HOW TO TELL IF AN ESSENTIAL OIL IS TOP QUALITY…
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN plays a key role in an oil’s quality. While it is possible to grow plants in several different countries, the country of origin plays a significant role in the oil grade. This principle applies to other crops such as coffee, fruit and wine. The reason why different countries produce different quality plant products is that the soil and climate conditions are more suitable to some plants than others in different parts of the world. Plants tend to flourish in their natural country of origin, and even the altitude at which a plant is grown can have a substantial impact on the properties of its oil.
USE OF PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES varies among countries. As well, currently there is no reliable certification for international organic quality. It is best to use oils made from plants grown on farms in a country where the plant flourishes because they will have a certain degree of natural resistance to the native pests and will not require pesticides to survive.
TIME OF HARVEST affects the percentage and proportions of various chemical constituents in the plant and therefore the quality of the oil will differ depending on when the plant is harvested. Distillation should occur immediately after harvest and if possible right in the field to ensure the highest quality oils.
AGE OF OIL can affect the quality. Most oils are not affected by the passage of time; however, citrus oils suffer from a decrease in quality over time and should always be as fresh as possible.
TYPE OF DISTILLATION also influences the oil’s quality. Good quality oils should be steam distilled, expressed (i.e. citrus oils) or CO2 extracted. A true “essential oil” by definition should be steam distilled. Where oils are chemically extracted, solvent residues will be present in the oil.
TEMPERATURE AT WHICH STEAM DISTILLATION IS CARRIED OUT plays an important role in determining the quality. If the steam distillation is done at too high of a temperature, some of the valuable chemical constituents will literally be “burned out” of the oil (thus the therapeutic qualities will be missing and you will not feel their healing properties). High heat distillation is done to yield more oil in a shorter time span. This process produces a lower quality oil that can be sold at a lower price. Beware of below market value aromatherapy products or when all essential oils are the same price (e.g. rose versus orange oil), which are clear indicators of commercial grade quality.
METHOD OF STORAGE MATTERS. All quality oils should be bottled in dark glass bottles and stored in a cool dry place with minimal contact with oxygen.
At LJ Turtle, our essential oils come from a Canadian wholesaler company in BC whose essential oils are wild crafted and/or organic and are gathered from the best producers around the globe; our Canadian essential oils are wildcrafted and procured from a distiller out of Quebec, including Canadian Black Spruce, White Pine, Balsam Fir, and Spruce Hemlock; and we currently carry an Ontario, organically grown, harvested and distilled Lavender from Moffat, Ontario.
Country of origin information is available upon request.
We have over 50 essential oils regularly available at the Guelph Farmers’ Market.
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Guelph Farmers’ Market • Saturdays • 7 am – noon
All essential oils should be used only after being diluted in a carrier oil. Do not take internally unless under the direct supervision of a qualified practitioner. Always perform a small patch test (with the diluted essential oil) before using on skin, to check for compatibility. We strongly advise caution when using essential oils around children and pregnant women.