Essential oils are everywhere these days. As I delved into green living over 5 years ago, I started learning more about essential oils. I was intrigued both by how powerful they were and therapeutic. From helping soothe a bug bite, to relieving headaches, essential oils offer some amazing benefits. However, the more I learned about them, the more I realized how careful one has to be using them too. Although, they have the power to help heal, they also have the potential to cause serious problems if not used appropriately. I really had to research which company I wanted to go with and why. I knew there were some non-negotiables I wanted as far as purity standards. Also, how they approached safety standards was important to me too.
My findings led me to Mountain Rose Herbs. Not only do they carry essential oils, but also herbs, spices and body care products. They have a wide selection of organic essential oils and offer 3rd party testing. I really love their transparency on their website about essential oil safety/pre-cautions-something I feel needs to be talked about more. They stress the importance of working with a qualified expert professional-I couldn’t agree more.
Even though essential oils come from plants, they are very potent and powerful as I mentioned above. A couple books that have helped me in learning more about essential oils and their safety are Essential Oil Safety and the Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. This could be a never ending discussion in my opinion. As with anything, I challenge you to research the company you choose, and not just believe anything you hear.
My friend and fellow blogger Janny, from jannyorganically also uses Mountain Rose Herbs. This Q+A highlights some of the reasons why we both have chosen them for our essential oil needs.
What is the importance of sourcing organic (or wild-crafted) oils where available? Several big name brands who do not sell certified organic oils claim they choose not to become USDA certified because the organic label isn’t specific to essential oils so there are no specific quality composition set in place by the FDA. What is your take on this?
We specialize in sourcing high quality organic products. Organic farming practices are crucial for sustaining the health of the earth, water, and our communities. Because essential oils are so concentrated through the distillation process, pesticides and other toxins can be concentrated in the oil as well. This is what makes choosing certified organic or ethically wild harvested essential oils so important – especially if you are using them therapeutically.
There is claim oils can cheat the MS/GC tests (http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/toxic-overload-health-concerns/essential-oils-testing-is-it-reliable/) what is your take and how do you ensure your oils are truly pure and unadulterated?
We agree that GC/MS tests are not the only method for verifying an essential oil’s quality. We do refer to GC/MS tests when reviewing and receiving our essential oils, but we also take other factors into consideration including organoleptic testing, organic and fair trade certifications, and whether the distiller is someone with a good reputation and is established in the industry.
Are you able to provide 3rd party testing certifications, where applicable, to anyone who asks?
We perform organoleptic testing in-house and have GC/MS analysis available for most of our oils. These reports come from either our suppliers or third party labs that we use. Available reports and Certificates of Analysis can be requested through our QC department.
What is the importance of using oils sourced from their indigenous area?
There are many plants that only grow in very specific ecosystems. Certain cultures around the world hold rich knowledge of these plants and a deep history of distilling to create beautiful oils from that region. Some of the most magnificent spice oils like cinnamon and black pepper come from the Middle East and India. Leafy herbs such as rosemary originate from Europe. Cultivation of other plants like lavender and peppermint has become very popular, so you can find good quality essential oils being produced all over the world. Interestingly, their aromas will vary slightly, so personal preference does come into consideration when sourcing these types of oils.
Oxidation in oils can occur, affecting oil efficacy or, in some cases, respiratory irritation. How do you ensure your oils are not oxidized and what can customers do to maintain the integrity of their oils?
Oxidation can occur at different rates depending on the oil. Citrus oils can oxidize quickly, even within a year if not used in that time. Keeping the lid closed tightly when not using the oil is key. Purchasing small amounts of oil that you know you are going to use in a timely manner will also help prevent oxidation. Another thing to keep in mind is the empty space in the bottle, or how much air is in the container as you are storing the oils. Transferring to a smaller bottle when about half-full is a good idea. Thankfully, oxidized oils are not a lost cause since they can still be used to make home cleaning products. However, they should be avoided for therapeutic use or skin contact.
There are so many essential oil companies to choose from it can be overwhelming. What sets you apart from the rest?
It really comes down to transparency and trust. Asking questions is key. As herbalists and plant people ourselves, we understand the importance of using high quality botanical products for our health. We offer essential oils that are pure aromatic extracts and carry one of the largest selections of certified organics oils on the market. We work with reputable distillers we know and trust, always keeping sustainability at the heart of our practices. Being completely transparent in all that we do and building relationships with our farmers, distillers, and customers is always our goal.
*These answeres were provided by our Products Manager and Certified Aromatherapist Christine Guerts
I want to thank Mountain Rose Herbs for answering our questions and for this awesome giveaway! We’ve teamed up with them to giveaway their Classic Kit. Be sure to follow both Janny(@jannyorganically) and myself(@gurlgonegreen) and Mountain Rose Herbs(@mountainroseherbs) on Instagram.
Our Classic Essential Oil Sampler Set includes 8 different 1/8th ounce (1 dram) bottles:
Organic Atlas Cedarwood essential oil ( Cedrus atlantica )
Organic Eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
Organic Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
Organic Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Organic Peppermint essential oil (Mentha pipertia)
Organic Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Organic Sweet Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
Organic Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
General: Essential oils are very concentrated and highly volatile. Never use them undiluted, in the eyes or on mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a licensed practitioner. Keep away from children and pets. If applying to your skin, perform a patch test first.
Have you used essential oils?