Understanding The Quality of doTERRA Essential Oils

I can’t do pesticides or herbicides, my DNA doesn’t process chemicals well at all, and for this exact reason, I notice a dramatic difference using doTERRA oils compared to others. Not only that, but they are not synthetic like most oils according to Dr Robert Pappas, P.H.d in chemistry, a scientist and the industry leader in essential oil chemistry and testing.

He claims that up to 85% of oils are synthetic, fake, and adulterated based on his lab testing of oils worldwide. Fake chemicals are created in a lab and are not the chemicals created from the plant. There is a difference! Adulterated means that they have added different chemicals or smells to the "oils" to make them smell more real or pass more tests.  Synthetics and fragrances don’t combine well with autoimmunity and mutated genes for methylation (detoxification) which I have experienced first hand. 

 doTERRA oils are beyond organic. What does that mean? It means that their oils are harvested in indigenous countries where they grow in their natural habitat.  Wildcrafted is always better than organic. One thing organic standards don’t do is test the final product.  doTERRA tests each finished product before it goes onto the market.  

The E.coli break out a few years ago originated from organic spinach. I always buy organic produce, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t mean it’s not contaminated, that’s why testing the finished product when it comes to something I am consuming for my health is my first priority when it comes to essential oils.

I actually clean my organic produce with essential oils! With my autoimmune deficiency, I have to avoid pesticides and herbicides at all costs.  My family is even considering getting a summer home in the mountains where herbicides are sparse for this very reason.  Luckily doTERRA tests each batch and gives you the results on www.sourcetoyou.com to ensure quality control.

Other companies will sometimes do Mass spectrum testing and Gas Chromatography tests also known as GC/MS testing which tests for certain quality standards. But additionally, doTERRA tests for:

  • Organoleptic testing
  • Microbial testing
  • Gas chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Chirality testing
  • Isotopic analysis
  • Heavy metal testing

Historically, gas chromatography was sufficient to identify individual components in an essential oil. However, as more sophisticated methods for developing synthetic essential oil products formed, further validation methods were needed. Over time, additional testing methods such as mass spectroscopy, chiral analysis, FTIR Scan, carbon isotope analysis and others have been developed to more accurately identify each individual essential oil constituent.

Organoleptic Testing

Organoleptic testing involves the use of the human senses— sight, smell, taste, and touch. To expert distillers, the senses are used as the first line of quality testing to provide immediate clues to the acceptability of a product. Oil that has an unusual smell, uneven consistency, or strange color instantly tells the distiller that something is wrong. Often times, this testing is used as a preliminary quality control step before any other tests are conducted.

Microbial Testing

Microbial testing involves analyzing a batch of essential oils for the presence of bio-hazardous microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and mold. The process involves drawing a sample and then adding that sample to a sterile growth medium in an enclosed dish or plate. The sample is incubated for a period of time and then observed for microbial growth. This test is performed on product entering the manufacturing facility and on finished products prior to distribution to ensure that the product has not been contaminated during the filling process.

Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry Analysis (GC/MS)

In Gas Chromatography, an essential oil is vaporized and passed through a long column to separate the oil into its individual components. Each component will travel through the column at a different speed, depending on its molecular weight and chemical properties, and is measured as it exits the column. Using this testing method, quality control analysts can determine which compounds are present in a test sample.
Mass Spectrometry is used together with Gas Chromatography to further determine the composition of an essential oil. In Mass Spectrometry, the constituents previously separated by GC are ionized and sent through a series of magnetic fields. Using molecular weight and charge, the amount of each constituent can be identified, providing additional insights into the potency of the essential oil.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is conducted to ensure the potency and consistent quality of a batch of essential oil. This testing method identifies the structural components of essential oil compounds. In an FTIR scan, infrared light of different frequencies is shined through a sample of essential oil and the amount of light absorbed by the sample is measured. The quality of the sample is determined by comparing the results from an FTIR reading to a historical database with absorption patterns of high quality samples.

Chirality Testing

Chirality, a word derived from the Greek word “hand,” is a term used to describe the 3D orientation of a molecule. Just as you have two hands, chiral molecules exist in two forms, distinguished as either the right or the left hand. You may visualize this principle by looking at your hands; when placed side by side, they are mirror images of each other. However, when placed on top of each other, no matter how you turn them, you cannot get them to line up exactly. In molecules, each “hand” has different chemical properties, which affects their physiologic interactions in the body. One hand is produced predominantly in nature. However, in a laboratory environment, the ratio of right- to left-handed molecules is always 50/50 due to their structural similarities. The ratio of right- to left-handed constituents can be determined through a special type of Gas Chromatography. Although not commonly performed on a batch-to-batch basis, this testing method is used to ensure that no synthetic elements are present.

Isotopic Analysis

Matter is made up of tiny chemical building blocks called elements. Although dozens of elements exist, each one is distinct due to the protons it contains. Sometimes, an element can exist in more than one stable form if it has more or less neutrons. When this occurs, the elements are called isotopes. The element carbon exists in two stable isotopes, carbon-12 (6 protons and 6 neutrons) and carbon-13 (6 protons and 7 neutrons). Because essential oils are organic compounds, they are composed primarily of carbon atoms and will have a certain ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 isotopes. This ratio varies based on location around the world.
Using a special type of Mass Spectroscopy, it is possible to determine which isotopes are present in an essential oil constituent and at what amounts. If sourced from the same location, every constituent in an essential oil should have the same ratio of isotopes. If a particular constituent has an isotopic profile different than that of the other constituents, then the quality control analyst will know that the oil contains an adulteration.

Heavy Metal Testing

Heavy Metal testing shows the amount of heavy metal content in the essential oil. When properly distilled, essential oils should not contain heavy metals. ICP-MS testing uses a high-energy medium called Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) to ionize the sample. The sample is then run through a mass spectroscope, which separates the sample into its elemental parts and provides a reading about which elements are present and at what quantities.

doTERRA goes above and beyond testing contaminants, herbicides, and more. They also tests for pathogens and chemical constituents for potency. Potency is important as well, sourcing from indigenous regions makes for higher levels therapeutic properties.  For example, the main chemical in lavender that makes it therapeutic is the levels of linalool. High potency oils contain 40% or more of linalool. When companies don’t source properly or are trying to stretch their profits by watering down or adulterating, the linalool level drops to 14%. 

Because of this additional testing, It’s one of the reasons that hundreds of hospitals and clinics choose to carry doTERRA. The industry has no governing body to regulate quality, That is why doTERRA chooses to create a standard.  doTERRA regulates internally as well as through a 3rd party.  When you use doTERRA oils,  you can enjoy them beyond fragrance and feel and see result from their essential oils. You can read more about this process here.  

doTERRA’s beyond organic testing on the final product helps reassure you that the oils you get in your hands are packed full of the original constituency of the plant. The farmers that grow the rose fields that doTERRA sources in Bulgaria won't even allow people to drive cars or trucks near the plants for fear of contamination by air pollution of the precious petals. They use horses and carriage to haul off the flowers. You see this process done in many European countries with wine grapes. I am an organic activist by definition. I loathe pesticides and herbicides for the health problems they create and have created for my family and I. This made choosing doTERRA for my family easy. 

To learn more about doTERRA indigenous sourcing watch this video. with doTERRA oils, you can scan the QVC code on the back of the bottle and see the exact test results from each batch at www.sourcetoyou.com. This makes picking an oil company easy!


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