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The Aquamarine Frankincense ‒ April 13th, 2016
research projects many times lead to some quite amazing findings and it is these projects that fuel my fire to keep going in this industry…

As many of the followers of this page know, we here at EOU do the GC/MS screening on the sourced oils for many companies around the globe. Many of you also know that our largest client just happens to be the largest essential oil company on planet earth and doesn’t really need me to tout their name here, keeping with the no advertising policy of this page. Being in such a unique position we find ourselves not only just doing analysis on essential oils but many times collaborating on full blown research projects that we never predicted could be possible. These research projects many times lead to some quite amazing findings and it is these projects that fuel my fire to keep going in this industry. The downside to this work is that unfortunately I don’t always get to see the fruits of my research and new discoveries ever make to to market so that everyone can enjoy them because many times an exciting newly discovered oil or natural isolate is just not sustainable from a market and/or supply perspective. Enter the latest of such cases, the Aquamarine Frankincense.

Picture of clear glass bottle filled with aquamarine frankincense

The Aquamarine Frankincense shares its color with the color of the Mediterranean Sea as I remember it from the Greek Islands.

But what if we could find a way, even though its not a sustainable product, to make such an oil available for at least some people to experience it, be a part of history and help fund future research and donate to charity all at the same time? I think this may be such an opportunity. More on that later.

So what is the Aquamarine Frankincense? Remember when I told you in a previous post about the the new chemotype of frankincense that we discovered that contained methoxy decane as its main component and that this component was thought not to exist in nature? Well that research was finally approved for publication in an international journal and below is the abstract of the journal article thats coming out this month. This journal article presents the complete chemical breakdown of this new chemotype of Boswellia and we are the first to publish the analysis of this chemotype.

Abstract from our newly published paper in  Global J. Front. Sci. Res. B, 16, 9-16 (2016).

Abstract from our newly published paper in Global J. Front. Sci. Res. B, 16, 9-16 (2016).

The above work is a complete and thorough one within its narrow focus of being the first reporting of a specific chemotype and in demonstrating that the oil was particularly noteworthy in its pronounced cytotoxic activity against MCF-7 breast cancer cells (please note that this was an IN VITRO study, not IN VIVO and in no way are we claiming this to be any kind of cure for cancer, it was just a very noteworthy aspect of its biological activity). But one thing we didn’t mention in the article at the time that we submitted it (because we hadn't yet done the experiment) was that if we do the distillation of this unique resin chemotype in a copper still, we get the most amazing aquamarine colored oil. Originally we had only done the distillation in a stainless steel still and of course saw nothing special in terms of color. But when I did the distillation in my old faithful copper still the oil you see in the picture above is what resulted. I truly have never in my 20 years of analyzing oils seen an oil with such a strikingly beautiful color. The first thing that came to my mind was the color of the water off the coast of some of the Greek islands.

My copper still 'Old Faithful'

My copper still "Old Faithful"

Not only distilling the resin in copper give it the beautiful color but it also greatly improved the odor, even though the observable chemistry was exactly the same. The differences were obviously due to the copper interacting in two distinct ways. The amazing color is due to a very slight amount of copper ions complexing with the oil in a unique way because of the special chemistry that this oil exhibits that no other oil has, we've seen greenish color affects from copper in oils before, but never a color quite like this. The improved odor from the copper still is obviously from the copper destroying any of the very trace sulfur containing components that arise during distillation processes that can give an oil an off odor, especially when freshly distilled.

So why can’t this oil be sustainable you may be asking? Well, that’s the unfortunate part. Out of the literally MILLIONS of kilograms of resin that get processed each year out of Somaliland we were only able to secure and sort out only a few hundred kilograms of this type of resin that is different from the normal alpha-pinene type that most of you are used to seeing (see my review article on the various frankincense chemotypes here https://www.facebook.com/notes/esse... ). We only saw one isolated lot of this frankincense resin and never saw it again after that from last years harvest. To make matters worse, you only get about 1% yield from this type of resin which is only 1/6th the yield that a distillery would get from good resin from this region. I am convinced that this may be one reason why this chemotype has not been reported before, when a distillery would come across this resin with such low oil yield I think it probably just got tossed aside or used for something else other than distillation. So even if this resin were available in larger quantities the cost would be about 6 times the normal frankincense oil to produce it. But I have always been interested in things that are unusual or different and I am crazy enough to want to waste my time on things that others might view as not worth the effort, so when the batch of resin was discovered I said “we will take it!”

