Is There A Grading System For Essential Oils?- AAA
We’ve been asked throughout the years what “grade” our essential oils fall under. Contrary to popular belief, essential oils are not a regulated industry unlike many consumer products, so where does this idea of grading come from? In this article, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about essential oil grades and how you can rest assured that your essential oils are high quality. Read on to learn more.
Is There a Grading System For Essential Oils?
What does it mean for an essential oil to be therapeutic grade, aromatherapy grade, pharmaceutical grade and food grade, amongst other things, and do Edens Garden’s oils fit the bill? Let's discuss this.
Does Your Essential Oil Make The Grade?
According to one website, essential oils are graded like so:
- Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil (Grade A): The proper plant part is distilled to produce an oil. In this process, only the oil's chemical composition is considered and not its aroma in order to produce therapeutic essential oils.
- Food Grade Essential Oil (Grade B): May be diluted with carrier oil or toxic chemicals in order to enhance flavor and aroma.
- Perfume Grade Essential Oil (Grade C): Similar to food grade oils, but not recommended for ingestion.
Who Grades Essential Oils?
Truth is, there is no certifying body or organization that grades essential oils and herein lies the major issue with those claiming their essential oils are “graded.” Rather, companies or a company’s distributors and affiliates use these terms of their own accord.
What this means is that essential oil grades are purely marketing terms, much like the phrase Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) which is trademarked and therefore cannot be used by all but one essential oil company.
Some may venture to say that oils such as Peppermint and Lemon essential oil are certified food grade by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) list. However, the FDA does not examine every oil that makes it onto the list, hence why these oils are generally considered safe as flavorings.
How To Ensure Your Essential Oils Are High Quality
If you can’t rely on essential oil grades, how can you determine whether your oils are quality or not? Here are a few tips.
- Testing: Ensure that the company you’re purchasing from offers GC/MS tests for each batch of essential oil they offer and that those tests are analyzed by a trained professional such as an essential oil chemist or aromatherapist.
- Labeling: Along with the common name (i.e. Cajeput) the botanical name should be listed on the label (i.e. Melaleuca cajuputi) and safety information specific to that oil.
- Characteristics: The oil should have the typical look, smell and consistency of other essential oils of its kind. For example, Sandalwood is typically very thick. If you purchased a Sandalwood oil that was very runny and thin, this is likely an indicator that the oil isn’t true Sandalwood.
- Purity: Once you have some experience with pure oils, it becomes easier to discern whether an oil has synthetics added. Most body sprays, candles and home fragrances contain synthetics. Try comparing your essential oils next to one of these products to get an idea of what’s real and what’s not.
- Longevity: One often overlooked quality of a trustworthy essential oil company is how long they’ve been in business. Companies that have been in business 10+ years are likely to have more experience sourcing quality oils, though this isn’t to say younger companies should be ruled out completely.
The Edens Garden Standard
We can’t talk about essential oil grades without being transparent about our use of the term “therapeutic grade oil.” In the early years of Edens Garden and even now, we recognized that aromatherapy users understood that a therapeutic grade oil was a pure, quality oil – and that’s exactly what we’ve offered from the beginning.
Therapeutic grade is not a title that a certifying body gave us, but rather our own internal standard for our family of top-tier products and high quality essential oils. It means that we ensure purity and quality through GC/MS, specific gravity, refractive index and organoleptic testing, amongst others. We promote essential oil safety by offering in depth blogs like these, along with detailed safety sections on each of our product labels and web pages. We source from sustainable farms and oil distilleries to ensure each product we offer is ethically made. It also means that we are constantly striving to improve.
Click here to learn more about Edens Garden’s commitment to making natural and effective essential oil products.
- Buyers Beware: Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. https://www.aromaweb.com/articles/therapeuticgradeessentialoils.asp
- USFDA. Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). https://www.fda.gov/food/food-ingredients-packaging/generally-recognized-safe-gras