The Game of Adulterated Oils
There are many factors involved in producing high quality essential
oils. Most people go to the health food store, read the label on a
bottle of oil it says 100% PURE so it must be good quality oil.
There is much more involved in the quality of oil than most people realize. The oils must be distilled SLOWLY at low temperature & low pressure. They also must be the right species of plant.
Take lavender oil for example. It is most popular oil of all the essential oils. It is also one of the most widely adulterated. It also makes a great deal of difference what species of lavender is used.
The notes below come from Marcy Foley's book
170 to 250 pounds of lavender angustafolia plant material to produce 1 pound of oil
35 pounds of Lavendula hybrida/grosso to produce 1 pound of oil.
When it only takes 35 pounds of plant material to produce a pound of oil, they can make more low grade oil - - and - - a lot more money.
True lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is fairly expensive and difficult to locate. Some unscrupulous brokers market an engineered hybrid "lavendin" as true Lavandula officinalis. These brokers hope to represent lavendin as true lavender to increase profits.
Verifolia - A wild Lavender that grows between 4000 and 6500 feet above sea level will produce one pound of oil from 250 to 300 pounds of plant.
Stoechas - Lavendula Stoechas, a very fine cultivated Lavender, grows at about 2000 feet above sea level.
Lavendula hybrida/abrial - A hybrid lavendin, grows at about 500 feet above sea level This is a cheap oil used in the cosmetic industry and is one of the primary "Lavenders" coming into North America.
Super -- A hybrid lavendin, which grows at 800 to 1000 feet above sea level. It is a cheaper oil with a better fragrance and is used primarily in the perfume industry. This oil is high in terpene and linalol, so it goes a long way in perfumery. It is used in cosmetics because it is extends the fragrance and the high terpene content is drying to the skin.
Lavendula hybrida/grosso - A cheap, hybrid lavendin which grows at sea level. It is highly antiseptic and is used by veterinarians in Europe as a sterilizing agent. It has an alcoholic-terpene fragrance which is sharp, rather than pleasant. This is the oil most often sold in Canada and USA as "Lavender". It will produce 1 pound of oil from 35 pounds of plant material.
Lavender is the most widely used oil and therefore the most adulterated oil. There are 221 commercial and industrial uses for Lavender oil outside of the cosmetic world. It is used in motor oils and greases in Europe because it makes the lubricant penetrate better.
The cheaper Lavendins are used in plastics because they make the plastic more adhesive and bond better. A Lavender liqueur is made in France. Lavender is known as a universal oil in which over 500 constituents have been identified as of 1994.
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