Essential Oils Testing — Is it Reliable?

Essential Oils Testing  - Is It Reliable?  So many people talk about the GC/MS test to show whether and essential oil is pure or not.  But is it enough?  I talk about that and what other things you should be looking at when trying to figure out if an essential oils has good quality oils or not.

If you haven’t noticed, there has been a lot of hubbub on the internet about essential oils these days.  There are loads of blogs telling you that their oils company is the best one and my blog series about my search for the best essential oils company has been extremely popular.  Often, in posts about oils, you are urged to sign up with a direct sales company to makes money selling oils, or at least to get your oils for free.

There are essential oils remedies, recipes, “Medicine Cabinet Makeovers,” information about antibacterial essential oils,  and testimonials galore.

One thing that comes up over and over again regarding essential oils, however, is GC/MS testing.

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Today we are going to talk about GC/MS testing in more detail.

We’ll learn:

What GC/MS testing is
What GC/MS tests tells us
What GC/MS testing’s limitations are

Stay with me–this is going to be very interesting.

What is GC/MS testing?

GC/MS testing is Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.  

What does that mean, you ask?

Basically, here’s what a GC/MS test does:

1.  The essential oils are injected into an apparatus with a tube.  The tube is coated with material that has different affinities for different chemicals at different temperatures.

2.  The temperature of the apparatus is gradually increased.

3.  The oil vapors are moved through the apparatus to a detector at the end of the column.

4.  The detector responds to the vaporized parts of the oils by printing out proportional peaks on paper.

5.  The height of each peak corresponds to the amount of each component of the oil.

6.  Components are identified by the time at which the peak prints out on the paper.

7.  The data for each oil can be compared with standards, or “fingerprints,” for each essential oil to make determinations about purity and other qualities about the oil.

Complex, but pretty neat, huh?

Basically, you get data about what components are in the oils and how much of each component there is.

S0–does that mean that if a company does GC/MS testing, that you can buy their oils and be sure you are getting “the real deal“?

And does it mean the if a company’s GC/MS tests come out within industry standards that you should feel comfortable using them?


While GC/MS testing can tell us a lot, there are some problems with relying on these tests alone.

1.  Essential Oils Can Be Adulterated in Ways that GC/MS tests cannot determine.

a.  Adding synthetics: For example, if synthetic linalyl acetate is added to pure lavender oil, a GC-MS analysis cannot tell whether that compound is synthetic or natural, only that it is linalyl acetate.

b.  Heating: Some oils are heated to burn off more “herby” smells, as with Eucalyptus Globulus or Peppermint.

c.  Redistilling – Some oils are redistilled to make their fragrance more appealing.  I talked about this in this post.

d.  Blending of oils to Save Money or Get Uniform Smell
i. An “expert” might dilute a more expensive lavender with a less expensive lavender in order to sell the less expensive oil for a higher profit.

ii.  Sometimes customers complain that their oil “doesn’t smell like it did before.”  That can be a good thing, because oil smell should vary a bit–depending on weather, time of year, amount of water, etc.  However, sometimes oils are blended with other batches to avoid this kind of customer complaint.

I would rather have my oils vary in smell than have them mixed with other oils.

2.  The Standards for the GC/MS testing were set up more for the food, fragrance, and flavoring industries, rather than for therapeutic oils.

When using the standardized guides and GC/MS testing, there are ranges that components of the essential oils are supposed to fall between.

For example, terpinen-4-ol is the active ingredient in tea tree oil that is supposed to be the most therapeutic.  When tea tree oil undergoes GC/MS testing, the compliant range for terpinen-4-ol is between 30 and 48%, and the “compliant range” for terpineol is 1.5 – 8%.  So the compliant range for the two combined is 31.5 – 56%.

However, since terpinen-4-ol is the most desired healing component of tea tree oil, some distillers have figured out ways to distill tea tree oil in order to have the resulting oil have a greater percentage of terpinen-4-ol.  You can see an example of this here.

Main Camp Natural Extracts claims to be “the purest tea tree oil in the world.”  Now, I don’t know about “purest” but they do have some pretty strong tea tree oil.  Their terpinen-4-ol + terpineol is a minimum of 75% and it typically is over 80%.  That clearly is well outside of the GC/MS guidelines.

So Main Camp’s oil would not test compliant with GC/MS testing, but it seems to be a valuable tea tree oil, nonetheless.

Depending what you think about the method they used to extract more terpinen-4-ol, you may or may not want that oil, but this example just goes to show that having more of an active ingredient in an oil might make the oil more therapeutic without it testing “compliant” on a GC/MS test.

Sacred Frankincense is another oil where this is done.  Some distillers can apparently tweak the advanced tech extraction that will just extract greater proportions of the anti-cancer component in frankincense oil.  The resulting oil won’t test compliant with GC/MS testing, but it is technically “more therapeutic.”

3.  GC/MS testing does not determine soil quality.

GC/MS testing only tests volatile (those that evaporate rather quickly) chemicals.

Such testing can’t make allowance for whether or not a plant was grown in soil with quality nutritional components.

We all know that organic farming practices yield higher quality produce.  As such, one would expect that the same would hold true for essential oils–we would expect that essential oils grown in high quality soil would have more therapeutic benefits.

4.  GC/MS testing does not test for many environmental toxins.

Since GC/MS testing can only test for volatile chemicals, it won’t test for heavy metals or other toxins that are heavy.

What kinds of toxins won’t show up on a GC/MS test?  (I don’t want any of these in my oils–ick!)

a.  Trace amounts of iron from an iron distiller might break off and end up in the oil.

b.  Radiation

c.  Heavy Metals

d.  Heavier Pesticides

e.  Pollution components

f.  Heavier chemicals from fertilizers

There are lots of things that could be in essential oils that I know I don’t want on my body, because there are lots of oil-soluble chemicals, pesticides, etc.   Of course, you might think that a small amount of toxins might not be a big issue, but over time it can accumulate, especially if you are using the oils frequently.  And with our toxic environment, why add anything to the burden you and your family are already under?

Also you might be purchasing organically grown oils, but if the farm is next to a heavily-polluted area, the plants will likely be polluted.

Something to think about:  Would you want an essential oil that was grown on toxic waste that passes the GC/MS reference standards, or would you rather have an essential oil grown organically that does not meet the testing standards for some reason?

I know which one I would want ;-).


Remember back in my series about my path to choosing the essential oils company that my family was going to be using?

Along the way, I heard all kinds of things about testing and certifications, some of which the oils companies made up themselves.

Well, testing is important.

But so are a lot of other things.

Here are the things that I recommend you look for in an oil company:

Signs of a Quality Essential Oil Company

1.  Experience
2.  Purity
3.  Plants grown in indigenous locations
4.  Organic and/or wild-crafted when available
5.  Most plants are grown in remote locations where no pesticides, herbicides, or harmful chemicals are used and only natural fertilizers are used.
5.  Reasonable shipping prices
6.  Reasonable pricing
7.  No solvents used
8.  No artificial oils sold
9.  No adulterating (no heating, blending, adding or further distillation of oils)
10.  Sourced from Small Farms
11.  Common Sense Approach to oils – no “over-recommending” of internal use of oils and reasonable caution in overall use of oils.

There are so many essential oils companies to choose from that it can be hard to know where to go to buy quality essential oils.

{Please note that the links to Native American and Rocky Mountain Oils are affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}

I personally have chosen Native American Nutritionals as the company that I buy my family’s essential oils from.  I trust them and they meet all of the above criteria and more.  I will be writing more about them in the near future.

Native American Nutritionals and Rocky Mountain Oils share the same quality oils but some of their offerings are different.  If you are a beginner, you might find the products at Rocky Mountain Oils to be a bit easier to sort through as Native American Nutritionals has more varieties of certain oils to choose from.

Regardless, you will be in good hands with either company.

Want More Information About Essential Oils?

Here’s a new guide that I just wrote – 10 Things You NEED to Know About Essential Oils BEFORE You Buy.

Additionally, I am not a medical practitioner.  This blog is for entertainment purposes and you should not make any changes to your diet, exercise, or natural health regiment without discussing with your physician first.**


What do you think?  Please share your comments below.

(The top image is the copyrighted property of 123rf limited.  They are a contributor or licensed partner and their image is being used with permission under license and cannot be copied or downloaded without permission from 123rf limited.)


    Speak Your Mind


  1. I have started purchasing from them based on your recommendation. Fast shipping and the one time I called I got very helpful information.

  2. Adrienne- Every time I click over to NAN’s website, I become flustered and click off not having bought a thing. For me, the site is just not “user friendly.” I am new to all this EO stuff and I’m sure newbies like myself would appreciate being able to easily find starter kits or something that guides us through the process as we get our feet wet. I click on their “product” link and just get lost not knowing what to do next. I need a big banner that says. “New to EOs? Start with our handy dandy starter kit…..” Could you pass this suggestion along to them? I am excited to get started with EOs but I don’t know where to begin!

    • They know that their site needs to be redone. Did you see their kits? I think the family emergency one would be a great place to start. Check it out and let me know what you think.

      • Melissa Tucker says:

        Hi Adrienne,

        I jsut wondered about how to get started with NAN if you want to slowly build a kit rather than buying all at one time? I am having hormonal and metabollic issues.. Any advice you can give me will be great!


        • Hmmm..did you see their kits? One of the smaller ones looks pretty good to me. I personally use lavender, peppermint, lemon, and the immune strength and tea tree the most. If you need specific advice I can try to get if for you = thanks!

          • Just spent the better of two hours researching E.O. and I’m feeling equal parts dizzy and enlightened. I’m ordering the Basic One kit from N.A.N. tonight, and have absolutely no idea what I’ll do with it when it gets here, but I’m going to try! I wondered if you already had a resource/post reviewing your favorite ways that you practically use your go-to oils, as well as any helpful beginner tips. Also wondering what the likelihood is that you will see this random post on a random comment from months ago, but here’s to hoping! xoxo

            • Hey there. Thanks for commenting. I moderate all of my comments so I see it (but some do get lost sometimes – sigh). Anyhow, I am hoping to write more about usages but I haven’t used all of them.

              I use lavender on temples or bottoms of feet for sleep and sometimes on acne or a cut.

              I have heard that lemon is great on the liver for detox but I haven’t done that yet – hope to start – I just heard it this past week. It tastes great it water and some use it for allergies.

              I’ve used peppermint for headaches and tendon issues and a few other injuries – this post should help:

              Tea tree can be used on acne, for fungal issues and as an antibiotic I believe.

              Eucalyptus is good for breathing. It’s in this post

              Their Arthritis Plus used to be called Freedom Plus. I just used that on my shoulder where I had an injury and it helped so much! I had been in pain for weeks and it a few days it was gone.

              We used their serenity for anxious moments or bedtime.

              I haven’t used the other blends yet so I guess I need to try them – I’ve been meaning to get the Aligning.
              I will try to get a post done!

      • What I would love to see them or Rocky Mountain do is a few starter sets of EO in say a 5ml bottle of each. Maybe divided alphabetically into groups of so many bottles per group such as the 3 groups of single oils and 3 groups of blends shown under essential oils on Rocky Mountains site.
        Once you have those sets, you could replace each oil as you get low on that one oil with the larger 15 ml bottles.

        We have issues in our family right now for gluten intolerance, arthritis, digestive issues, hot flashes and night sweats, lack of energy, back pain and so on. There are so many oils that I would like to have and can see I will need at some point, but the initial investment to get them even in the current kits is outside of my budget and a bit overwhelming trying to decide what to buy first. Eventually I would like to have them all so I would never have to wonder if I have what I need to treat whatever issue came up as well as for cleaning and things like that.

  3. Diane Knickerbocker says:

    Elizabeth Van Buren essential oils meet all these requirements and more. I’ve been very pleased with their product. There is also a difference between the quality of equipment used to test oils and of course there needs to be a qualified scientist to read the results. You can find that here as well. Many large “sell your own oils and get them free” companies have tried to ask ELizabeth to test their oils by misrepresenting themselves, which they wouldn’t do, but shows that they don’t actually have the ability to test their own oils and won’t pay to have it done.
    Contact me for quality oils or I’ll tell you how to purchase them yourself.

    • I am not sure what you mean by “ask Elizabeth to test their oils by misrepresenting themselves, which they wouldn’t do”. Could you explain please? I wasn’t able to check out these oils at all. Their site is generating a ton of errors.

      • Diane Knickerbocker says:

        Hello Adrienne, 
        This is true. The company on more then one occasion has called Elizabeth Van Burens office asking them to test a batch/sample of oils for the them. They give them a false name and ask it they will test their oil for contaminants and adulterants. When the name and number is researched it comes back as one of the “sell your own oils and get them gree companies”. Elizabeth is having trouble with their website but they can be reached by phone and will give you all the information on their oils including ms/spec results on their own oils. By the Way, I am not affiliated with Elizabeth Van Buren nor do I receive any commitions from them.
        Best regards,

  4. After reading your posts on essential oil companies, I decided to switch to Native American Nutritionals. I had been looking for an essential oil company that had pure oils, but with better prices. I have tried 3 times to email them with questions and have never once heard back from them. Your experience seems to be very different than mine.

    I imagine that after my complaint on your blog that I will probably hear back from them, but I don’t know if I can trust them to help the individual little guy when they have ignored me 3 times over the last 6 months. My search goes on.

  5. If you are throwing out GC/MS as valid sources for testing an essential oils quality, what other scientific testing is there? Because there area many essential oils companies that claim to meet the standards you listed.

    • I’m not throwing it out. I was stating that it has limitations and that I think it’s the best thing to use the standards I outlined at the bottom of the post along with GC/MS results. I think too many people lean too heavily on those tests alone when there is a lot more to consider :).

      • Oh, okay! So it’s just one of the many things to consider important. Thanks.

      • blueelvisbabe says:

        I can’t find anything on NAN website about their testing methods. What exactly are their testing methods and can I find the info about it on their website? Many oil companies only do GS/MS testing and I’m wondering if NAN is one of them or do they have futher tests that they do?

        • Hi there.
          This is the reply from the owner at NAN:

          There should be some info on the testing on the website — I need to go through the new site and get everything “fixed”. Yes we do the GC-MS testing and others as well. If they want a copy of a test for the oil they purchase, we can provide them with a copy. (Some time we will be putting the tests right on the website.)

          If you need anything you can email them. Thanks!

  6. Alison Price says:

    You are awesome!!!! I am out of oils and ready to give Native American a try. What an amazing post! Thanks for all your research.

