GCMS Testing Of Essential Oils: A Short Guide

GCMS is a trusted method to test the purity of essential oils in present times. In this article, we discuss this testing method. Why this analysis is most demanding today, and what is its significance in reporting quality testing? Here is a short guide to the GCMS test for essential oil analysis with easy- to- comprehend explanation. 

What is GCMS Testing?

GCMS is an acronym for Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry. This method is used to check the purity of volatile organic compounds including essential oils.

This method is based on the separation, identification, and finding of the actual proportion of each essential oil’s constituents. Chromatography helps separate each component of a mixture and spectrometry helps identify them along with calculating their amount.

Though essential oils are volatile, their aroma and properties depend on their chemical composition. As they can be recreated using synthetic ways, still the natural method is always more beneficial. To this, GCMS testing is done to report each lot, so to prove the purity and organic nature of essential oils.

How Essential Oils are tested with GC-MS Testing? (Methodology)

As the name suggests, it is a combination of two processes: Chromatography and spectrometry. The whole process is explained here in the simplest possible way. So, let’s understand the entire methodology.

The process begins with injecting the essential oil into a chamber where they are vaporized. Next, with the aid of inert helium gas (carrier), they enter a stage where each constituent moves at different speeds. This separates each constituent of the oil and thus ending the gas chromatography phase. Now, to recognize these constituents, a computerized device is used that checks the cation and anion currents. Further, the mass spectrometer associated with this device quantifies each constituent. The results showing molecular weights are then submitted to a database. So, this test ends with identifying the presence and quantifying each constituent.

Importance of GC-MS Testing & Why it is used?

Following are some important narratives on why performing GC/MS is important:

  1. To Check Therapeutic Value: This value accounts for the benefits of essential oils. Due to slight impurity, there can be a shift in properties and they can be less beneficial.
  2. To check safety: Since essential oils impurity can alter their reactions in the human body. So this test verifies their safety.
  3. Detect Adulteration:  Can disclose the presence of any additive in the oils.
  4. Accurate Information: It offers accurate information about each oil in the batch and certifies its advantages as mentioned on them.


The certain limitations to this test include; first, it’s costly because it is performed on each batch. Secondly, report reading and deriving results are the matter of an expert.

We hope, by now you know some basics, about GC/MS testing method through this guide. Every basic information is covered that an essential oil consumer should know. So, you must enquire with your manufacturer if they are performing this important test to guarantee the quality of your essential oils.