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How To Tell If An Essential Oil Is Top Quality



How To Tell If An Essential Oil Is Top Quality

Most aromatherapy importers conduct only basic quality tests that do not prove the

authenticity or purity of their oils. However, all of Chayah Life Aromatherapy oils are

lab tested to ensure the highest quality for their customers.  


COUNTRY OF ORIGIN plays a key role in an oil’s quality. While it is possible to grow

plants in several different countries, the country of origin plays a significant role in the

oil grade. This principle applies to other crops such as coffee, fruit and wine. The reason

why different countries produce different quality plant products is that the soil and

climate conditions are more suitable to some plants than others in different parts of

the world. Plants tend to flourish in their natural country of origin, and even the altitude

at which a plant is grown can have a substantial impact on the properties of its oil.


USE OF PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES varies among countries. As well, currently

there is no reliable certification for international organic quality. It is best to use oils

made from plants grown on farms in a country where the plant flourishes because

they will have a certain degree of natural resistance to the native pests and will not

require pesticides to survive.


TIME OF HARVEST affects the percentage and proportions of various chemical

constituents in the plant and therefore the quality of the oil will differ depending on

when the plant is harvested. Distillation should occur immediately after harvest and if

possible right in the field to ensure the highest quality oils.


AGE OF OIL can affect the quality. Most oils are not affected by the passage of time;

however, citrus oils suffer from a decrease in quality over time and should always be as

fresh as possible.


TYPE OF DISTILLATION also influences the oil’s quality. Good quality oils should be

steam distilled, expressed (i.e. citrus oils) or CO2 extracted. A true “essential oil” by

definition should be steam distilled. Where oils are chemically extracted, solvent residues

will be present in the oil.


TEMPERATURE AT WHICH STEAM DISTILLATION IS CARRIED OUT plays an

important role in determining the quality. If the steam distillation is done at too high

of a temperature, some of the valuable chemical constituents will literally be “burned

out” of the oil. High heat distillation is done to yield more oil in a shorter time span. 

This process produces a lower quality oil that can be sold at a lower price. Beware of below 

market value aromatherapy products or when all essential oils are the same price (e.g. rose versus orange oil), which are clear indicators of commercial grade quality.


METHOD OF STORAGE MATTERS. All quality oils should be bottled in dark glass

bottles and stored in a cool dry place with minimal contact with oxygen.