I love it when we get a question!
We received an email from Maria asking:
“What are the different grades of essential oils?”
You see Maria is as confused as almost every other person we talk to about aromatherapy and the quality of the oils that they buy and use.
Pure Essential oils are not classified into grades or qualities. When extracted and handled correctly they are just as nature intended them to be.
To clarify – A pure, natural essential oil is just that…the extract of the volatile, aromatic compounds from botanical material by any of a variety of extraction methods and processes. The differences arise when we talk about how the oil is handled and formulated after extraction.
There are two distinctly different types of essential oils on the market today.
Pure Essential Oils
A pure, natural essential oil is an oil that is extracted from one species of plant from one specific geographical area. The aroma profile for these oils will vary slightly from season to season and from geographical location to geographical location. For example the lavender essential oil we sell at Moon Haven is a high altitude lavender grown and distilled in the mountains of France and we feel this is the best quality oil with the most appropriate and consistent scent profile of the plant Lavendula angustifolia.
Of course natural, non-standardised oils are what most aromatherapists use in their clinical practice
At Moon Haven our Aromatherapy and Essential Oils sold through our cottage and online webstore are all Pure, Natural Essential oils
Many essential oils on the market are Standardised to a certain aromatic profile (scent) to ensure consistency and reliability. In itself this is not a bad thing… it is just different and the essential oils produced through these methods can be successfully used for specific purposes .
To give you an example the perfume industry requires a standardised scent profile for most of the oils that it uses so that the perfume that they manufacture has a reliable scent. So the oils supplied to the perfume industry are usually standardised accordingly. Lavender 40/42 is where two of the main constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, are added to the oil to make up 40/42% of the oil.
There are several ways that an oil can be standardised through blending different components .
They can be:
- Origin blend -Blending oil from the same species of plant from different geographical locations
- Natural Blend – Using the majority of oil from the named species of oil usually above 90% with added natural extractions from other oils to boost the scent profile to reflect the standardised specification.
- Commercial Blend – this is an oil produced by using around 20% of the named species of plant and adding in natural extractions from other essential oils to meet the standardised oil profile requirements. At Moon Haven we may use these oils in our soap where the strong alkalis used can obliterate the subtle differences and attribute of a Natural or Origin Blend.
- Commercial Oils – these are oils that are typically made from 100% synthetic ingredients and we only use these type of oils in our fragrant oil soaps…not our essential oil soaps and certainly not in our essential oil based skin care.
Of course natural, non-standardised oils are what most aromatherapists use in their clinical practice.
They are neither standardised or predictable and just like a wine vintage will vary from season to season. To us here at Moon Haven that is one of the most wonderful aspects of working with our truly Pure and Natural essential oils – you just never know what exquisite oil you will encounter next.