So the long and the short of all this is basically we have the ability to distill a very small batch of oil from this resin and if there appears to be interest in some of you owning this oil I can make it available as a one time unique remnant of a research project. Please share this post and let people know about it and if you would like to own a piece of science history then I will offer this oil in 15 ml bottles through EOU until its gone and its very likely we will never see this oil again. We will use the proceeds to recoup some of the costs we have in the project and donate $10 for every bottle sold to the Healing Hands Foundation as well because both I and my largest customer who made this research possible want to support that great initiative since money donated to that foundation makes it back to places like Somiland were some of these most precious oils come from.

If you think you want to support a project like this then share the post and comment here that you would be interested in a bottle. But before you express your interest I want to make sure you understand that this oil is completely different than any frankincense oil you have ever smelled, I cannot say that its better or worse than what you are used to, I can only say its different. I also cannot tell you how to use the oil because EOU never recommends usage and it will be sold and labeled as “for research purposes only.” Personally I really like the odor of this oil and would love to get your feedback on it as well. But you also need to understand that no matter how much you may really like the odor or not, once this batch is gone its gone for good. This is basically the rarest frankincense oil on earth so don't count on getting more at a later time. The reason to own a bottle is to own a piece of history and support further research and the Healing Hands Foundation. If we do end up distilling the rest of this resin for sale, pending your interest in supporting this, you will be secure in knowing exactly what you are getting as not only would we provide the full GC/MS report on the oil but you will get a reprint copy of the exact journal article in which the GC/MS analysis and biological activity was reported. How many people can say they own the exact oil that was reported in scientific journal article!

Again, please share this with as many people as possible if you want to see this oil become available even if it is for just this one time.

How to Easily Disprove Claims of Boswellic Acid in Frankincense Oil‒ February 4th, 2016
So rather than go into all the scientific details about why the claims of Boswellic acid in the essential oil are ridiculous (because science means nothing to the scientifically challenged zealot)…

Oh yes my dear EOU patrons and followers, it's that time again, the Bosmaniacs are out in full force and on a mission to convince everyone in their path that only the oil they sell, produced by their beloved EO messiah, blessed by virgins during the full moon in the mountains of Oman or Somalia, is the only frankincense worth having because of its rich Boswellic acid content. Of course anyone who disputes their claim must be ignorant or just not up to date on the latest analytical technology, you know, we just haven’t discovered this new-fangled, super advanced, complicated device called the HPLC (an instrument that’s been around for many decades and commonly used by any 2nd or 3rd year under grad chem major in Analytical chemistry labs all over the world). This distraction technique will get the scientifically challenged arguing over instrumentation for hours, debating whose lab is the most advanced with the most equipment, most expertise etc. But anyone with any real chemical knowledge knows that Boswellic acids are just too high of molecular weight and too non-volatile to be steam distilled (heck even Wikipedia knows this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boswellic_acid ).

So rather than go into all the scientific details about why the claims of Boswellic acid in the essential oil are ridiculous (because science means nothing to the scientifically challenged zealot), I am going give anyone at home a simple way to demonstrate to the Bosmaniacs, with INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE, that their company is lying to them with these claims of significant levels of Boswellic acid in the essential oil. All you need is a small sample of Boswellic acid and some frankincense oil.

First, let's examine the analytical “evidence” that the Bosmanics cite for proving to their target audience that their oil does contain Boswellic acid. No doubt you will be directed to examine a report by a lab called ChromaDex which lists the HPLC results of three tested samples. In their “best” result they list, for lot# 11-09-09 (CDXA-10-0184), a total Boswellic acid content of 81.5 mg/mL for a frankicense oil of Somalian origin. Now some simple calculations. The density of frankincense oil is approximately 0.87 g/mL (or 870 mg/mL) on average which means that their result corresponds to the sample containing 81.5 mg of Boswellic acid for every 870 milligrams of frankincense oil. By remedial math you can see that (81.5/870 x 100) this corresponds to a claimed boswellic acid concentration of 9.37% in their frankincense oil!

