3 Ways Essential Oils Are Adulterated and How You Can Tell

3 Ways Essential Oils Are Adulterated and How You Can Tell

3 Ways Essential Oils Are Adulterated and How You Can Tell

by Kayla Howard

Essential oils are not cheap to make.  In fact, pure essential oils are expensive, labor intensive, and subject to all kinds of hard work.  They are pricey, as any pure product, carefully grown and extracted should be.  In order to make essential oils less costly, some companies will “extend” essential oils.  That means, they will stretch them by diluting them in some way.  

Essential oils blends are often blended with a fatty oil base, and if it is sold as such, that is NOT adulteration.  Some oils however are sold a “pure” essential oil, when they actually have been extended in some way, and then sold cheaper.  Here are some basic ways that essential oils may be “extended” and how you can identify if it is pure, if it is what the label says it is, or if it is contaminated. 

Extended with Fatty Oil

As stated before, essential oil blends are often blended with fatty oils such as almond oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil. In the case of a essential oils being clearly marked as a blend, and the fatty oil being listed in the ingredients, this is NOT an adulteration!  This is a great way to use essential oils.  

If however, your oil is labeled and sold as 100% pure essential oil, and DOES NOT include the fatty oil in the ingredients, you have an impostor!  You can tell if an oil has been extended with fatty oil by the greasy feel on your skin.  A pure essential oil will not leave a greasy feel on your skin after a few moments.  You may also tell if an EO has been extended with a rancid fatty oil simply by the smell.  Most of us are familiar with the smell of rancid fatty oils. YUCK!  

Another test is to place your essential oils on paper.  Most pure EO will not leave an oily mark when dried, however, some pure essential oils will leave a mark, especially expressed oils (citrus) or absolutes. 

Extended with Alcohol

Another common way to extend an essential oil, and therein making it cheaper, is by adding alcohol to the EO.   Ethyl Alcohol is a common substance added to EO to extend them.  It’s very hard to detect this by smell, but it is possible.  You’ll need to become familiar with the scent of ethyl alcohol in order to identify this adulteration, (which is in my opinion, a true adulteration). 

Extended with Another Similar Oil or Surfactants & Emulsifiers

Finally, EO may be extended by adding a similar smelling EO which is cheaper to produce to a more expensive oil.  For example, true lavender may be extended with lavandin, or Rose EO could be extended with geranium, (although most often, Rose oil is simply purely synthetic).    This is the hardest form of adulteration to detect, and can only be really guarded against by knowing your supplier. 

Surfactants & Emulsifiers may be added to EO to extend them as well.  A simple way to test your essential oil for this adulteration is by placing a drop in water.  Pure essential oils will float on the top.  Emulsified mixtures will dissolve in water and produce milk or opaque solutions.  

There you have it–lots of tools to test you essential oils!  Obviously, essential oils can be contaminated or adulterated in other ways, these are simply the most common and easy to identify!  

3 Myths About Essential Oils

3 Myths About Essential Oils

essential oil myths

Three Myths about Essential Oils

by Kayla Howard

Myth #1 They are too expensive for most people to use. This is by far the most popular myth, or misconception that I hear.  While it’s true that pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are not cheap, they are not too expensive for daily use.  Allow me to briefly show you why.

One 15ml bottle of essential oil contains about 250 drops of essential oil.  And yes, we do speak in drops when it comes to essential oils.  How many other natural tools come in bottles of 250?  Not many. 

Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils range in price from $10-$90+ per 15ml bottle, (on average with a handful of very expensive others oils costing over $200).  When I do the math, there are a number of supplements that I’ve happily used in my life which would cost more than that broken down and compared drop for drop.  

Which brings up the another point—do essential oils work as well as other natural tools?

Myth #2 They are just nice smells for massage or baths.  This is also a common misconception, but I blame it on the fact that in the United States, we are largely uneducated and inexperienced in using essential oils.  

European countries have been using them therapeutically for years, but here in the states, it is relatively new.  Thankfully we now have organizations like Airase who are doing scientific research and publishing the results of the studies.  As we learn more and more about essential oils, the facts are undeniable–they are powerful naturally occurring plant compounds which bring about positive effects in the body.  Ancient peoples have known this for thousands of years.  

Can they be used boldly?  That all depends.  It depends on the quality of your oil, your knowledge and skill level and which oil you want to use.  Essential oils are primarily “applied” through the inhalation method simple because they actually do penetrate the body and work therapeutically that way due to their small molecular size.  You don’t HAVE to use them internally–and some oils should not be taken internally.  The French method of application does support using essential oils internally when you have the knowledge and skill to do so.

There are many wonderful resources on how to use your essential oils in varied ways.  I’ve listed a few here.  

Myth #3 All essential oils are equal. Not true!  So not true! Essential oils may be labeled “pure” as long as they contain SOME of the essential oil that it claims to be.  That literally means you could purchase a “pure essential oil” that contains 90% vegetable oil and 10% essential oil.  

