There is a tremendous amount of variation when it comes to the quality of essential oils produced around the world. Where essential oil producing plants are grown is a big factor. Soil quality and sun levels are key, but so is sufficient clean water and plant spacing etc.
There’s also the issue of the treatment of the essential oil producing plants and trees. And sadly, there are some horrific practices going on where this is concerned, which will clearly negatively impact the essential oil quality when parts of these plants are distilled to make the oils.
Some practices are so dire that it is threatening entire species. The Boswellia tree, which is used to make Frankincense Essential Oil, for example, is the latest to join the endangered list.
***Wild As The Wind is so concerned about the threat to Frankincense Trees that it is in the process of setting up funding for the planting of thousands of Boswellia trees. (More about this at the end of this article.)
Essential Oil Quality Varies Immensely From One Brand To Another
This article has been inspired by the following feedback received today.
I came across your site yesterday when I was tearing my hair out over ‘how do you choose an essential oil brand’. I used to use aromatherapy a lot years ago and had my go to (now long gone) wonderful supplier. Where to begin?
I cannot thank you enough for the generosity of your (free!!) advice. I have yet to place an order but will soon when I decide on my priorities. I have also found so many good and reliable sources all by following your links.This is such a relief after a disastrous order from an allegedly ‘safe and reliable’ site which sent me frankincense (and more) that smelled revolting…and it so shouldn’t
Sadly, Wild As The Wind all too often receives this kind of message, and I am always so saddened to learn that people are losing their hard-earned money on toxic, harmful substances, which bear no relation to true healing aromatherapy oils.
Tragically, it is not just the growing conditions of the plants used to make essential oils which need to be put under the microscope. We also need to be aware there’s some dreadful practices employed in the process of making essential oils too…
Adulterated Essential Oils
Essential oil adulteration is extremely widespread. Aromatherapy oils are routinely ‘doctored’ for profit. Undoubtedly, the essential oils mentioned in the feedback above have either been chemically manipulated in some way, or, are purely chemically synthesised in a lab.
Chemical adulteration is terribly widespread. For example, 90% of all the Lavender Essential Oil sold in the world today is completely chemically synthesised using non-natural substances.
Sub-standard labs in poor parts of the world are churning out these toxic chemical oils for pennies and passing them off as genuine essential oils. This doesn’t only mean that people are getting badly ripped off, but there are other awful consequences of this also…
Buying Toxic Essential Oils
There are many major drawbacks to buying toxic essential oils, but none more so than the top two in this list:
- If you buy toxic essential oils you are funding the businesses who are harming you.
- Inexperienced essential oil users are likely to harm their health.
- Toxic essential oils are generally made in sweatshops.
- Inexperienced essential oil users end up believing that essential oils don’t work.
- Chemicals are a major polluting force in our world.
- The production of toxic essential oils is threatening the livelihood of ethical producers
1. What We Invest In Is What Persists
If you buy toxic essential oils you are funding the businesses who are harming you as well as the ‘clean’ essential oil producers. Investing in these businesses only makes them stronger and more determined to keep on doing what they are doing. It means they can use their incredible profits to gain increasing levels of prominence online, thereby creating a vicious cycle of ongoing abuse of the buying public. The more visible they are the more likely they are to make sales, and the more sales they make, the more profit they have to invest in publicity. Tragically, the more visible they are means that genuine producers and ethical essential oil vendors are losing their visibility by the same increments.
2. Inexperienced Essential Oil Users Are Most At Risk
The people who are most likely to buy adulterated essential oils are the people who are new to using essential oils. Sadly, their inexperience around what pure, natural essential oils should smell like, will likely result in them using tainted, toxic essential oils for some time, completely unaware of the harm they are doing to themselves. Essential oil adulteration is harming the health of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people… every day!
