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Essential oils can cause health hazards if they are not of good quality or do not have therapeutic grade properties. Poor quality oils can mean oils which are adulterated, not properly distilled or produced from low quality crops. Such oils often do not last long and lose their aromatic and therapeutic properties too soon. Sometimes such poor quality oils can have harmful side effects and provide minimum benefits.
How not to buy essential oils: There are several nuances involved in buying essential oils. Below are a list of things to be noted/avoided while buying oils for aromatherapeutic use:
1. Don’t buy oils which are termed “fragrance oils”, “natural identical oils” or “perfume oils”. There are not therapeutic grade essential oils, but oils that are used for aromatic purposes. Many use the term aromatherapy for products that have no trace of the purity or essence of plant oils. Since aromatherapy is a popular alternative medicine, this malpractice has been on for years. So, avoid buying oils which are termed fragrance or perfume oils for aromatherapy.
2. Don’t buy oils without Latin name, place, country or region where the plant species has been grown. If it is a chemotype, the oil’s label should mention that too. Good quality essential oil companies do list all possible information about oils, their extraction methods and other valuable data. So, if an oil’s label does not have all these, understand that it is not of high quality.
3. Don’t buy oils with same prices. There’s should be something wrong with company which sells all oils for the same prices. For instance, therapeutic grade pure Patchouli may actually cost more that Eucalyptus. But if your vendor sells both the oils at equal price, understand that something maybe wrong with regard to quality or a compromise has been made somewhere.
4. Don’t buy essential oils from companies which sell to the food and beverage or perfumery industries. These industries do not buy oils for their therapeutic properties but for their aroma or flavor. Vendors who sell to them may not maintain the therapeutic standards required for aromatherapy use.
5. Don’t buy oils that are sold in clear bottles. Most of the essential oils are photo-toxic and hence are sensitive to light. Many of them lose their aroma or flavor with the impact of light. Oils in dark or brown glass bottles are not liable to loss. Some vendors sell in aluminum bottles. Don’t buy oils sold in aluminum if there is no lining inside the bottle. Also, never buy oils sold in plastic bottles as plastic tends to dissolve in the presence of highly concentrated essential oils.
6. Buy from vendors who are ready to offer you samples or advice you on the therapeutic use of each and every oil. Some sell essential oils as a hobby. Such vendors may not know about oils in depth. So, avoid buying from such aromatherapy-illiterate vendors.
7. Don’t buy from online without comparing rates between vendors. You can send emails or interact in the online forum of the vendor before buying a particular oil. An authentic vendor will provide possibility of such buyer-vendor interactions.
8. Organic oils are entirely different from non-organic ones. Non-organic ones can often be byproducts of a lot of synthetic processes. If you want to experience holistic healing, avoid buying from non-organic oils.
9. Start with small samples. Do not order in bulk if you are buying from a vendor new to you. Avoid purchasing from street fairs, craft exhibitions or festival markets as oils sold in such places maybe locally grown and may not be up to therapeutic mark.
10. Don’t go by words. Do a background check on your vendor’s authenticity. Many vendors use the term “pure essential oils” in all their labels. Often their oils are the most contaminated in the world. So, never go by words of your vendor or the label on your oil without doing a thorough check.