There's been quite an explosion recently as the number of folks following us on Instagram has doubled and tripled almost overnight. Many of you are on a search for truth - and for an essential oil company that stands firm in its message of Christ, essential oils, and their place in Spirit Healing. We have been flooded with questions on and inquiries for further explanation of the purity of our oils and the processes involved in our production. While our FAQ page is very insightful, I thought it may be helpful to go ahead and add some additional information here for you to peruse leisure.
Let's Start at the Beginning
What's in a name?
First, we must begin by considering what the term "pure" actually means. This term is thrown around quite a lot in the essential oil industry. In fact, there are several terms used that almost make ya feel as if they posses a heavy, almost tangible golden glow when you read them. Let's consider those as well.
“100% pure”, “Therapeutic Grade”, "Gold Standard", and “Medicinal Grade” are a few of those common, almost holy terms used to market certain brands.** (see footnote at end)
As wonderful as it sounds to be able to purchase a high-quality, natural essential oil, we must take care to understand a key piece of info. All of these terms (100% pure, therapeutic grade, medicinal grade, gold standard, etc.) are completely free for anyone and everyone to use! No one charges a dime for those fancy phrases - and you can use them as much as you like. What a fine thing to be in possession of, yes? Such delightful verbiage to be sprinkled about on everything! A little here, a little there… you get the picture. *wink*
I should also add here that there are several reputable brands out there who use terms such as those listed above, but they do it to inform the customer that their oils truly are high quality oils. Those brands are often trying to concisely convey how carefully they've sourced their oils and how suitable they are for use in holistic aromatherapy. These brands are honestly not using these terms as a marketing ploy - just an assurance of quality.
Whatever is pure...
The absolute, very first thing we covered on Day 1, Hour 1 of my ND program was that the supplemental industry has no purity standards to speak of.
There is not a standardized grading system in place in this industry, and there is no government entity tasked with certifying essential oils as "Therapeutic Grade", "Aromatherapy Grade", "Medicinal Grade", etc. in the United States. Those are coined marketing terms, friend. There is no oil police squad monitoring companies or holding them accountable for their purity and processing procedures.
Because of this, it is extremely important do your homework and get to know your brand. Do some research and do your best to learn about the company, their integrity, and the morals they stand on. Email them. Ask questions. Pay close attention and you will know whether or not they are a genuine and reputable brand. Honesty and integrity are generally easy to spot.
Think on these things...
Here are some things to watch out for of as you navigate this purity quest you are embarking on.
Essential oils can be legally diluted by up to 49%, leaving you with only 51% of what you thought you were buying. It is bothersome that this is actually a legal practice, but what's more is that even when nearly half of the essential oil has been replaced with something else in the bottle, it can still be labeled “pure”.
Essential oils can be "cut", which means that they are blended with another substance, often alcohol, in order to stretch them and make them go farther. This allows companies to make more money on the bottom line but greatly reduces the therapeutic effectiveness of the oil. Fortunately for the bottom line of these companies, but less fortunate for you, these cut essential oils can be labeled “pure”.
Most essential oils purchased from the drugstore, or stores such as Walmart and Target, have added synthetics in the bottle. These are used to alter the fragrance at a cheaper price for the company and can be very problematic for the person attempting to use this oil to assist the body in health. You do not want harsh chemicals in your medicinal oils. That defeats the whole purpose of using oils (in my humble opinion). Again, as mentioned previously, these can still be labeled “pure” essential oils.
If oils are processed using chemical solvents rather than steam distillation, this process will leave behind a residue in the oil. Though it is not a terribly high percentage, this is something that can be problematic, obviously. You do not want your oils adulterated with chemicals. Again, these oils can legally be labeled as “pure”.
Plants that were grown using the traditional farming methods, such as treating them with pesticides or herbicides, pose another issue. Even after the steam distillation process, traces of these toxins will remain present in your oils. Again, these can still be labeled as “pure” essential oils.
Proper Preparations of Essential Oils
Growing, harvesting, and distilling essential oils is quite a beautiful art form born of many years of long practice. This, combined with careful science, results in quite an astonishing treasure made available to us. Many factors affect the outcome of essential oil production - growing conditions, soil conditions, climate, altitude, the time of year and even the time of day that a plant is harvested. All of these things must be considered in the oil production process.
Thankfully, we work with a fantastic group of people who go above and beyond to ensure that we select and prepare for you only the highest quality essential oils available!
At Selah Oils, we pride ourselves on providing only the finest quality, unadulterated essential oils available today. It is very important to us to be sure that, from the growing of the plants to the harvesting and distilling, only the utmost care is taken to ensure the quality of the essential oils we carry.
We select only ethically farmed, wildcrafted or organic grown (uncertified but farmed with organic methods and principles) essential oils.