I would like to formally challenge anyone on earth to try and get Boswellic acid to dissolve in Frankincnese oil at any concentration even remotely close to 9.37%. It's a simple experiment to try, simply take 0.937 grams of Boswellic acid, dilute to a total weight of 10 grams with Frankincnese oil, stir for infinity and see what happens. For those who can’t stand suspense let me spoil the ending for you before you try the experiment, IT NEVER EVEN COMES CLOSE TO DISSOLVING! In fact you can blast it with microwaves, or heat it anyway you want to, stir vigorously, hit it with lasers, whatever, that Boswellic acid is not going to dissolve in that oil. You may melt it with heat eventually but as soon as it cools back down to room temperature whatever amount you melted is going to fall back out of solution. You can even cut the level down to 0.93% and see what happens, in the famous words of Dana Carvey as George Bush Sr. “Not gonna do it.” I am sure at some very small percentage we could get some tiny amount Boswellic acid to dissolve, but the level would be so insignificant to be pointless from a therapeutic standpoint.

In summary, please don't use Boswellic acid as a selling point for frankincense oil because eventually you are going to look pretty silly. If there is any Boswellic acid in any water or steam distilled frankincense oil out there it's a very small trace amount and it's not going to be in there as a result of the molecule being actually distilled, but would have to be by some secondary process, perhaps from harsh stirring or spattering that goes on during the distillation process because the resin is typically vigorously stirred during the entire distillation. However it may have got there, let’s be clear on this, the molecule itself is not volatilizing and then recondensing like all essential oil molecules must be able to do during a typical distillation process.

The point of all this is, if you want to use Boswellic acid, frankincense essential oil is an absurd choice for a source and to promote your frankincense oil based upon boswellic acid content is equally absurd. The amount of Boswellic acid that is physically possible to be in the oil, by any process, at room temperature, is so small that it's insignificant from a therapeutic standpoint. If you want Boswellic acid, buy Boswellic acid. It's readily available from a number of sources although the qualities vary, just google it!

Frankincense Review: Classification by Chemotype Rather Than Just Species ‒ December 18th, 2015
brief overview of the 4 main chemotypes which encompasses the 5 main botanical species of resin on the market…

As I have stated in recent posts, there is much confusion in the world of frankincense essential oil at the moment. As I have demonstrated in by analysis, at least based on what suppliers at source are claiming about their botanical species, in some cases we are seeing the same species of oil generating drastically different chemistry. I have also documented what were claimed to be two different species exhibiting essential the same chemistry. For this reason I would like at least start the conversation of classifying frankincense oil, not by species but by chemotypes, because in the end its the chemistry that should determine how they are used therapeutically, not the claimed botanical origin.

Based on my analysis of frankincense oil over the last 20 years here is brief overview of the 5 main chemotypes which encompasses the 5 main botanical species of resin on the market:

alpha-Thujene type

This chemotype of frankincense oil is primarily produced from claimed species Boswellia serrata, primarily of Indian origin. The resin of this species is a very soft, gooey material, often very rich in oil content (see pic below) with yields of around 10% or more upon distillation. This oil is considered the least valuable of all frankincense oils and its cheap price are a result of its high oil yields and low odor quality. It should be noted that, occasionally, other resins can produce oils that are alpha-thujene dominated (namely B. carterii and B. frereana), but this is not the norm (more on this to follow).

Boswellia serrata from India

Boswellia serrata from India

alpha-Pinene types

There are three primary types of resin that produce an oil having alpha-pinene as the main component. The species which contains overall highest levels of alpha-pinene is what is claimed to be Boswellia sacra, which is typically coming from Oman an is an oil-rich resin with oil yields around 9-10% and with alpha-pinene levels up to 80%. The appearance of the sacra resin quite irregular in shapes and sizes typically looks like this:

Boswellia sacra resin from Oman

Boswellia sacra resin from Oman

The second alpha-pinene type of frankincense oil mainly comes from what is claimed to be the resin tears of Boswellia carterii, typically coming from Somaliland. The oil from this resin is typically 30-60% alpha-pinene and very occasionally we see alpha-thujene rival the alpha-pinene content of this oil, but most often the alpha-pinene that drastically dominates. Higher alpha-thujene levels typically means lower odor quality. The yield of this oil is typically in the 5-6% range by water distillation. On rare occasion we have seen carterii resin (or what’s claimed to by carterii) yield a completely different chemistry with methoxydecane (aka decyl methyl ether) as its main chemical component (more on this in the methoxydecane section). The typical appearance of the carterii tears are usually smaller and lighter in color than the sacra and with an overall more globular appearance as shown below.