3. Adulterated Essential Oils Are Often Made In Sweatshop Conditions
Toxic essential oils are generally made in sweatshops in developing countries by people wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops. Even though these workers are being exposed to noxious ingredients, for up to 12 or 14 hours a day, they have no protective clothing to shield them from the harm being done to their health. The chemicals they are working with can cause burns, which often turn into suppurating wounds in tropical conditions, and they can cause massive dermal allergic reactions including blisters, scabs and rashes, the contents of which can all end up in the oils. As these chemically produced oils are also neurotoxic through simply being inhaled the workers in these facilities are exposing themselves to appalling health outcomes. So, when people in the West buy adulterated essential oils they are investing in the ongoing exploitation of others who’s working life can lead to profoundly life-threatening conditions.
4. Toxic Essential Oils Discredits The Efficacy OF Pure Natural Essential Oils
When inexperienced essential oil users, who have bought toxic oils, don’t obtain the benefits they were hoping for from their essential oils, they end up believing that essential oils don’t work. This discredits the entire industry and shuts down an avenue of healing which could have made a vast difference to so many.
5. Chemicals As A Polluting Force
The chemicals being used to make adulterated and chemically manipulated essential oils are not just harming the people making and using them, they also harm our environment. The manufacturing processes used to make these chemicals have dire environmental consequences. Manufacturing processes lead to water and air pollution, as does the secondary process of combining these chemicals in the making of fake aromatherapy oils. The third way in which these chemicals pollute is when people use them in their home and work environments, again tainting the air quality and potentially entering domestic water supplies when diffusers, oil burners and mixing bowls are washed after use.
6. Fake Essential Oils Are Threatening The Livelihoods Of Ethical Producers
Ethical essential oil producers support our environment by growing plants naturally. This also provides our wildlife with the habitats they need to thrive. Because adulterated essential oils lead many to believe essential oils are unhelpful, and because true natural essential oils are increasingly difficult to find due to the dominance of fake oils online, this means that the demand for natural essential oils is potentially diminished. The knock on effect of this scenario is that producers of therapeutic grade essential oils will have to increasingly reduce production.
Finding Quality Essential Oils
Much time and effort has been invested at Wild As The Wind to try and educate people about essential oil quality. The following articles are just some which help guide people to find quality essential oils.
Frankincense Essential Oil Under Threat
As mentioned in the introduction, Frankincense Essential Oil is massively under threat. The following articles explain why…
Wild As The Wind & Frankincense Production
I am currently in discussion with one of my most cherished friends about setting up the sustainable production of Frankincense trees in South India.
Back in the early 1990’s I went to South India to set up projects for the Trade Not Aid arm of the Body Shop. One of the great blessings of this adventure was meeting Anuja Skaria, who I have remained in contact with over the decades.
We are currently in discussion about the potential for planting thousands of Boswellia Trees, (Frankincense Trees), in Tamil Nadu. This will be a sustainability project in every sense of the word, and I am incredibly grateful for the support of Wild As The Wind customers for making this project a possibility.
One day I hope to take a group to India with me to see the project flourish and to sample the incredible life which exists there. The trees will grow just outside the sacred city of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu.
Tiruvannamalai is a very famous place both spiritually and historically. The main temple in Tiruvannamalai is very unique, but the main structure is clearly Dravidian in style, like all of the major temples in this part of the world.
The backdrop to the Tiruvannamalai Annamalaiyar Temple is also considered sacred. It bears the same name, The Annamalai, but some refer to it as the red Mountain.
I will write a dedicated post about this project once it has been developed more fully, and when the likelihood of it going ahead is more certain. Please subscribe for further details.
The information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues. If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils or associated products. If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.
Deepen your knowledge by using the Wild As The Wind Recommended Resources
Another resource you may find useful can be found by following the link below. *Please note, I use sources from the Recommended Resources list as well as sources from the Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources list when researching articles for the Wild As The Wind Blog.
Best Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources.
Wild As The Wind use a number of resources when deciding which essential oil formulas to put together for optimal healing and efficacy, as well as to support any health claims we may make.
We use the industry ‘bible’ on essential oil safety: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals [2nd Edition] by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, to establish the safety of the Wild As The Wind formulations.
Many of the scientific studies used to inform the claims made on this website are via GreenMedInfo, as well as via Dr. Josh Axe.
Other resources include:
- Robert Tisserand
- Dr. Robert Pappas
- Dr. Mercola