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June 18, 2018  |  Login
Choosing Aromatherapy Supplies / Buying Oils
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.

Because the key ingredient in aromatherapy is the essential oil, properly selecting your oils is paramount. Here are a few tips for buying wisely:

Choose only pure essential oils. Though scientists have learned to create quite lifelike aromas in the laboratory, these substances are made from petroleum by-products, not plants. If that isn't enough to convince you of their uselessness in aromatherapy, consider this: In each essential oil are dozens of chemical compounds, many of which are present in only trace amounts. Synthetic scents may imitate the smell but can never replicate the exact molecular makeup of healing essential oils. And don't be fooled by "nature-identical" labels. If it doesn't say "pure essential oil," don't buy it.

Trust your nose. It sounds simplistic, but it's true: If you don't like the smell of an essential oil, it isn't likely to help you-even if it is recommended for your particular ailment.

God has been gracious in giving us alternatives. Simply choose another recommended oil that's more pleasing to you.

Consider the source. Buy only from reputable suppliers; well-established natural food stores are one good choice. If you're in doubt, consult a qualified aromatherapist for suggestions.

Consider the price. Sadly, some manufacturers dilute essential oils with carrier oils or mix them with synthetics, without labeling them as such. A tip: A drop of pure essential oil placed on a tissue will evaporate completely without leaving any trace of oil. If a greasy spot is left behind, the oil has been adulterated. But you may be able to tell the difference without even opening the bottle. The prices of true essential oils vary widely, according to the difficulty of extracting the pure plant oils from their host plants. Rose oil, for example, should be quite a bit more expensive than lavender oil because many pounds of rose petals are required to make just one ounce of rose oil. If a manufacturer sells all of its oils for the same price, or if its prices are substantially lower than those of other manufacturers, chances are the products are adulterated or otherwise inferior.
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