The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in their Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2) defines an essential oil as a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.
After certain plants are processed through the various extraction methods available, a high concentration of potent medicinal compounds are produced. This makes essential oils a more viable medical option than the plants themselves, as it often takes a large amount of plant matter to create even 10ml of pure essential oil. Because of the fat solubility of many essential oils, they are quickly absorbed into the human body, and easily delivered to all cells.
Essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to aromatic compounds. Aromatherapy may be useful to induce relaxation, but there is not sufficient evidence that essential oils can effectively treat any condition.[3] Improper use of essential oils may cause harm including allergic reactions and skin irritation, and children may be particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of improper use.[4][5]
I’m partial to Plant Therapy and have been very happy with their oils and starter kits. Occasionally I purchase Floracopeia and Now products. Young Living and doTERRA just feel overpriced due to the fact they are an MLM brand and not worth the money when there are companies like Plant Therapy. Since E.O.’s have a shelf life between 1 and 2 years, their price points are a major consideration for me. Thank you for your E.O. list and reviews. I was happy to see Plant Therapy come out on top.
Cold pressed – Plant materials that easily release their aromatic components can be cold pressed to extract the essential oils. This age-old method was commonly used for extracting citrus oils from their fruit skin. Manual extraction involved pressing the fruit with a sponge, which would eventually get saturated with the oil. These sponges were then pressed to obtain the oil. Today, mechanized processes are used for cold pressing, and the oil is separated from the oil-juice mixture obtained.
Young Living ARE the best in my opinion, with their Seed to Seal standards and their Vitality line that are ingestible. I drink some in my water for tons of health benefits, I diffuse them, and use them topically too. So many benefits to using the Young Living brand. And a whole community of like minded people to learn from and make your own roller bottles and recipes with! Healing one drop at a time.

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. A little goes a long way! That being said, don't be fooled. A small 5- or 10-ml bottle is very potent and will likely be enough to last you many months with frequent use. But, the shelf life of oils varies drastically. The general rule of thumb is to use essential oils within a year of purchase, but many will keep fresh for longer if refrigerated. In fact, many aromatherapists refrigerate precious oils and always keep citruses and more volatile, fleeting top-notes and carrier oils in the fridge.
I’m partial to Plant Therapy and have been very happy with their oils and starter kits. Occasionally I purchase Floracopeia and Now products. Young Living and doTERRA just feel overpriced due to the fact they are an MLM brand and not worth the money when there are companies like Plant Therapy. Since E.O.’s have a shelf life between 1 and 2 years, their price points are a major consideration for me. Thank you for your E.O. list and reviews. I was happy to see Plant Therapy come out on top.

Every night, I anoint my pulse points with a rollerball blend that supports restful sleep and deep relaxation. Therefore, I look for oils high in esters, monoterpene alcohols, and sesquiterpene alcohols that calm and soothe the nervous and endocrine systems and release muscular and nervous tension. This is a daily blend that allows me to drift off into sleep, so loving the aroma is a must!

Because of this extreme level of concentration, essential oils contain extraordinarily high levels of medicinal compounds—far more than the amount found in the raw plant materials used in herbal supplements for anxiety and stress. That means that each drop of essential oils that are good for anxiety and stress contain, on average, the equivalent medicinal benefit of many pounds of raw herbal materials—far more than you could ever take in one day in any practical way. As such, they are able to deliver very potent medicinal effects that have been shown in many studies to have borderline miraculous abilities for lowering anxiety and stress.

Crunchy Betty, I have a question. I am new and learning about using essential oils and loving it, but having a problem with the scents not lasting as a perfume on my body. I mean not lasting even an hour. I am using essential oils purchased at one of the reputable companies that you recommend above. I am using a base of Jojoba and then blending other essential oils to make a scent. What am I doing wrong?


