I've researched many websites, and joined quite a few groups on websites and on Facebook. I read the free parts first to make sure I'm a good fit for any group I'm interested in joining.
I've seen some that say they can tell they have quality oils by the smell or the feel (or both) of the oil. I've also seen some who say that theirs is the only quality oil out there and to not trust any other company's oils. When I read those things, I become very suspicious of the true motives of the author(s). Statements like these are sales gimmicks. The first may be true if the person has many years of experience and training in essential oils and the second strikes me as a fear-mongering tactic (although I've seen some highly reputable and knowledgeable people use it.) So, lets look at the reality of oil quality.
* Terms like 'therapeutic grade can be a sales pitch. Essential oils in the U.S. are not "graded". According to Dr. Robert Pappas ”while many companies promote their own therapeutic grade standard, one should be aware that there is no universally accepted independent body that certifies essential oils as therapeutic grade.” (Pappas, 2017) He goes on to say that there are many companies that may have established their own grading system of essential oils and those systems may include a 'Therapeutic Grade'.
* One way to determine the quality of an essential oil is to read the GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) report. The GC/MS report is a chemical analysis of the oil which shows all the chemicals (natural &/or synthetic) found in that batch of oil. It also shows the quantity of each chemical as a percentage of the whole. You can compare this chemical analysis to a chart of the typical/expected percentages of each chemical to ensure the oil has not been adulterated. The book Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand is a good place to check this.
* While GC/MS is the starting place to determine an oil's purity, there is more to the picture. Dr. Pappas explains that "Judgments about essential oil quality take more than just good chemists and good equipment, they require many years of experience in odor evaluation and knowing what specific minor components are desirable in an oil and not just focusing on the major components." (Pappas, 2017)
If you are new to aromatherapy however, learning about essential oil chemistry and looking at GC/MS is a great way to determine your oil quality.
There are highly reputable companies who provide the GC/MS reports on the website so you can check the reports before you purchase the oil. Aromatics International (aromatics.com) is one of my favorites.
So where does Dragoo's Oil Blends fit?
My company is still very small and I focus on developing and selling oil blends, customized blends, and bath and body care products. I have a booth at Old Rooster Creek Flea Market in Princeton, TX where I also sell organic herbs. Locally, I buy supplies from Deb's Oils (also online at Debsoils.com). Online, I have purchased from aromatics.com, Stillpoint Aromatics, and Edens Garden. I am able to access GC/MS reports from these companies
The companies I've listed in this blog are only a few that sell high quality essential oils. In the members' section, I'll have a page which lists resources for companies that I've found to provide quality products.
Do you have a favorite place to buy your oils? Can you get the GC/MS or a chemical analysis from them? Please share the names of companies with great products!
The journey of a lifetime may begin with an idea, an effort to learn, and a step towards achieving a goal. Perhaps you are taking that first step now, perhaps you took it a while ago – either way, you are traveling down an exciting road!
So, what is this journey? What is aromatherapy? A comprehensive definition can be found on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) website: “Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.”
If you are like me, you were raised to believe that plants, herbs, and essential oils were just a bunch of nonsense or ‘snake oil’ and any perceived benefits were all imagined. I took my first step three years ago. My daughter insisted that I try one of the MLM company's blends for my arthritis. After several months, I finally relented and put a tiny amount on my finger. She was watching and said “No, Mom, let me do it for you.” and proceeded to slather it all over my hands. At the time, I had been in a severe flare-up for weeks – barely able to move my fingers, and I did not believe the oil blend would work. Ten minutes later, the swelling was reduced, the pain level was lowering, and I regained full use of my hands.
Direct experience with something is a really good way to change someone’s mind – and my opinion of essential oils (and plant therapy) did a 180 that day. I asked my daughter to order a bottle for me, and while I gasped at the price, I paid it and happily used the oil. Being a recently retired teacher, I decided to start researching essential oils – I wanted to see if I could create my own blends for a lower price. Hence, my journey began with a change of mind and a new idea. Then I began to learn. For the next six weeks, I spent between six and eight hours a day studying and learning (mostly from different websites), before I ever bought an oil. When I was ready to buy, I had five oils I wanted to try: Lavender, Tea Tree, Helichrysum, Wintergreen, and Frankincense. These were a good starting point for my experiments and I took the first step when I purchased them.
My daughter discovered that a local RN was offering classes on EO safety and basics, so we signed up for a total of 3 three-hour classes. That turned out to be a great decision because neither of us had any idea that there could be safety issues with essential oils. What I learned in those classes gave me a more specific direction to focus my self-study. I would read blogs from do-it-yourself ‘ers to get ideas for making home products, then go to informational websites to research oils that were new to me. Because of the safety class I took, I would check to see if there were any safety concerns for whatever oil I was researching. If I thought the safety concerns were more than I was ready to deal with, I would put that oil on a ‘not now’ list. If the oil had GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) status and had proven therapeutic benefits that I was looking for, it would go on my ‘want to buy’ list.
The more I researched and experimented with making my own blends and seeing the benefits of those blends, the more I realized that I needed more formal training. I enrolled in Aromahead Institute School of Essential Oil Studies and earned my Aromatherapy Certification. (I’ll go into more detail about the excellence of Aromahead and what they offer in a future blog.) I am continuing my studies with plans to achieve graduate level, and eventually complete the scholar’s program. In addition, I've become fascinated by the plants themselves, and have started studying herbs as well.
My goal for this website is to discuss specific essential oils and their corresponding herbs. These discussions will include traditional therapeutic benefits as well as safety factors with recipes and "how to"s included.
Whether you've been using it for years or are new to it, please share how you started your journey in aromatherapy.