What is a GC/MS Test?
Purity is something many of us strive for in our daily lives. We read labels, scrub away excess and remove negativity. The difference in Edens Garden's essential oils is that from the very source, each drop is 100% pure and undiluted. To ensure this, our team closely examines each oil's chemistry through a detailed and important GC/MS test.
What’s a GC/MS Test?
GC/MS stands for Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry. In simple terms, a GC/MS separates an essential oil into individual components. The oil is vaporized upon entry into the device, and the oil passes through a column assisted by a carrier gas (usually helium or hydrogen). The column itself sits within an oven; here change in heat over time is managed. Different chemical compounds react at different speeds within the column, and this information is captured on the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry.
How can we be sure an oil is 100% pure? If you’re reviewing GC/MS reports at home, and don’t have a background in chemistry, comparison skills are required for this portion of the analysis. Each essential oil batch we offer is GC/MS tested before it’s bottled. We review each test, checking to ensure there are no synthetic chemicals, paraffin, carriers, or other adulterants in a batch. So how can you check to see if your oil contains adulterants at home? Try comparing reports with other companies, researching individual constituents in the report or asking an aromatherapist about common adulterants found in a specific oil.
So you didn’t find any synthetics or adulterants in the oil’s GC/MS report, does this mean it‘s a quality oil? Determining the quality of an oil has been regarded as tail chasing by some. Just as medical doctors might disagree on a variety of medical issues, aromatherapists may disagree on what makes an oil “quality”. However, though there may not be an official standard for what makes an oil quality, there are general ranges in which an oil’s constituents fall that makes it therapeutic. To see if your oil’s constituents fall under this general range, try referencing essential oil databases, ISO standards, or books like Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand. We also recommend speaking with an aromatherapist.
The Chemistry Behind Therapeutics
When it comes to determining the therapeutic benefits of an oil, we also look to an oil’s GC/MS report. For example, it’s commonly known that Lavender essential oil helps with sleep. There are two ways one can know this- either by using Lavender oil and finding that it does help with sleep, or by looking at the constituents in Lavender oil and finding it contains high amounts of linalool and linalyl acetate which have been studied and shown to have sedative properties. This is another case, in which we must research constituents to find out their therapeutic properties.
Let’s look at another example, like Sweet Orange. After analyzing Sweet Orange’s GC/MS report, we find that like most citrus oils, it is very high in limonene. Upon researching limonene, we find that this constituent has been isolated and found to activate white blood cells, work as an effective anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, amongst many other things. So, because limonene itself contains these therapeutic properties, and Sweet Orange contains upwards of 90% limonene, we can gather that Sweet Orange also may activate white blood cells, making it an immune boosting oil, and can be used as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent.
If the importance of GC/MS testing to an essential oil company is crucial, the importance of GC/MS testing to the consumer is paramount. GC/MS testing takes the guesswork out of whether an oil is pure and therapeutic. We encourage essential oils users to start analyzing reports for themselves, because the more informed we are about essential oils, the more we can benefit from one of the simplest and most unique forms of wellness that nature has to offer.