  7. Melody Moon says:

    I believe testing is important and knowing your company is important, but the real test is RESULTS….that is why I use Young Living….I don’t have to worry about an earache or kidney infection. I just recently experienced the kidney infection and several I know have had the earache and did not have to seek medical attention because I was able to care for myself….and my friends used their YL oils for immediate relief with their health issues….I just don’t want to think of giving up my oils to try another company….and I have tried a couple of others,,,,,, and expect to get the results I get from YL….because the results aren’t there..because of the integrity of the YL the oils bring results….a drop of Sacred Frankincense on the tip of my son’s toe will STOP a seizure….I carry it in my pocket whenever he is with me….I trust these oils….don’t ever want to be without them…..or depend on another company to do what these oils done….the two I’ve tried were sadly disappointing….

  8. What a great review. I would have to give this oil a try. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Christina says:

    I would like to comment regarding point 2 – just for starters. I am no expert in chemistry, however THIS guy is: (Robert Tisserand post on Tea Tree oil constituents) If you read this link you will see that there is a normal range for a reason, ANYTHING outside this range is not considered to standard (as you stated). There are times when more is not MORE.

    • Hi and thanks for commenting. Sorry but for now I am taking out most URLs in comments b/c I had malware issues awhile ago from one of them. I think his article was quite good. I talked with the owner of Native American about this and basically, this is what he said:

      Of course, the preference would be for oils to be processed under low temp and low pressure, but sometimes, if you are looking for an oil to do a certain thing (like to have the workings of the terpinen-4-ol specifically rather than the effects of the whole tea tree) then that kind of extraction that would result in an oil with more of a certain element might be preferable.

      Also, he did say that he has had oils on occasion come back that were outside of the “compliant” range (though rarely) and it was due to some reason like rain amounts. At that time, he has disclosed to companies that he has sold the oils to and has explained the reason.

      Thanks for commenting!

  10. Wow. there’s alot of misinformation here and a discredit to a great souce of information that proves to be alot more accurate than just taking a companies word for it. Basing a decision on science and a solid education is much more beneficial to ones health and safety than just trusting someone selling or pushing a product to be honest (distiller, company, blogger, etc.)

    there’s a lot of BS on the internet pertaining to EOs, and alot of it comes from companies trying to gain a bigger corner on the market.

    • So I am going back over these comment, Juanita, and it appears that you are saying that I am the one posting “disinformation.” You have since shared other comments. Do they outline all of the problems that you have with my post or are there more?

      • It is pretty clear to most of us the agenda here. I appreciate your info, but some of it is false and the attitude here is one of discrediting random testing. We ALL should do our research WELL for safety’s sake.

        • Hi Kelly. I am not sure what you mean by “the agenda”. What do you think is false? And I am, you are right, discrediting random testing without other information because there is just too much that can go wrong for someone to lean on a GC/MS test as the end all and be all. The term is thrown around by many in the oils industry (and by customers) without the masses knowing what the test does and what it doesn’t do. I was one of those “not in the know” and now I know better. Please let me know what you think my agenda was and what is false. Thanks.

      • yes, but without GCMS, you have nothing to base the companies words against. they can “say” anything they want, but is it true? any company wants to say their oils are the best. some will go to great lengths to decieve or twist the real truth into something that sells more product..

        if you know how to read a GCMS and the company makes them available(reputable ones do and most have them right on their websites so you know exactly what your getting before you buy it). its the companies that dont make that available, have incorrect information, no differentiation between chemotypes of certain EOs, and things labeled by incorrect common names that I worry about.. a couple companies sell something deceivingly labeled as an entirely different EO.

        it is a bigger picture than just the GCMS, but its a very good indicator.. if the company freely publishes it on their site, or makes it available, thats a good thing.. if they dont, you should use caution, theres nothing proprietary about them. its either good, pure oil… or its not..

        • Hi Juanita. I never said in my post that GC/MS testing is not be looked at. I was merely stating that there are things that the GC/MS testing can’t tell you and it’s important to ask questions that go beyond the test and the numbers.

          Of course, there are companies that are trying to deceive. That, sadly, is part of the problem of humanity. And it goes beyond the oils industry, of course.

          Companies who show a GC/MS test wouldn’t be doing so if their oils didn’t meet compliance. Furthermore, I have heard of companies producing certificates for oils that are different than the ones that they are selling. Of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that that could easily happen.

          I guess I am pretty confused about several comments coming in insinuating that I am saying that GC/MS testing isn’t valuable. It is – but it is just part of the picture. And relying on it alone isn’t a good idea.

          I have been a proponent of full disclosure by EO companies all along in my series. I wouldn’t recommend a company that didn’t make GC/MS certs available or that didn’t have proper labeling.


          • Hi, I’m with everyone here, companies can and do say whatever they want and the only thing that a consumer can see (is tangible) is the CoA or GC/MS test. Otherwise the consumer is in the dark. You mention that these test are unrealible. How could they be more so then just taking a companies word.?
            They can say they only buy from farmers but who really knows. At least, a test is a starting point. Furthermore, I have recently bought an oil and it had an CoA. However, the oil was horrible ( pure turpentine posing as terpinen) further digging and found not only were the MSDS and CoA were 4 years old, almost every oil had the same batch and item number (organic and standardized alike.
            You never can know for sure. Even so I will take a EO with transparent CoA over 12 pages on a company site stating and over proving how great and pure and exceptional their oils are. No?

            • Hello again, Heidi. Well, I agree, but I disagree. There is so much more than the testing you recommend. Of course we have to take a company’s word. We do that with all kinds of things. There are so many things in life that we have to take with faith until we know otherwise. NAN and RMO are going to have testing available too so perhaps that will appeal to you.

  11. To a degree Adrienne’s article is accurate…and to a degree she is really misleading. GC/MS testing alone does not indicate EVERY possible adulteration or contaminant in an oil. But it can raise a red flag that something is amiss when the components are not in the ratious/balance that they should be. The FIRST method of evaluation by professionals is always organoleptic…ie, does the oils smell as it should? (which is not the same thing as smelling good.) We have had oils tested because they were “too good to be true” and in every case the GC/MS test revealed that the oils had been “improved” by adding phytochemicals to alter the balance. MY instinct caught it, the GC proved it. Also, if you believe that the WHOLE essential oil, used safely and appropriately, is more effective than a single chemical derived from the oil, then you would not want an oil whose major component is far higher than “standard”.. because if the (for example) terpinen-4-ol is twice as high as it should be…what components are missing or at far lower %ages than they should be. Why not use pure terpinen rather than the oil. You are siting what is EITHER an adulterated oil (the Australian Tea Tree Association would say that) or an oil that is totally manipulated to provide what is NOT a natural result. Many of us prefer to use pure and natural oils, rather than oils whose chemistry has been manipulated as in the case you cite.

    Yes, the other factors that you cite are important…but the test showing that the oils is “what it should be” is the starting point. Also, are you not taking many of the factors above on faith? Of course you are. And this is not a bad thing. We HAVE to be able to trust the integrity of our suppliers. Unfortunately, in this industry, there are many major players whose integrity is not reliable.

    (I read your blog series about which oil suppliers you considered, and wish you had asked for suggestions..there are MANY small companies online offering superb essential oils that would have met and surpassed your standards.)

    • Hi Marge. I really appreciate your chiming in here.

      I am not sure what you mean, however, by my article being misleading. I think that of course the testing can show a red flag that should be paid attention to. My concern is how so many in the industry (and consumers) lean on this kind of test as if it is the end all and be all. When it is not.

      I have maintained that not adulterating is the best way to go but there are apparently those in the industry who think that the high terinen-4-ol is valuable – would you not agree with that?

      I have, at the same time, heard about oils that naturally have percentages outside of the normal “in compliance” range and yet they are thought by some to be superior due to their being organic, and/or wild-crafted. Can you address that?

      I do think that the GC/MS test can be a good starting point. I am simply frustrated hearing many people leaning on that, and that almost to the exclusion of other things that should have been taken into account.

      Regarding taking the other factors by faith, well, in a sense, yes. But isn’t that for anyone who talks w/ any company about their practices? If I were to call your company you would tell me things about you and many you could prove and some possibly you couldn’t. I have gone above and beyond with Native American to make sure that they are doing what they say….of course, all of that within reason. I don’t have the funds that would make it appropriate for me to visit their many suppliers around the world, etc. But I would like to :).

      Regarding suggestions, I know that there are other companies that are good. At some point, in my searching, I needed to stop. I would be happy to talk to you if you would like. I was looking for myself and my family and made a recommendation to my readers–just like I do with many things I write about. I say what I think and sometimes I need to go back and revise posts or make other recommendations. But I am very busy trying to research many different things while I keep a family afloat amidst our own health needs. And that alone takes a ton of time. If I were 5 people perhaps I could do more….but then again, I am taking contributing writers on soon so there will hopefully be more time.

      Thanks and again, I would be happy to talk to you.

      • Drats…started this reply awhile ago, got interrupted, and lost it ;( I am going to try to address your response in order. At any rate..I think we both agree that there are other factors BESIDES the gc/ms analysis that contribute to assessing an essential oils quality.

        Where we seem to disagree, based solely on the blog article above and your earlier series, is the importance of an objective evaluation. Yes, there are many other factors…but many of them are either intangible or based on trust. The GC/MS (and possibly other tests) are the only OBJECTIVE measure we have.

        People choose to rely upon different suppliers, that is wonderful, it’s part of what makes the world go round. But the GC lets me know that the supplier I LIKE is offering a product that is what it is supposed to be. Think how many absolutely CHARMING snake oil salesmen there are in the world… I want an object test to confirm my instincts.

        Re the “adjusted” tea tree. You seem to ask a trick question here. Yes, apparently there are those in the industry who think it is of value, otherwise it would not be produced.

        However most of us truly do prefer “pure and natural” oils, and the adjusted Tea Tree is neither. I believe you have seen Robert Tisserand’s discussion of this oil? If I were to receive this oil I would consider it contaminated. If I WERE to put our label on it, I would warn our clients that it is not within the expected parameters.

        It rather seems like those who want to extract, let us say, the menthol from peppermint, and use it alone, rather than using the whole oil. I do not want isolated components, I want whole, pure and natural oils.

        Now we sometimes have an oil that is outside of spec… I offer it..but I make sure that our clients KNOW it is “different.” My experience is that those who love it *because* it is different use it and enjoy it…but our clinicians and researches avoid it like the plague. They want oils that are going to perform as they should. They can not afford to experiment.

        The superiority of a “tinkered with” oil because it is organic? I’m sorry… let’s get an organic or wildcrafted oil that performs as I would expect it to… a NATURAL oil. Or even a well cultivated and beautifully distilled “conventionally farmed” oil. NO I would not say an adjusted oil is superior if it is organic. I have seen DREADFUL organic oils. ones I would neither use nor put my label on. There are times when I will prefer a conventionally farmed oil aromatically or energetically. And an organically produced oil can still be a BAD oil… aromatically, energetically, physically. Evaluating EO quality is a complex “mix” of factors… “all things being equal” yes, I would prefer organic… but…all things are seldom equal.

        I suspect that had you emphasized the objectivity of having an analysis rather than having it at the end of your list, reactions to your post might be different.

        • Hello Marge. I am so sorry for responding to you late. I have been swamped and am trying to weed thru these comments. Whew!

          I am not sure what we disagree on. If you could clarify I would appreciate it. I do think that of course GC/MS is the only or one of the only objective things one can stand on, but of course organic certification is pretty objective, wouldn’t you say?

          I am not trying to ask a trick question. I just think that there might be oils (are oils) that would test non compliant but would be preferred by some due to the preference for a greater or lesser concentration of some components. Is that not true?

          I do not want isolated components if I am buying oils, but I am just saying that for some it might be preferable. That’s just the way the marketplace works.

          I could have written the post differently, but I have heard of folks relying so heavily on the GC/MS to the exclusion of other important factors that I thought it was important to voice it this way. I hope you can understand. Take care!

      • Tabitha T says:

        I got the impression Ms Clark may use GC if she has questions about the oil. I really enjoyed your EO series and get what you are trying to say. The testing is not the “end all, be all” to prove you have the Holy Grail of a certain EO. I have been to some parties and representatives of the MLM oils make it sound like the test itself means you have the purest oil. I found that to be misleading after reading Marge Clark, Robert Tisserand, and some other authors articles, books, etc. As a layperson, I understand what you are getting at. The testing is of value, but it can be manipulated and used as smoke and mirrors to deflect from other important evaluations of an oil’s quality.

        I did like the sound of NAN but had trouble with the website and have continued to purchase from Marge Clark at Nature’s Gift via my naturopath. She has a lot of info on her web site. This has been a huge help because I’m still trying to get my hands on her beginner EO book.

        • Thanks, Tabitha. You are completely correct. Sorry about the site issues at NAN – if I can be of help let me know. They are working on updating their site. Why have you not been able to get her book? I contacted her to possibly work with her but I didn’t hear back.

  12. Ann Wooledge says:

    Using a GC/MS analysis is for better reasons than just figuring out how good or not good an essential oil is. If you are selling essential oils you should know and understand the chemistry – the chemical constituents – in a certain oil. This is how you know, or have a much better, idea of how this oil will work for a particular issue. Does it contain a high percentage of eugenol? Do you know which essential oils have a large percentage of eugenol? Without looking it up? Do you know the cautions that go along with this oil even though it also has lots of benefits – do you know which ones those are? Eugenol is just one example because there are hundreds of different constituents in the different oils. Knowing this usually requires an aromatherapy course that has been approved by NAHA or AIA. I would just suggest that if you want to continue blogging about essential oils and aromatherapy is general, it might be a good idea for you to check one of those out.

    • I know I am not an aromatherapist and I never said that I was. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t share important information that is beneficial to my readers.

      I am a little confused about your comment. You seemed to be only saying that you think that what I have to say isn’t valuable since I don’t have an NAHA or AIA course under my belt. Of course, taking certain courses can be helpful and others–not so much. I have just enrolled in a highly regarded herbalist course and that is all I have time for right now. I am sure you can understand :).

      What I mean is, you are only saying that I should take a course if I want to keep blogging about essential oils and aromatherapy. May I ask if you are going to all of the blogs that talk about EO’s and telling them that? There are tons of them.

      And I don’t think that one needs to know specifics of eugenol to write an intelligent and helpful post about essential oils and the industry–
      –just like I don’t need a medical degree to write about how doctors misdiagnosed me with high stomach acid and prescribed drugs that only would have harmed me
      –or how I can find error in English Lit PhD’s presentations despite my not even having a BA in English (yes, I did this)
      — or how I can debate many current event topics effectively despite my never having taken a course in any of them

      Basically, I think it comes down to being open-minded and a good researcher.

