One of the more frequent questions I am asked when out talking with students and customers is "Are your essential oils organic? Or medical grade? Or therapeutic grade?"
The truth is that any essential oil vendor that says that they are any of these things is simply using marketing buzzwords and not facts.
Essential oils in the United States are regulated by the FDA as cosmetics, and so they do not face the scrutiny of prescription or over the counter drugs. But the fact is that anyone peddling essential oils or blends can say whatever they like, and there is no independent agency to validate those claims.
There have been some efforts to create an independent lab that can define a standard set of terms for the industry, and that is something we at Ascents would love to see. But it appears a long way off, and subject to a lot of producer politics.
We go through extraordinary efforts to ensure that the oils that we use are ethically sourced from growers using sustainable practices and distillers who use nothing more than pressure or steam to extract the oils. Then, we go through a rigorous analysis of every oil so that our products are consistent, free of adulterants, pesticides or chemicals. We have to take extra care because the same ascents that everyday consumers enjoy are the same that doctors and hospitals use with their patients.
So the next time you see a claim about therapeutic organic oils, ask what does it really mean.
I'll write more about the science and techniques of how we manage our quality control process soon.