Organic Essential Oils

Essential oils are concentrated oils extracted from plants, flowers, and trees. Like all crops, they can either be organic (raised naturally without chemicals) or nonorganic (with pesticides and other chemicals used in growth and harvesting). As essential oils are an agricultural product, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates essential oils that are declared organic. Facilities can be certified by government regulation with inspection and follow-up. Thus, true organic essential oils will be labeled as certified organic.

According to the USDA, any agricultural products professing to be organic must be 95% or more organic and must be certified. If a product has not been certified, it cannot claim to be organic.  The contents of such a bottle would be suspect as the laws make it a fraudulent claim to identify a product as organic without certification of the facility.

Beyond organic growth, however, there are other important considerations in the quality of an essential oil. The growing methods are vital as an indicator of the final product. Harvesting is also a serious consideration because the essential oils come mainly from the most delicate fibers and hairs on the plants, which are easily damaged by careless harvesting methods. The distillation and storage processes can also influence the oils quality.

Distillation must be done accurately or an essential oil may be weak or diluted. Essential oils must be stored in dark glass bottles or stainless steel containers because light exposure alters the chemical makeup of the delicate concentration of oil. So, even if an essential oil is labeled as certified organic, that does not necessarily mean it is a high quality essential oil. Find out about the growth, harvesting, distilling, and bottling methods of the manufacturer, before making any substantial investment in essential oils from a particular company.

That being said, buying organic essential oils helps support organic growers and, as they say, every purchase we make is a vote. Make your vote count for organic growing. In addition, essential oils to be used on the skin, even in carrier oils, could cause irritation and inflammation if they contain chemicals like pesticides. Look for organic labels combined with the best practices to be sure that the chosen essential oil is going to work well for your needs.

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