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Aromatherapy Chapter VI by Deborah Dolen

 



 
AROMATHERAPY - Chapter VI Adulteration; Dilution of Essential Oilsby Deborah Dolen

 
Excerpt How to Make Perfume and Aromatherapy Basics Copyright © Deborah Dolen 2011 This e-book is available in full version on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook. By Deborah Dolen Mabel White



 
Adulteration and dilution of essential oils to increase profit, like anything in todayís society, brokers are looking for a way to save a buck and stretch a penny. The area of essential oils is no different, and in fact, not regulated. All you can do is buy from a reputable 'house' who is published and would risk their reputation if they were ever caught cutting the product. When a company has a large customer base, you know those customers are educated and would just 'know' if standards began falling. I do buy from such a company who services the big name Perfume & Flavour houses. Flavour cannot be adulterated with low end chemicals or it would be obvious very fast. It took me several years to secure that supplier, because few people want to reveal their source. I also secured a few more back-up suppliers in 2007 so I am not dependent on the great price fluctuations of my first supplier. Even if a vendor did not lower standards, often they have no clue if the broker they bought from did dilute. The country of origin is typically the first consideration.

 
Natural health food stores? You can forget it. Most are 10% EO and the rest carrier oil. The following are some examples of what has gone on in the industry circa ten years ago: Today much of the lavender oil sold in the US is from the hybrid called 'lavadin', grown and distilled in China, Russia, France, and Tasmania. It's brought into France where it is cut with synthetic linalyl acetate to improve the fragrance. Then, propylene glycol, DEP, or DOP (solvents that have no smell but add volume) are added. From there it's sold in the US as lavender oil. Often lavandin is heated to evaporate the camphor, and then is further adulterated with synthetic linalyl acetate. Most consumers donít know the difference and are happy to buy this type of lavender oil for $7 to $10 per half ounce in health food stores, beauty salons, grocery and department stores, and through mail order. This is one of the reasons why it's very important to know about the integrity of the company or vendor from which you purchase your essential oils. Another great example of a commonly adulterated oil is Frankincense. The Frankincense resin that is sold in Somalia costs between $30,000 and $35,000 per ton. A great deal of time, 12 hours or more, is required to properly steam-distill this essential oil from the resin, making Frankincense essential oil extremely expensive.

 
Frankincense essential oil that sells for $25 per ounce or less is cheaply distilled with gum resins, alcohol, or other solvents, thus leaving the essential oil laden with harmful chemicals. Sadly, when these cut, synthetic and adulterated oils cause rashes, burns, or other irritations, people wonder why they have not gotten the benefit they had expected and then conclude that essential oils donít have much value. Some commercial statistics show that one large US corporation uses twice as much of a particular essential oil than is grown and produced in the entire world! Where are these 'phantom' essential oils coming from? In France, production of true lavender oil (Lavendula angustifolia) dropped from 87 tons in 1967 to only 12 tons in 1998. During this same period the worldwide demand for lavender oil grew over 100 percent. Where did essential oil marketers obtain enough lavender to meet the demand? They probably used a combination of synthetic and adulterated oils. There are huge chemical companies on the east coast of the US that specialize in creating synthetic chemicals that mimic every common essential oil. For every kilogram of pure essential oil that is produced, it is estimated there are between 10 and 100 kilograms of synthetic created.

 
Adulterated and mislabeled essential oils present dangers for consumers. One woman who had heard of the ability of Lavender to heal burns used 'lavender oil' purchased from her local health food store when she spilled boiling water on her arm. The pain intensified and the burn worsened, so later she complained that lavender oil was worthless for healing burns. When her lavender oil was analyzed, it was found to be lavadin, the hybrid lavender that is chemically very different from pure Lavendula angustifolia. Lavandin contains high levels of camphor (12-18 percent) and can itself burn the skin. In contrast, true lavender contains virtually no camphor and has burn-healing agents not found in lavadin. Adulterated oils that are cut with synthetic extenders can be very detrimental, causing rashes, burning, and skin irritations. Petrochemical solvents, such as dipropylene glycol and diethylphthalate, can all cause allergic reactions, besides being devoid of any therapeutic benefits. Some people assume that because an essential oil label states that the essential oil is '100% pure' that it will not burn their skin. This is not true. Some pure essential oils may cause skin irritation if applied undiluted. Like Oregano, when applied to the skin of some people, may cause severe reddening. Citrus and spice oils, like Orange, Clove, and Cinnamon, may also produce rashes. Even the terpenes in conifer oils, like Pine, may cause irritation in some people. Some writers have claimed that a few compounds, when isolated from the essential oil and tested in the lab, can exert toxic effects.

