Aromatherapy: A New Journey
Part Two

Finding the Best Essential Oils

Revised significantly in July 2016

With great doggedness and focused attention, I began to search for the best sources of essential oils and to acquire a wide range of them.

I was surprised both by how many great sources of oils there are and also how many other sources had insipid products. I visited a store in San Francisco, for example, which offered essential oils from seven different companies. Only a couple of the oils from two of the companies were worth getting; the rest were of poor quality.

[Note: while some people trust rigorous testing of oils, I myself really trust my nose. One of the true legendary stories about my Mother was that to show a friend of mine just how superb her sense of smell was, I lit one match, immediately extinguished it, opened all of the windows in the house, and after several hours of it airing out, my Mom came home, and immediately sniffed the air and said, "you lit a match".]

While my sense of smell is no match for hers, it is still quite acute and I can smell artificial scents "a mile away".

Even when I don't like the smell of a specific essential oil, I can still tell if it is pure or not.

In order to find the best sources of essential oils, I spent months investigating dozens of companies that sell essential oils, reading reviews, exploring which firms were recommended by the aromatherapy experts, visiting local purveyors of essential oils, buying oils from many different suppliers, and exploring the oil collections of my aromatherapy friends.

I was surprised that some prominent companies produced very poor quality oils, while others were outstanding.

Important Note: I have had to completely rewrite the following section because I've learned so much about quality since I began my quest.

I created the following table to show the results of my research. I deliberately omitted from the listing all of the companies with mediocre products. The best companies are shown at the top of the list, in descending order.

My Favorite Essential Oil Companies

Name

Pricing

Outstanding Oil(s)

Samples

for purchase

Alchemica Botanica

$

All (Honeysuckle, Dang Gui, Jasmine Sambac)

no

Rivendell Aromatics

$

(Lavender Alba, Incense Cedar, Helichrysum)

yes,

White Lotus Aromatics

$

$100 minimum order

(Frankincense, White Champa, Lavender CO2)

yes,

1.5 ml samples

Hermitage Essential Oils

$ - $$

 Lions Ear, Blue Hemlock, Lilac CO2, Pink Otto

No

PhiBee Aromatics

$$

Desert Lavender,
Douglas Fir

No

Young Living

$$$

Lavender,
Lemon Myrtle

No

Ensar Oud

$$$

All Ouds

 (Oud Yusuf, Assam 3000)

almost always,

0.3 gram

Imperial Oud

$$

All Ouds

 (Kushiara, Mukhdhir)

yes

0.2 gram

Artisan Essential Oils

$$$

Enfleurage Oils (only)

for pricey oils

offers 2 ml size

Nature's Gift

$$

Lavender CO2, Piñon Pine

No

Eden Botanicals

$

Agarwood CO2

Yes

Original Swiss Aromatics

$

Blue Lotus

No

Stillpoint Aromatics

$$

(Piñon Pine, Ginger Lily)

yes,

1.85 ml samples

Solstice Scents

$$

Gardenia enfleurage (only)

Yes

Lotus Garden Botanicals

$$

Mysore Sandalwood, Himalayan Cypress Wood

Yes

The Herbarie

$$

German Chamomile CO2 (only)

No

Ananda Apothecary

$

Wild Sweet Orange, Cape Chamomile

Yes

(Veriditas Botanicals)

$

Lavender Reserve (only)

No

(Floracopia)

$$$

Piñon Pine, Rus Khus (only)

No


Commentary on the Table

Note: You can click on any of the companies' names to go to the essential oil section of their website.

It was a revelation to discover that an essential oil derived from the same plant, obtained from two (or more) companies, could vary so much.

In some cases, like Vetiver oil, the differences were not good vs. bad, as each oil had its own charm.

But after buying a relatively lower priced Ylang Ylang extra from one company, I had all but concluded that I didn't like Ylang Ylang, when in fact it was the poor quality of the less expensive oil that was the problem, I discovered upon getting a much better quality oil from another company.

Nevertheless, most the oils that I love, e.g. piñon pine, cape chamomile, frankincense, lavender, and Oudh, are of significantly better quality from the best companies.

By the way, all of the companies listed on the colored backgrounds of bright pink or medium pink in the table are excellent and reliable, and are highly recommended by me. Also, the companies that allow you to purchase samples are to be praised as then you can see if you like a particular oil before buying a larger quantity.

Note: when I use the word (only) in the table, and place the company's name in (), it means that only that specific oil is really worth getting from the company (but if the word only is not italicized, then I haven't explored their other products).

P.s. I also listed the oils from each company that I found to be truly outstanding. I understand these are subjective assessments, but I've also shared the oils with colleagues, who usually reach the same conclusions.

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One Additional note: As with herbs (I've made my own tinctures for decades), the very best essential oils come from wild sources. Those from organic farms are better, of course, than those from conventional farms. Always also pay attention to the country of origin of the oils you get.

I've usually prefer oils extracted using the CO2 extraction method to those extracted with steam or hydro distillation.

For example, I recently found out that CO2 extracted German Chamomile has ten times the anti-inflammatory effects of the steam distilled oil, and the C02 extract of Lavender has a much more authentic "fresh lavender" scent than any of the distilled varieties and has much more impact both psychologically and spiritually than the steam distilled ones.

(To be clear, many steam-distilled lavenders have wonderful scents, and I love them. It's just that the CO2 extracts are more energetically potent.)

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I also have another column that I invite you to read that focuses on the phenomenal oil called Oud or Agarwood. Oud has been used by many spiritual traditions in rituals, for meditation, and for transcendence.

You can read my blog about it here.

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End of Part Two

(Note: Unlike many websites that "review" essential oils but are actually making a profit by selling oils via affiliations, I have no financial relationship with any aromatherapy company.)

Part One:
Aromatherapy: A New Journey

Part Three:
Early Insights

Part Four:
The different methods of extraction

Part Five:
Exquisite Scents

Part Six:
The Essential Oil Company
I didn't want to love

Part Seven:
How to evaluate essential oils

Part Eight:
A Phenomenally Great Essential Oil Company

Part Nine:
Essential Oil Shootouts

and also, my blog on:

The Magical oil called Oud




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