There's a reason lavender is used in so many spa services: It really will chill you out. "The reason I like lavender as an essential oil for anxiety is because not only does it contain linalool, which has a sedative effect, it also relaxes the muscles, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, [and] lowers the cortisol in our bloodstream—all things that we are looking for to help us deal with stress," says Gillerman. And science agrees—in one study, patients suffering from an anxiety disorder were given lavender orally and it improved symptoms of restlessness and disturbed sleep, and had a positive effect on general well-being and quality of life. (Love everything lavender? Try This Iced Lavender Matcha Green Tea Latte.)
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I have kept a personal inhaler of the Worry Free blend and another of Tranquil in my desk at work. I love Tranquil so much I now keep a bottle to diffuse in my office. I do find many of the oils mentioned helpful in times of stress or depression. Stopping to breathe and relax your muscles is important during those times, and I find oils encourage me to do that.
Many essential oils are adaptogens, which means they adapt to the person taking them and have different effects on different people. For instance, vetiver oil relieves insomnia for some people, while creating a feeling of refreshment and alertness for others during times of exhaustion. Of course, some oils are known precisely for their activating effects, like energizing tangerine or lemongrass, and should be avoided as a sleep aid.

Promising Review: “TRUE pure essential OILS…I was skeptacle of the grade of product for this price BUT I used a few drops in my bath water and it loosened up my congestion…and the two little bottles I used in some hand lotion and it turned it into exquisite lotion for after bath rubdown. THIS TRUELY was an awesome deal…very pleased and will purchase again from Art Naturals.”  – Lisa Korcek
The Accociation of International Aromatherapists (one of the top organization for setting quality & professional standards for the aromaatherapy industry) notes, “AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).” If you haven’t talked to someone with this training before taking oils internally, you could do yourself real harm.
I've had great luck with ultrasonic cool-air diffusers. Bergamot is always a go-to when I'm feeling stressed, as its unique composition calms the mind and body while enhancing mood. Its limonene content allows for intense relaxation when inhaled, while the spicy citrus high notes immediately perk up the senses. It pairs well with a number of other scents, especially lavender and peppermint, which can also help reduce tension and anxiety.
Essential oils can help invigorate your senses, and make you feel revitalized and energetic, leading to greater productivity. Used for thousands of years, essential oils are prized for their medicinal properties and pack a powerful punch in a small bottle! Only a few drops of these natural, potent aromatic compounds obtained from the flowers, leaves, seeds and bark of plants, can jolt you back on your feet when you're feeling depleted. 
Because of this extreme level of concentration, essential oils contain extraordinarily high levels of medicinal compounds—far more than the amount found in the raw plant materials used in herbal supplements for anxiety and stress. That means that each drop of essential oils that are good for anxiety and stress contain, on average, the equivalent medicinal benefit of many pounds of raw herbal materials—far more than you could ever take in one day in any practical way. As such, they are able to deliver very potent medicinal effects that have been shown in many studies to have borderline miraculous abilities for lowering anxiety and stress.
Shannon, not all essential oils are created equal. Zija International has just launched its patented process of AMÉO Essential Oils product division. In particular their Peppermint Essential Oils is a powerful, distinct oil that immediately ignites the senses. Once inhaled or consumed, it goes right to work stimulating the mind and body. Peppermint oil is used aromatically, topically and internally to aid in digestive health, relieve stress and freshen breath. Massaging with the oil can help relieve skin redness and irritations. As far as usage is concerned AMÉO Peppermint oil is ATIDS based on the following key. A: AROMATICALLY – oils can be inhaled or diffused in the air, T: TOPICALLY – Oils can be applied to skin. Some oils require dilution with a carrier oil, I: INTERNALLY – Oils can be taken internally in food, beverages, or an Améo Veggie Cap, N: NEAT – Oil requires no dilution, D: DILUTE – Oil requires dilution with a carrier oil such as Améo Fractionated Coconut Oil, S: SENSITIVE SKIN – Oils should be used with caution on delicate skin; dilute with carrier oil, P: PHOTOSENSITIVITY – Oils require avoidance of direct sunlight or UV rays for at least 12 hours Member # 2424832
Add five to 10 drops of your preferred essential oil to your bath water to combat feelings of anxiety or stress. If your skin is sensitive, dilute the essential oil in 1 tablespoon of your preferred carrier oil before adding to the water, which will moisturize and protect your skin. Don’t add essential oils to running water as they will evaporate at a higher rate. Instead, add them once the tub is filled and just before getting in.
This popular oil is known for its many therapeutic benefits and woody, slightly sweet and spicy aroma. Cedarwood Atlas oil promotes respiratory health, keeps skin moisturized, and is perfect to bring tranquility to any chaotic outdoor setting. This oil helps bring tranquility to stressful situations and aids in calming the body. Use Cedarwood Atlas on special occasions to help set the mood for the night.
Frankincense essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes, which are molecular structures capable of traveling through the blood-brain barrier and have been shown to alleviate the adverse effects of anxiety. According to the findings of a 2008 study testing a blend of frankincense, bergamot, and lavender, frankincense may help improve anxiety and pain in terminal cancer patients.8
An obvious exception to this rule is when certain plants generate an allergic reaction to the user; it is not advisable to use that specific essential oil. Some essential oils can also cause allergic reactions when used undiluted on the skin. It's always good practice to perform a skin reaction test, by applying a small amount of oil to the skin's surface and observing any changes over the course of fifteen minutes.
I tested grapefruit oil from Eden’s Garden, tea tree oil from Tea Tree Therapy, and vetiver oil from Nature’s Kiss brand (I think the tea tree oil I bought in a natural food store and the other brands from Amazon?), all on the same strip of yellow construction paper. After 20 minutes, there is a huge oily spot from the Nature’s Kiss oil (and looking at the label, I can see now it is embarrassingly low quality production as it looks sort of cheaply homemade- don’t recommend ever buying that brand if you see it). The Tea Tree Therapy spot is smaller and a little lighter, but still definitely an oily stain. The smallest, lightest one is the Eden’s Garden grapefruit spot, which I’m sort of glad about considering most of my oils are that brand, but I can still definitely see where it was dropped. I can’t really imagine an oil not leaving any spot behind at all, but if I ever find one that does, I would be very impressed.
Hello! I enjoyed your post and it was very informative. I tried the construction paper test with my Mountain Rose Herbs oils and there was a residue! Tried with peppermint and with fennel. Sigh. I have ordered my oils from this company for years. Any thoughts? I feel like they are a legit company, no multi-level marketing schemes going on, no president with a shady psychotic past. What to do, what to do???

