The smart way to buy and store essential oils
As essential oils are active extracts, it is important that attention is paid to quality when purchasing them. The higher the quality, the more effective they will be. What criteria should be used when purchasing them?
CHOOSE REAL QUALITY GUARANTEES
Since 2008, the AFSSAPS (now known as ANSM, Association Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament*), has regularly issued recommendations on quality criteria, to provide a framework for using essential oils and ensure better supervision.
A good essential oil will display certifications such as “EOBBD” (Essential Oils Botanically and Biochemically Defined) and “100% pure, natural” certifying their traceability, quality, and strict supervision.
100% pure: Free of any other essential oil, plant oil or other solvent.
100% natural: Free of chemical products (mineral essences, synthetic compounds, etc.).
Traceability must be guaranteed: Each batch of essential oil must be subject to inspection (chromatography during the gaseous phase) as a standard procedure.
CHOOSE ORGANIC, IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!
Due to a variety of factors, not all essential oils can be found in organic form: in some cases, the crop-growing sites are too remote, in others, the plants are wild or grow in countries where no organic certification exists. Whenever possible, though, buy essential oils that are certified organic.
• The Ecocert Certification for organic cosmetic essential oils.
• AB Certifications for organic essential oils to be used as food supplements.
YOUR CHECKLIST : IMPORTANT WATCHWORDS
1. The Latin name: Prevents any ambiguity or mix-up.
2. The chemotype: Prevents errors with key properties. For instance, there are 7 main chemotypes for thyme, with differing indications and usages…
3. The expiry date, batch number, place of production and producing part (“pp”)
4. Route of use and dosage: Specific to each oil.
5. Precautions for use
6. Equivalence: (1 ml = x drops)
Good to know! Some oils are coloured, which is normal. For instance, thyme thymol can be blood-red, bergamot essential oil can be green and lavender essential oil can be light yellow. An essential oil’s colour may depend on the nature of the original plant, but also on the material from which the alambic is made: a copper alambic will yield a pink wintergreen essential oil, while an aluminium alambic will result in a pale yellow oil.
HOW SHOULD YOU STORE YOUR ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils need to be stored away from light and heat (ideally, between 5 and 30°C). Essential oils of rose, thyme thymol or peppermint, for instance, harden into crystals at low temperatures (though this has no impact on the quality of the essential oil which, as soon as it returns to room temperature, becomes liquid).
Ideally, they should be stored in their original packaging (with the instructions) to prevent errors, with the caps tightly screwed on (as they are oxidisable and volatile) and upright (to prevent the oils from corroding the dropper and cap, which are made of plastic).
By following these precautions, your essential oils can be stored for up to 5 years (only 3 years for citrus essences, slightly less, around 2 years, for essential oils made from coniferous pines, e.g. Scots pine).
WHAT ABOUT PACKAGING?
Essential oils should be packaged in dark-coloured glass bottles (not plastic): this helps to protect them from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. To ensure even safer use, choose bottles with tamper-proof, child-proof caps.
* French National Agency for Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation
Use plants and Essential Oils with care. Before any use, read the information and precautions for use carefully. Always seek the advice of a pharmacist before use.
Extract from 48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy, practical guide by Top Santé.