When buying aromatherapy products, purity is of the utmost importance. Aromatherapy essential oils are made from plant extracts, and it is thought that pesticides and other chemicals used on the plants can find their way into the oils derived from them. The best way to avoid this is to use organic aromatherapy products.
Peace on Earth, Purity of Essence
Organic aromatherapy products are expensive compared with their non-organic equivalents, but many consumers are prepared to pay the extra price. Aromatherapy tends to appeal to people who value such things as environmental sustainability and new age spirituality, and so the word “organic” attached to an aromatherapy product is actually a major selling point.
In addition, many practitioners of aromatherapy consider organic essential oils to be of better quality than oils derived from plants grown according to the principles of industrial agriculture. Some even claim to be able to detect a difference in the smell, the aroma from which aromatherapy gets its name, but this claim has been disputed.
Defining Organic Aromatherapy Products
A note of caution: some suppliers of aromatherapy products can be a little free with their definition of the word “organic”. The justification they use is that aromatherapy essential oils are not consumed internally, so the standards for organic aromatherapy products need not be as rigorous as those for organic food products. Most aromatherapists would be horrified at such compromises, seeing no reason why the definition of the word should change according to whether a product is for internal or external use.
The best way to ensure that you are buying genuine organic products is to look for the logo of a recognized organic certification scheme. EcoCert is the world’s largest provider of organic certification for both food and non-food products. It was founded in France in 1991, but operates in over 80 countries. The first perfume to be certified organic by EcoCert was actually an organic aromatherapy product, Florame’s aromatherapy range. These perfumes contain essential oils, but are intended for cosmetic, rather than therapeutic use.
US Certification Scheme
The US Department of Agriculture also has an organic certification scheme. This scheme has three levels of certification. “100% Organic” means just that, a product uses nothing but organic ingredients. “Organic” refers to products that are at least 95% organic. Finally, “Uses Organic Ingredients” means that a product is between 70% and 94% organic.
The market leader in 100% organic essential oils is California-based Aura Cacia. Founded in 1982, the company uses only 100% organic products, with no synthetic additives. So if you need organic aromatherapy products, they should be able to help.