Choosing A Quality Essential Oil - The Basics
So you have learned about the amazing benefits of essential oils and you want to get started using them for your animal family. This is intended to be your mini guide to choosing, buying and safely using essential oils for your animal family. This information is not intended to be your all-inclusive guide. Although this information is focused on pets, much of the guidance can be applied to people.
First Steps to Choosing a Quality Essential Oil
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to purchase quality essential oils for your pets. There are many fragrant or perfume products on the market that are NOT to be confused with a therapeutic or high quality essential oil. It is highly important to use a quality essential oil on all your pets, small or large. (closer understanding about ‘therapeutic grade’ will be discussed further in this article).
Quality essential oils are also referred to as aromatherapy, veterinarian, certified, or therapeutic grade essential oils, among other labels that are meant to distinguish their product as a quality product. Contact the manufacturer or distributor of the company you are interested in purchasing essential oils from to get further information about the quality of oil. They should be ready to offer proof of why they offer therapeutic grade essential oils. Ask them if their oils have been used safely on pets for the benefit of their health.
Visit aromatherapy groups to get recommendations for essential oils companies that have a history of providing quality essential oils for pets, as well as a list of companies that are not valid or safe companies.
To confuse you even more, just because a company looks good, has impressive ratings and lists their product as a therapeutic grade essential oils, DOES NOT mean they are in fact an oil that should be used for aromatherapy or therapeutic reasons. Also keep in mind that many safety rules in the aromatherapy field do not recommend using essential oils on smaller pets (especially cats) at all. They limit their safe use to dogs and horse and other larger animals.
However, there are other aromatherapists, veterinarians, animal naturopaths, and other holistic practitioners that utilize essential oils on many types of animals, both large and small. So, it will be up to you to determine what set of beliefs and values you care to follow. The advise would walk cautiously, do alot of research, be confident in the oils you are purchasing, and talk to many people who have been successful in utilizing essential oils, on pets.
That being said, the recommendation is to adhere to the safety measures of using essential oils, as seriously as if you were utilizing a prescription drug. Contact your veterinarian about how your interest in essential oils for your pets and get their recommendations on how to safely use them.
If you have a conventional vet that is against the use of essential oils with pets, or has little knowledge in the use of essential oils. then the recommendation is to find a veterinarian who uses essential oils in their practice.
Contact a qualified aromatherapist to assist you with your decisions. Ultimately, it is you that makes the final decisions for your pets, so be well informed prior to moving forward.
Here are some additional tips about essential oils, to help you understand the importance of only choosing quality essential oils for your pets, as well as for yourself. Keep in mind these are the basics and it is not a fully comprehensive guide.
What is an Adulterated Essential Oil?
Like anything our pets are going to consume, or have topically applied onto their body, we want it to be pure with no additives, preservatives, or filler’s. We are looking for a chemical free experience. The same goes for essential oils.
Anything that is added to the essential oil that is a chemical, safe or not safe, is considered adulterated. Anything that might be listed as an ingredient, on the bottle, but not from nature then it is adulterated. As oils become more of a demand, along with lower prices, companies begin
meeting those demands by adulterating their oils. Stretching the quantity of product for profit.
I think it is also important to note that ‘therapeutic grade’ is not governed
by any organization or association to verify it’s quality standard, or any
label a company chooses to advertise about it’s product. There is no labeling law for stating that it is a ‘therapeutic’ essential oil. It is a term that can only be based purely on merit and trust of the company that is offering that label. This makes it easy to choose companies that are not ethical in their labeling. It can make choosing an essential oil for its therapeutic value more difficult.
For further understanding I suggest that you read about labeling laws from credible sources such as; AHPA (American Herbal Products Association), NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy), AIA (Alliance for International Aromatherapists), Aromahead Institute, School of Essential Oils Studies, etc.
It is rumored that the big MLM companies offered this label as a marketing ploy. Perhaps that is how it started, hard to say with all the talk on the internet. But marketing is what it is. Everyone is marketing if they have a business, and everyone that has a ‘for profit’ business, is in the business of making money. The question is not whether the essential oil comes from an MLM company, or from a small company in Europe or the U.S., the question is are they ethically and responsibly marketing their product(s). Are they offering what they say they are offering? Is how the essential oils is being harvested and manufactured in congruency with the labels of that product. In other words, do they walk the talk?!
There are as many schools of thought out there, as there are religions, about essential oils. MLM’s are big targets, and there is no question, they are not perfect. There are also small mom and pop shops that can be just as unethical in their practices as any big corporate conglomerate. The point is there are wars against one another in the aromatherapy field, that disagree with what type of entity you purchase from, as well as what animals to utilize oils on, to the safety and application of essential oils. The final decision will be yours. I suggest you take it slow, err on the side of caution and be extreme in safety, until you feel more comfortable. Also, always, always get an experts opinion. Follow credible sources that are leaders in the aromatherapy field.
What Should Be on a Label?
Name of Essential Oil, including it’s Latin (botanical) name
Where was it manufactured
Expiration date or date of manufacture
The extraction process
Helpful to have on a Label:
Name of country where plants were grown
There is a statement about the quality of it’s essential oil (Ex: 100% essential oil)
Does it give information about it being ‘organic’ or wildcrafted?
Is the cost comparable to other brands? Same essential oil? (Ex: Compare Elemi to Elemi essential oil) If it considerably less expensive, then it is probably not a genuine essential oil.
Does it smell as expected?
Does the website give information about GC/MS testing their essential oils for purity? In house, or 3rd party testing? Keep in mind this testing does offer a final determination for the credibility of that supplier. It is recommended by many aromatherapists to not use this as a sole consideration in determining the essential oil quality.
Where are you purchasing your oils from? If your buying them from a grocery store, or a corner drug store, dollar store, etc., then you are not purchasing essential oils that are intended for therapeutic use, and are most likely to be adulterated oils.
Consider the reputation of the essential oil company and the relationships it has with it’s suppliers. What are the practices that the supplier’s adhere to, in growing, harvesting and distilling their essential oils. The soil, the climate, the location, part of the plant that is used, the distillation process and the storage are all considerations in determining the quality of essential oil and the ethical practices of the company.
Offers safety data sheets MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). This information includes toxicity, storage, disposal, physical data, hazards, dangers, personal protections, and much more. I found a MSDS report for Lavendar essential oil at this web address: http://theida.com/what-is-a-msds-report-and-who-needs-them/.
Reputation of company speaks a thousand words. Get reviews about the company your interested in.
That concludes information about choosing a quality essential oil. It may have left you with your head spinning, or it may have opened your eyes to some basics in determining what essential oil supplier you will use.
It is not meant to confuse, but to help you realize that there are many considerations when using essential oils, and it is to be taken seriously. As if you were buying your first house! Be thorough. Do your research. Get reviews. Be open minded. Weed thru all the essential oil differences and wars between belief systems. Make a list of what belief systems are important to you. Be flexible. Don’t be married to one company, go explore the many beautiful commitments that so many smaller companies live their existence by and take pride in what they have to offer.
To you and and your pets and their wellness! May the oils endow you with their healing beauty!
By Diana Wanamaker
Copyright April 2016. All Rights Reserved