Essential Oil Quality: Why It Matters In An Unregulated Industry


The Statistics Are Alarming

A recent study done by the Aromatic Plant Research Center (APRC), the leading state-of-the-art essential oil research and testing facility, found that of the 50 essential oil companies tested, only three produced oils that were not adulterated. Previous research by the APRC confirms that approximately 80% of essential oils on the market today are adulterated and/or contaminated in some way. In the test of 50 essential oil companies, of the three whose oils were not adulterated, one was dōTERRA, another was a small boutique company with pricing significantly higher than dōTERRA, and the third was another boutique company on the verge of bankruptcy. Due to confidentiality agreements, the names of the other two companies cannot be released. What was alarming was that another leading essential oil company tested to be more than 50% adulterated and other legitimate, social media focussed companies were 100% adulterated.

The most common way essential oils are adulterated is by adding individual chemicals to the oil. These can be synthetically produced to mimic the original plant’s constituents and scent. Adding a carrier oil, such as cooking oil, is another way some companies extend their products to increase profit. When these are labelled as “pure essential oils” this misleads the consumer. Another way oils are typically adulterated is by adding similar smelling oils or isolates to an essential oil to extend it with cheaper materials.

Contamination is another matter. Yeast, mold, E-coli, pesticides and bacteria can be introduced at any stage of the process from harvesting and distillation, to filling and sealing the finished product into bottles. Quality Assurance measures must be rigorously adhered to in order to prevent contamination. dōTERRA tests every oil at multiple stages to ensure oils are not only free of contaminants, but also to ensure they have the therapeutic value that is expected. Their own standard CPTG (Certified Pure, Therapeutic Grade) ensures that every oil meets these standards or it will not be sold.


Why Quality Matters

There are three reasons why quality matters: safety, efficacy and value. Let’s look at each one.

  1. Safety. Many people start looking into using essential oils because they want a safer, natural alternative for their home cleaning, personal care products and healthcare. Unwittingly using essential oils containing contaminants or synthetic chemicals clearly defeats that purpose. Adverse reactions such as skin irritation, affected respiratory function, or headaches can be noticeable side effects. Many essential oil companies label their oils for “aromatic use only” to avoid issues surrounding topical or internal use of unsafe oils, but aromatic use will also make its way into the body. Just as you wouldn’t inhale toxic fumes, you want to avoid breathing in unsafe essential oils from a diffuser.

  2. Efficacy. Does the essential oil do what it’s supposed to? Is that bottle of Lavender producing a measurable level of stress relief or relieving the pain and inflammation from an insect bite or burn? Is that Frankincense essential oil positively impacting your health on a cellular level and visibly reducing fine lines and skin imperfections? In order for essential oils to have the effect they are capable of creating in the body, they must be obtained from the highest quality plant materials, and tested for both purity and therapeutic constituents. Otherwise, it’s just “pretty smells” masquerading as plant medicine.

  3. Value. We’re familiar with the adage “You get what you pay for”, but in the essential oil industry, sadly you often don’t. It’s no surprise that the cheapest “essential oils” sold in stores and online are not effective or safe, but moderate or higher priced oils often don’t measure up either. If the essential oil you buy doesn’t have a beneficial effect, then whatever you spent is wasted.

How Can You Know What You Are Getting?

There’s really only one way and that is to look into the company producing and selling essential oils and ask for transparent test results for all their batches. Not just a few select results, but every batch. Of all the essential oil companies that the Aromatic Plant Research Center conducts tests on, only dōTERRA provides test results for every batch and makes these available to the public on You simply enter the code from the bottom of the bottle and up pops the full testing results in great detail. Without specific test results such as GCMS reports, you really are left in the dark as to what is in the bottle.


I use essential oils for my healthcare. I use oils internally to support my overall health or to boost my immunity if I’m starting to feel run down, I use oils topically for stress relief, pain relief and hormonal support, and I diffuse oils every day to purify the air in my home and office, positively impact my mood, or improve my ability to focus and concentrate. I know that using dōTERRA essential oils and products have made a big difference in my health and happiness and it’s reassuring knowing that the company has my back when it comes to quality. I can be confident not only in my own use or when giving these oils to my family, but also I know that when I share oils with other people and help them get started with this lifestyle, I am sharing something safe and effective that will change their lives. And by purchasing oils and products from dōTERRA, I know that the people and countries where these oils come from are being positively impacted as well. The beautiful heart and integrity of this company makes me so proud to partner with them. Quality matters, integrity matters, and nothing matters more than our health.