Originally published December 7 2009
Beware: Adulteration of Essential Oils, Part II
by Angela Eksteins
(NaturalNews) Adulterating an essential oil alters its naturally occurring synergistic components and diminishes its therapeutic benefits.
Aromatherapists believe pure essential oils contain the natural 'life force' or 'essence' of a plant, and there are many unidentified components present which science cannot imitate. These components, existing as a 'whole', give each essential oil its own unique, special qualities.
"Buchbauer (1998) maintains that each constituent of an essential oil contributes to the beneficial or adverse effects of the oil. I contend that changing the distribution of chiral components of oils by deliberate adulteration with racemic synthetic odourants, may in fact change the beneficial properties of the oil." (Tony Burfield 2003-2005)
Synthetic or adulterated oils lack quality."Optimum quality is paramount not only in order to get the best results, but also to avoid the risk of possible harmful side effects... organic oils are best of all" says Shirley Price, a practicing aromatherapist for over two decades and author of 5 best-selling books.
"When science removes the therapeutic molecules or components from plants or essential oils, the administered result seems to give side effects. It is now appreciated that in the whole plant, or whole essential oil, there are many apparently useless components, including several that we cannot identify. These are believed to be 'quenchers' of the side effects which therapeutic agents in isolation could, and indeed do, cause." (Shirley Price; The Aromatherapy Workbook)
Typical Forms of Adulteration Include (but aren't limited to):
1. Adding a cheaper oil (either the same or different) to a more expensive oil - e.g., lavandin is often sold under the name of lavender; the therapeutic qualities and components of each are different. In some cases, adulteration with a cheaper oil is due to the short supply of the more expensive oil.
2. Addition of alcohol - to the inexperienced nose it's difficult to notice any difference in the aroma.
3. Adding isolates obtained from other essential oils - lemon or orange terpenes are available in huge quantities at very low cost. "Terpenes, a dominant feature in most essential oils, are sometimes removed to concentrate the remaining, more desirable constituents...the terpenes often being used to adulterate another oil" says Shirley Price.
4. Adding synthetic substances (sometimes nature identical) - e.g., DPG (dipropylene glycol) is colourless and odourless; it is commonly used to bulk up lavender oil.
5. Addition of a vegetable or mineral oil - Rapeseed, a very cheap vegetable oil, has been used for this purpose.
Common Adulterations Include (but aren't limited to):
GERANIUM: often cut with palmarosa, citronella, synthetic components.
JASMINE: commonly adulterated or synthesized with ylang-ylang, benzyl acetate, indole, cinnamic aldehyde and fractions.
LAVENDER: often adulterated by acetylated lavandin, aspic, synthetic linalool, linalyl acetate and ho leaf fractions.
LEMON: addition of orange terpenes, lemon terpenes & by-products, synthetic limonene, citral, dipentene, BHA and BHT.
ORANGE (SWEET): BHA, BHT, or distilled orange oil is added, or sweet and bitter are mixed.
PATCHOULI: often cut with cedarwood, clove oil, terpenes, methyl abietate, vetiver residues, castor oil, gurjun balsam and others. The superior Indonesian patchouli oil is often blended with the cheaper Chinese oil.
PEPPERMINT: the most adulterated oil, usually with cornmint. It is difficult to detect even at 85%.
ROSE: adulteration is sophisticated and difficult to detect, often adulterated with many fractions, synthetic and natural.
SANDALWOOD: often cut with amyris, araucaria, cedarwood, castor and copaiba. It also may be diluted with glyceryl acetate, benzyl benzoate and synthetic copies with the addition of sandalwood fragrance chemicals, sandalwood terpenes.
YLANG YLANG: very easily adulterated with cananga oil, Peru balsam, copaiba, inferior fractionations and synthetics. Different grades are mixed.
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
The Adulteration Of Essential Oils And The Consequences To Aromatherapy & Natural Perfumery Practice; Tony Burfield 2003-2005; http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~nodice/
About the authorA 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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