboratories and will contain little in the way of the actual oil. Altered oils, which have had cheaper oils added to them to produce volume without having to use an expensive product. These are also lab products.
The results you get from any essential oil will be dependent not only on the quality of the materials used, but also the process.
Choose essential oils that will take you on a sensory journey that’s both stimulating and soothing.
And so breathe deeply—and relax.