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Part 2: Determining Quality

Read Part 1 for some background information.

  1. Does their company own any farms on which to raise herbs for oils? And if they do, are they new farms on land formerly polluted with herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals that contain residuals from the past, or are they farming land that is clean, which has never been cultivated or has been untilled for at least the last 50 years?

  2. Does the company source from farms that grow from non-GMO seeds?

  3. Does their company have their own fully equipped testing laboratory to verify an oil's composition and do they test every batch?

  4. Do they have anyone on staff with a trained nose who can analyze oils by their smell? (There are less than 200 people in the world with noses sufficiently trained to discern the chemistry of a fragrance.)

  5. If their company purchases oils from outside suppliers, do they visit the distilleries and farms of those suppliers periodically to observe if the herbs are grown organically, i.e. without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers?

  6. How do they control for pests?

  7. Do they know if the grower has a testing laboratory on the farm to determine when the crop is at its peak for oil harvesting?

  8. Do they know if the crops were actually harvested at their peak time and, if so, was there an inordinant delay in taking them to the still and into the cookers?

  9. Do they know if their distillery personnel understand the art and science of distilling, exactly how to pack the cookers, how to administer the steam, how to maintain minimum temperatures and pressures throughout the cooker, and how to continuously monitor the process throughout distillation to make sure the oil produced contains all of its components in the proper proportions?

  10. If their supplier makes a mistake in the distillation or harvesting processes that results in an inferior grade of oil, does that supplier sell the oil anyway or do they discard it?

  11. Do they know if the the cookers in the distilleries of their suppliers have domed lids or cone shaped lids? Most stills use dome-shaped lids. Cone topped cookers deliver a better grade of oil than dome tops.

  12. Do they know if their suppliers supplement the distillation process with solvents to extract additional oil from the plant matter?

  13. Do they know if their suppliers bottle their oils directly from the distillery without modifying the composition of the natural oil by adding anything or taking anything away?

  14. Can you visit their farms to see how the plants are grown and take a tour of the distillation process?

  15. Do they ever have to recall their oils?

  16. Do they recommend not to ingest their oils?

  17. What actions do they take to mitigate their impact on the environment?

  18. Do they pay fair wages to their farmers and workers?


This list of questions was inspired by:


Official Newsletter of C.A.R.E. Volume 6, Number 4 July - August 2008

"Reprinted from The Raindrop Messenger, a free online newsletter, with permission from Dr. David Stewart. To subscribe or download back issues, visit"


Jen O'Sullivan in "The Essential Oil Truth: The facts without the hype"

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