Lets talk essential oils and how one goes about choosing an essential oil brand to use. There are a multitude of companies out there dipping their toes into the EO market, but why? Big box stores have no interest in where their oils come from or how they got there, but they are lining their shelves with them and jumping on the bandwagon of “natural living” that seems to be sweeping the nation.
This is why it is extremely important that we, the health-conscious consumers, carefully select which brand we use, as not all oils are created the same. Below are some key points I like to give others when they ask what to look for in an essential oil, and its company.
A) Sourcing. When looking at an essential oil, the sourcing is incredibly important. My favorite analogy is this, here in Canada we could maybe grow a banana tree… but you and I can both agree that it will not be the same nutrient rich, deliciously flavored fruit as it would be grown down South in its native thriving habitat down in, say, the Caribbean. Just because the plant CAN grow here, doesn’t mean it necessarily should.
The reason why I chose doTERRA was mainly due to their sourcing. Many essential oil companies either a) grow their plants in large mass-produced crops in the united states or wherever they are operating, b) source their plants through third party growers with no knowledge of the plants life cyce, or c) purchasing their bulk oils through brokers, so truly not having any idea where or what their oil came from. This is what sets doTERRA apart.
Through their Co-Impact Sourcing initiative, doTERRA finds wherever in the world a plant grows indigenously, so wherever it grows abundantly, naturally. Once they find a large enough source suitable to serve their needs, they establish long-term, mutually beneficial supplier partnership and in the process, creating sustainable jobs and provide an income to local farmers and workers.
doTERRA has over 100 essential oils in its product line and sources oils from over 40 different countries, of which more than half could be considered developing countries.
On top of this incredible sourcing model, doTERRA’s Healing Hands Foundation provides funding and resources to create community-based projects to improve the lives of the larger communities. Past projects include building medical clinics, installing drinking water and irrigation systems and building schools.
B) Testing. Besides quality sourcing, proper testing and analysis is crucial in the world of essential oils. The purity of an essential oil is its most important characteristic! An essential oil that isn’t pure, and proven to be pure (fancy labeling saying its 100% pure means nothing unless they have the results to back it up!) means you run the risk of putting not only germs, but possibly heavy metals, and or adulterants onto or into your body. Due to no accepted standard for essential oils, this is when we see sensitivity, reactions and even sickness due to use of oils that haven’t been thoroughly tested, if they were even tested at all (hello Dollar Store, Craft Store, Grocery store oils!).
Some of the BASIC and important tests essential oils should be put through before bottling include:
- Microbial testing
- Gas Chromatography testing
- Mass Spectrometry
- Heavy Metal testing
- Organoleptic testing
- Chirality testing
- Isotopic analysis
- (to read more on what each of these tests are for, visit https://www.doterra.com/US/en/cptg-testing-process to learn about each and save the length of this blog post!)
“Historically, gas chromatography was sufficient to identify individual components in an essential oil. However, as more sophisticated methods for developing synthetic essential oil products formed, further validation methods were needed. Over time, additional testing methods such as mass spectroscopy, chiral analysis, FTIR Scan, carbon isotope analysis and others have been developed to more accurately identify each individual essential oil constituent.” doTERRA on testing
These tests provide us a wealth of information on not only what an oil should smell, look and feel like, but also give us information on the chemical constituents of an oil, and its purity. When researching an essential oil brand, the first thing I look for is TESTING. If a company does not have complete transparency about their testing, I walk the other way. I want to be able to find, easily from their website, the list of tests they run their oils through, as well as the option to view the results of these tests. A company who keeps their testing protocol and/or results private and decline public access is a red flag company to me. Or a company who cannot provide proof of ANY testing ?I walk away from them as well.
This is why I LOVE doTERRA. Our Source to You website allows you to enter the lot number on the bottom of any doTERRA oil into their database and they will provide you full disclosure of all testing results done on said batch. Can’t get much more transparent then that! If you are using a product on not only you, but your family and kiddo’s as well, don’t you want and deserve to know EXACTLY what is in it?
doTERRA created its own testing process CPTG , standing for Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®. This process certifies that there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients, or harmful contaminants in their essential oils. doTERRA even goes a step further, putting all their products and the packaging through a whole host of tests to ensure a long and effective shelf-life. This protocol ensures potency, purity, and consistency batch to batch.
Sourcing and testing are the two big hitters when it comes to choosing an essential oil brand. I also like to look at the company as a whole. Are they just about marketing and selling their products, or are they working to better the world around them? Our healthcare industry is in a deep spiral due to the large pharmaceuticals cranking out all these medications, many of them I believe personally causing more harm then good in most cases. They then are paying large corporations to market these drugs in turn putting them in the hands of the public, many whom are just trying to find a way to live a normal, healthy lifestyle. The opiod crisis is real, the frequency of overdose is staggering, and the fact that money is the driving force behind many of these medications is scary. I am a BIG believer that our body has the power to heal itself, but it needs to be given the right tools to do so. Essential oils come from nature. Nature in itself can provide incredible ways to heal, regenerate and protect itself from outside threats. Our bodies, in my opinion, are the same. If we limit the harmful outside threats the stronger we will be internally. If we find we are having to defend ourselves from one of these threats, don’t you want to do it as naturally and safely as possible? Without the use of harmful synthetic compounds?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for modern medicine and all the technological advances our healthcare system has made throughout the last century. Modern medicine has saved me and my overall health during some very trying times of my own in the recent past, and I believe there is a time and place when we DO need to seek medical attention of course. BUT, if we can incorporate natural substitutes in place of the common everyday synthetics we normally use, are we not giving our bodies the best possible chance to NOT require modern intervention? If we can fill our bodies with nutritious whole foods, provide quality supplementation to make up for anything we are lacking in our diet, and reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals, additives and synthetics, I truly believe we can live a higher quality of life. If essential oils can help provide us just that, why wouldn’t I want to shout from the rooftops that there are better ways to support ourselves and share the beautiful natural plant magic that these little bottles can provide us!
Thanks for willingly reading the rant I went on above, but this topic is soo important to me and I feel it's a very common question out there in regards to the ever growing essential oil revolution we are finding ourselves in!
Hope you all aren't under 3 feet of snow like we are over here in BC! I've been wading through chest deep snow drifts to get to my horses since our snowpocalypse hit us a few days ago. Praying for spring over here!
Hugs and love guys, Kylie