How can I tell if it is a low quality or adulterated essential oil?
A number of details can help you determine if you are buying a high-quality essential oil.
First, look at the label. It should tell you several things:
1) The Latin name–found in 2 words and italicized—so you know exactly which plant species was distilled to create that essential oil.
2) Where was the plant harvested? Certain countries are renowned for the distillation of certain plants and there is a lot of pride in the quality of their distillation. In my experience, other countries are not well known for their integrity in selling oils as they do not have the pride of cultural tradition to ensure a pure product.
3) How was the plant harvested? Was it cultivated on a farm? Was it found in the wild? Were these plants sprayed with pesticides or was it an organic harvest? Sometimes it costs too much money for some distilleries to be Certified Organic, yet they do not use harmful fertilizers or pesticides and are for all intents and purposes organic, just not certified. Or, was this plant harvested in the wild- where you don’t need to worry about pesticides or fertilizers? As essential oils are the concentrated essence of a plant, I do not use any oils that are sprayed with chemicals.
4) Smell the oil profile. Start far from your nose and slowly bring it closer, without touching your nostrils. It should also tell you several things: 1) How do you feel in your body and mind when you inhale? Is it pleasant? Or does it make your nasal passages and sinuses burn? 2) If it is orange essential oil, for example, does it smell like your memories of visiting Florida and opening up a fresh orange to eat as a kid or does it smell like candy? (Hint- essential oils shouldn’t smell like candy, so if it does, it has most likely been adulterated to appeal to consumers).
5) Where is this oil being sold? In a health food store? Online? A Distributor? In a shop for only essential oils? How much is the oil? How large is the container? High quality citrus essential oils tend to be moderately priced, while flower essential oils and rare oils can get quite expensive. So, if you see an oil that should cost a lot being sold for a real bargain, something might be wrong with that picture. The oil is probably of low quality and/or adulterated. Is someone pushing you to buy certain ones or a large quantity? Or do you feel like it is a relaxed fun adventure? How are the oils being treated? Are they in direct light- sun or under fluorescent lights? If so, that is a no- go. If they are not being properly stored, I do not have much faith in the product that is being sold.