Holistic aromatherapy begins with the quality and authenticity of the essential oils to be utilized. Optimal therapeutic and safe applications can only truly be derived from the use of whole, genuine, authentic essential oils.
Essential Oil Information
Common name: this is the most widely accepted name for a given plant species within a given culture or regional area. Example: Lavender
Latin name (botanical specificity): the internationally recognized identity of a given plant, or rather the plant's scientific name. This is derived using the Latin binomial: genus (plants that have a similar botanical structure) and species (identifies the exact plant within the genus). Ex: Lavendula augustifolia / Eucalyptus globulus
Country of origin: reflects the country where the essential oil is indigenous or where it is cultivated or harvested in the wild. This can have an effect on the chemical composition of the oil depending on environmental conditions. This may also affect the aroma, and essential oils from some countries are considered superior.
Part of plant used (morphological specificity): seed, root, flower, leaf, fruit, etc. Some botanical species bear essential oils from different morphological structures. Example: bitter orange tree (petitgrain - leaves, neroli - orange blossom, bitter orange - zest).
Biochemical specificity: identification of a chemotype in certain essential oils (basically a naturally occurring chemical anomaly affected by environmental changes depending on where the plant was grown). Ex: Rosemary from Spain = CT1 and Rosemary from Tunisia = CT2 and differs in the levels of camphor etc.
Batch number: used to identify a specific batch of essential oil by an aromatherapy company, from a specific supplier and a specific year
Standard Safety Warning: generally it is "not for internal use, keep out of reach of children" and sometimes warnings about use in pregnancy
Size of bottle/essential oil content: most companies distribute oils in 5, 10, 15, 30, 120 and 240 ml quantities, and for blends, the actual oils used in the blend.
Essential oils are stored in amber or blue bottles because of their volatile organic compounds and sensitivity to heat and light. The dark glass protects them from ultraviolet rays and other harmful light.
Bottles must have a proper orifice reducer which reduces the impact of oxygen on the essential oils, which can also cause them to degrade. This can either be a small eyedropper or a plastic fitting on the top of the bottle.
Essential oils are best stored away from sunlight and direct heat. They can be stored in the refrigerator or in a cool area. The most important essential oils to refrigerate are citrus oils.
Move essential oils to smaller bottles. As oil is used, keep the oil in the smallest bottle to reduce the exposure to oxygen and oxidation.