Produce quality essential oils is a labour intensive and pricey process.
The key to producing a therapeutic-grade essential oil is to preserve as many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the essential oil as possible – elements that are very fragile and destroyed by high temperature and high-pressure.
Contact with chemically reactive metals (i.e., copper or aluminum) is another danger to the fragile aromatic compounds in oils.
To insure a high grade of essential oil, it is imperative to use stainless steel cooking equipment at low pressure and low temperature for long periods of time.
Using pure, genuine essential oils means less is needed in order for the oil to be effective. This is easily forgotten when we are motivated to buy oils on the false economy of price.
Adulteration - the 'Stretching' or 'extending' - of genuine essential oils in order to increase profit is apparent common practice in the essential oils industry.
As the demand for them grows, the supply of top-grade essential oils decreases.
The temptation to thin the oils with solvents, then add synthetic fragrance is great.
In the last several years, France exported 100 times more lavender oil than it produced. This can only be possible if the oil is being thinned.
"Optimum quality is paramount not only in order to get the best results, but also to avoid the risk of possible harmful side effects... organic oils are best of all" says Shirley Price, a practicing aromatherapist and author of 5 best-selling books.
The possibilities for adulteration and contamination increase with the number of times an essential oil changes hands in the production cycle. It is therefore very important to be aware of the supply chain, along with the reputation and standards of both the retailer and the supplier of the essential oil.
The most commonly adulterated oils include frankincense, myrrh, lemon, peppermint, helichrysum, lavender and birch or wintergreen, although all essential oils may be adulterated easily.
Adulterated oils can cause rashes, burning, and skin irritations. The petrochemical solvents in them can cause intense allergic reactions and toxic accumulations. They are devoid of any therapeutic benefits whatsoever.