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All Oils are not the same.


Having been involved with essential oils since training as an aromatherapist about 20 years ago, I have learned that all oils are not the same. In particular, if an oil is outrageously cheap, then it most likely is not very good quality. Good quality oils invariably have a better aroma and I am convinced have a greater therapeutic effect though the few times I have bought inferior quality oils I have not felt able to use them with clients so haven’t been able to test this out.

Even if oils are good quality, they are not always the same. Variations in weather patterns, in particular, temperature and rainfall  mean that there are variations in both quality and yield from year to year. There will also be some variation depending on the soil the plant is grown in.

Gas chromatography is used to determine the chemical constituents of an oil and their relative proportions. Using this it is possible to tell if an oil is fake or adulterated. (A combination of Geranium and Palmarosa oils is sometimes used to create something that is sold as Rose oil.) This analysis is also used to assess the quality of an oil. An oil that while not fake in any way but is low in the constituents that its therapeutic qualities are ascribed to might be used in soap making instead of being sold to aromatherapists.

Even with good quality oils, I am at least some of the time able to tell the difference between them. I ascribe this to the natural variations I mentioned above. I am afraid I have not reached the stage where I can say with any degree of certainty that one of these oils that I can differentiate between is better for one condition or another but  on a couple of occasions I have gone with one or the other on instinct and other times I have asked which the client prefers.

There are possibly even more variations with beeswax. The colour can change according to what the bees are foraging on and while I know beeswax is a good anti-fungal agent, I don’t know if any of its other therapeutic qualities change as well. This does mean that the skin balm I make using beeswax, organic olive oil and essential oils does vary a bit in colour from batch to batch and also in hardness though I try to adjust for that quality to make it as close as possible by varying the proportion of olive oil.

I sell the skin balm at £7 for 60ml plus postage which was £2.85 for either one or two jars last time I sent some out. Most of it is sold locally so postage isn’t involved.

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