Essential Oils: Therapy for Mind and Body, But Quality Matters*

Essential oils have been used for hundreds of years around the world as therapy for mind and body. These are oils derived from aromatic plants that have qualities ranging from anti-inflammatory and antiseptic to relaxing and stimulating. One of the most well-loved and versatile essential oils is lavender. Its properties include anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, and sedative and clinical trials have shown that lavender oil aromatherapy is effective in the management of anxiety and depression, speeds wound healing, improves sleep quality, and promotes relaxation. But for lavender oil (or any essential oil) to be effective in therapeutic uses, quality makes all the difference.

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Not All Essential Oils Are Created Equal 

Have you ever purchased an essential oil online? Maybe because it was less expensive, had positive reviews, or was a bestseller? NOW®—a company Natural Grocers has enjoyed a long and trusted partnership with—recently put a selection of essential oil brands to the test that they purchased from a major online retailer’s website. Included in the selection were nine lavender, four peppermint, three rosemary, one chamomile, and one frankincense essential oil. The testing was conducted by NOW’s internal lab and at a third-party lab that specializes in essential oil profile testing. Surprisingly, 12 out of the 18 essential oils failed to meet the profile established for each particular essential oil—that’s two out of every three!


What Does That Mean?

Most of the oils failed the essential oil profile testing because of adulteration, which means the oils are not pure. For example, eight of the nine lavender oils were either adulterated with synthetic materials or blended with less expensive oils, and some brands did both. One of each of the rosemary, frankincense, and chamomile oils were mixed with less expensive oils. In addition, one peppermint oil was diluted with vegetable oil. NOT what you’re looking for in a quality essential oil.


Why Should You Care?

In these cases, what is on the label is not what’s in the bottle, and these companies are misrepresenting what they are selling as pure essential oils. The customer is not getting what they paid for. Further, if you buy essential oils to use therapeutically, quality is of utmost importance. “Lavender” oil diluted with synthetic materials is not going to have the healing properties of pure lavender essential oil. This commonly happens on massive online “marketplaces,” where quality control and customer service is nonexistent, and goes beyond essential oils. Natural Grocers is proud to uphold some of the most stringent quality standards in the industry, in addition to having a good4u Crew that is always there to help you one-on-one. We also maintain strong relationships with our suppliers and have a purchasing team who scrutinizes every product that goes on our shelves. Those online discounted essential oils (or groceries, or supplements) may seem like a good deal, but do you really want to spend your money on an “essential oil” diluted with chemicals or vegetable oil?


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

References Available Upon Request