What Makes An Essential Oil Organic
You probably know that for thousands of years, essential oils have been used for beauty-enhancement, healing, and aromatherapy. Whether they are inhaled as vapors or applied topically, essential oils are generally respected as the natural solution to feel and look good because they are extracted from natural plant material. You see, essential organic oils are produced because of the natural building up and breaking down of substances in plants.
Today, they have become so popular, that mass-production has become 'a thing,' to suit the needs of the consumers who believe in the wonders that these oils perform. Of course, there are pros and cons to mass production; for one, one no longer has to hunt down specialty shops to get their hands on these miracle-workers, but on the downside, you really don't know what quality you're getting from some companies.
Let's explore why it is important to specifically use organic essential oils, how to identify whether the oils you’re buying are organic and what it could mean for you if you used a non-USDA approved essential oil.
What Are Organic Essential Oils?
In 2017, just about everyone has hopped on the ‘organic' train, and for good reason. Organic means that the substance you're about to use and consume was made or grown without the use of chemicals. Now, why is that a good thing? It's great because it means that no chemicals which could harm you and your body were introduced to the item during its creation- like your grandma making your birthday cake from scratch, and not taking the easy way out by using a pre-made box-batter cake.
In the case of essential oils, for them to be truly organic, the plants and trees that they are yielded from must come from organic farms and pure soil. As the name suggests, this type of soil is free from fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, or chemicals. Instead, they are fertilized with composted manure, and farming techniques such are crop rotation, and companion planting is used. Crop rotation ensures that the soils are not over-utilized, while companion planting allows for natural pollination and provides a habitat for useful creatures.
The organic farming method is as close as we can get to the farming methods used by our ancestors. For a farm to be organic, its soil needs to be free of chemicals for at least three years In the US- longer in different countries; accreditation also takes place every year to ensure that the operation meets that standards of what an organic farm should be. These farms also prohibit the use of genetic engineering, as well as the use of GMOs.
Why Use Organic Essential Oils vs conventional Oils?
While the use of chemical additives in the soil generally results in a faster, more abundant yield, they adversely affect the potency and safety of the extracted essential oils. For instance, if you use non-organic lavender oil, it may take longer to help you relax or may not even work at all. It all depends on how much the manufacturer has diluted the oil.
For many people inhaling or using cheaply-made, severely-diluted or even synthetic oils -on the long term-can prove to be hazardous to one’s health since the essential oils are the very concentrated form of the plant. Using cheap essential oils that are NOT USDA organics means the concentration of the chemicals in those oils will be much higher. That's why about 55 % of people in the US suffer from allergies, which is an extremely high rate compared to other countries, which is not acceptable considering the fact that US is one of the most richest countries in the world.
Pure, high quality, undiluted essential oils are not that cheap because it takes a minimum of a hundreds of pounds for certain plants to extract just one pound of essential oil.
Here are a few examples: 10,000 pounds of rose petals, 250 pounds of lavender, 6,000 pounds of melissa plant, 1,500 lemons and so on are required to produce a SINGLE POUND of GENUINE, REAL ESSENTIAL OIL. And that's only the raw material, to which you need to add the labor cost of harvesting and producing the oil, the transportation, the storage, the packaging, the shipping,etc.
Also, some oils are more difficult to extract because instead of being externally secreted by the plant, the oils are stored in tiny cavities or ducts within the plant. Other oils provide small yields in general. For example, Bay Leaf can be expected to provide a 3 percent yield during distillation, whereas Rose Petals typically provide only a .006 percent yield, which is the reason why Bay Oil is more expensive than Orange or Lemon oil, but still cheaper than Rose Oil which is extremely expensive.
Another example is the low oil yield resulted from the resin or the root of plants and trees, which is much less abundant than the oils that are extracted from tree leafs. The harder it is to extract some oils, the more expensive they are. This is why Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oils which are extracted from the leaves of the trees are much cheaper than the oils extracted from resins such as Sandalwood, Myrrh, Frankincense, Fir, or Vetiver (from root).
So for example, if you buy lavender oil on Amazon or other websites which sell it for about $16 for 4 oz!!!, you're deluding yourself- please don't waste your money on fake oils, which is highly diluted with carrier oil, which is extremely cheap and filled up with mostly fake lavander oil made in a lab, that is extremely low cost to produce.
And this is the reason why companies that sell high quality products can NEVER compete with the low, cheap products and brands that sell on the Amazon platform, which forces those brand to compete against each other on price alone. For this reason, no a single company who sells high-quality essential oils and aromatherapy products sell their products on Amazon.