Ok I don’t usually make comments on articles but I just had to on this one. To the author: I’m sorry but this blog is poorly researched and full of errors. If you are going to put out information that people take as truth or at the very least as suggestions because they like you, you need to know what you are talking about. I highly suggest you take this blog down, re research essential oils and rewrite one that is accurate.
To get essential oils, flowering plant parts or peels must go through a distillation process. Naturally, some plants yield lots of oil easily, and others have more labor-intensive processes, yielding lower amounts of essential oil. For example, damascene rose is one of the most notorious labor-intensive essential oils to distill, which is reflected in its high price tag. It takes approximately 2,500 pounds of rose flowers to produce 1 pound of essential oil. Rose is a delicate flower and distillers have a short 30-day window to harvest the crop, which cannot be done during peak hours of the sun's heat. That being said, pure rose damascene oil often sells for more than $2,000 per pound. Rose is perhaps the most extreme example, but other essential oils, like many citruses, are distilled via cold-pressed expression and can be found in usable quantities for $15 or less. Knowing about specific plants can help you identify fair market prices and spot red flags.
Thank you for all the great info. Help me understand more about “ingestible” EOs versus “noningestibles”. If “noningestibles” are okay for use in soaps and other skin products, and the skin absorbs what’s put on it into the blood stream, then 1) why are “noningestible” EOs okay in skin care products, and 2) why can’t we ingest “noningestible” EOs under the tongue or diluted in a glass of water, for example?
I, too, bought my EOs from piping rock and have had no issues (I have extremely sensitive skin due to being a natural red head). I have not had any reactions and am 100% satisfied with the quality of these oils (I do plan on doing the “test” above). But I was unable to justify paying 100’s of dollars on the “essential” EOs and got them all for about $40 from piping rock. I also use coconut oil for a carrier and recommend EVERYONE to do the same! Coconut oil is “miracle oil” in my book!!
When using any herbal product, including essential oils for anxiety and otherwise, it’s extremely important to only use wildcrafted/wild-harvested or organic products that are grown without chemicals, herbicides and pesticides and distilled without the use of solvents and chemicals.  Wildcrafted means it is grown wildly in nature, just as it would in its native habitat, without any synthetic inputs from man whatsoever. Hence, so long as it is grown in a wild area away from cities, it is virtually as clean as it can get. Organic is similar in that no synthetic chemicals and pesticides may be used in the growing and extracting of the oil, which makes them of similarly high quality. Biodynamic is even one step better but can be hard to find.
We've covered a lot about aiding mood and mentality, but what about the more physical healing benefits of essential oils? Many plants are natural antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, antimicrobials, and antivirals, so when concentrated into essential oil form, they can function as highly effective remedies for acne, muscle soreness, sore throats, and more. Take ever-versatile peppermint oil, for example. "It's cooling, and can be found in formulated muscle care products along with eucalyptus, wintergreen, and German chamomile essential oils to name a few," Avery says. Try her go-to recipe for a DIY leg rub: "Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to one ounce of sweet almond oil, and rub it into leg muscles and feet."
Thank you Holly! I’m happy to see someone stand up and clarify the fact that doTerra does stand behind their oils. To state such a statement of an oil to 100% certified pure therapeutic grade does mean something….especially is you consider using them internally or for cooking. If you are considering using essential oils instead of over the counter drugs, which contain many chemical ingredients (by the way, they use the same plants to create their drugs only they change them chemically and add other things), why not go all the way and eliminate ALL toxic and chemical additions to your body?? My suggestion, do your homework and research! Don’t take someone’s word for it in a comment. Buy a few bottles of the same oil (I hope you’ll consider doTerra) and compare how you feel.