A thorough amount of research (years worth) has gone into the selection of our oils. The conclusions we have come to for our sources are backed by hard evidence - we never compromise the quality of our purchases. We have chosen to work with suppliers who can provide us with high-caliber, therapeutically crafted, and perfectly pure essential oils.
Each oil is grown in its most natural habitat. Our oils come from all over the world to ensure that they are produced in their most optimum environment. For example, we get our Peppermint oil from farms in the United States, while our Lavender is wild-crafted in France.
We select our essential oils with a few things in mind:
- Supporting ethical farming and fair wages as we aim to build healthy relationships with the growers and producers that honor everyone involved
- The farm - the location and practices of the growers matter. Each one is carefully selected to guarantee that the oils purchased meet our quality standards.
- The crops - seeing the love and care that goes into the growing of the crops is evidence of likeminded growers who also value the health of the crop as we do. Growers are often local people who know the land and the crop well. These folks have, many times, been a part of cultivating these crops from childhood as part of their family trade.
- Obtaining wildcrafted essential oils
- Obtaining unsprayed, organic grown (uncertified but farmed with organic methods and principles) essential oils. Because there is little consistency in organic certifications in various countries and various regions, it is not always possible to only buy certified organic oils.
You will notice in the "Details" section/tab of each single oil on Selah's site a list containing the botanical name, country of origin, extraction method, and storage info.
Harvesting and Distilling
Harvesting is done at the most optimal times of the year and even the most optimal hour of the day to obtain the most potent plant material. Then the plant parts to be distilled are brought directly to the location for distilling. After the steam distillation process is complete, a sample is taken from the batch of essential oil and undergoes GC/MS third party testing.
GC/MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectromety) is a testing process that separates an essential oil into individual components (its natural ingredients) and measures the specific quantity of each. This allows us to collect data quantifying the specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in the essential oil. This reveals any contaminants present in the batch of essential oil.
If any artificial ingredients, contaminants, or other impurities are detected through the GC/MS testing, that batch is rejected by our supply team.
Each single oil Selah offers has the actual constituents from the GC/MS testing report listed on the oil information page under the "GC/MS Key Constituents" heading.
If you would like to have the GC/MS report for any single essential oil you have purchased, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the Batch # on your bottle.
Making our Selections
Because it is crucial to have 100% pure essential oils, we select only the highest quality essential oils available on the market. Period.
For a batch to be selected by our team, it must be 100% unadulterated with zero traces of pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, pollutants, fillers or anything artificial. Before purchasing each oil, we verify its quality and will not purchase an inferior oil even if we must wait until the next harvest or longer. You can rest assured in Selah Oils.
If the batch is approved by the team, it is then shipped to our supplier warehouse facility, and then on to our local production facility. Upon arrival, standard testing and sanitary protocol is followed as our production team then directly bottles each oil by hand to be sent to you (by this, I mean that the large quantities of oils shipped to our facility are transferred into the small bottles that you keep in your home). No fluff. No fillers. Just pure, hand poured essential oil.
** “100% pure”, “Therapeutic Grade”, "Gold Standard", “Medicinal Grade”, etc.
Let me lay our for you the reason for my choice of words there. I said those ear-tickling terms were use to "market certain brands". That word - market - was not accidentally placed. There is a great deal of psychology that goes into the phrases companies use to draw their customers in... and keep them. Those phrases are coined to leave you feeling stuck, fearful of trying anything else. They make you ask: How could I ever get decent oils anywhere else if the only pure oils on the entire planet earth are produced by "X" (specific brand)?
Friend, God is not incapable of blessing this earth with MANY places and countries that grow His perfect plants, which can then be distilled to make perfect essential oils. He is not bound to a brand. He will not give His glory to another. Not even an oil company.
And honestly, Selah Oils is not the only place with perfectly pure oils. There are lots of other companies out there that I can personally attest to that offer 100% pure oils. However, what I cannot attest to is their mission or their beliefs. Lots of places offer great oils - they just don't say one way or the other what it is exactly that they stand for. So that is a decision only you can make.
Understanding the psychology involved in marketing did a lot for me when I once believed that only one company (the one I bought from) could actually provide completely pure oils. God just isn't that limited, friend. This understanding freed me from those final doubts about whether or not I was getting a high quality oil when I began purchasing from another company.
According to Jade Shutes in an article for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, "the term ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ arose during the 90ʼs and did not exist prior to that time" and was created as a marketing ploy to make "people believe that there were somehow therapeutic grade essential oils and then all others" (1). On the contrary, "there is no such thing as ʻtherapeutic gradeʼ (or grade b, c, or d)...a grading system, quite simply, does not exist for essential oils" (2).
To read the rest of this article, simply click on the link below:
- Worwood, Valerie. Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child. Novato: New World Library. 2000. Print.
- Schnaubelt, Kurt, Ph. D. Medical Aromatherapy. Rochester: Healing Arts Press. 1999. Print.