The only way to know for sure that what you’re getting is a pure essential oil–meaning—100% essential oil, which has been sourced from organic plants, distilled at proper temperatures, and packaged correctly—is by having a relationship with the supplier of the oil. Not exactly an easy task, but not impossible either.  

I have the privilege of living near two farms and distilleries, which has made it easy for me to know my oil source.  Most people will never get to see where the plants are grown, or watch the distillation process.   But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a relationship with a company and get to know the people and practices they employ.

Truly, essential oils have changed my life.  We feel more confident in using them in our home. Hospitals around the country are even beginning to use essential oils.  The US is discovering the powerful uses of essential oils!  Will you be among them?


Kayla Howard loves doing business from her home in the woods where she is the master real food chef, homeschool teacher, goat shepherdess, head gardener and holds a certificate of studies from The Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy Her passion is vibrant health in beautiful homes! www.kaylahoward.com

Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

Black eyeglasses with spheres made of words related to stress an

Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

By Kayla Howard

Adrenal Fatigue is a phrase that personally, I heard with some level of disdain.  Everywhere I looked it seemed like everyone was yapping about adrenal fatigue this, and adrenal fatigue that.  They were talking about how they could’t function like a normal human—as if it was some reasonable excuse…I’m not fond of excuses.  I’m okay with pushing through and doing hard things. In fact, I prefer to push myself all the way and choose to tell my body what it gets to feel.  Normally, I tell it that I feel fine, and frankly, I do. 

Imagine my shock when recently I did a whole panel of tests–just for fun because my friend was teaching about Functional Diagnostic Nutrition--and my own test results came back saying, “you are in later stage 3 adrenal fatigue.”

WHAT????  No way.

Inconceivable!  But the truth is, you can’t argue with lab work.  So I had to face the truth and change my lifestyle dramatically.

My first question was, “so what?  Like how many stages of adrenal fatigue are there? 10? 12?”  No, there’s just three…then comes adrenal failure.   “But how could I have adrenal fatigue?  I never feel bad!!!!”    I’m not overweight.  I eat healthy.  I exercise.

From a simple Google search, you’ll find that the topic of adrenal fatigue is HUGE and could not be contained in one simple article. So for the sake of your time today, I will get right to the bottom line. 

Some Not so Obvious Signs I had:

  • Getting so tired I felt like crying.
  • Being very angry (on the inside) or crying when someone asked me to get up early for something.
  • Not being able to function past 9pm, which I always made into a joke…”oh I turn into a pumpkin at 9 o clock.”
  • Being easily frustrated by silly things like…people chewing, someone bumping me, etc…
  • HATING loud noises with a passion. 

Getting Professional Help

Rochelle Griffin, FDN has helped me big time.  She’s the one who actually ordered my test, took care of labwork for me, interpreted results, and suggested most of my natural supplements. She rocks!

Dr. Kevin Smith, DC has also been a big help to me.  Kevin works locally and has helped me by adding some homeopathic supplements to my routine.  Kevin is available for distance appoints!  

Getting Natural Help

STOP drinking Coffee.  This was so important for me.  Nearly all adrenal help sources agree that getting off coffee is important for adrenal healing.  Coffee simulates your adrenals—which isn’t always a bad thing.  In fact, I still don’t think there is anything wrong with coffee at all!  Coffee has many great benefits.  But for adrenal fatigue sufferers, drinking coffee may mask just how bad you feel.  Personally, I had to quit coffee before I realized how little energy I actually have…quitting forces me to take the rest I need because I simple cannot keep pushing without stimulants.  That’s a good thing.  I need to hear what my body it telling me.

Tulsi Tea is a great way to support energy levels without stimulants.  I noticed a big difference when I started drinking 1-3 cups of Tulsi Tea each day.  Do a Google search, you’ll find lots of great info on this fabulous product.

More Sleep is kind of a duh—but it’s a really big piece of healing your adrenals.   Just like everyone else says; get to bed by 10, sleep as late as life allows in the morning, and nap when needed.

Sea Salt Water is another big help for the adrenals. I haven’t personally done this consistently, but I wanted to put it in the list because I know of several people who were really helped by this.

Herbal Supplements like Licorice Root, Adrenal Herb Blends, Essential oils of Nutmeg & EnErGee are a few of thing I‘ve been taking.  Ultimately, the best thing you can do is get professional help so that you can choose the correct supplements for you.  But these are general things that usually help most people.

Stop the Emotional Stress

Step out of stressful situations.  If someone starts yelling, I walk out.  I’ve also learned to ask my kids to “control your voice, please speak calmly.”  It was something they needed to learn anyway—perfect timing. 

Learn to say “no” to more things, people, etc…  This isn’t being mean.  I used to think it was mean for me to tell someone “no” –but I’ve learned that it’s not.  It’s actually mean to my family if I keep saying “yes” to everyone else. 

So there you go–just the tip of the iceberg but hopefully something to get your mind thinking!