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Essential oils

Beware: Adulteration of Essential Oils, Part I

Saturday, December 05, 2009 by: Angela Eksteins
Tags: essential oils, adulteration, health news

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(NewsTarget) Adulteration (the `stretching` or `extending`) of genuine essential oils, in order to increase profits or to `standardize` an oil, is apparently common practice within the essential oil industry. It seems `100% essential oil` on a label is NOT a guarantee that the contents are pure and genuine.

To adulterate something means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element, especially to prepare for sale by replacing more valuable with less valuable or inert ingredients (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Maria Lis-Balchin, a leading researcher and expert in aromatherapy says, "Adulteration is rampant in the essential oil industry...blending can occur with the true botanical or other botanical or synthetic..."

The perfume industry is by far the biggest user of essential oils (followed by the food industry) and adulteration is widely practiced and accepted. To ensure consistency and acceptability of a product, it`s important for the perfumer to obtain essential oils that have the same chemical makeup and aroma, year after year.

In the perfume industry adulteration or rectification (`putting right` or `cleaning up`) is carried out so the end product is exactly what the perfumer wants - otherwise your favourite perfume you just bought yesterday would smell very different from the one you bought last year!

Weather and the environment have a great influence on the aroma and taste of crops from year to year. A good example of this is wine - we all know there are good and bad years with wine, and the same applies to the plants from which we obtain precious essential oils. The chemical makeup of the oil will differ based on environmental conditions, and where in the world it is grown.

The `fixing` of these inconsistencies by the perfumer can unfortunately have a flow on effect which is of great concern. These adulterated oils (intended as fragrances, not to influence the health of the body) enter into the aromatherapy supply chain, and are being sold to consumers and health practitioners as pure and genuine oils. This of course raises many safety issues.

Resources:
Books:

The Aromatherapy Workbook; A Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Essential Oils; Shirley Price
Aromatherapy science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals;Maria Lis-Balchin
The Art of Aromatherapy; Robert Tisserand

Article/websites:
The Adulteration Of Essential Oils And The Consequences To Aromatherapy & Natural Perfumery Practice; Tony Burfield 2003-2005; http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~nodice/

http://www.beautymagonline.com/pages/essenti...
http://www.abundantlifeessentials.com/adulte...

About the author

A passionate advocate for organic living and personal empowerment, Angela hopes to inspire others to live a healthy, wealthy life of purpose.
Angela's expertise is organics, meditation & alternative healing techniques and philosophies. She holds qualifications in Natural Skin Care Product Development, Reiki, Thought Field Therapy, Organic Facials & Massage.
Contact: thesoulroom@gmail.com
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