I hope you realize what it actually costs to product high quality oils and understand that you get what you pay for-always! Nothing of high value comes dirt cheap like the prices of diluted oils sold on Amazon.
If you are using these fake, diluted oils with artificial fragrances topically, they will for sure clog the skin’s pores, preventing toxins from leaving the body and inhibiting necessary processes like sweating. They can also be absorbed into the bloodstream and can trigger things like asthma attacks migraines, eczema and of course, allergic reactions.
Inhaling them provide the same and sometimes worse adverse health reactions. And while the lungs can filter out foreign matter, not everything will be detected and caught by your respiratory system. So why take the risk?
According to a report from the International Federation of Essential Oil and Aroma Trades Conference in 2014, pesticide residue is also a significant concern when creating essential oils, especially for oils that are not appropriately distilled or grown inorganically. Would you accept an oil that contained high levels of pesticide residue? I think not.
With certified essential organic oils, you don't encounter these problems for many reasons:
- The plants are given the opportunity to grow without the help of bug-fighting chemicals, which means, if they survive, they have built up incredible resistances to mother nature- a quality that can only be good for your body.
- They possess the full range of health benefits, both physical and mental because they are rich in nutrients that possess antibacterial, antifungal, antibacterial and an entire host of beneficial health properties.
- They are more complex and have a greater character than that the watered-down versions.
Now, more than ever, the health benefits of using essential oils, more so, organic essential oils, are being studied and their effects, chronicled by scientists everywhere. A systematic review of the long-term use of mouth rinses containing essential oils showed that they did, in fact, provide additional benefits in plaque and gingivitis reduction.
Further studies are being done to determine whether they can help reduce depressive symptoms in patients with dementia, whether they can help cancer patients with pain and whether they can reduce nausea and vomiting, post-op. Because the benefits of using essential oils are expanding every day, it has become increasingly important to choose the right items to put into our bodies.
How do you ensure that your Essential Oil is organic?
Now that you’re up to speed with what makes an essential oil organic let's explore how you can ensure that what you buy, is in fact, the real deal. These days, any company can slap a label on their product and claim that it is organic, so you need to be extra careful and observant when purchasing essential oils.
Companies can even label their product as a 100% pure essential oil, and it may not be accurate. Therefore, it is encouraged to look for the stamp which says, “USDA Certified Organic." Not just “Certified Organic," and not “Organic. All these names on a label are just empty claims that can't be verified. The label must say "USDA Organic"!
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) assists greatly with upholding the organic name. As a result, the USDA has put in place a set of strict production and labeling requirements that these companies must adhere to receive that USDA certified stamp. Some of these standards are:
- Products should not be genetically engineered or ionized
- A certified agent needs to be present to oversee all operations and to ensure that all regulations are being followed.
But before labeling takes place, organic farmers must first obtain certification from a National Organic Program by means of inspection. After that, the farmers are required to meet a long list of requirements including land requirements, seed and planting practices, pest management and the handling of the organic produce.
Only after following these guidelines will food products, skin products, including oils receive the seal. This is quite comforting knowing that only the safest standards are used in the in the production of organic essential oils.
Hopefully reading this article has given you the insight needed to make a more educated choice when purchasing essential oils. The USDA stamp may increase the price of the essential oil, but your overall health and well-being are worth the price. Organic Essential oils are clearly the best choice as they are 100% natural (not just some empty claims on a label) more potent, healthier, and pose no threat to the human body.
In conclusion, generally speaking, products, inlcuding essential oils, that are USDA-certified organic are the ONLY SURE WAY to know that the plants and flowers used are free from pesticides, unless you make your own products or know the farmer very well and what how they treat their soil.
As I'm sure you've heard that "good things come in small packages" and "less is more" - these are totally true when it comes to high-quality essential oils because you only need to use a little to get the results you need, so I hope you'll keep these in mind when you'll make your next purchase.
For all the reasons stated above, our company Herba Terra Organics- just as our name implies- has decided from day one that it will only offer USDA certified organic essential oils or wildcrafted to the public. We are very proud to say that all our essential oils are USDA certified organic, which means genuinely 100% pure (not just an empy claim on a label), sourced from ethically harvested and traded ingredients.
For us, the right choice is simple - to offer only products that are good for both you and the planet because we genuinely care about your wellbeing and your health, and not only looking to sell the products that will make us the maximum profit like many companies do.