      I am not perfect but I try to do the best that I can–and I am willing to apologize and get new information out if I find out that I was wrong.

      Please let me know if you think I presented some error in my post but I can’t promise you I will know which oils have the largest percentage of eugenol without looking it up. Well, if I look it up now (like anyone in a course needs to do, right?) then maybe I will know for the next time you comment :).

      • Diane Knickerbocker says:

        I really appreciate all research you did in acordance to this subject and brought to light a lot of what’s going on within this industry. The truth of the matter is you do need to do a lot do due diligence asking a ton of questions before purchasing EOs. Keep up the good work and continue to ask the questions. I really enjoy reading you.

        • Thanks, Diane. There is a lot going on in this industry–as in the pharmaceutical one and in agriculture….and in perhaps all, correct? It’s a shame.

  13. I am disheartened by this blog. The series was written in supposed “unbiased opinion” of varied oils. Now we learn you are a sales person for one company. That takes away your credibility. Fortunately, since reading much more since your blog, I have heard other opinions from those with educational backgroung to support their opinions. I did see results of testing as you’ve mentioned. The testing gauges content for what should/should not b present and whether those that should are in proper ranges. Exactly what is unreliable about that? If it isn’t to be present or the range is not accurate, then it is adulterated. Aka unpure. Until you have the educational backgroud dispute scientific data, or succeed in creating your own legitimate distillery (working properly within guidelines), it would be more beneficial to your readers were you to stick to what you know. Misinformatiion and false claims lead to injury

    • Hi Sandy. I think that one certainly can talk about a subject and still gain financially from it. It happens all the time. My husband, though he isn’t a sales person (and I am not a sales person for NAN – I am an affiliate, which is what almost all bloggers are–affiliate for Amazon, Tropical Traditions, oil companies, Squatty Potty, Orawellness, and the link) he makes money teaching and he is an expert in what he teaches.

      Are you saying that if I am an affiliate for a company that what I write about that product or topic is invalid? I don’t think so.

      I have a strong educational background – and am starting to learn a lot about oils. I think that I did a lot of checking in to the material that I presented. Is there a point you would like me to elaborate on or explain more? From what I have heard, there are naturally occurring instances where oil components would be outside of the range. If that is not the case, I am happy to revise the post, but that is what I understand to be true at this point.

      I would like it if you could please tell me what you think is misinformation in this post. There are oils companies all over the place selling oils that are adulterated in many ways and I am trying to make my readers aware of it so that they won’t lean only on the results of GC/MS testing to make up their mind about what oils to by. If anything, I am trying to help them sort through the information that is out there–much of which is marketing hype, in my opinion.

      Thanks for your comment and I hope to hear back from you.

    • One more thing that I would like to add. I personally don’t want my oils “messed with” as in heated, vacuumed, or having active ingredients enhanced. The reason I mentioned the tea tree example is that this company states that their oil is better b/c it has more of the active ingredient in it. There are many who buy it for that reason. Of course, one could make the argument that it is adulterated and I agree with that, in theory. However, I have heard of oils that test outside of the given “ranges” that are not adulterated and yet many in the market for oils would prefer an oil “within the range” that may have been grown around / with a lot of pesticides to an oil “outside of the range” that was grown organically.

      I personally would rather have the first oil. Of course, this example is over-simplified but I think you can understand where I am coming from.

      Also, if all bloggers “stick to what you know” – I am not sure what any of us would be writing about. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in what they know–even if they are “experts” or take a course. I have been to many doctors with many degrees who diagnosed me wrong and prescribed things that hurt me. Sometimes just having a degree or a certain amount of education isn’t enough.

      I am trying to be a service to my readers and I am bringing up things to help them make decisions about what they eat and what they put in and on their bodies and use in their homes. I think the dialogue is very worthwhile and many people are leaning too heavily on the “tests” without asking the other questions that are very important.

      Please let me know what you think – and I would appreciate your trying to be nice in how you express yourself. I might be wrong but you seem to be condescending to me. :)

    • Hi again, Sandy. I just wanted to reply once more. Just because an oil has GC/MS testing outside of the ranges, doesn’t mean it is adulterated. The Tea Tree oil I cited in the article could have been produced simply by higher temperature or pressure. Not necessarily adulterating, but not distilling under ideal circumstances. And I have heard of other oils falling outside of the “compliant” range simply due to rain amounts. So just b/c an oil tests as “non compliant”, that doesn’t mean it isn’t pure. The test is a good place to start, but it doesn’t necessarily answer all of the questions.

      • Im going to quote what you wrote to keep from everyone having to go back up and re-read what you wrote..
        Main Camp Natural Extracts claims to be “the purest tea tree oil in the world.” Now, I don’t know about “purest” but they do have some pretty strong tea tree oil. Their terpinen-4-ol + terpineol is a minimum of 75% and it typically is over 80%. That clearly is well outside of the GC/MS guidelines.
        So Main Camp’s oil would not test compliant with GC/MS testing, but it seems to be a valuable tea tree oil, nonetheless.
        Depending what you think about the method they used to extract more terpinen-4-ol, you may or may not want that oil, but this example just goes to show that having more of an active ingredient in an oil might make the oil more therapeutic without it testing “compliant” on a GC/MS test.

        the last line of your quoted text is absolutely untrue in the case of T-4-ol. period.

        I am writing this in response to a recent discussion on various facebook pages about tea tree oil (TTO), and whether a TTO with 51% terpinen-4-ol would be better than one with 41%, or whether 51% suggested adultration. Most TTO is produced in Australia and China, and this article is about the quality of Australian TTO, since the Chinese oils generally do not conform to the Australian standards, and there is no quality standard for Chinese TTO. The major constituent of TTO is terpinen-4-ol (T-4-ol). Most essential oils contain a single major constituent, and yet the main point of natural medicine is that we don’t isolate “active ingredients” and use them instead of the whole natural product.

        Once we do that, we call it a drug. And, once we do that there is no longer any possibility for synergistic action. Synergy is the interplay, or interaction between constituents of plant-based medicines, that often give them effects that cannot be obtained by using a single, isolated substance. The action of TTO owes a great deal to its content of T-4-ol, and there may be instances when T-4-ol alone is more effective. But there are certainly situations in which the whole oil is more effective. So the question here is this: What is the ideal amount of T-4-ol, and is more always better?

        There is an industry standard for TTO, and the most recent version was published in 2004. Standards for essential oils are set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The actual ISO standard is copyrighted and is not in the public domain, but for the purposes of this discussion all we need to know is that the standard for T-4-ol in TTO is 30-48%. This means that any genuine, natural, unadulterated TTO should contain a minimum of 30% and a maximum of 48% T-4-ol. (For anyone who wants to better understand the way a standard can help identify if TTO is genuine there is a document on the ATTIA (Australian Tea Tree Industry Association) website: How ISO & AS Standards help identify fraudulent material.) I asked Tony Larkman, spokesperson for ATTIA, whether a TTO with more than 48% T-4-ol was a good thing or a bad thing. This is his response:

        They put a ceiling on the T-4-ol to stop the bush cutters (who were distilling wild harvested material in wood fired pot stills) from cheating – it is easy to use the wrong source plant material “by mistake”; back then it was all done by smelling the product and paying cash based on the buyers skill at detecting the cheats followed by CG analysis when they got back to base some weeks later. One sample had 47% so they made the standard inclusive at 48%. The 30% minimum was put there to stop them cheating the other way by diluting with some of the eucalyptus and other oils (including turpentine form the hardware store!).

        I spoke to the technician from the Australian Government’s Department of Primary Industry (DPI) essential oil testing facility at Wollongbar, NSW last week asking him what the highest level of T-4-ol he had ever seen in his 15+ years experience as an analytical chemist in a sample of pure Australian TTO. His response: Under a proper distillation regime 42% T-4-ol result is very high and rarely does one see 43% T-4-ol. It is extremely rare to see 45%. I once had a 47% T-4-ol result only to find after a double check from another sample from the same batch that it was a fault in the calibration of the GC unit.

        I have never seen a T-4-ol level in pure TTO to exceed 45%, neither has the analyst from the DPI. When I see the T-4-ol level over 42% I immediately submit it for a chiral test on the assumption that it has been adulterated with T-4-ol which is a waste product from factories that ‘correct’ eucalyptus, sandalwood, tarragon, pine, fennel and aniseed oils. It is also found in turpentine. I would personally like to see the max level dropped to 45%.

        It is a myth that higher levels of T-4-ol make TTO more effective. All studies on the efficacy, safety and usage of pure Australian TTO have been conducted using a T-4-ol content of about 40–42%, the level at which it most commonly occurs in plantation sourced oils which have been bred to yield at this level. Australian TTO is a complex mixture of 113+ compounds and it is the synergistic effect of all of these compounds that makes TTO such an effective antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory product.

        Since the mid 1980s there have been many discussions about the optimal levels of T-4-ol and 1,8-cineole in TTO. The fact is that increasing T-4-ol levels above 40% makes no difference to the safety and most importantly the efficacy of Australian TTO. The current demand for T-4-ol levels at around 40% ensures that a sustainable quality of pure, natural TTO can be made available. Demanding T-4-ol levels in excess of 42% will in no way increase the efficacy and safety of TTO; in fact it increases the likelihood of being supplied with an adulterated product contaminated with industrial waste and by-products from other industries where there is no quality assurance, likely resulting in contamination with unknown and untested substances.

        I know that some people don’t like standards for natural products, but I believe standardization is a mostly good thing, and certainly for TTO we can see the benefits of ‘fingerprinting” as the analysis and comparison process is sometimes known. I will be publishing a lengthy interview with Tony Larkman in the coming weeks.”””

        that is a direct quote from The Spokes person for the Australian Tea Tree Association. who has a much better grasp on TTO than anyone here..

        the above should serve as a clarification from two VERY reputable sources that know and understand EOs, chemistry and adulteration more any of the rest of us ever will.. lol..

        • Hello again, Juanita. Sorry for the delay in replying to you –I found your comment in my spam folder. I don’t typically look there, but someone on Facebook accused me of deleting comments on my blog so I looked in my spam folder and there was your comment. So I would appreciate it if you would tell your friend (I am assuming that she is your friend since there are no other comments that I did not reply to) that I did, in fact, reply to your comment :). I have a spam plugin on my blog that catches odd-looking comments and sometimes it makes a mistake, like in this case. Probably b/c your comment was really long.

          Here is a reprinting of your comment, with my replies inserted. I do think it’s easier for readers to follow them this way. I will type my responses in italics.

          Im going to quote what you wrote to keep from everyone having to go back up and re-read what you wrote..
          Main Camp Natural Extracts claims to be “the purest tea tree oil in the world.” Now, I don’t know about “purest” but they do have some pretty strong tea tree oil. Their terpinen-4-ol + terpineol is a minimum of 75% and it typically is over 80%. That clearly is well outside of the GC/MS guidelines.
          So Main Camp’s oil would not test compliant with GC/MS testing, but it seems to be a valuable tea tree oil, nonetheless.

          Depending what you think about the method they used to extract more terpinen-4-ol, you may or may not want that oil, but this example just goes to show that having more of an active ingredient in an oil might make the oil more therapeutic without it testing “compliant” on a GC/MS test.
          the last line of your quoted text is absolutely untrue in the case of T-4-ol. period.

          I find your comment of “absolutely untrue” to be confusing. You may wish to reread my entire post to see what I did and did not claim. Although the Tisserand article is wonderful it does not negate the point I was making. Let me walk you through my logic so you may understand my thinking better.

          Here are some points I made in my post and a further clarification of them:

          1. Main Camp Natural Extracts claims to sell “the purest tea tree oil in the world”–I did not agree to what they claim; I simply quoted it.
          2. They use different processes of distillation to produce different quality or types of essential oils. One type they sell is outside the standards but they seem to think it is valuable or they would not be selling it, and apparently someone is buying it so–if something sells, it has value in the eye of the purchaser.
          3. Next, I will refer back to my post where I wrote the following things:
          a) “you may or may not want that oil” — in your case, Juanita, I am assuming you do not want this oil. But that still does not say others may not want it too. Since the company sells the oil, I would assume that people want the oil.
          b) This example of this “high terpinen-4-ol tea tree oil” was “to show that having more of an active ingredient in an oil might make the oil more therapeutic without testing compliant”—the key words in that last quote was “might”. I did not say it would. I said the oil might.

          Now, this might seem like a totally ridiculous example, but humor me for a moment:

          Let’s say that there is a situation where the higher terpinen-4-ol WOULD be more therapeutic, for example, a new exotic virus is found and it is immune to everything except terpinen-4-ol. The terpinen-4-ol is the only thing that can kill it. So having a higher percentage of terpinen-4-ol in your tea tree would be more therapeutic at killing that virus than having a lower percentage of that chemical. I am sure you will be able to find other scientific research on the internet that will show that having higher terpinen-4-ol tea tree oil would be more advantageous in some situations.

          So, to reiterate, I was not saying that one tea tree was better than another. What would make a tea tree better is the intended use. Also the higher terpinen-4-ol may or may not suggest adulteration but we would have to get more data about the farm and distillation method in order to determine that.

          I hope that helps.

  14. What would be good oils, or a good book to read about what oils to start with? I’ve heard of essential oils but haven’t tried anything except tea tree. However, looking around online, I found an article by the NCI that indicated they are good for stress. I have also heard that there is a blend that is really antibacterial, antimicrobial, etc. but safer than Lysol. Do you know?

    • Good question. I have been meaning to write a post with a few books. I honestly haven’t used many but I do have the one in this post and I like it. I have this book (affiliate link) in my shopping cart at Amazon and I am planning to buy it. I think the blend you are talking about is commonly referred to as Thieves. Native American has a very similar blend called Spice Traders. I like it a lot. I hope to have a DIY post on that blend soon. Does that help? If you need a suggestion about what to buy I would be happy to help. I think Native American’s Family Emergency Kit mostly looks great personally – but I am the “how can this help with medical stuff” kind of gal :).

    • Anna, my very favorite ‘beginner book’ is “Aromatherapy for Vibrant Health and Beauty” by Roberta’s available on Amazon. NOT overly heavy in science… you are not looking for that yet. She give really GOOD information on a wide range of oils, physical and emotional effects, and a good balance of basic information and formulas/recipes using the oils in many different modalities…ie, massage blends, bath blends, etc. The second edition includes a good section on hydrosols, as well. It’s the book I recommend for those just starting out.

