As a former massage therapist and current user of essential oils, I always feel obligated to share the ins & outs of using them.
Using essential oils can be referenced as far back as Biblical times and essential oil use is not going anywhere anytime soon.
One important factor in essential oils is the quality of the oil. The better & higher the quality of the oil, the better it is for the person on the receiving end.
I’ve given tips on how to purchase high-quality oils and among one of those tips I mention what to look for on the label.
Labels of oils are just important as the labels on our food. You want labels to contain all the specific information about the oil, but you also have to read between the lines.
Part of reading between the lines is deciphering through terms such as “therapeutic grade” and similar terms.
The term “therapeutic grade” and “certified therapeutic grade” can be misleading.
Here is an excerpt of a letter from an aromatherapist. It is posted on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy‘s (NAHA) website.
This paper is being written not in the hopes of bringing the question of quality to an end but rather to offer up information to better enable you to understand some of the fundamental issues you may encounter when searching for a high quality, unadulterated, genuine, and authentic essential oil in the market place.
Letʼs start with the marketing term: Therapeutic grade
For those of you who believe you already know what this term means, I would ask that you keep an open and willing mind. I understand completely how contentious the issue of quality is. Firstly, to my knowledge the term ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ arose during the 90ʼs and did not exist prior to that time. It was invented by some very clever marketers who wanted people to believe that there were somehow therapeutic grade essential oils and then all others. The main company marketing this concept also wanted individuals to believe that they and they
alone somehow had the only therapeutic grade essential oils on the market (as if the market had somehow not existed until they existed).
After the concept of ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ entered the market other companies quickly joined in, saying that they too offered ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ. Today, just about every company selling essential oils states that their essential oils are of ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ. With the concept of ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ, also known as Grade A, came other grades such as grade B, C, and so on. The point here is that some clever marketers were absolutely successful in their aspirations to get the word ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ into the vernacular of the aromatherapy industry.
Aromatherapy buyers have perhaps become overawed with the idea that there must be a ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ and that is what they are looking for. (Sometimes it must feel like they are looking for the holy-grail.) They call aromatherapy companies and ask “do you sell therapeutic grade essential oils?” What I would like to know is if there is actually a company out there that states it sells ʻnontherapeutic gradeʼ or ʻgrade b, c, or dʼ essential oils. Actually, just did a search and NOPE, not a company out there claiming to sell grade b, c or d essential oils and not a one selling non-therapeutic grade. Very suspicious!!
The truth is that there is no such thing as ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ (or grade b, c, or d) in the sense that some organization or higher power has bestowed on an essential oil line. A grading system, quite simply, does not exist for essential oils. It is a product of marketing and marketing alone. And if one actually spends time thinking about this it makes perfect sense. From a marketing perspective there had to be another way to market a line of essential oils other than saying ʻwe sell the best essential oils on the marketʼ which is rather boring in comparison to ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ.
According to Burfield and Kirkham (2006-07), “many aromatherapists have unfortunately become unwitting victims of a marketing ploy by essential oil traders that advertise “approved” essential oils of ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ. Let us be quite clear on this – there is no such thing as a ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ essential oil, and no quality standards for the authentication of essential oils specifically exist in aromatherapy.”
So where does that leave us? Shortly we will explore what ʻtherapeutic grade means to individuals who utilize essential oils therapeutically. For now, let us explore other marketing terms which may arise in your search.
You can read the whole thing HERE.