Friday, January 11, 2008

Places To Buy Essential Oils: Part 3 (Aromatherapy Information)

Yet more places to buy essential oils (Can you tell I am addicted? :) ) There will be a part 4 of 'Places To Buy Essential Oils'.

Aura Cacia: This is the brand that is sold in health food stores. In my opinion they are not the best essential oils I've tried but they are good quality. The lavender is very nice (this is the kind my sister gets so I use it a lot when I visit her), but it is not one of my favorites (I think maybe it has a little too much of a camphor note compared to my favorites). The essential oils I would skip are the citrus scents since citrus (with the exception of bergamot) have a short shelf life (there is no way to know for sure how long it's been sitting on the shelf). I once got the organic orange from them and it was pretty good, but the scent just did not 'sparkle' as much as some of the organic orange essential oils I've tried from companies with higher turnover rates. This is a good line to start out with (and to help a beginner familiarize themselves with each scent since most stores have testers). Good pricing too. Not all stores carry their organic line though (most stores just carry their conventional/regular line). Also most of their pricier essential oils and absolutes (jasmine, rose) are diluted in a carrier oil (usually jojoba). I am not sure at what concentration though, so even if the 'precious' essential oils are diluted already they probably should be diluted even further before use.

Jeanne Rose: I admit I am a tad biased in reviewing Jeanne's essential oils because I'm now a student of hers (for those of you that aren't familiar with Jeanne, she is one of the pioneers in the fields of aromatherapy, herbalism, and natural cosmetics, that has been practicing for over forty years). But I got to try forty-three of her essential oils (from two excellent essential oil vendors) in her October blending class and they are some of the best essential oils I've ever used: the quality of each essential oil was superb. I liked them so much that I bought a few of them from her (and plan to buy more). If you are seriously into blending (either for remedies or perfumes) I highly recommend getting her Basic 7 kit to teach yourself and to train your nose on the seven basic aromatherapy/perfume notes (floral, fruit, citrus, green/vegetative, herbal/camphorous, woody, spicy). She also sells different species of lavender and chemotypes of rosemary that I haven't seen available from other vendors. I just received california lavender (high in borneol, which is considered to be an immune stimulant) and rosemary pyramidalis (high in pinene. This chemotype of rosemary essential oil is thought to be good for sinus problems), as well as Christmas Fir from her. Smells wonderful! I am not sure if all her essential oils are organic or ethically wild harvested or not, but since she supports local, small distilleries (many of which are organic but just not certified), and also the two essential oil companies that she recommends (and that supply her classes with essential oils) have many organic or ethically wild harvested essential oils, I am guessing most of her essential oils probably are too (just not labeled as such). Shipping can be a little high, but if you get a kit, most of the kits are really good deals. Also recommend her books, especially the ones that aren't easily available (all the self-published booklets). All of her kits come in a nice little pouch/bag. Be sure to either keep the essential oils in the bag or in the fridge since she packages in clear glass.

Nature's Alchemy: This company is found in health food stores too. I only tried them once but it was the absolutely first essential oil I ever bought (peppermint) :) From what I remember the peppermint was strong and lovely, and potent. Never bought more for same reason as below (see One Planet's paragraph).

Nature's Gift: The owner Marge is one of the most respected essential oil vendors out there. Incredible quality of essential oils and service. Excellent selection, her company offers many of the rarer essential oils and hydrosols available. Wide selection of organic essential oils. Some of the essential oils may be a tad more expensive than other companies I've reviewed, but it is well worth the investment (you get what you pay for). With Nature's Gift you can be assured you are getting the real thing and the best and highest quality (unadulterated essential oils. Many other companies, including maybe a couple that I've written about, you can't be 100% sure sometimes, but with Marge's essential oils you can). Her site is also a wealth of information. Free samples available (a sample consists of a few drops, enough to sniff).

One Planet: I think this was one of the first companies I've ever tried, but I've only bought from them once. This was many years ago when I first started learning about aromatherapy but from what I remember service was good and so were the essential oils; they were very inexpensive too. I remember the only thing that kind of bothered me was that I had ordered 5 ml of some essential oils, and they came in 10 ml bottles (so lots of air space; the more air space, the higher chance of essential oils oxidizing). But the main reason I never bought from them again didn't have anything to do with their service or products but because soon after I decided to try buying more organic or ethically wild harvested essential oils. Not sure if after all this time One Planet is the same, and what the quality of their essential oils are currently like, but it's still worth a look!

Sun Rose Aromatics:Extremely high quality, and excellent selection of rare, harder to find essential oils, some of which I haven't seen in other places. They do charge a handling fee in addition to shipping, but you can request free samples of essential oils. The samples are very generous (much more so than other companies I've tired) so the samples kind of offset the handling cost. Some of the rare essential oils and absolutes include: organic chocolate peppermint, peach leaf absolute (if someone had told me that there was a natural peach scent a few years ago, I would have thought they were either using a synthetic scent, severely misinformed, or maybe using one of those fruit extracts they usually use in foods. Peach leaf absolute is lovely stuff that is, to my knowledge, new on the market), and green tea absolute (same reasoning as the peach absolute).

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