The Art and Science of Essential Oil Extraction

egypt_aromatherapyThere is an art and a science to sourcing and extracting the highest quality, most potent therapeutic grade essential oils available.  In our modern times, we are blessed with technology that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Romans, and even the healers of only 100 years ago did not have.  And, these days, more and more studies are being conducted which prove essential oils to be effective natural solutions.

Thanks to technology, we are now able to test essential oils to see what they contain.  In other words, is it really 100% pure, and will it have the same desired therapeutic benefit from batch to batch?

essential-oil beakers

Does the essential oil contain the perfect balance of chemical compounds*?  Was the correct part of the plant used (roots, seeds, stems, flowers, bark, etc)?  Is it really 100% pure?  In other words, is it completely free from pesticides, fertilizers, synthetics, fillers, dilutants, etc?  Are there any unwanted traces of other plants in the essential oil, such as allergen weeds that will be potentially harmful?

There are many contributing factors to what makes a quality essential oil.  One factor is that if the plants are sourced from their native origins.

doTERRA Sourcing Map

The plant’s origin is absolutely essential to the potency and quality of the resulting essential oil.   The environment where it is grown (growing season, elevation, climate, moisture, soil, terrain, and pH) and the seed variety (species) determine what amounts and types of chemical compounds will make up the resulting essential oil.
For example, lavender is grown throughout the United States, yet the high altitudes of France present perfect growing conditions where the rocky soil, Mediterranean climate, etc, cannot be duplicated.

Another example is with lemon essential oil.  Lemon can be cheaply sourced from across the warmer climates of the US, and other parts of the World, however the rich soil conditions, the salty air, and the mountainous terrain of Sicily are where the best Lemon essential oil comes from.

An essential oil that works directly with the farmers ensures the essential oils will meet quality and potency standards.  Farmers are trained on using the right species of plant, how to grow and harvest the plant sustainably (without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers), how and when to harvest, and what part of the plant to send to the distillery.

Rather than harvesting the correct part of the plant, such as the flowers or stems, many essential oil producers, in order to make a higher profit, harvest the entire plant to get a higher yield.  However, this will change the chemical composition of the resulting essential oil, so it is highly undesirable, although many essential oils companies make this a standard practice.

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*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Pregnant or lactating women and persons with known medical conditions should consult a physician prior to the use of any essential oil. 

 

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