Revered for 5000 years, therapeutic essential oils are life-enhancing gifts from the plant kingdom, lending restorative properties to body, mind, and spirit. Antiseptic, calming, stimulating, and soothing, steam distilled essential oils [EOs] are nature’s offering of well-being ~ both for the plants that create them & for those who eat or use the plants & essential oils. (Learn more about essential oils’ ancient history in this article.)
In the last three decades, 100% pure organic essential oils have re-emerged as holistic remedies for the stressful effects of our modern lifestyles. Superior to many conventional medications & supplements, therapeutic-grade essential oils deliver positive – often profound – benefits to the body, whether through inhalation, direct skin application, or by internal consumption.They also purify our environment & bodies with oxygen-rich compounds, effectively neutralizing harmful microbes.
When considering therapeutic essential oils for health or well being, buy organic or top quality essential oils. Although more expensive than perfume-grade [fragrance] or synthetic oils, ‘certified organic’ assures the purity of essential oils.
Be aware that many ‘fragrance grade’ essential oils are mass produced in large chemical plants for food flavorings, perfumery, and for mis-leadingly labeled ‘aromatherapy’ products such as scented candles, air fresheners, soaps & cleaning products, etc. For example, pine-scented floor cleaner – as you might imagine there’s an enormous difference between the quality, chemical composition, and cost of a scented oil used in the manufacture of floor cleaners vs. pine essential oil with therapeutic qualities for relieving a headache.
Learn more about essential oils!
~ About therapeutic essential oils’ properties by reading our oils articles.
If you’re NEW to the world of therapeutic essential oils, with no idea where to begin, what EOs to buy & use first, check out our list of my family’s favorite ‘all-purpose’ oils originally compiled for an alternative health friend, who asked me for some ideas. We’ve assembled some handy reference lists for using Lavender Essential Oil Tips, Peppermint Essential Oil Tips, and Lemon Essential Oil Tips (click for a FREE sample) to help you learn to use essential oils.
Recommended Sources for Therapeutic Essential Oils
*There are three internationally recognized standards of excellence for therapeutic-quality essential oils. The two most frequently referred to are:
~ AFNOR / Association French Normalization Organization Regulation.
Their regulations state the percentages of specific chemical constiuents that must be present in stringent laboratory analysis for an essential oil to be considered therapeutic grade. To gain the AFNOR seal, essential oils must be sent to France for testing.
~ ISO / International Standards Organization.
~ EC / The European ‘Gold Standard’.
I purchase organic or wild-crafted essential oils from the following reputable suppliers (listed in alphabetical order):
Eden Botanicals is one of my favorite sources for wonderful essential oils and perfumery ingredients. From their ‘Welcome’ page: “We have specialized in wholesale Essential Oils, CO2 Extracts, & Absolutes for aromatherapy, natural perfumery, body & facial care for over 30 years. We offer over 260 botanical extracts – including many that are rare and precious. All of our oils are obtained from aromatic plants grown with integrity and care and procured from some of the finest distilleries around the world. It is our promise to you that everything you purchase from Eden Botanicals is of the highest quality – 100% guaranteed.” Like Original Swiss Aromatics (see below) some of their offerings are certified organically farmed, while other products are wild-crafted. They feature an ‘Overview’ section for each essential oil along with the country of origin, which is important as you become more familiar with the chemical differences of EOs grown in hot vs cold climates and at different elevations.
Nature’s Gift is an excellent online resource for affordable, top quality, therapeutic essential oils. From their ‘About Us’ page: “At Nature’s Gift, we carefully select pure essential oils from the four corners of the world. Our goal is to provide the finest quality pure and natural essential oils available today. We do not shop by price, nor do we buy from “mass market” suppliers, but rather from small distillers who either grow their crop themselves, or personally know and observe the farmers whose oils they sell. Most of our oils are either organically grown, or ethically wildcrafted with concern for the worldwide environment and ecosystem.”
Original Swiss Aromatics based in San Rafael, CA USA is the wholesale EO supplier, associated with Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt’s Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy. The quality of their EOs meets demanding European standards. Some of their source plant material is certified organically farmed, while other plants are wild-crafted and labeled ‘vintage.’ They also list the country of origin for each of their essential oils, which is important as you become more familiar with the chemical differences of EOs grown in hot vs cold climates and at different elevations.
from OSA’s site: “Essential Oils are products of the plant organism. The way we [OSA] offer essential oils is inspired by accepting oils as precious products of biological processes, cherished for their own beauty and brilliance rather than as industrial raw materials for the food or fragrance industry, standardized and diluted to be made econommically acceptable. We will offer essential oils which, to the best of our abilities to ascertain, are truly genuine and authentic. This means nothing has been added nor taken out. It also means that no other natural substances have been added, that an oil is truly and exclusively from the plant that it claims to be.”
Simpler’s Botanical Company, founded in 1981, is an ethical, environmentally concerned business based in Sebastopol, California USA. Their herbal & essential oil products may be purchased on-line or found in health food stores & body care shops.
Simpler’s bottles many of their EOs in small quantities, 1-2ml & 5ml bottles, so even very pricey EOs like Rose Otto – Rosa damacena, Melissa officinalis, sustainably harvested Australian Sandalwood – Santalum spicatum, etc. are within a modest budget.