Essential oils have grown exponentially in popularity and uses over the last couple of years. These oils are extracts made from aromatic plants – like peppermint, sage and lavender – and they do more than just smell great. When concentrated, these extracts can have therapeutic effects. Essential oils can be handy, all-natural remedies when you reach into your medicine cabinet to relieve everyday problems like headaches, trouble sleeping and the common cold.
If you’ve been looking into essential oils, chances are you have come across Young Living, doTERRA and other popular brands. There are many essential oils companies out there claiming to have the “best essential oils,” but it’s hard to know what what to look for when buying.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, using poor quality oils can have dangerous effects. Essential oils are not wholly regulated by the FDA, so some companies sell products with chemical substitutes, artificial scents and harmful parabens.
Here is what to look for so you can be sure you are getting the best essential oils.
The Real Deal
Look out for phrases like “nature identicals.” This jargon is code for synthetic ingredients. “Nature identicals” implies that molecules of a synthetic odorant are similar enough to the chemical makeup of natural odorants. But studies suggest that synthetic ingredients do not work as well as naturally occurring compounds – if at all.
If you were buying fresh herbs, you wouldn’t accept a mix of several different ingredients. The same should be true for essential oils. Essential oils that contain additives have reduced quality and do not carry the same benefits. Clinical trials have found synthetic additives in several popular oil brands on the market. The best essential oils are GC/MS tested and don’t have extra chemical ingredients.
Buying organic is a trend that is here to stay, and for good reason. When you buy organic essential oils you can feel confident that they do not contain harmful chemicals. Not only that, the therapeutic properties of the organic oil are typically higher. The best essential oils come from plants grown without pesticides, herbicides or harmful chemicals are used and only natural fertilizers are used.
Method of Extraction
You may notice that some essential oils and cheaper than others. This is because they have been extracted using solvents that reduce their quality or they were made with plants that have already been extracted multiple times. If you want oils that are pure and potent, look for the first extraction label and a method of extraction that is chemical-free.
Essential oils’ popularity is on the rise. So popular, in fact, that essential oils are expected to be a nearly $12 billion business by 2022. This demand will have a strain on the environment if not done sustainably. Buying from companies that practice sustainable farming is important for the quality of the environment and (almost always) results in a better product. Sustainable farms use the whole plant to reduce waste and practice organic methods of fertilization and soil-tilling to preserve the land. Essential oils produced on sustainable farms are often organic by default and have a higher potency because they’re grown in natural conditions.
The CBD Factor
One essential oil that is quickly gaining attention is CBD oil. An extract of the hemp plant, CBD oil is an effective therapeutic-grade supplement with widespread benefits provided throughout the body. Not only that, it has benefits for mental health too like improving the quality of your sleep and reducing anxiety and stress. Look for CBD oils if you suffer from one of these conditions or if you’re a healthy individual trying to improve your overall physical and mental health.