What contributes to the quality of essential oils?
Below are the different factors that can alter the cost and therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
- Different species of the same plant (the second italic word)
- Grades and extraction process (steamed, cold pressed, water extraction)
- Dilution with carrier oils
- Part of the plant used (leaf, flower, stem, root)
- Engineered “fake or synthetic” Oils
Different species within the one plant family
The plants scientific (botanical) name is a Latin binomial (two-part name). First word is the genus and the second word is the species in the genus. For instance Clary Sage’s scientific name is Salvia sclarea. Salvia is the genus, sclarea is the species.
These different species can vary in therapeutic properties. Consider Lavender, which has several species used in Aromatherapy:
- Lavandula angustifolia /Officinalis = sedative (calming & relaxing)
- Lavandula spica/latifolia= analgesic (relieves pain)
- Lavandulastoechas= mucolytic (thins mucus)
Each species and extraction process can vary in cost considerably, creating different grades. Generally, the more expensive the plant essence (higher grade), the stronger the properties and longer lasting aroma.
Ylang ylang for example has different grades based on the time of the extraction process. These grades all create varying chemical compositions, aromas, and therapeutic benefits.
Varying grades are:
- Extra ylang ylang best aroma, and calming benefits. This is extracted within the first few hours of distillation. Marked as the most premium.
- Grade 1 follows closely to extra.
- Then 2 & 3 all collected at intervals over the next 12-18 hours.
Oils such as johoba, coconut, sunflower, grapeseed, and almond oil. These base oils are used for essential oils applied directly on skin. However, sometimes, companies use these carrier oils to dilute their “pure essential oil blends”. Thus, making it cheaper to produce. Watch out for them in the ingredients. Tip: the ingredients are listed from highest ML to least.
QYORA do not dilute our pure essential oils. The only time a base oil is used is for our 9ml roller balls which are applied directly on skin.
The oils replicate the odour/aroma known as “nature identical smell”. To achieve this, they replicate the chemical constituents from the plant to manufacture the aroma. These "fake" oils are a chemically constructed and are not essential oils. Many companies use this process, making the cost significantly cheaper. They do not contain therapeutic benefits and properties.
Part of the plant used
Certain parts of the plant may yield a more therapeutic essential oil. Let's look at Bitter Orange Tree (Citrus aurantium var amara).
- Orange Oil (fruit extracted by expression/cold pressed) - anti microbial, anti inflammatory, stress relief
- Neroli Oil (flowers via water distillation) - anti bacterial & anti inflammatory
- Petitgrain Oil (leaves via steam distillation) - Stronger sedative properties, aids anxiety, stress, and depression.