What We’ve Recently Learned About Essential Oils


Mar 20
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A while back we wrote two articles on essential oils. We thought we’d done some pretty extensive research, including gathering up all the uses and applications from interviews with practitioners and herbalists.

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Well, that’s what we thought. Now that we wanted to help Simply the Best get the best possible essential oils to market to their customers, we’ve had to learn a bit more. You see, Simply the Best started up because of our research. When we found something really great, they wanted to help people get it and pass their profits to charity. Once they started making their own soaps, they were getting essential oils for those soaps at a wholesale cost and wondered if they might be able to sell them also.

Well, when you call yourself “the best,” you’d better be prepared to hunt down only the best, and boy, there really was quite a bit to learn about the industry.

First, here are the two original articles:

Essential Oils — How they Heal

Essential Oils — Their Properties

As we pointed out in our original article, guaranteeing purity is almost impossible. Sellers can say anything they want and there is no organization that tests the purity or strength of essential oils.

For instance, you can have a pure essential oil, a pure essential oil that was made from a very poor crop.

Now here is something that will make you sit up:

Ylang Ylang is divided into three qualities, Ylang Ylang I, Ylang Ylang II, and Ylang Ylang III. The first one is the highest quality. “Quality” is based upon the “strength” of the scent. However, strongest scent (the highest quality) is not the most expensive.

Why is that? Because the organic form is the most expensive. And it is only the Ylang Ylang II quality.

To get the strongest sent, chemicals must be used to extract the oils. The chemicals are burned off or evaporated off, or could be, I suppose, precipitated out (mixed with another chemical so that the resulting chemical is heavier and drops out of the solution). Having had these chemicals in them, the oil cannot be classified “organic.”

Organic oils are either steam extracted or extracted by “effleurage,” which is done by using a “fat” to extract all the good stuff, and then the fat is removed.

So, Simply the Best had the best, the strongest Ylang Ylang in their possession and has used it for their BodyWash.  Since I do the shipping, in some of the larger orders, I am now giving away tiny bottles as gifts. Simply the Best wants to order the organic form as soon as they’ve moved out the “best,” which, of course, is not organic.

But it was researching Jasmine that our minds were really blown.

Pure jasmine can cost anywhere from $450 per ounce to $637 per ounce, to over $1,200.00 per ounce.

Most jasmine sold has no actual jasmine in it. You’ll see phrases like: “fragrance oil,” “nature identical oil,” or “perfume oil.” These are chemically synthesized oils. They are made entirely in a chemistry lab.

Then there are the “dilutions.” Apparently I’ve bought some of these. The most common dilution is 3%. The stronger version is a 10% dilution. The Jasmine (two types, Grandiflorum and Sambac) are diluted in jojoba oil.

They’re still pretty potent. You’ll love their scent. But they are very much diluted.

The cheaper version, around $450/ounce is extracted using chemicals. The more expensive one is extracted using effleurage (extraction by organic fats). Thus they are organic and pure. The really expensive ones come from the rarer forms of Jasmine. So far I’ve counted sixteen different types of Jasmine.

I found a pure jasmine at our local co-op that cost $36.00 for 2 ml. That would come to $540 per ounce. I contacted the company to learn more about them, such as if they have an affiliate program or sell wholesale, only to find out that they are discontinuing the jasmine because they can’t guarantee the quality or the method of extraction anymore because the companies making it won’t cooperate with them.

Frankincense was something I learned about when I lived in Israel. It comes from a specific tree, the Boswellia tree. Frankincense is the sap that runs through the tree. It’s collected by scraping the bark off the tree and then waiting, waiting months for the sap to bead up and dry.

The sap from the first “scraping” is the best. Each scraping produces a lesser grade of frankincense. The last scraping, the ninth, is what has been traditionally sold to the Catholic Church (in America) and to Americans, because, as everyone in the Middle East knows, Americans will buy anything.

So, if you were raised Catholic and grew up hating the smoke spewing from the sensors, real, grade A Frankincense will surprise you.

Since the Boswelllia tree grows wild, there is no such thing as organic frankincense, but rather it is “wildcrafted.” Organic refers to how something is grown by human intervention. Wildcrafted is simply using the plant material found in nature, with no human intervention. There is only one problem we see with using the Boswellia tree and that is it seems to be going extinct.

There might actually be a technical development that could save the tree and that is that scientists have learned to synthesize pure 2-octylcyclopropane­carb-oxylic acid (olbanic acid for short). Olbanic acid is what gives frankincense its scent.

However, this doesn’t help the impoverished people of Somalia who have been collecting frankincense for centuries. And the government of Somalia is burdened enough with war and poverty to come up with farming techniques to save the trees.

It is a sad and dire situation.

These were the problems we found when we began researching wholesale essential oils that Simply the Best could market. Finding an organic patchouli and high grades lavender, rosemary, and many, many others was relatively easy. The better the grades the higher the cost. Whether they’ll sell, we’re not yet sure. But since yours truly is the shipper, my input will be to find the best and sell it at a better price than found on Amazon. You can bet that if you find it cheaper on Amazon, it will be a lesser grade essential oil.

And one more thing: if you read or hear about terms like “therapeutic grade”, “aromatherapy grade,” or “pure,” do not buy into that Bull Twaddle. These are terms that are entirely made up to market these things.

Purity is something not at all related to quality. As stated above, you can have a very pure lousy plant. Any vendor can claim purity with no proof to back up the claim.

Every essential oil that Simply the Best purchases will be heavily researched with documentation coming from the supplier telling us where it came from and how it was extracted.

Additionally, all these oils will be shipped in amber glass bottles. Any essential oils sold in plastic bottles or in eye dropper bottles is crap. The plastics used and the rubber dropper top get destroyed by the oils and start to contaminate the oils.

When there is a plastic applicator under the cover on an amber bottle, you should know that it’s been treated to work especially with essential oils.

The fact is, we ordered some syringes so that we could accurately measure how much we put into a bottle, but the problem was the oils were eating the plastic and that was compromising the oils, so now we have laboratory grade glass vials for measuring the amounts.

Feel free to write to me ([email protected]) telling me about essential oils you’d be interested in. But in the meanwhile, I’ve helped Simply the Best get three quality (organic) oils: Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, and Frankincense. Shipping costs are listed in the left column and you pay very little for shipping (I know this because I ship). Pay Pal’s lowest cost of shipping is 8 or 9 dollars. So you pick how many bottles you want then choose your shipping. But if you purchase something else from them (something that does not have shipping built into the price) then there’s no extra shipping cost. This way, even Amazon cannot compete.

And Best Practices demands that we tell you that the charity Simply the Best supports is this one. So yes, you are supporting us by purchasing from them.