    • Our go-to book is Aromatherapy a-z by Patricia Davis. Have been using it for several years now, it has seen us through chicken pox, skin issues from the swimming pool, and all other sorts of things you run into with small children. At first I found it was very conservative in comparison to the other guides I had read (lived in France when I bought Davis’s book, and the main voices in French aromatherapy highly recommend internal use for oils whereas she is against it). However, the more I use her guide, the more I think there is wisdom in her conservative approach, and we’ve had great luck with her guide. We’re lucky where we live in that essential oils are tightly regulated so most of this discussion is irrelevant for me. The one that is good to point out to beginners is that wild plants cannot be certified organic, but they are often highly prized by aromatherapists. Lastly, if anyone goes to Europe, stock up oils there, the price:quality is excellent in France and Belgium.

  15. Rachel S. says:

    Do you know if NAN ships outside the U.S.? More specifically, to Costa Rica?

  16. I have to say, I was disappointed with your series about essential oil companies. I was looking for your opinion about the company I use, Aura Cacia. A picture of the bottle was in the heading of the article – great! But the only information I could see, was that another company (the one who pays you) said that “most” other oil companies get their oil from “experts. Did you even research them, or did you just take another compainies opinion for the truth?

    • I’m sorry, Mandy. Things got kind of carried away and I ended up writing them off pretty early. They add carrier oils to a lot of their oils and some readers have commented that they don’t make that very clear. They also don’t recommend internal use and they don’t meet the prerequisites that I laid out in this post. I hope that helps. I like the company and their education but not their oils for the uses I want them for. I hope you can understand that I was sooo exhausted inquiring about what company that I wanted to go with. I was getting a lot of pressure to stay with doTERRA and wanted to make sure that I made the right decision. My point wasn’t to go through all of the options and I would have liked to be more thorough but I ended up simply wiped out from the whole thing.

      • I did see the comment you made about reading the ingredients on an oil you had and found jojoba oil. But if you look on their website they clearly sell that oil both neat and mixed with jojoba. I can understand that you were tired of the whole thing though. My understanding is that you should not ingest oils, even though some companies say it is OK. My impression is that Aura Cacia is not saying that their oils are inferior, but that you simply should not be ingesting.

        • I understand why they are saying it but a reader commented that their blended oils aren’t clearly disclosed. I honestly can’t imagine that their oils are anything less than the “experts” oils by their pricing, but I could be wrong. I do recall someone telling me something about impurity but I can’t, of course, say that that it going on just b/c someone told me it. I believe it was a company saying that they tested their oils and found problems. I still stand by the different criteria that I’ve laid out and that is the kind of company I want to buy from. And I just found out more about the fair trade nature of NAN that makes me even more enthusiastic.

          I think personally that ingesting is OK – with caution. But I am not medically advising it :).

      • So you don’t like Aura Cacia because they add a carrier oil to some (very few) of there blends. BTW so does NAN. So don’t buy those blends. What about the EOs them selves? If that is the only reason, that makes no sense. A lot of people (not me) likes that they are preblended (takes away a step)
        So why don’t you like the actual EOs? Curious that any oil that was cheaper then (your company NAN) was not even mentioned even tho you insinuated in the pic you would give us results of those oils. So please let me know (not about carrier oils that dosent change an EOs purity if it’s clearly stated (which it is) and don’t tell me about the company just the essential oils. Why would you not recommend them? Thanks
        This type of information would be more along the lines of what you started in the beginning of this blog.

        • Hello again, Heidi. I stated that they add carrier oils to their oils. I have had readers tell me they have oil added to their individual oils and it’s hard to tell looking at the label. Perhaps they changed this. As for the other reasons as I said I can’t go into those things. I didn’t make any selection about cheaper or more expensive as to what I would say about an oil. I have already told you in response to numerous comments you have made today that I can’t share things about other companies without being extremely careful and yet you continue to insinuate that something else is going on here. It isn’t.

          Yes, when I started the series I planned on having the companies in the photo and many others on my list of companies to evaluate but things changed a lot as I got into things. The photo was simply oils that I had in my house, however. I didn’t really put a lot of thought into it. I did not in any way intend to test oils from any and every company. Thanks.

  17. I’ve really enjoyed and learned a lot from all the EO research you’ve done!
    I am signed up with YL, but just bought my first order thru your affiliate link with NAN –

    thanks for your commitment to the truth!
    Many many blessings!

  18. Michelle Patterson says:

    I have tried several different brands of essential oils and have found doTERRA to be the highest quality. Can’t live without my essential oils!

  19. *Sigh*

    I’m at a loss with EO’s. It seems like no matter what I read takes me in circles. I just want quality oils that don’t cost a fortune and aren’t hyped up. All the research is tiring and frankly I don’t have time to do all that (Bless you for doing it b/c I don’t know how you do it).

    It seems to me that this one area divides those of us in the holistic/natural community more than any other. It’s sad.

    I feel like the only way to know for sure is it go get my aromatherapy degree.

    • Hi Danielle. I personally don’t think you need a degree to figure out what to purchase. I hear you on all the controversy. It’s crazy. I think it’s partially b/c of the hype from YL and doTERRA insisting that they are the best. I think there are some great companies, but not tons. I do think that the one I chose is an excellent choice. As I have time I hope to recommend more but I am swamped :).

  20. Wow. This post is jam packed with information!

    I’ve played around with essential oils a bit since I went to a home intro session earlier in the year. I was waiting until I had more time to immerse myself in the subject, which you’ve proven here is something that needs to be done before deciding which company to buy from.

    Like anything else, it’s so important to make an informed choice. Thanks’ for making it easier for us to do so!

  21. Hi. Visiting from Frugally Sustainable Blog Hop. This is a fantastic article. Your points define why I do not use essential oils topically very often, and never internally. I just smell them. In an ideal world purity could be assumed, but with pollution in all corners of the world – who knows.

    A factor that is important to me, in addition to what you’ve mentioned above, is Fair Trade practices. Many of these plants for essential oils are harvested by workers in the developing world. I want to make sure any oils I purchase have been harvested by people who were paid fairly for their very hard work. I haven’t decided on what my essential oil company is yet, but I’m leaning towards Mountain Rose for that reason.

    • You make a really good point. Native American pays their workers a better than fair wage. I should ask him how much. I’ll go and do so now. Thanks!

      • Thank you so much for doing that. Do you know if they are certified Fair Trade? The term ethically traded, without the certification, can be akin to the term therapeutic grade in essential oils. A lot of companies say ethically traded but without the certification it is hard to truly tell.

        • Hi there. I don’t believe that Native American is certified Fair Trade, but here is a quote from the owner about how he is treating his workers. (I have edited it a tad to make it easier to read.)

          Well–fair to them will not be considered fair to us over here :-). I am helping out a Farm in Africa right now. We are getting the village to get it up and running. I think it’s 300 acres but I would have to go look, it may only be 200. Still a lot of land. NAN has paid for 3/4 the land so far and some other things too. Right now they are growing some food crops, but down the road we will have them add some herbs for the essential oils. I just sent them some more funds yesterday to get them their summer payment finished. They told me they were going to send a picture with the workers holding up a sign to thank us. — I have some pictures from an email earlier. I will see if I can find them and send it over.

          Now, what is fair — with the farmers in the third word countries we paying them a bit more than what they would normally get — I would say about 20% more, but they also get to work the 40 hours and not the 60 hours they would normally work. So that is a huge savings. Still, a few extra bucks to us Americans is not a big deal when they are used to getting paid $20+ a month — depends on what country. In Africa right now its $20 a month for the average worker at 60 hours a week and they have 60%+ unemployment. In Costa Rica where my Mom just went to visit and help out, the skilled labor, carpenter or plumber, was paid $10.00 a day.

          Really, we hope to be doing a lot more — my dream is to establish our own farms/villages all over the world — NAN would own the land but the workers would live on it without the fear of being kicked out. Basically, we want the workers to see the farm as their village, but we also want to keep it a “safe” place to raise a family. None of the alcohol or gambling that people waste money on and are addicted to.

          I want them to grow all or as much as they can of their own food. They then can grow the plants for the oils. We will extract the oils and then sell them in America. The Farm would be paid for the oils so they can improve the village/farm and also purchase more land. We want one village to turn into two, that then turns into four, and then into eight, and so forth. —- I figure once we get this all running smoothly, we should be able to do some great things. — It is so sad to see the corruption and waist and we want to assist the people in assisting themselves.

          I really see things up and running in about five years….So we are going to finish off paying for the farm in Africa, then get a distiller up and get the farmers to practice on 5 acres of herbs. If things go as planned, we will expand the planting and then look for another Village to get started. I’m looking down in Central or South America, the Philippines, or in India. Not sure where just yet. Still waiting to see what comes up.

          I am excited about it and I see it as my life’s project. I want not only self-sustaining villages but ones that grow and can assist others. I want something that will be around well after I have left this earth.

  22. Adrienne, I give you so much credit for tackling this huge issue! I’ve avoided it for the most part on my blog. I’m not ready to deal with the YL v. doTERRA v. everyone else v. who-knows-who. I really appreciate the time you’ve invested into the subject. I haven’t purchased from NAN but really value your opinion of them and will definitely keep them in mind.

    • Hi Kristen!

      So nice to hear from you! It’s really confusing for me as well. I have heard great testimonials from those 2 companies but I really like the company that I chose. Thanks and I hope to hear what you think when, and if, you do try them. Take care!

  23. I remember you saying in one of your earlier posts on essential oils that Native American Nutritionals & Rocky Mountain Oils were merging. Do you know if that happened? I was just curious. Thanks. Karla :)

    • Yes. They are working together closely. :)

      • Okay. I was looking at both of their website and that got me to thinking about it. Since they are working together closely would you say that they creating their oils in the same facilities, using the same practices, and working with small indigenous farms? Still just curious as I’m looking at possibly purchasing some oils, but the layout of one site is easier for me to follow. Will they ever be one in the same or will they be distinct companies. I guess my question might be how are they working together. Maybe you don’t have an answer, but if you do I’d be interested to hear it. Just mostly curious I guess.

        • As far as I know, their oils are the same. I know RMO is easier to maneuver around. I don’t think that they will be one and the same. Of course, I would appreciate it if you’d order from NAN since that way it supports my blog and they are the same products. If you feel you must order from RMO I can talk to them about that aspect of things. We’ve been planning to coordinate but it hasn’t come together yet. Thanks! :)

  24. Adrienne,
    Thank you so much for your diligence with the EO issue. I have had your post bookmarked for a long time until I was ready to dive into the world of EO’s. I just finished my schooling and now have room on my plate. I’m wondering if you have any recommendations on books for a beginner? I trying to learn what to use for what and how to use it best. I am also considering a course and I saw that you said you were enrolled in a course. There are so many courses out there. If you don’t mind me asking, which one did you decide to go with? I have a friend doing a very high priced one and before I invest that much money I would value a second opinion.

    One more thing. I recently came across another blog that has many DIY recipes and they speak about EO’s frequently. Have you heard of Spark Naturals (that’s an EO company they recommend)? Any thoughts on how they compare to NAN. I’m getting ready to start my collection and would love to make sure I’m buying from the best.

    As always thanks for your very insightful information. I appreciate your hard work and dedication to providing valuable information. Keep it up!

    Kristi :)

    • Yes, I’ve looked at Spark and I am not impressed. They sell artificial fragrances. This is another comment from the owner of NAN. “Now looking at their blends. I see their first one is called Amend. I looked at the ingredients and see that they use the better quality Corsican Helichrysum italicum. But since they do not sell this oil as a single this make me thing even more that they are just a dealer for one of the “experts”. I also see they do not list the ingredients in order of most to the least. I can tell because the top three oils in this blend are expensive and if they were doing it that way they would be charging more for the oil.”

      I hope that helps. I saw them on a bunch of blogs. They are doing DIY – not health applications. It’s totally different. I would still rather use good stuff for DIY b/c who wants more ick in your life, right?

  25. Eternity Shaina says:

    Just this summer I found a local place in Ava, Missouri called N.A.N. Oils (Native American Nutritionals). I had the opportunity to speak to the medicine man there and he spoke of the importance of pure and synthetic. They ship to other companies as well. Very good people.

    • Hi Shaina. Did you see that that is the company that I recommended :)?

      • I am a first time user of NAN oils, which I decided to try based on Adrienne’s recommendation. I have had a wonderful experience with NAN oils. Shipping is fast and reasonable. The oils are amazing! I find all three people including Paul Dean to be very hands on and open. NAN is a company that prefers and loves to advise and talk to people over the phone. For anyone who has been frustrated about NAN not replying back via email, just give them a ring and ask anything you want! I believe they are a three man team and are probably very limited. Please don’t let this discourage you from enjoying their oils. NAN is very small and doesn’t have the big backing like other company’s like Doterra. It’s rare for company’s these days to give any attention to clients via phone. Take advantage! Paul Dean is amazing! Thanks Adrienne

        • Wow – I am so glad to hear this. I hope to have more updates in the future about how I have been using their oils. Just had a few really amazing successes. Thank you and so happy you came back to share!

  26. Nirinjan Campbell says:

    Hi Adrienne,
    Thank you so much for your many months of research and writings about essential oils. I am so sorry you have endured a fair amount of negativity, particularly from people working in the industry. I would think they’d understand there is a lot of confusing information out there and applaud you for seeking out answers! I almost got a headache reading through all the comments to your posts. I admire your mental and emotional stamina!

    I looked into NAN after reading your best EO selection and liked what I found. I called them twice this week for information on their blends and both people I spoke with were extremely helpful and friendly. I talked to Paul once and it was a treat to speak with him. I also found a couple youtube interviews and again had a very favorable impression of Paul and NAN.

    I placed an order yesterday and used the link to NAN on your site. I ordered 12, 5 ml blends. Total overkill, I know! I am so intrigued by the emotional healing aspects of their blends that I got carried away. A couple copals are for family members but most are for me, I admit. I’ll let you know what works well for me.

    Thanks again for your research!


    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment–and for such kind words. I so hope you enjoy the oils. I have used them successfully for 2 issues this month and they resolved very quickly.

      Take care!