 
Even so-called 'Nature Identical' essential oils (structured essential oils that have been chemically duplicated using 5 to 15 of the essential oilís primary chemical compounds in synthetic form) can produce unwanted side effects or toxicities. Isolated compounds may be toxic. However, pure essential oils, in most cases, are not. This is because natural essential oils that are properly steam-distilled contain hundreds of different compounds, some of which balance and counteract each others effects. Another example is the following: Many tourists in Egypt are eager to buy local essential oils, especially lotus oil. Vendors convince tourists that the oils are 100 percent pure, going so far as to touch a lighted match to the neck of the oil container to show that the oil is not diluted with alcohol or other petrochemical solvents. However, this test provides no reliable indicator of purity. Many synthetic compounds can be added to an essential oil that are not flammable, including propylene glycol. Or flammable solvents can be added to a vegetable base that will cause it to catch fire. Some natural essential oils that are high in terpenes can be flammable. A great example is Orange essential oil which in amounts over 32 ounces are considered hazardous. More flammable than in amounts under 32 ounces. These cases do not mean every company in France dilutes. Certain brokers get a 'name' and are not around long. In purchasing we generally know who is doing what and it is an ever revolving door. We actually prefer Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, and the U.S.. Ways to Test Essential Oil Quality Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS) is the most frequently used technique for analyzing essential oil composition. This method of testing requires an analytical component, a gas chromatograph, coupled with a detection component, a mass spectrometer. Since this is quite costly, letís explore some other ways to test the quality of essential oils. Reviewing the ďsourceĒ is the first thing to consider. Some countries are infamous for putting out low end essential oils. If it is coming from a local health food store, you can be 90% sure it is diluted. Knowing what they should look and smell like is the second most viable way to assess. Our students can secure little sample vials of the most popular just to keep on hand as a point of reference. ~Revised by Deborah Dolen Group 7.18.2008 via Wiki.

 
 
Excerpt How to Make Perfume and Aromatherapy Basics Copyright © Deborah Dolen 2011 This e-book is available in full version on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook. By Deborah Dolen Mabel White
 

 

About Dean Deborah Dolen return to home page

Deborah Dolen is the Editor in Chief for Mabel White DIY and author of over 25 DIY books, 1,000 articles and several TV "how to" Films.  Deborah Dolen is also an environmental writer and has her own content syndication.  Deborah Dolen was widowed when she was on her 30's and went on to raise three great daughters in FL up against many obstacles.  This is the time period she generated her most fascinating DIY books.

Deborah Dolen was born in a Catholic Infant Home on Niagara Falls, the U.S. side.  It was known as Our Lady of Victory.  Deborah grew up in the Adirondack mountains in Upstate New York although moved around a lot and always in transition.  Her teenage years were more stable and thoroughbred race horses were her passion. She skipped school a lot in the 70's to walk and groom the likes of Man o' War and Secretariat.  When she was not grooming horses in Saratoga she was hitting the ski slopes of Killington in Vermont, Pikes Peak, or Gore Mountain to name a few.  To this day K-2's are her favorite skis and Head are her favorite bindings.

In her 20's  Deborah Dolen built some 520 legal clinics for the poor from the ground up and ran for 17 years.  People simply needed affordable legal access and that still has not changed much.  Having grown up poor and discriminated against-even disallowed to play with certain toys...Deborah had never been a quiet type and bucked many regimes as an adult.  In the 80's she felt almost all legal fees were oppressive to the majority for no reason and feels they still are.  Her organization helped well over 100,000 people.  Many of those were able to teach other people in turn.  As with health care, Canada does not charge its citizens for most common family law issues and Deborah feels family issues, including financial ones, should not be a feeding frenzy in the states as it still certainly is. No one should profit of the demise of another person.

Fast forward a few decades and Deborah Dolen is very much into flying and canine rescue as well as DIY projects she writes about and films from her Florida home.  Although her passions have always been with horse racing she is very into auto racing, focus and performance in Daytona and Charlotte, NC.  Deborah presently writes about environmental topics beyond DIY subjects that will always fascinate her.  Her dog Ringo, adopted from Katrina, is usually by her side.

You can join Deborah Dolen her on twitter facebook or check out her home page for RSS syndication.    See demos of her work on YouTube here and Amazon here.  Mabel White