The case against therapeutic grade

“I would never recommend using anything but ‘Therapeutic Grade’ essential oils.”

Preparing for boat rockage in 3……2…….1…….

The term therapeutic grade means objectively NOTHING.  It clearly means something to the person saying it, but since there is no single standard definition of what ‘Therapeutic Grade’ means with regard to essential oils and because there is no standards governing who may put it on their products, it does not truly mean anything other than a general idea.

In truth, what I may view as ‘Therapeutic Grade’ may be very different than what someone else views it as.  And that is the problem.

The term therapeutic grade implies:

  1. The highest available quality
  2. Pure and undiluted
  3.  The ideal levels of plant compounds
  4. Nothing synthetic or not-disclosed on the label.
  5. Can universally be used safely in French Style Aromatherapy.
  6. All essential oils labeled ‘Therapeutic Grade’ are equal in all areas of quality and effectiveness.

It Creates a False Equality

Let’s just compare a few companies in a few areas to see if the concept of “Therapeutic Grade” is the same (names are omitted from this post, links will be available to the source information at the company site).

Quality Claims:

Option 1: Company claims to have coined the term ‘Therapeutic Grade’ (SOURCE)

Option 2: Contains the quote “All of our Essential Oils are certified to be 100% pure and natural, of therapeutic grade and free from any chemicals or pesticides.” (SOURCE)

Option 3: Says oils are ‘Therapeutic Grade’ (SOURCE)

Ingestion advice about Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita):

Option 1: Mentions ingestion as a possibility for Peppermint Essential Oil as Peppermint Vitality (SOURCE)

Option 2: Cautions against ingestion of their Peppermint Essential Oil (SOURCE)

Option 3:  Lists GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe status by FDA saying this substance is Generally Recommended as safe as a food additive) status of this oil but does not outright suggest ingestion as an option (SOURCE)  Link on page does lead to a page that does suggest a drop in a glass of water, but that is all.

Post Sourcing Quality Control Measures:

Option 1: Does own distillation using a proprietary method and does both in-house and third-party testing to make sure of the quality. (SOURCE)

Option 2:  Does not disclose whether any independent testing or quality assurance measures are taken (SOURCE)

Option 3:  Mentions test values of oils in a general sense, but does not give an idea of how often oils are tested, by whom or what tests are performed (SOURCE)

What does this all mean?

The point is, all three of these companies claim to have ‘Therapeutic Quality’ essential oils, but they disagree on two obvious things (and if we wanted to dig deeper, more than that).

  • They don’t have consistent recommendations about the appropriateness of ingesting the essential oil of Peppermint, an oil sometimes used internally in French Aromatherapy. One says yes, one says no, and the other sort of says yes.
  • They do not have consistent methods of ensuring quality, tests run or testing standards.  For those who may do those things, but do not disclose it, why?

Why is this a big deal?  This is a big deal because there are a GREAT many resources available that are available on the internet about “therapeutic grade” essential oils.  However, since that is not a guarantee that the oil is of a particular quality, if you use an oil simply based on the label saying “therapeutic grade” then you could potentially either be simply disappointed in your results at best, or at worst, if you ingested a substandard “therapeutic grade” oil, you could experience undesired results.

What do I look for in a “therapeutic grade” essential oil?

I look for very specific things when I research an oil company:

  1. The company selling the oil is involved with the process from the point that the plant is selected to the point that the oil is sent to me.  There are too many points between the growing of a plant until it enters the bottle of an oil for an essential oil to be tampered with.  The more hands an oil passes through, the higher the chances an oil isn’t what it seems.
  2. The company performs quality control testing on every batch of oil to ensure that the oil is free from contamination, synthetics, adulteration and non-disclosed plant material.  Accepting testing from a supplier is not enough for me.
  3. The company submits to regular third-party testing from an independent lab to verify the quality and purity of their essential oils.
  4. The company performs quality testing on every batch of oil to ensure that the proper plant components are in EVERY BOTTLE.

In my research I’ve found that Young Living meets my standards better than anyone else I’ve researched.  Skeptical?  GOOD!!!!!!!!  I was too But after two years of heavy research, I am more convinced than ever that YL goes MUCH further to make sure of quality than any other company I’ve researched.