It’s all the rage...essential oils have grow in popularity for aromatherapy, medicinal purposes, use in cosmetics, skin care and body care. Plants and herbs have been used for centuries to heal and essential oils give a powerful botanical punch with giving off an amazing aromatic scent.
When purchasing essential oils, you may have noticed several terms used to describe them, like “all natural”, “100% pure”, “therapeutic grade”, ‘wild harvested”, and “USDA organic” just to name a few. Chances are, if you are using essential oils, you care about the integrity of the oil and value it being truly natural. It can be confusing to know what’s the highest quality out there and what’s really pure.
What about Therapeutic Grade?
There is a perception that ‘therapeutic grade’ is the highest grade of purity possible. However, this term is not regulated by any entity except by the business touting it. In an article by Jade Shutes, certified herbalist and past president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, she states that the term “was invented by some very clever marketers who wanted people to believe that there were somehow therapeutic grade essential oils and then all others.” We wouldn’t go so far as to to say the term was created only for a marketing ploy, but you have to really trust the company monitors their suppliers and their process to the standard they say they do.
A Sure Bet - USDA Certified
The only way you can be sure you have a pure essential oil is to chose a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified organic essential oil. To be certified as USDA organic, a business must go through a rigorous review from an outside organization to prove each ingredient meets the USDA organic standards and that the product is processed with care towards keeping it pure, among many other standards.
Think about it, if you are juicing or you want to boost your immune system with carrot or kale juice, do you choose something that says:
100% Pure. It may be 100% juice, but they may use pesticides or GMO (genetically modified organism) products.
All Natural. It’s possible it could be all natural, but who really knows? Only their company says so. (This would apply in the ‘therapeutic grade’ for essential oils)
USDA Organic. This is certified by an outside entity deeming there are no GMO plants used and no pesticides.
If you are inhaling essential oils through a diffuser or any other means, using them on your skin or even ingesting them (which we don’t recommend, but people do).....do you want to take a chance that it includes pesticides or genetically moderated plants?
How to Find USDA Certified Organic Essential Oils
Alas, there are very many companies out there that produce essential oils that are USDA certified. In our products, we currently use essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy and Bulk Apothecary (listed as Natural Essentials, Inc. in the USDA database). You can search the USDA database to identify any company that is certified organic. We encourage you to be an informed consumer and research your products. We do!