  27. Hi Adrienne,

    I read your 7 part blog on EO a while ago, but today I have spent endless hours reading all of the comments too, and found additional information there that is much appreciated. But I am running out of time and couldn’t find the answers to my question – you mentioned somewhere that you did some research on Bulk Apothecary, but I couldn’t find it. Of course, my mind is pulsating with all the info and I might have missed it trying to get through as much as I could. I understand that you came to recommend NAN, which is why it’s a bit confusing to me that there are adds on your blog from Bulk Apothecary and now I also see PipingRock. It appears that you are endorsing them too, by running their advertisements, but I never read any such thing about them.
    I have been with YL for years mainly because of Thieves (which I still value highly), and only recently started to branch out into other oils and other uses. A good friend recently signed up with DT (that should show you what an ‘active’ rep I am, and how much I am in it for the prospect of making money!) and the conversation about the two was what brought me to your blog. After reading all of it (and a little more on a side) I think that despite all of the rhetoric about purity, and cutting oils, and origins, and ethics … the real reason is rather prosaic – money. My guess would be that all of these people, who now own DT and BY, were probably making much less working for Gary Young than they are making now as owners of their own companies. Were there ideological differences? Possibly, but aren’t there always in a company as big as YL has become. Of course I may be wrong, and they all may be idealistic, altruistic people out to help the masses being deceived by a shady Mr. Young, but I doubt it. The animosity, put downs, and self aggrandizing speak differently. As do the oils. As do the prices.
    Regarding your profiting from your recommendation that some people see as questionable, it’s very much a chicken or an egg dilemma – are you recommending it because they cut you a promotional deal, or are you promoting it because you believe in it, and the company is showing it’s appreciation (as they should!). I believe the later, because I find that attitude very familiar. When I find something I like/discover it’s working/get excited about — I immediately sign up as a rep which then puts me in a that precarious position – are you trying to sell it to me, just because you will make money off of it? That in itself blocks me, so even though I rep companies that I believe are good, I am incapable of selling their products. However, I signed up in a first place for the convenience of ordering and the discount, so I’m OK with it.
    I have since started following you on fb and have benefited greatly from your recipes too – that bean chocolate fudge is a find of a decade, especially for a macrobiotic cook!!!! You are who I wish I was twenty years ago, but since I wasn’t, I am glad to play catch up and benefit from your research, and I thank you for it.
    Now a word about BA and those adds, please :)

    • Hi there. Sorry for the delay in responding.

      Under a pile of stuff here.

      I am going to be quick, but I do hear many concerns about Gary Young and they are not just ideological. I can’t say what did and didn’t happen, but it is more than just conceptual stuff.

      About the ads, they are not things I am recommending. Those ads show up b/c the ad company sees that you clicked on an essential oils post so they are trying to give you what you are interested in. Kind of creepy, eh? Try typing in a few searches for other things and click on a different post of mine and you will likely see different ads.

      I never heard of Piping Rock. I bought some cocoa butter from BA but I don’t think their oils seem to be very high quality.

      Hope that helps – and thanks for the kind words! :) I’m still trying whom I would like to be. Likely will never make it :).

  28. Hi Adrienne,

    I wrote you a lengthy note on September 17, and at first it waited for moderation for a few days, and now it disappeared altogether, so I’m a little confused. I just asked about some of the advertisements on your blog and I don’t think there was anything offensive in it that would warrant a removal. I understand that you have a lot of mail and posts may wait for you to get to them for a long time, it’s a removal that has me confused.

  29. Hey Beautiful,

    Have you ever used Rebecca at the Well? If you have what do you think? I have a friend who loves her oils, but I have yet to order any…however, my stock is about depleated and with cold and flu season coming up that isn’t a good thing. (I work with lots of litte ones, who carry all sorts of lovely germ bugs)

    • I’ll take the compliment – thank you! I have never heard of her oils but she doesn’t even carry peppermint. Very odd. And wow—pricey! Cypress is 28.95 and NAN’s is 14.50 for organic. I don’t see that hers are organic. No need to look any further.

  30. Hello!! First I would like to say I LOVED your series. I have read through the whole thing multiple times to try and gleen as much as could. I was just wondering what your thoughts on the E.O.B.B.D. Test (Essential Oils Bontanically and Biochemically Defined) that are (I believe) required throughout Europe to pass the test used for health and whatnot. For me seeing as Europe has been using EO for so long, they would have a good standard to go by. There was only one company (that claims) theirs it the only one that passes that test and that is Be Young. How did you find that company?
    These are just some questions I have come up with having added my own research to what you have done. I too am looking for the best company for my family and all their allergies, and again have loved and really enjoyed all the fruits of your labor!

    • I heard the EOBBD is set up in Europe (i think) as a standard and it is mainly put out by medical facilities. I have a few other reasons for not going w/ Be Young. I don’t believe that they get their oils straight from the farms like NAN does.

      Thanks much!

      • I was thinking that was the reason. And just to clarify about the EOBBD- since it’s not an American test and not widely used here you haven’t/can’t put too much credit behind it? I truly am just curious- I thought that it would be a good test to have (because of the hsitory and use of oils there), and only 1 American company (it seems) uses that as a testing standard it made me wonder- it also made me wonder how the American test standards relate to it. I believe I have already picked my company to use, and I am very happy with them so far- and it had a lot to do with all your research. =)
        Thanks again for your work- I know it’s not easy- I have four kids ages 9-4- and I can’t even imagine how you found the time and energy to do all this!

        • I think it’s b/c the standards don’t mean that much. Kind of like in this post:

          I don’t know how I did it either. But I really needed to make a decision and I wanted it to be doTERRA. I just couldn’t do it the more I asked questions. Then when Pappas came on w/ his stuff I guess it solidified that I’d made a good decision. He knows his stuff but it’s not the kind of behavior I can deal with.

          • Totally understandable. And you have helped me in my decision making process and helped explain things.
            Thanks again!!!!

          • Thank you for all your hard work and effort that you put into your research and working tirelessly to answer everyone’s questions! I have learned a great deal reading your series and think that you have done the best you could to be forthright on a very convoluted subject.

            In one of the last comments, you mentioned that you wanted your decision to be doTERRA, but Dr. Pappas’ comments reinforced your decision to go elsewhere, but I don’t understand why? It is my understanding that Dr. Pappas conducts testing for many essential oil companies as well as other types of companies and while he has done testing for doTERRA, he is not affiliated with them or a representative (to my knowledge); he merely runs the test and analyzes his work therefore, why do his comments have any bearing on your perception of doTERRA? Is it just because it is well known that he has tested doTERRA oils or is there more to that?

            Thank you again for pushing the envelope and questioning things so many take at face value.

            • My decision to go elsewhere was made as I proceeded through the series, but seeing Pappas’ interactions reinforced it. He presented at doTERRA’s convention one year and is contracted with them. Yes, he tests for others but he is touted by doTERRA reps as being their fabulous scientist so there is a partnership there that is recognized by the reps. He is the “scientific face” of doTERRA as well as I can tell.

              I hope that helps.

  31. Hi Adrienne,
    I’m new to essential oils and read your blogs! I definitely am impressed like many of the other moms.
    I like NAN also.
    But I just looked at your store on your website and it shows you sell oils by Young Living!! I’m confused! Are you?

  32. Thank you — I did read this on your blog but I was wondering if you did any research on bulk apothecary.

    I will ultimately do my research and then make a decision.

    Thanks for your response.


    • I am sorry but I am so swamped w/ oils questions. They buy from experts for sure which I am not thrilled about. Check out my essential oils testing post for more info on what I look for. Thanks!

  33. Hi Adrienne,
    I have recently started getting into EOs and spent what seems like millions of hours reading multiple articles and blogs online trying to find the best company. As with most people, I want to use a company that has fair prices and, good customer service, and is ethical. I don’t mind paying more for an oil as long as it is pure. That being said, I started with the family physician kit from DoTerra. I have had a great experience and the oils smell amazing…but as I became increasingly obsessed with frankincense, I once again started doing more research, as DoTerra’s is SOOO expensive. My research led me to NAN and I decided to order from them, and wasn’t pleased by how any of their oils smelled in comparison with DoTerra. The only ones I could compare were frankincense and lavender, but all seemed to have a very medicinal/alcohol smell to them. Obviously, smell isn’t everything – I want the oils I purchase to be effective more than anything, but it was a little bit of a let down in any case. Can you shed any light on this, since you have used and know about both companies? Does DoTerra add or blend to make their oils smell so much better than the others?
    Also, do you have any information on a company called Florihana from France? I have read good things about them, and since the French have been in the EO game for such a long time, I was thinking of giving them a shot, but didn’t want to deal with shipping if it wasn’t a reputable company.
    Thanks for all you do! EOs are so exciting and frustrating all at the same time – it’s nice to get some help!

    • I read about them but I forget now. I think there is something in the comments. Just read my GC MS post and see if they measure up. I should write another post soon.

      I don’t care for DT’s scents b/c they are all similar to me which strikes me as odd. There is a lot of talk on the internet about the French adulterating. I can’t say if it’s true or not but there’s an awful lot of chatter about it.

  34. I have been reading all of your essential oils posts and enjoying them very much. I am an organic chemist and have spent years performing and teaching GC-MS and even purifying my own essential oils at times. I’m pretty impressed with your GC-MS explanation as a non-chemist!

    I am new to home use of essential oils. I purchased some DoTerra oils but I have felt very unsure of their quality based on all the evidence I’ve seen. I am wanting to teach my friends and family about the chemistry and use of essential oils and will check out NAN. Do you think they would every be willing to begin a large-scale affiliate program? I feel like there is so much misinformation out there about essential oils, I’m really wanting to help out those around me who want to learn more…

    • They have been talking about this. Are you looking at being an affiliate on your blog?

    • I know I’m really late to this post, but wanted to add a thought. Wanting to educate oneself or others about essential oils is great, but in my opinion, for education to start out and remain truly unbiased and objective and fully informed, it needs to be completely and utterly free of any commercial interest whatsoever. This is why Education and Sales are poor bedfellows and always have been. “Product” Education (translation: product sales) and Aromatherapy education are two vastly different animals. If you really want to educate people about EO’s, the more legit way to do that is to take a certification course in aromatherapy that ISN’T linked to any brand or corporation. NAHA is a good starting place for info on education.

      • Hi there. I would add that NAHA charges for membership so right there there is commercial (money making) interest. You can pay up to the tune of $1,000 to be a Grand Donor. They have all kinds of benefits associated with those memberships so of course they aren’t “utterly free of any commercial interest”. I wonder if their directors make any income from their positions or if they are completely voluntary. Even non profits that seem to have a completely “altruistic” focus can be incredibly self-serving. I have seen the payroll for groups like Komen and even EWG (which I tend to like — EWG; not Komen) and those in leadership make a TON of money.

        When I was an independent insurance salesman I made it a point to not know the commissions on the products that I sold. Of course I had a general idea that if I sold 30 year term I would make more than a 10 year term policy, but I didn’t know the exact percentages so I wouldn’t be swayed b/t one company and another. I really really try to keep my interest in income out of the mix so that I remain as unbiased as possible. That being said, if I find a company that I want to represent and I can make money from it, I will – otherwise I will not be blogging anymore. My expenses are huge and I spend an inordinate amount of time. So….I am writing this b/c it seems your response is directed at me and I wanted to explain more about my situation. Thanks.

        • Hi, I think its great that you are seeking a company to make money with, more power to you! But I wasnt commenting on that, I was commenting on your stated desire to educate others about EO’s. I think you make good points about NAHA and all non profit entities, but Ibwasnt recommending that people get their aromatherapy education directly from NAHA… NAHA posts a list of schools that they and ARC endorse. Many of those schools are NOT sellers of essential oils nor are they tied in any way to any EO distributors or corporations. In other words, their only “product” is EDUCATION on aromatherapy, not essential oil merchandise. That’s what I meant by ” utterly free of commercial interest,” I meant commercial interest in selling OILS and related products. I maintain that educating the public while selling product related to that “education” poses inherent ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest, naturally. Best way to educate others is to seek one’s own education thru actual schools, not thru corporate “product education” posing as objective education on the safe and effective use of EO’s. My comments were directed to everyone, it’s just that your post was the one that brought up the topic of educating others, so I thought my comments would make the most sense as a reply to your post. And needless to say, these are just my own opinions, I’m aware that there are millions of people who see no problem with the idea of co-mingling public education with product sales… I just respectfully disagree with those millions. 😉

          • Thanks for the clarification, Maya. I appreciate it. I think there are likely more ties than meets the eye, however, in all arenas of business and “education”. Just the NEA itself is riddled with corruption and financial interest.

  35. I was hoping to find a good resource for essential oils, being new to them. What I found was a ton of arguing and long drawn out banter. Also, I like your blog but way too much advertising. And are you selling and making a profit from a certain essentional oil company that is posted on your blog at every break? Not sure. Very confusing for me. I am not a genius – I like straightforward blogs with direct anwers. Your blog sends out a lot of energy and a little bit of in your face attitude. Not trying to be rude.


    • Hi Jenny.

      I am sorry about the arguing but believe me, I didn’t start it. It all came on when I suggested that doTERRA had a different distillation method and that I couldn’t get a consistent answer from their company and their scientist came over with others to argue about me. I felt they took things to a very low level and that I really had no choice but to bring it front and center. I am sorry you felt that way.

      Most bloggers would just delete the dissenting comments, but I try to never do that. I feel that if folks want to get ugly / combative then I will publish their comments and respond.

      As for the advertising, I am not clear what you are referring to. Are you saying that you think I link to Native American Nutritionals too much?

      I can say that I was told that I could make $8000 per month (or more) with doTERRA and I am not making anything close to that with Native American. I chose what I thought was right and that’s the only way to do things.

      I don’t know how to respond to your comment about “energy” but I assume you mean it is negative? I don’t mean to do that. If you have a suggestion I am happy to hear it.

      The same with the “in your face” attitude. It would be more helpful to me if you could give me an example.

      I was very frustrated with the treatment I received from many during the series and many have commented that they thought I handled the accusations in a kind manner. Believe me, it wasn’t easy all the time.


  36. Pisces Girl says:

    Do you have a recommendation for the equivalent of YL Progessence Plus in a non MLM company? THanks!

    • Native American has a progesterone cream. They have a free shipping offer today as well.

      • I just wanted to say, i think it’s terrible so many people do not truly read and comprehend your blog. They must have not achieved their reading comprehension level beyond the 3rd grade. So many people complain saying that your not recommending looking at the tests, which you never did!. I see you waste so much time replying to those who have minds to little to comprehend your wise words. I would like to apologize for them on their behalf so you may know there are people out there who do appreciate you, can understand you and hope you continue the good and hard work you do. Thank you for all you do! Best Wishes!

  37. I’m just wondering if you have an essential oils resource guide that you use or recommend? I have just ordered my oils and diffuser from NAN and I have been looking online for a good, reliable source that also addresses safety issues. It looks like it may be difficult to find a quality book or guide that isn’t company-specific (such as doTerra’s guide). The book/guide on the NAN website didn’t get good reviews from what I saw.

    Thank you!

  38. Thank you for your time and effort this was very informative and perfect timing! I was just wondering if I need to struggle to make sure I used expensive oils because they were better quality. I usually use mountain rose herbs. You did touch on them a bit and it was mostly positive but I was wondering if you found out anything else about them? I get quite a few products from them and I like them all and haven’t had a problem with them. I just always wonder if the quality is good because I’ve never used any of the really expensive brands to compare with. Thanx again for you information!

