Grading Essential Oils

doTERRA Scientist grading essential oil sampleFinding a genuinely pure essential oil can be difficult if you’re not sure of what to look for. The reason? There is no governmental agency or generally accepted organization that is tasked with grading essential oils. There is not a single agency that certifies essential oils in the United States.

In addition, there is no formal, industry-wide recognized and consistently used standard for grading essential oils. An oil distributor can make any claim. The terms “therapeutic grade,” “medicinal grade,” and “aromatherapy grade” are all basically marketing terms.

With the growth in the popularity of essential oils, you can buy them just about everywhere. You’ll find oils essential oils online, at grocery stores, and even at discount stores. However, not all essential oils are equal when it comes to quality and purity.

Certified Pure Essential Oils

That is why doTERRA, decided to create their own standard to assure users their essential oils were the highest quality, pure, and unadulterated oils. Working with recognized authorities, they designed a series of standardized tests that would guarantee their essential oils met a higher standard.

The protocols put in place by doTERRA ensure their essential oils are both pure (extracts that contain only the volatile aromatic compounds of a plant), and potent (extracts with consistent chemical composition from batch to batch).

Thus, was born the Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® (CTPG) essential oil standard at doTERRA. To receive the CPTG designation every batch of oil received by doTERRA must pass five different analytical tests.

Existing System for Grading Essential Oils

Grading Essential Oils chartThere are four common grades of essential oil of which you should be aware.

  • Grade C. The most common type of oil today is “Grade C.” It is synthetic and the grade most often used in perfumes and scented products like lotions. The goal for the production of this grade of oil is quantity. To gather the most oil possible from the plant material, manufacturers use solvents and chemicals to increase the yield of the oils. The process involves high pressure, high temperatures, and chemical solvents which are essential in this high-volume industry. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals and solvents used are known carcinogenic compounds. Many times, some of these compounds remain in the final product.
  • Grade B. This grade of oil is considered “food grade” and find it oil in anything with a flavor additive – like chewing gum. Like many of our food products these days, Grade B essential oils contain fillers, synthetics, and carrier oils. Additives and chemicals that your body cannot use or process. Many oils that claim to be “pure” or “organic are in fact Grade B or C oils. To use the term “pure” or “organic,” the product must contain at least a small percentage of the ‘pure’ product. Unfortunately, the “pure” content can be 5 percent or less.
  • Grade A. The oil grade considered “Therapeutic” and intended for health benefits. Grade “A” oil is a better quality and goes through a specific distillation process. To achieve this grade, the oil must meet standards set by the French Association of Normalization (AFNOR) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) for therapeutic-grade essential oils. These oils are considered truly organic and pure. It has been the standard for the last 30 years.
  • Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) A quality that goes beyond Grade A and far exceeds the AFNOR or ISO standards. CPTG is a standard that set doTERRA oils apart from the others. To be considered CPTG, multiple third-party tests are performed on every batch produced – not just a random sample. The tests are an assurance there are no synthetics, impurities, or chemicals in the bottle.

After the oils are distilled, they undergo third-party testing in two independent labs to certify each batch of oil is pure and meets doTERRA’s strict standards. If a batch of essential oil does not meet this high standard, it does not make its way into individual doTERRA bottles.

Grading Essential Oils That Are Certified Pure

It’s important to stress that each liter of essential oil distributed by doTERRA undergoes multiple independent, third-party testing to ensure quality. If a batch is not 100% pure, is rejected. doTERRA meets this standard every day by demanding the highest quality in all aspects of the growing, processing, and distribution of essential oils.

Further, doTERRA is committed to obtaining oils from the original source. doTERRA sources oils where they naturally grow and produce the most potent essential oil. To ensure the best quality oil, doTERRA buys oils from only growers they select, train, and monitor all over the world.

Today, over 90% of their essential oils come from exclusive agreements with growers and distillers who only sell to doTERRA. If another company says they have the same quality essential oil as doTERRA, or that they get their essential oils from the same producers, it simply isn’t the case.

Verify Every Bottle of Essential Oil

CPTG: bottle quality ID numberBecause of the growing popularity of essential oils, doTERRA also thought it important to provide credible proof of the purity of their essential oils. Source To You is a website that details the quality control doTERRA has in place from the grower, distiller, and scientist to assure the individual user of the quality in every bottle.

Every single oil bottle since May 2016 has a Quality ID number (six or seven numbers and one letter) stamped on the bottle. The number identifies the test doTERRA ran on that specific essential oil batch. To see the quality test report, purchasers can enter the Quality ID number for a single oil at the Quality Reports page to see the components in that bottle.

Grading Essential Oil – Frankincense

As an example, doTERRA’s Frankincense comes from a farm in Oman that has been owned by the same family for 2,000 years! That’s a great marketing line, but how can you really know if a bottle of doTERRA Frankincense is pure and potent? The answer is “yes!”

The three main chemical components in Chemical Components in Frankincense are alpha-pinene, limonene, and alpha-thujene. The Quality ID number on a bottle of Frankincense I have been using is 173459A. The GC/MS report for this bottle of Frankincense shows the highest concentrations are (page 2 of report):

  • alpha-pinene – 46.07%
  • limonene – 9.44%
  • alpha-thujene – 6.17%

61.68% of the oil is of the three main chemical components. The two next largest components of my batch of Frankincense are Myrcene at 5.49% (has a relaxing effect on the body as does limonene) and Octyl acetate at 4.84%. Octyl acetate (a component also found in citrus oils) contributes to the aroma of Frankincense.

No other company puts its essential oils goes through a battery of rigorous tests and then shares the data like doTERRA to ensure you receive only the purest, potent, and effective oils on earth.