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 some, inhaling or using cheaply-made, severely-diluted or even synthetic oils can prove to be hazardous to one’s health since the essential oils are the very concentrated form of the plant, hence the concentration of the chemicals in the oil will be much higher. Pure, high quality, undiluted essential oils are not that cheap because it takes hundreds if not thousands of pounds for certain plants to extract just one pound of essential oil.
If you are using these kinds of oils topically, they can 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 “Certified Organic," and not “Organic. All these names on a label are just empty claims that can't be verified. The label must be 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 a bit, but your overall health and well-being are worth the price. Organic Essential oils are clearly the best choice as they are more potent, healthier, and pose no threat to the human body.
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, so I hope you'll keep these in mind when you'll make your next purchase.