    • I really struggled re: Mountain Rose Herbs. I was originally told they weren’t OK to use internally b/c they weren’t produced in a food grade facility and then later was told that wasn’t the case. I haven’t been able to find out enough about their sourcing. For now I am sticking with Native American Nutritionals and there is more about NAN that I really like – they are doing great work empowering those in 3rd world countries. I hope to share more about that. Thanks!

  39. Adrienne,
    First, I want to thank you for doing all this research. Like you, I am an avid reader who likes to do her own study before making a decision, but you got me pointed in some very helpful directions (and I’m sorry you had to take an entire blog post to defend yourself from detractors. I think you were very fair, even if everyone–surprise!–didn’t agree with you). I am coming into this late. I have found at least one other company that also meets your criteria (although I must confess I haven’t read every response and it may have already been mentioned).. The best part of that is that they carry different oils and make different blends, and I love having the opportunity to purchase what I want from each. But your guidance on what to look for allowed me to weed out some of the companies (those on your blog and others) much more quickly than I would have otherwise been able to. If you are interested in what else I have found, please pm me. I also have to say we haven’t had any miraculous cures yet, but then I got my first oils beyond Peppermint, Lavender, and Tea Tree a couple of days ago. When purchasing from NAN I’ll try to remember to go through your site first. Thanks again. Amy

  40. I have been reading your series about essential oils with great interest. Generally, I think they are very well thought out articles.

    I do have a techincial issue with this particular article. As an analytical chemist, you have the GC/MS part right and what is missing is what is wrong. Gas Chromatography (GC) is the proportional measurement of peaks. Mass Spectrometry (MS) is what is missing. This is where the component of the eluted peak is broken down (by various methods, a common technique is ion bombardment). The fragments of the peak are stitched together by an analytical chemist with a computer, like putting puzzle pieces together, to figure out what the original molecule is..

    You cannot “fool” Mass Spec, it is considered a definitive answer and can detect subtle differences like the same chemical group attached at the same locus pointing up or down,

    • Hi there and sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

      This is the reply from someone at Native American / Rocky Mountain. I hope this helps.

      Yes, you are right in that it’s hard to fool the Mass Spec. We have been getting word that certain countries are perfecting techniques to have synthetics show up as organics, which is why it’s better to not buy oils from those countries if at all possible. (China is the main one) Much of that is hard to prove at the moment (and it often makes you look like a conspiracy theorist!) but that is the word around the essential oil community.

      What shows up on the Mass Spec is determined by the specific settings set by the person conducting the test. It will be extremely accurate within those settings.

      • I am sure for something as complex as an essential oil, substituting synthetics is certainly something a dishonest vendor would attempt. I agree that certain companies look for ways to fool analytical tests…. There is established history on that, and I follow how it has been done in the past and why it was not initially detected.

        Still, it is not accurate that a person conducting a mass spec analysis can jimmy results by altering the instrument’s “settings”. If someone is telling you that, they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

        • Hi again. Perhaps this will help:

          I am not suggesting that the testers are “jimmying” results. Rather they are in the position to choose what things to test for and what not to test for.

          GC/MS IS a valuable part of testing essential oils but it isn’t the only part of it. There is so much more a consumer needs to do to ensure they are getting the best oil they can possibly get. That is what the post is about. It is about being aware of other things you should pay attention to when choosing an essential oil company.

          • Hi Adrienne, thanks again for responding.

            I am very familiar with mass spec, and I am in no way confused about what mass spec is or how it works. As I said in my first post, I am an analytical chemist. You have described in your very nice article how a Gas Chromatograph works… the separation of volatile components and analyzing based on proportionality. I was simply trying to clarify that the only way to fool mass spec is to not run it at all in case someone at a company was trying to BS your investigations.. But I think, as you suggest, that this is tangential and getting away from the point and I apologize for the diversion.

            You are exactly right, there are a lot of things to be aware of when choosing an essential oil company

            Thanks again for a very interesting and informative series of articles..

  41. Karen Jacobs says:

    Would you please send me more information as to how to order?

  42. I am new to using EO’s. My main reason for trying them ,initially, was for my son who has Aspergers. I think I read that you have a child with Aspergers also. Wondering what oils you have found helpful for him. Also, I have purchased a number of oils from Eden’s Garden. Have you done any research on them? I did check to make sure the oils are pure, Theraputic grade, but beyond that, I’m not sure. Any information you can impart would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!! Kirsten

  43. (link to company deleted) This is new oil company . Great oils I am using them on my family . This company allows you to enter the batch number of any of their oils, that bring you to website telling you all about the oil, plus all the tests that were done on the oil. Its pretty amazing. Here is the website to try a batch number of one of mine . (link to company deleted) try this batch number xxxxx (deleted). You can click around the website to learn more My id number is xxxxx(deleted) if you need it to look. Our 2 kids have autism we find the oils calming.

    • Hi Shannon. I am sorry but I don’t permit MLM links in the comments on my posts. I am sure you can understand that it isn’t that I don’t want folks to have freedom of choice but this is my blog and not a platform for others to promote their business and get free advertising. Thank you. You are welcome to comment, of course, but I would appreciate your not doing that any more. :).

  44. Melissa Lunt says:

    You should check out our AMEO oils. The testing done on our essential oils is never been done by any company before. We have the first clinical standard fingerprint and through science show with each batch of oil that it is cell active and permeable. It’s incredible!

    • Hi there. I am happy to have you all here and commenting but I am not happy about all of the links to Ameo sites. I totally understand wanting to get the word out but I did not write these posts as platforms for others to market their multi level business. I hope you can understand. Thanks :).

  45. Hi again
    I was wondering if you knew someone who could be my mentor (for$$$). I’m using NAN products & have mixed feelings about results & could use some guidance. Maybe someone with a Zyto scaner? I live in Chicago

  46. I’m looking for a mentor for guidence. It would be nice if he/she also had a Zyto scaner (in Chicago area)

    • I don’t know of one but perhaps another reader does. I have mixed feelings on the zyto = do you think it really works? So you have used it for EOs? One practitioner in my area uses it w/ supplements and homeopathic remedies.

  47. Ok so I’m looking for a mentor that I csn ask questions and get guidence. I’m willing to pay

  48. I do not see GC/MS at either site, nor do they provide the date of distillation – that’s a NO for me!

  49. thank you so much for all your efforts, very helpful

  50. Julie larkin says:

    Funny all the things you list as a sign of pure essential oils Young Living does, yet you don’t recommend them. I think you are the scammer. I live right by one of Young Living’s farms and have visited it during harvest. They go beyond what they have to in order to insure quality.

    • Hi there. I appreciate your commenting, but I don’t appreciate being called a scammer. I don’t understand why you would say that. I was with Young Living and left for a number of reasons, including the apparent chemical smell that we detected. Also, I didn’t go back over my whole list right now that you referred to, but Young Living does not mainly source from small farms as far as I know. I have more to write about Native American and how they deal with Third World nations. I know you are likely sold on Young Living, but you might be interested in it. I have had extensive conversations with those at Native American and Rocky Mountain and they go way beyond for quality and more than that – they pay way beyond the normal pay for those in Third World countries, and more. I have told them in no uncertain terms that I would dump them if there was every anything problematic and I mean it.

      I hope you will have an open mind. I picked Native American b/c I thought it made the most sense and I was told by doTERRA reps that I could make $8000 per month with my blog with them but I left them anyway so I assure you I am no scammer. It was a very hard decision to make.

      Take care.

  51. would like to know what you think of piping rock oils. i have yet to find anything about them and am new to oils..

  52. Do you know about New Directions Aromatics – online? They have some cheap essential oils. Will you check that out some and tell me what you think?

  53. Susan Stepanchuk says:


    Just placed an order for several “foundational” oils that I like to have on hand. I have been a YL oil guru for about 10 years only because I thought they were the best of the best. I am anxious to compare NAN oils with YL. I love the price comparison!

    My daughter and I have been wanting to make some sugar scrubs for gifts this Christmas and I am thinking NAN’s limited “Ginger Spice Oil” may be the perfect scent.

    I have enjoyed your blogs about oils.

    Thanks, Susan Stepanchuk :)

  54. Susan Stepanchuk says:

    Hello again ????. I ordered my seven foundational oils, recieved them in a new york minute! Really, they’re fast!! Love the smell of each. I have my orange and christmas tree oils simmering in my small slow cooker to scent my first floor. Tomorrow i will add a stick of cinnamon to the mix and make it more yummy. My daughter and I made some sore throat lozenges last night with peppermint and ginger spice along with echinacea infused honey from our farm. Beautiful turn out. Taste is awesome and each lozenge leaves you with … I dont know… A vapor? That trickles down your throat when lozenge is gone. Really feels good. I believe I like these oils.

    Sincerely Susan

  55. Hey thank you for your input on what oils r best. I am going your route – now if I buy the book on the oils will it tell me what to take for low thyroid – hasimoto’s? DT does but you have to sign up with them and after what I read on ;your site – I don’t want to go that route –

    • Hi there. Which book are you talking about? I am sure they say different things in different books. I have a great practitioner who really helped me and I am on the AIP diet not. Let me know :).

  56. Angela Dart says:

    Thank you for your research and insight. I am new to essential oils and am reading as much on them as I can. Do you use a diffuser? If so, bamboo vs electric? I would appreciate any insight or recommendations for choosing one.

    • Hi there and thanks! I do use one. Right now I have 2 but I like the AromaCloud Spa for a larger area. I have one from doTERRA but I don’t care for it – the Spa is great b/c you can leave it on continually and it’s super easy to clean and looks better / blends in better to any environment. Here is my link (affiliate) to the Spa. The Home one is for smaller spaces like a bathroom. Hmmm…right now I don’t see the Home on their site – not sure why. They have a 1 year warranty and I have been using mine round the clock for about 2 months now and love it!

  57. Hi there-
    You have lots of great information here that I can only imagine how time consuming, so thanks for sharing!
    Do you know about Edens Garden oils.
    I have been using them recently and wondered if they were a company you researched or not.
    Peace and Blessings,

    • Thanks and I did look at them. They don’t appear to have many organic oils which is one of the things that I love about Native American and Rocky Mountain – they have almost all organic and/or wild crafted. Helichrysum Italicum it typically regarded as the preferred helichrysum and I don’t believe they have that either. Of course, that could change at any time. Just a few of my thoughts.

      Hope that helps!

  58. Hello – your information on EO has been very helpful to me. I am a beginner with this. I only have one oil at home (BEGINNER!) – YL Peace and Calm – and after reading your reviews I think I will move forward with the Native American Nutritionals. I am struggling with what words like “blended” and “NEAT” truly mean and when I need to use a carrier oil in dealing with my kids. My main reason for trying EO is I have a very active 3 1/2 daughter, and I do not want to do anything that could harm her!

    I have found the Native American Nutritionals website to be a very helpful reference. – but I need help with this explanation if you don’t mind.
    from their website:
    When you are diluting one of our oil blends that is already blended in a base of FCO, you adjust the ratio by tripling the number of drops. So if a neat (unblended) oil needs to be diluted, put 1-2 drops in 1 ounce of carrier oil. You can dilute a blended oil 3-6 drops in 1 ounce carrier oil.

    How do I know if it is “Blended”… I understand the ratio – i just dont know if something is” BLENDED in a base of FCO”. How do you know if something is “NEAT” and if it is – should I always dilute for my child?

    I am sorry – these are very basic questions but I can not find answers anywhere! Do you feel that this dilution chart would be safe to use with my one YL product?

    Also, in your blog – looking for the best company – you recommended several books. Which do you feel would be the best guide for me to buy if my main focus is using it for my kids?

    Thank you for all of your help.
    – Melissa

  59. Christi Sanders says:

    In one of your comments you said something along the lines of that you think Young Living smells like chemicals. Are you saying they do not have pure oils?
    I just find that hard to believe considering their long standing reputation. I may not be an expert but I have compared their peppermint and found other companies to be very offensive smelling and some that smell like candy. Young Livings has neither of those characteristics. And it varies with every bottle a little 😉

    I was also wondering if you could provide any resources to read more about GC/MS. I am struggling to find another source that can tell me the same things you have in this post.

    Thank you.

    • Hi there and thanks for commenting. I am not saying that they do or don’t have pure oils. I am just stating my opinion that we detected something. As for peppermint I know what you are saying. Native American’s peppermint smells more sweet but it is because they let their peppermint sit for a year so the herby smell is diminished.

      And you are right that oils smelling different from batch to batch is a good thing. I’m with you on that :).

      What in particular are you wanting to know about GC/MS and I can try to help. Thanks!

  60. cris leiter says:

    yl says that they grown their plants all over the world on farms owned by them is this not true?

    • I know they source from all over the world but they have a lot of farms in the US. I don’t know if they own all of the farms or not. I would assume so.

  61. Hello, I was wondering if you could suggest which oils you think would be good for children on the Autism Spectrum I’m ready to start using essential oils in my home and if safe on my son who has autism, if you could help me out between any of the two sites NAN or RMO I would grately appreciate any information

  62. Anxiety focus etc. And if possible something that could help with sleeping

    • Tranquility is supposed to be good for sleep. (affiliate link). For anxiety I would try Peace and Quiet (affiliate link), and for Focus I am personally buying Attention Assist (aff link) and Focusing (aff link). I can’t medically advise of course, but these would be the first I would go to.
      Plain old lavender is typically one folks like for sleep. (aff link)

      Those links are to Rocky Mountain Oils. They have an easier selection for those who aren’t advanced oil users and the oils are the same as Native American – just in case you are wondering. I think the site is a bit more user friendly. Take care!

      • Hi there, first of all thank you so much for all your hard work, time and energy in evaluating these Essential Oils. It’s been really helpful for me (being a newbie). I took your recommendation and have been ordering Native American Nutritionals and am happy so far! In case you didn’t know, NAN and Rocky Mountain Oils have merged. You probably know this but I just found out and wanted to share. Thank you so much for all you do for us!!! :)

        • Hi and thanks for commenting. I’m so glad you are liking them! Yes, they have been talking about his for awhile – they have more news coming out so stay tuned :) and you are so welcome.

  63. Hello,

    I did get Attention Assist and do not find any noticeable difference. Have you started using it? If yes, did you notice an improvement? I am also wondering how you’re using it if you are.
    Thanks for all of your time and research.