Frankincense, also known as "olibanum" is an aromatic resin that can be used to treat depression and anxiety due to its calming effect. A 2008 study in the journal Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi found this oil mixed with bergamot and lavender had a positive effect on pain and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer. A simple aroma hand massage had a healing effect when essential oils were used.
My favorite author once wrote, “there is nothing new under the sun.” People have been manipulated by products promising healing properties forever. Am I saying that all essential oils are dangerous? No. Am I saying that all people who purchase essential oils are being manipulated? No. Am I saying that all essential oils are being sold by terrible people? Absolutely not. I know wonderful, amazing people (who I truly love!) who sell essential oils. Here is what I am saying:

It is very important to note that not all essential oils are safe to take internally. When in doubt, do not ingest it to be on the safe side. However, those that are will give a strong medicinal effect when taken internally. With that being said there are definitely some very strict precautions you must adhere to when taking essential oils internally since they are so strong. These are very important and not to be ignored.


There is also an argument from YL distributors that their oils come from the best crops in the world. As they grow their own crops and only use their own, not sure how they can claim it’s unarguably the best in the world. Every crop is different. Only sampling every crop, every batch would support that claim. Anyway, I am not a qualified aromatherapist either but my research suggests that YL oils and their advice might be best to avoid.
Greetings! I'm Wendy Robbins, the founder, curator and writer for AromaWeb. I've been working with essential oils for nearly 25 years, have completed over 400 documented hours of education in the field of aromatherapy, am a Certified Aromatherapist and am a Professional Level Member of both the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Learn more about my background and credentials.

#1- Therapeutic Grade is just a selling gimmick. If EO’s are pure, they are equal to any other. There are only a few distillery’s so many of the EO’s come from the same distillery then sold under several names. You should always buy from a company that is willing to give you the GC/MS reports regarding the Lot your EO bottle is from. That tells the constituents of the EO and would indicate if adulterated in any way.


I have yet to come across a YL distributor who is a qualified aromatherapist. Not saying they don’t exist, I just haven’t met one and I check at every trade fair I visit. Possible that the reason you got vague answers from them is because they are preaching the company line that they have been taught without actually knowing/understanding the answer?
Frankincense Carteri Organic essential oil has been used as spiritual incense, in beauty products, and for medicinal purposes in both folk and traditional Chinese cultures. Frankincense helps promote the healing of bruises, swelling, sores, and pain. This oil can also be added to creams and lotions to support healthy skin and alleviate the look of maturing or weathering. Frankincense can also be an aid in times of sadness or grief.

When applying an oil topically for the first time it’ a good idea to place one drop in an inconspicuous area to see how your skin reacts. To minimize skin sensitivity, mix with a few drops of Isagenix Coconut Application Oil. If skin discomfort or irritation occurs, discontinue use on the affected area. If the reaction persists it is best to consult with a doctor.


This prized essential oil is frequently called the king of oils. Frankincense has been used in religious ceremonies since biblical times. Used topically, this oil soothes and rejuvenates the skin and helps to decrease the appearance of imperfections. Used internally, Frankincense supports cellular and digestive performance. Used aromatically, this essential oil promotes relaxation and overall emotional wellness.
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