Oil Purity: Screen your essential oils @home

Essential Oil markets have turned highly competitive. We often find their prices making a new bottom and so their quality. Also on the contrary, higher prices don’t guarantee excellent quality. Even some pricey oils maybe pure synthetically. So it becomes essential for us, to verify the purity of the oils that we purchase. But the bigger question is, how feasible is it to do the complex purity check at home, with limited resources? To some extent, it may be possible to have an understanding of your oil, but for accuracy, dependency on lab results will exist. Here we discuss a few basic tests, that may be possible at home, for a fair limited understanding of your oil.

Many oils are synthetically pure. And what is synthetic purity? For a low price, Is it good or bad?

To understand this, we must know that any oil is composed of different chemical compounds, which gives the oil its definite characterization. These compounds can either be from petroleum bases, which show the same chemical composition and are called synthetics, Or they may be derived from the plants where its produced naturally.

Chemically both may appear similar, but therapeutically they will not give the same benefits as a natural composition from the plants. Here it marks the difference.

Adulteration also increase problems, identifying pure oils. Low-cost natural vegetable oils, fillers, etc., degrades the quality and renders the essential oil useless for any therapeutic benefits. And synthetics can compromise our health and safety.

Below are a few simple tests that can be done with the limited capacity and resource at your home, to have some idea of the oil you are using.

Paper test:

This is a very popular test many of us have heard about. Although it is not a full proof test to differentiate natural and synthetics, neither it is valid for all oils. Still it can give clues if the oil is horribly wrong.

The whole idea behind the test is to check any residual color left on the paper after drying.

To perform the test :

Put a drop of essential oil on a cotton rag paper and leave it to dry. Essential oils being highly volatile, it may take some 20-60 min to dry completely without leaving any color as residue. If there is no mark left on the paper and it even becomes difficult to find weather any oil was dropped on the paper, then “may be” the oil is pure.  “MAY BE” because, if the oil is adulterated with alcohol, the test will fail. As alcohol is highly volatile and will also dry fast.

Exclusions – Citrus oils like Lemongrass, naturally leave a yellowish ting on the paper. 

Olfactory test:
Always trust your nose.

Usually our nose can play a great role to identify what is soothing to us. Natural and pure essential oil will definitely give you that blissful aroma but If any chemical adulterant is present that gives us an irritation. 

But again if any organic adulterant is present that may not arise any suspicion. Although an experienced nose can go a few more steps to identify it with the fading aroma.

 Diffuser test:
Put your essential oil in the diffuser.
A diffuser breaks the oil molecules into fine mist and suspends it in the air. Now it becomes easy for your nose to experience the aroma.

There are several other tests, like the freezer test etc, but all have certain limitations and can be bypassed in some way. So, a lab-test remains the only option, to truly identify the purity of any essential oil.   

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