Boswellia carterii resin from Somaliland

Boswellia carterii resin from Somaliland

TThe third main alpha-pinene type of frankincense oil is that of what is claimed to be Boswellia frereana, which typically comes from Somaliland and has on oil yield of only around 2% in our experience. From this resin I have observed alpha-pinene levels all over the place (I’ve seen it anywhere from 2 - 67%). Alpha-thujene levels can also be all over the place (up to 35%), typically the higher alpha-thujene content comes at the expense of alpha-pinene or vice versa. The frereana oil can be somewhat chemically similar to the carterii oil but odor quality is not as good due to higher levels of para-cymene (typically 5-20%) and sabinene (2-16%). On very rare occasion, we have also found that resins claimed to be frereana (and look as we expect frereana resin to look) to have methoxydecane as its highest component. The frereana type of resin is very different in appearance with larger pieces and being more translucent than other resins and having a more striated look in the tears.

Boswellia frereana resin from Somaliand

Boswellia frereana resin from Somaliand

Octyl acetate type

So far, this chemotype of frankincense oil has only been observed by this lab via the distillation of Boswellia papyrifera from Ethiopia. It’s important to note that we do see octyl acetate in other species, but never the major component like it is in papyrifera. The primary chemistry of this oil can be up to 70% octyl acetate according to reports. In our own lab distillations we got around 60% octyl acetate with only about a 2% oil yield. The resin appears as the smaller beadlike structures shown below.

Boswellia papyrifera resin from Ethiopia

Boswellia papyrifera resin from Ethiopia

Limonene type

Occasionally we have seen samples of Boswellia carterii whose chemistry is dominated by limonene rather than alpha-pinene or alpha-thujene. These oils are not typical but not exactly rare. We still see significant amounts of alpha-pinene and alpha-thujene but for some reason the resin produces abnormal amounts of limonene that are barely higher than the other two dominating components. Yield of this type of oil is typically 5-6% with a limonene content of 25-35%.

Methoxydecane types

Only in recent years have we discovered this chemotype of frankincense, which in turn has raised even more questions about which species of resin we were actually getting. This chemotype seems to be the rarest of the commercially produced types, as there is not a single report in literature of an essential oil containing this component that we could find. In our experiments the methoxydecane type of oil appeared to us only twice in all of our lab distillations, once from a single lot of Boswellia frereana and the other time from a single lot of Boswellia carterii. Even though these resins are very different resins in terms of appearance, it was remarkable how similar their chemical profiles were, which left us wondering if the resins were actually from the same species and perhaps the drastic differences in the appearance of the resin are due to other environmental factors. In both cases the oil yield was about the same, around 2%. We later received samples from a commercial distillery who was also producing this chemotype of oil, from resin that was claimed to be only from carterii. So far, all of our analyses on samples of this chemotype show methoxydecane ranging from 20-60%.

As you can see, the diversity of frankincense chemistry still continues to amaze and surprise us and this simplistic review only scratches the surface. It is hoped that anyone reading has gained a little more insight as to the 4 main chemotypes of commercially produced oil and that perhaps going forward people will feel compelled to describe their oil not just in terms of botanical species but in terms of chemotype as well, since it seems that more investigations may need to be done in order to verify species. The chemotype is quite important as these various types are VERY different in their chemistry and the chemical profile of the oil will determine its therapeutic application. It would really be nice to see a frankincense oil listed, for example, as Boswellia carterii ct. alpha-pinene or Boswellia frereana ct. methoxydecane and this would help a buyer know exactly what they are dealing with. This review only scratches the surface, I have not even touched upon the intricacies of all the minor components as well as the differences in enantiomeric purity of the alpha-pinene, alpha-thujene, limonene etc. in the various types, which brings in another level of discussions to consider. Hopefully more work can be done in the future to verify the actual species that are being sold. With all the confusion, its no wonder some companies are getting away from species specific claims in the labeling when it comes to Frankincense and I expect this trend may continue until more research is completed and identifications are done on the genetic level.

The Proper Protocol for Utilizing EO Analysis Reports ‒ December 14th, 2015
First and foremost it needs to be stated that a GC/MS report should NEVER be modified in any way without the written permission of the laboratory who issued the report…

Because of the recent findings of yet another company using GC/MS reports improperly I wanted to create this note to make people more aware of how things should work when it comes to having oils analyzed and presenting reports to your customers. I realize there are a lot of new companies just getting into selling essential oils and that they may not even realize that they may be doing some things incorrectly when it comes to utilizing analytical reports.

First and foremost it needs to be stated that a GC/MS report should NEVER be modified in any way without the written permission of the laboratory who issued the report. Typically if any changes are necessary one would contact the lab and just have them make the changes directly.

