The Essential Oil (EO) market is relatively undeveloped here in the United States when compared to other markets such as: France, New Zealand, and Australia. As with most emerging markets, where regulation is not widespread, there are some in the industry that take advantage of an unknowing consumer base.
The American consumer needs to understand one thing: there are currently (very little if any, and most are indirect) industry standards related to EO here in the U.S. When companies claim that their products are a clinical grade or therapeutical grade they are marketing. Furthermore, EO companies are increasingly using chemicals additives, fillers and carrier oils in their products. Unfortunately, the process products undergo to claim an "organic" status under the USDA and other certification processes (often internal) do little to detect these issues.
I am not arguing for/or suggesting increased regulation, that would be harmful to the small farmer. Rather, we (those in the business of Lavender) need to do a better job educating consumers. To keep it simple, I submit the following three rules:
The Differences Between Lavender Essential Oil by Erin Stewart. This article is an excerpt from Erin's new book The Lavender Guide and was adapted for publication in AromaCulture Magazine.
Natural vs. Synthetic Essential Oils Explained by Caleb Backe. In his blog Caleb reviews the differences between synthetic and natural EO.
Sometimes you really do get what you pay for with Essential Oils by Bold Aromatherapy. For those looking to read about the scandalous side of the EO market... Key takeaways: Avoid buying from Amazon or other large department/box stores like Walgreens, Target, etc. and don't buy cheap oil... its cheap for a reason.