  64. Adrienne, thank you for all the time you have spent to share your EO journey. I became interested in using EOs about a year ago, and have started using them more seriously the last few months and have to say all the information and contradicting information can be overwhelming. I read the qualities you look for in a company, but was wondering if you have a list of questions a consumer should use to inquire about a company? If I ask about what distillation they use, where the plants are sourced etc. is that enough? If I ask “do you add anything to your oils” will I get a straight answer? I haven’t read through all the comments and know you’ve mentioned you can’t research every company but was wondering if you had any thoughts on Eden’s Garden? Lastly I’d just like to share a recent experience and lesson learned with one of the MLM companies. Seeking to learn more about using essential oils and clear up some of my confusion I was excited to attend a free class. To show us the potency of oils the “educator” put a drop of peppermint neat in all of our palms, told us to rub it with our thumb and tap our thumb on the rough of our mouth, then breath deeply from our palm. I was a bit concerned to use an unknown oil neat but tried it anyway. To say it opened my airways would be an understatement, and I had to hold back a coughing fit. I know peppermint is supposed to be good for digestion and I use it for headaches, but by the end of the evening I had a stomach ache. I thought it was irresponsible of the “educator” not knowing how each individual’s body might react, and a lesson learned for me to not be so trusting in the future. Best Regards and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • I think this post has pretty much a good list – as for whether they will tell you or not. Of course that is anyone’s guess. I was told by an essential oils seller how a company bought a not so good oil from them and then a better oil and posted the GC/MS certificate for the better oil on their site alongside the worse oil. So folks just aren’t always honest.

      As for the peppermint – I can’t say what to think about that. But I do think I know what company you are talking about.

      I didn’t choose Edens Garden for numerous reasons. I can’t handle evaluating companies for time reasons but also legal issues – they can change what they are doing at any time and I’d be putting myself on the hook too much. Thanks and hope that helps!

  65. Lynn shoemaker says:

    Thank you for taking the time to investigate and sharing your results to The Which Essential Oil Company is best! I am a YL user myself but have recently come across Native American Nutritionals. So I will likely be using both. Your information was extremely helpful to me. I am not an investigative type person although I love having the bottom line. THANK YOU for your time and work on this!

  66. I have been researching and trying different Essential Oil (EO) companies for many moths now. To date, Native American Nutritionals is in the lead. I don’t believe I will be exclusive to one company. I have found I may prefer one EO with one company over another. If I use an oil for cleaning, I would chose a less expensive EO company. At this time I am choosing NOT to ingest EOs. I have arrived at this decision after months of research and based on my current and past medical conditions. So that you understand I am not bashing the practice of ingesting EOs, know that I have also chosen NOT to use certain medications prescribed by MDs due to bad reactions. Make sure if you ingest EOs that you arrived at that decision because you did your own research and are monitored by a medical physician. Keep in mind that EOs can have both positive and negative reactions when combined with certain medications. Some people are of the mindset that if a company does not include ‘GRAS” on their label that their oils are a lesser quality. This is simply not true. In order to label “GRAS” a company must (in combination of other rigorous requirements) purchase an extremely expensive liability insurance policy. That premium is passed on to the consumer through their product. If you are signed up through a MLM company PLEASE check with your governing laws, you too may be required to carry liability insurance for yourself if you endorse/recommend ingestion of an EO. Ingesting EOs is a personal choice and I don’t encourage or discourage anyone from its practice. I simply encourage you all to be wise in your journey to a healthier you. I love reading all the blogs on this site. I have learned so much from you all.

    • Hi there. Sorry for the delay in responding. I have been swamped here. I hear you on the cleaning aspect. I don’t use oils for that too often so it’s not an issue for me as much. I didn’t know anything about the GRAS situation you mentioned so I asked Native American Nutritionals and Rocky Mountain Oils. They said they have never heard of such a thing. They said that they have liability insurance and so do any major oils company. As for the reps, that is a different situation I would assume. Thanks so much :). I personally think that cautious use of oils internally is fine but this is not medical advice and everyone should consult w/ his / her physician prior to using oils medicinally. Thanks again.

  67. Did you by any chance have any information on Oshadi USA?

  68. Hi Adrienne, thanks for your evaluation of the different oils companies. If you have time, I would love it if you can comment on the following reasons a friend tells me why she is using YL over any other brand. I’m not totally convinced on any brand right now as essential oils are new to me, but here are my friend’s reasons for choosing YL and I’m curious to find out how you would process what she has to say:
    “”So my main 2 reasons for sticking with YL and never switching to another brand:
    1. Quality does matter. If I’m going to using essential oils for things like sleep, colds, pain, mood, anxiety I want top quality. I want to be sure I am getting something pure. I don’t want to buy a cheaper brand and compromise on quality.
    2. I want to use my oils and to do that I need to know how. I feel like I have a whole community and tons of support so that I can use my oils in a variety of situations and be able to help others do the same. This is a huge thing for me because I love using the oils for all kinds of things.””

    • Hi there. Sure can.

      1. I think I outlined that I sensed a chemical smell in YL oils and today or yesterday another reader said the same thing. I am not saying that they put chemicals in there, but that is my experience. I think that I demonstrated NAN’s commitment to quality. I think they are at the top of the market for quality oils and I have made it very clear to them that I wouldn’t represent them any longer if I ever found a reason to think otherwise. If anything, I am more committed now than when I first mentioned them. Going with NAN is for sure not a compromise on quality.

      2. Yes, the MLMs provide a community and support – that’s for sure. I didn’t have that so much w/ YL but I did w/ doTERRA. I will say, however, that I didn’t care for the “over the top” reliance on oils. I think they are great and can do a lot but you really need to arm yourself w/ other things too. Case in point. I have an achilles issue right now that is very stubborn. I got advice from NAN about what oils to use on it but it wasn’t budging. I got advice about ice massage from a friend and also bought comfrey. The ice massage has been HUGE for me. Now, if I were only leaning on oils and felt that they were the end all and be all, I might not have tried anything else. But I think we need to be realistic. In the MLM essential oils community it seems to me that oils are “it”. I still use the oils occasionally on my achilles and maybe I need to step up all of the above, but the ice does the trick each and every time it acts up.

      Another case in point — those in the MLM oils community will often tell you to use lemon EO to get labels off of jars. Well, that’s a really expensive way to do it but it sure sells oil. I use a wet cloth and elbow grease. Works great and costs me just about nothing. Depending on the label sometimes it works like a charm and quickly.

      I hope that makes sense. If you are interested in a community, perhaps I can think about starting something online….(maybe) but I would be more prone to do a natural remedies group and health group than just an EO group b/c I think there is so much more to health than just EOs. Thanks and I would love to hear what you think about that.

      • I would loved community wellness group! I agree that oils are not the end all. For example all the oils in the world would not align my unbalanced hips …but touching my toes daily did. My unbalanced hips was causing my left leg to carry my body’s weight causing leg ,,knee and ankle problems. Unbalanced hips caused from carrying my children on my left hip. Toe touching 30 x a day was a tip from my chiropractor.

        • I can think about it. I would have to figure out how and how much time to spend. I LOVE that tip. Really? How did that straighten you out? I know one of my hips appears to be the wrong height but I wondered if it was my leg length perhaps.

      • Well said!!!

  69. You’re articles are refreshing, I also have to look in to everything. My first introduction to oils was a free MLM class that I went to as a favor with a friend.. Having a 15 year nutritional background inwas the one in the class with all the questions,,which the MLM distributor couldn’t answer. Like therapeutic ” Grade”. A therapeutic dose of something is 3 x the recommended dose on the label. Yet their lable doesn’t have a recommended dose. I smelled their peppermint, it smelled like a candy cane and not the natural fresh mint I use smell in the woods as a kid. ( peppermint teas are the same…organic smells crisp and clean while the ones that are not smell like that candy cane.)
    Long story short…..wild harvested oils have a greater range and higher therapeutic compounds than farmed. If they are being watered my a mountain stream, that’s even better, they’re getting tons of natural minerals that farmed are not, they are more potent too.
    The MLM’s don’t offers wild harvested oils not do they offer hydrosols…..a spray made from the steam during distillation. 2 strikes out for them. There ARE a few other companies out there offering excellent products. NAN is one of them and another I found is Organic Infusions.
    I will always choose wild harvested oils over farmed when offered…they are the best!

    • Thanks for sharing! Have you tried the NAN peppermint b/c it is a little less herby than most but the owner lets it age for a year to let it mellow. I love it. Glad you’re as pleased with them as I am. Hope to see you around again! Yes, I look into things a ton. Doing it now w/ other personal issues and hoping to have some things resolved today :).

  70. GREAT ARTICLE!!! Thank you so much!! You answered many of my questions from an unbiased opinion!! I am a student at Aromahead Institute and I love getting many opinions…not just one!! Thank you again!!

  71. Hello, I would like to know if you can take any of the essential oils internally? If not, why? Thanks for your time.

  72. Heather says:

    I to was hoping to no more about Edens Garden.
    I love NAN for so many reasons and have been exclusive after the doterra mistake but I am suddenly on a fixed very limited income with emotional issues and a child with mrsa.
    I just can’t afford what I need from NAN.
    I got a few things gs from Edens Gardens. Clary sage. Afraid to waste my money.
    I don’t know what to do.
    Its terrible how easily I can get an antibiotic, yet can’t afford what’s smart.
    Sorry if this turned into a rant.
    Any advice?

  73. I am buying my oils from :
    Did you check them out ? They are cheaper than NAN. I really like them. Lots of information about the oils and good customer service.

    • Sorry for the delay in getting back to you – I have been swamped! I am really sorry but I just don’t have time to try all of these companies out and/or write about them, and I can’t publish all of the reasons why I didn’t go w/ certain companies. First of all, it would take an inordinate amount of time, secondly, companies can change what they are doing at any time, and thirdly, the oils industry is really “murky”. I even got a cryptic threatening email from someone regarding a negative comment on one of the companies that I looked at. So perhaps that helps you understand the situation I am in. I did look at Ananda, however, and chose not to go w/ them for several reasons.

      This post might help you know what to ask:

      Thanks and hope to see you around again.

  74. Check out Day Three Young Living. It is a Facebook page of a woman who called 7 Co. YL, and Native American being two of the 7 and asked 12 important ?s. for some reason I cannot copy and paste it here. YL reported yes to every ? Asked non of the other companies did.

    • Hi there. I think I understand you. However, a company of course can answer what it wants. I guess you are saying she thinks YL is superior?

  75. So, I appreciate completely your efforts in doing all this. I have been dreading spending the time and effort to do this myself. My question is this… when I went to the website for native American nutritionals, and I was browsing through their essential oils, I noticed they are made by Rocky Mountain Oils. Was this not the case when you did this article? Because I’m looking to go with what you are using, I don’t know what’s up with that. You refer to them as two different companies. Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Hi there. It’s an ongoing issue – they are partnering together / merging. I will be writing more about it so hope to have more details for you as things move forward. I didn’t know about it when I started writing the posts, but found out about them working more closely as I got more involved with them. Their oils are one and the same and they each have things that the other can benefit from. I hope that helps :).

  76. I recently found I want to try essential oils and was turned onto them by a friend who is a young living rep. I started doing my research on this company which ultimately lead me to you. I found a company I want to try that I think measures up to your standards. They meet all (I think) of your specifications when picking out a company. I am wondering though if you researched this company at all since I have not found it listed in any of your blogs? The company is Organic Infusions.

    • Hi there. I did not look into them. I am really sorry but I have to be really careful and not comment on other companies. I even got a cryptic threatening email about something relating to one of the companies. I would just look at them and see what you can find – if I have time I will look at them. I do notice that their prices are higher than RMO and NAN – particularly their helichrysum. And at present they don’t carry the Sacred Frankincense. Thanks!

  77. Bridget M says:

    I have read your series and I looked into the recommended books on essential oil use. I noticed that you have said that internal use can be therapeutic if done correctly but the books only touch on external and aromatherapy use. Can you recommend a book or site that explains proper internal use?

    • I think this post is really good – I know it’s not likely what you are looking for, but it talks about the negatives of internal use. I rarely use the oils internally – I’m not particularly worried but I do have concerns. This is an affiliate link to their blog:

      I would be interested in hearing what you think.

  78. Hello there. Fantastic work first of all. Just wanted to check to see if you researched Nature’s Inventory at all. These are the oils I have at home and am curious now, after reading your posts, if I should even continue to use them. They claim to be 100% pure and organic. We are an organic family , have a toddler, and just want what’s best for her at a reasonable price like you! So, any consensus on Nature’s Inventory? (Straight oils only, no blends)

    • I am really terribly sorry but I can’t publish all of the reasons why I didn’t go w/ certain companies. First of all, it would take an inordinate amount of time, secondly, companies can change what they are doing at any time, and thirdly, the oils industry is really “murky”. I even got a cryptic threatening email from someone regarding a negative comment on one of the companies that I looked at. So perhaps that helps you understand the situation I am in.

      Thanks and hope to see you around again.

  79. I have been following your blog since last summer. I was in an accident in May and a dear friend of mine came to help take care of me, she is a rep for YL. Those oils helped me tremendously, so when I started to recover I started doing some research, that’s how I found you. I am a YL rep because I did purchase those oils that she had brought over to me and have made one other order. Their oils are nice but after doing some research I am in agreement about the secretcy of testing, mostly grown in U.S., the touting of “owned farms”, “therapeutic grade”, and “seed to seal” verbiage. Their pricing, including the reasons for shipping costs are ridiculous.
    What I think is horrible is the fact that a reviewer, researcher, mom, blogger can receive cryptic threatening emails. Something is really wrong with our society when one persons thoughts can put her and her family at risk. I hope that you have taken that email to the authorities to begin a case. We, your readers, are interested in your findings and you deserve the right to share them with us. Since my accident, I don’t have the where-with-all to do that research myself, I, like your other readers, was counting on you sharing your thoughts and reasons for not choosing those other companies. I hope that one day you will be able to feel comfortable sharing that information with us.

    • Hi Debra – the threatening email was one thing but the other is the threat of lawsuits which the authorities wouldn’t do anything about to protect me. I just can’t risk it. I agree with you that I would like to publish everything but I just can’t. I am not sure that the authorities would do anything w/ the email that I received either. It was too cryptic and nondescript but it was a warning not to publish. Frustrating for sure but it is what it is. :(

  80. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for doing so much research. I’ve been doing my own for quite a few months after my sister started using Doterra. I felt these oils were so expensive and even though she doesn’t sell them, I feel the group online is a little pushy. I wondered why they choose Doterra and thought they were expensive b/c they have to pay out their sells reps. Anyway, I’ve looked into Heritage EO, Rocky Mt., Aroma International, and Mountain Rose herbs. I’ve bought a few for the diffuser from Plant Therapy b/c it is on Amazon. I also buy at whole sale from my sister but I feel like I am supporting a company that I don’t quite trust. Just a feeling I get. I was curious what your top 3 essential oil companies are? I thought one time I had read what your top 3 are but I can’t find it. Thank you again for your research. It has made doing my own so much easier.

