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Essential oils

Beware: Adulteration of Essential Oils, Part III

Sunday, December 13, 2009 by: Angela Eksteins
Tags: essential oils, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Lack of regulation within the essential oil industry means consumers should arm themselves with the knowledge of adulteration and take steps to ensure they are buying genuine essential oils, with full therapeutic benefits.

Using pure, genuine essential oils means less is needed in order for the oil to be effective. This is easily forgotten when we are motivated to buy oils on the false economy of price.

The possibilities for adulteration and contamination increase with the number of times an essential oil changes hands in the production cycle. The ordinary consumer should therefore make themselves aware of the supply chain, along with the reputation and standards of both the retailer and the supplier of the essential oil.

A number of laboratory tests can determine if an essential oil has been adulterated but independent testing, especially for buyers of very small quantities, is a very expensive exercise. Consumers can certainly request information on testing and analysis done on the oil.

How Can We Detect Adulteration?

Adulteration can be highly sophisticated and impossible to detect without expert analysis and testing, but there are some clear warning signs that consumers should look out for.

1. Visible signs consumers should be aware of include a cloudy appearance or an unusual viscosity. Increased viscosity can indicate oxidation and an oil that is 'aged'. Viscosity is the measure of a materials resistance to flow. Sandalwood is an example of an oil that is viscous; it's quite difficult to get drops out of the bottle.

2. The smell of an essential oil can also be an indication but for those that are unfamiliar with the odour of a genuine essential oil, adulteration can be difficult to detect. To determine the purity of an essential oil it would be helpful for consumers to become familiar with how a genuine oil should smell.

3. The cost of an oil can also be an indication of purity; e.g., rose oil is one of the most expensive oils to produce so when presented with a 'cheap' rose essential oil it would be wise to investigate its purity.

4. To test for adulteration with another fixed oil (e.g., a vegetable oil) you can put a drop of the essential oil on cloth or blotting paper. If a fixed oil is present a ring of grease will be left after the essential oil has fully evaporated; essential oils will usually evaporate completely after a few hours.

For optimal therapeutic benefits and in the name of safety, it seems we should agree with Shirley Price when she said "organic oils are best of all..."

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

Articles/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: [email protected]

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