    • Hi there, I didn’t have a top 3. I pretty much was exhausted after all the phone calls and digging that I did. I really am pleased with where I am shopping. There were a few others that seemed quite good – one of them never called me back when I wanted to talk to them and the other was a little too “energy” focus, if that makes sense.

  81. HI there! I love your blog and all the info i’ve gotten from it so thank you for all the time you put into it. I also love RMO but I am wondering about your feelings about the German Chamomile incident earlier in the year. I am aware that they addressed it but I am not convinced of their explanation. I have NEVER seen green German Chamomile and their attitude seemed very cavalier. I am also concerned that they would not supply a GCMS sheet when they said that they would and this has been the case a few times. I did read your blog about testing but if a test comes back stating that the chamomile was likely Nepalese and not German, this concerns me as they completely denied it. It was not the results that I was overly concerned with, it was the company’s attitude. While I have had great customer service otherwise and everyone makes a mistake from time to time, I am very wary of this and I know many people that have stopped using these oils because of their attitude toward this “mistake”. I would very much like to believe this was an oversight but an admission of error would have been far more acceptable than the explanation given. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi Chris, thanks for asking this question. I didn’t catch wind of it until it had gained steam as I am in the midst of a local move and have been under a huge pile here. In fact, I didn’t really want to deal w/ it but figured I’d better. I had enough stress going on but figured if I didn’t talk to the company and get to the bottom of things I would have more stress, you know?

      I spent a good time talking with them about it. I will tell you what they told me and I am happy to interact more if you would like. I made it very clear (again) that if there were any reason to do so I would leave them. They said that they have never had an issue like this in the 20 years they have been in business, so it was a shock. Initially they thought it was green b/c it was less processed than other German Chamomile and that Robert Tisserand corroborated with that being a possibility. Later, they ended up finding out that the owner of NAN had purchased some Nepalese Chamomile for use in skin blends b/c it has qualities that make it better for skin use (better than German Chamomile). So they now suspect that someone bottled the N. Chamomile up as G. Chamomile by mistake.

      They have gone to great lengths to insure that this never happens again – putting batch numbers on the bottom of all bottles, and more.

      I suspect that the misunderstanding about their response came from the things printed on Facebook and I did think that one of them was odd but after talking to the company I understand where they are coming from though I would have handled it differently personally. Does that help? I am more than happy to help more if need be. Thanks again.

      • Hi again,
        I’ve been trying to reply to you for a few days but I kept getting the email back so I hope you finally get this! Thank you for such a quick response. I really appreciate the time you took to answer my question in the midst of all you have going on – and yes, it does help. I love their oils but I too would have handled it much differently as it makes them look a bit uninformed. Alot of people would have probably felt better had there been a retraction of their Facebook post with an update. Everyone makes mistakes and that is OK but when in business, transparency is best. It is because I like their oils so much that I’d hoped they would have handled this better. It’s always a shame to see people move away from something that has so much potential (for the wrong reasons). There are a few groups that now have RMO on a caution/do not buy list and as a business owner, I would prefer to be involved in rectifying that opinion rather than solidifying it by not responding. Again, just my opinion but I do feel it it something they should be aware of. Hope all goes smoothly for you and your move is a successful one!

        Again, thanks so much for your help.

        • Hi there. So you were trying to email me? May I ask what email address you were trying? I hope to clear this up. I forwarded your comment to them. I personally thought it best to publicly come out about this but they seem to be feeling that it would draw more attention to the matter.

          I can certainly empathize w/ them in how this all developed and that there are accusations flying around that are unfounded. Thanks for your well wishes!

  82. Hi, Thanks for all your work and research, it is a great benefit to many. I did not read every word but read that you went with NAN and Rocky Mountain Oils. I have dabbled with essential oils and almost went with Young Living myself. Now glad I didn’t. I now live in a place where essential oils are hard to purchase locally. I was wondering…probably are…if these companies produce therapeutic quality oils. I take it they are since can be taken internally. I just didn’t actually see the word “therapeutic”. Thank you

  83. Leslie Welky says:

    2 questions:
    1) can NAN and Rocky Mountain Oils be ingested?
    2) what oils can you suggest for labor?

  84. Hi, I have read a lot of your essential oils posts and want to thank you. Did you compare Ancient Wisdom oils in your research? Thank you.

  85. As you moderate, note this doesn’t need to be posted, but just FYI:
    Could you fix the link at right for Vitacost? It clearly states $10 off first purchase $30 or more, but when you click the logo as instructed, it is actually notice that you will receive $10 a $30+ purchase when you refer someone AND they make a purchase. It is not, as I can tell, for anyone such as myself who though they could receive $10 off a $30 purchase right now.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong but this is as it appears to me.
    Thank You

    • Hi there. I do think that you will get $10 off your first purchase. That is just a way for you to earn more $10 off coupons. Give it a try and let me know if it doesn’t work. Thanks!!

  86. Do you have/know of a blog post that has a chart of NAN blends vs YL blends?
    I am asking because I’m researching EO Routines to help with Anxious Depression and many bloggers refer to a certain company’s blend, in this case YL.

    Also, If anyone reading this has a good routine listed for helping with depression, I’d love to see it. I don’t want “these oils are good” I’d rather “I find that using __ EO diffused/behind my ear etc. in the morning to be helpful, and then blah blah routine at night, and blah blah as needed during the day.”
    That sort of thing. Something to try to see if it helps. I know every one has to find thier own groove, but I’m so new at this, I need suggestions.

    • Hi there. The information is all on the home page of NAN’s and RMO’s sites. Can you tell me if it is just depression or if there is a cause….. I for sure personally use exercise – that’s not medical advice, of course. Let me know….

      • -Ah, FOUND! That’s awesome. I printed it, thank you for pointing me there!
        -Mostly hormone-related depression. Doctor described it as ‘anxious depression’ vs melancholic depression. No anxiety disorder though. Anxious in this case is frantic/worry leading to frustration, anger, sadness, heightened emotional sensitivity, deep hopelessness – especially during PMS, but got so bad it was happening any time of the month.
        Thank you for your advice…

  87. Thanks for all the work you put in your essential oil posts, it’s fantastic. Based on your recommendations, I bought a bunch of Native American Nutritional EOs and put them to head to head testing with some of the other large companies and I found they just didn’t work as well. I’m not here posting to promote another company at all, there’s SO much bickering in the essential world and I refuse to be a part of it. I just wanted to know what specifically you’ve found NAN to work well on.

    • Hi Julie,

      So which oils did you try? I see you are a Young Living distributor so I assume you were comparing them to YL? I personally have had great results from peppermint and lemongrass on my achilles, helichrysum on my skin, rosemary and close sometimes……I actually don’t use oils all that much right now – or at least I should say, not as much as those in the direct marketing companies. Let me know – thanks!!

  88. I am interested in your thoughts on the oils sold thru bulk Apothecary. Are they any good?

  89. Hi Adrienne! I am so thankful to have found your posts about essentials oils! I am obviously late to the party, but I’m glad to finally be here! I have been very interested in learning about EO for a while now, mainly because I want to start making my own soaps, lotions, etc. to rid my life of many of the toxins you were talking about. Last week I met a doTERRA rep and scheduled a”class” with her to learn more. (It is actually scheduled for later today!) I wanted to see if their high prices were worth it, and I came upon your blog series. I have now looked through NAN website (and I agree with another comment; hopefully they can improve their website to be more user-friendly).
    My main need is what specific reasons you ruled out doTERRA. I understand that Dr. Pappas was unprofessional in his comments towards you and I completely understand that he should have behaved differently. But other than that, why were they deemed less than excellent? I am just wondering so I can feel more informed before the rep comes to my house later today. Thanks again for your thorough blog series!

    • Hi Jordan – thanks for commenting. Did you happen to read the series on it? I talked about distillation practices (where they talked about their peppermint being complete). Pappas had nothing to do w/ it – that all happened as I was writing the series. As for other things, there were other questions that they weren’t able to answer such as why their peppermint smelled so different. There were sourcing issues too about why their peppermint smelled so good – I maybe should address that in a future post. However I have tons of emails of myself and another rep trying to get answers and we just couldn’t get what I needed. Thanks and hope that helps.

  90. Hi Adrienne, in my research into finding a reliable source for essential oils, I clicked on your blog. Thank you very much for your in-depth research. I appreciate all you have done with this, including fielding the cantankerous comments! NAN seems closest to my criteria and since I hadn’t heard of them before, I am super happy to know that they exist. Thanks again for your research, you have saved me lots of time and asked questions that I never would have considered on my own. :) . Have a lovely day! Lynne

    • Hi Lynne – thanks for the kind words! And I hope you enjoy the oils should you decide to try them. They have free shipping that ends tonight at midnight MDT if that helps :).

  91. hi, i too am carefully exhaustingly researching essential and carrier oils to curate my own facial skin oils (i am a 46yr old single working mother of two teens). i am an environmental scientist.
    did you look at “from nature with love” when you were researching sellers? from my inspection, they seem good. what are your thoughts?

  92. Christine says:

    How do you get compensated?

  93. Hello
    ,Just wonder if you know if the plant life that the companies use is GMO free.? I was just wondering how far you investigated.

    Sincerely, Pamela Hempel from Wi.

    • Hi there. Sorry for the delay – I missed your comment. Here is the information on the oils from Native American Nutritionals and Rocky Mountain Oils.

      Rocky Mountain Oils verifies and audits suppliers to make sure all products are certified free of genetically modified organisms. Rocky Mountain Oils certifies oils sold are produced only from natural botanical sources free of adulterants.

      The two companies are merging so that goes for both of them.

  94. I’m preparing to buy a few more than my basic stock of EOs and have been looking at both NAN and Mountain Rose Herbs. I can’t seem to find an update report on Mountain Rose, which is a favorite of some reputable bloggers I follow, beyond what you wrote in Part One: “I need to do more looking in to their sourcing, etc.”

    While their prices are sometimes better than NAN, I’ve also noted that sometimes their sources are different.

    Any new thoughts on MRH to share with those of us who are stingy…uh, frugal?

    • I don’t have any new thoughts. I guess I would only say that they are not an EO company — they are an herb company. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have good quality oils but I would prefer to get such a specialized item from a company that spends its time doing that one thing so they know it well. At present I don’t see country of origin on their site, but of course, that could change at any time. Rocky Mountain and NAN are having a sale right now that might be of help to your budget….it’s over at midnight tonight :).

      • Thanks for the reply, Adrienne. I hope I managed to link through your website for my purchase at NAN. I also have a few things I’m ordering from Mountain Rose, herbs and a couple of oils. They do list country of origin (right by the name of the oil). I decided to order my tea tree from NAN because its Australian-sourced oil is reputedly better than Mountain Rose’s Kenya-sourced (uh…got that info from Pappas’ FB page after Googling) .

        • Aha – now I see it. It wasn’t clear to me. There were a number of those “sourcing issues” that I learned about from NAN / RMO. More to learn. I’m looking into this more. Thanks!

      • One more point in NAN’s favor for me: there is much more information about each oil as well as customer comments FWTW. I read them for anecdotal information and for any other nuggets that speak to me. Neither seller, nor any I’ve found, lists certifications (EOU or ISO).

  95. Adrienne,
    You really should check out Natural News site (Health Ranger-Mike Adams) for all their articles about Essential Oils.
    Currently through Oct. 5, 2015 there is a free Oral Health Summit and one particular speaker is: Dr. Z or Dr. Eric Zielinski who did a 42 minute talk on Essential Oils for Oral Health. It was GREAT ! As a nurse, nutritionist I learned bunches.
    He also has a page on this website about Oil Pulling using Essential Oils, with a recipe:

    Natural News had a couple Essential Oil pages worth reading:
    this one on what oils for what problem a quick overview:
    many topics of essential oils:

    You are a researcher like me.
    Your 7 part series was/is amazing.

    • Thank you . I will try to check them out. He sometimes has really sensationalist articles, however. I have contacted him several times about poor research and have never gotten a response. Thanks!

  96. Your recommendation for oils conflicts with your recommendation for the two sources to purchase them. In 9. it is recommended that there be No adulterating (no heating, blending, adding or further distillation of oils)

    Yet, the first thing I saw when I went to both Native American Naturals and Rocky Mountain Oils was ” Compare our BLENDS to Young Living and doTerra.”

    Am I missing something in this comparison?

    • Hi Rosemary. The blending of oils that qualifies as adulteration would mean blending of different oils to make a single oil that has a more uniform smell. For example, Lavender 40/42 is a blending of different lavender oils so that the resulting lavender has a consistent smell. Hope that helps.

  97. I’ve visited both Rocky Mountain Oils and Native American Nutritionals, but I don’t see any links on how to become a representative or affiliate. Can you help me out? Thanks for sorting through all of this for us!

  98. Thanks for all the info. I have been doing extensive reading on EOs also and find the more I read the more confused I become. I have a medical background but as you know alternative medicine isn’t taught in conventional circles. On the other hand there are diseases for which there is no cure that giving alternatives is worth a try. Case in point is Alzheimer’s. I went to a talk given by a YL rep and she said YL was started as an outbranch from doTerra, so I found it funny that these were the two companies most outraged at your comments. I have spoken with several naturopathic who have recommended Nature Sunshine to me. I’m not sure if you have heard of this company. They are not inexpensive but source their oils from multiple farms as to be able to get the best herb at the time.I am just starting to use the oils so i can only speak for a few oils I have had good results with thus far.Since I am trying to help my mother who has Alzheimer’s I am interested in knowing I have the best and most effective oil before feeling that it is of no benefit. I am currently using Frankincense/sandalwood as a topical and diffusing rosemary/lavender/lemon. If anyone knows of other possible oils for injury to the nervous system I would love to know.

  99. Christy lewandowski says:

    Hi, I didn’t read through all of your comments on this article. I am a Doterra wellness advocate and I just wanted to mention that their oils are CPTG (certified pure therapeutic grade). This is the only EO company that has this label through the FDA. Their oils are produced around the world. They do their sourcing where the plant thrives best in it’s natural habitat. This will give you the best quality of your oils! I realize there are many oil companies out there but Doterra is truly on of the best! And you can use the oils internally! Of course not all oils are for internal use but on each individual bottle it will tell you the different ways to use that certain oil! Thank You for the great article and if you have any question please message me!

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