Secondly, people should understand that a GC/MS report, whether produced by EOU or by another independent lab or even by a supplier of essential oils, is only good for the SPECIFIC LOT NUMBER that is stated on the report. No one should EVER use a report for a previously purchased lot# and assume it's good for the new lot# you purchase of that same oil type, even if you are purchasing from the same company again. I have seen many times where a company will have an analysis done on a specific lot number and then simply paste a new lot number on the same report once they get their new lot in stock. This is completely unacceptable and so if you are a customer and you see the exact same set of percentages for the components in the oil on two different reports with different lot numbers then you know that something is fishy.

Lastly, its very important for anyone selling essential oils to know that if you have an analysis done on a pre-ship sample for the purposes of making buying decisions, then you CANNOT use that report on the pre-ship sample to represent the actual bulk lot that is purchased and received in, even if your supplier says it's the same lot. If you want to forgo having your actual received lot analyzed because you trust your supplier to send the same thing they sampled you then that is fine, but you CANNOT use that pre-ship sample report to represent the oil that you sell to your customers because you did not have the actual bulk lot analyzed once it came in your door. This is very important because it frequently happens that a supplier sends one lot as a pre-ship sample but the actual oil that is shipped in bulk to fill the order does not match the pre-ship sample. I know it sounds crazy but this happens all the time.

So the overall typical scenario should look something like this: Company A sells essential oils online in 15 ml bottles and buys from various bulk and wholesale suppliers. Company A is getting low on lavender oil and sends out sample requests to its various suppliers and may choose to have all the samples analyzed in order to make a buying decision because they are looking for a specific profile. Alternatively, they may just opt to select which sample they liked the best from an odor standpoint and then choose to only analyze that pre-ship sample to confirm purity, hoping for a good result on this sample and saving them the trouble of having to analyze the rest of the samples. For simplicity we will choose the latter scenario and Company A sends off the best smelling lavender oil pre-ship sample with lot# 123ABC from Supplier X to be analyzed by an independent testing lab. The lab results look good so Company A issues a purchase order for 25 kg of lavender lot# 123ABC. When the 25 kg of oil arrives at Company A, they then assign their own lot number to the lavender oil and might call it something like 123ABC-SX25 (just an example, every company has their own system for assigning lot numbers). It doesn’t matter what lot number they assign as long as the number is UNIQUE. Now Comany A sends off a sample of their receied lot 123ABC-SX25 to be analyzed by the independent lab to make sure the lavender oil they received actually matches what they were promised in terms of the pre-ship sample. At this point three things could potentially happen:

1. The analysis of the received bulk lot 123ABC-SX25 matches the pre-ship sample within the error of the GC/MS instrument (the percentages on two different runs will never exactly match, even when done on the exact same sample, but the numbers should be really close).

2. The analysis report of the bulk received lot 123ABC-SX25 comes back different than the preship sample but Company A really needs the oil and they are happy with the analysis and odor of the oil, even though it has a little bit different profile than the pre-ship sample. They then use ONLY the analysis of the received lot to represent the oil to their customers.

3. The analysis report of the bulk received lot 123ABC-SX25 comes back different than the preship and Company A is not happy about the differences and so they send the oil back to the supplier, citing the differences between the analysis of the preship sample compared to the analysis of what they actually received.

Now again, Company A could have received in the 25 kg of lot 123ABC-SX25 and just based on odor alone accepted that the oil is the same as the preship sample and in order to save money they elect not to have the bulk lot analyzed. That is perfectly fine but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should Company A use the analysis report they had done on the preship sample to represent the 25kg that was received in, that would be HIGHLY UNETHICAL, regardless of how much they trust their supplier. This would be just as unethical as using a report for a perviously purchased lot to represent an entirely different new lot of oil.

I hope this explanation gives people a better feel for how things work when done properly and maybe gives them a better appreciation for the difficulties faced in the industry and for companies who take the time and spend the money to run their businesses in an ethical manner.

The Abounding Hypocrisy Over Ethyl Vanillin ‒ May 14th, 2015
this is the ultimate demonstration of hypocrisy in this marketplace and how people and companies will wage a campaign of fear when it suits their agenda…

First let me state right out of the gate that this post, in my opinion, has nothing to do with anything negative or toxic about the specific product that I will be discussing here. I know there are those of the paranoid ilk who may not agree, but in my opinion the chemical of interest here is not toxic and is consumed by millions of people every day, whether they know it or not. So despite those admonishments from people chastising me for delaying this post, I didn't feel I was putting anyone at risk because I don't believe this chemical is harmful.

So why am I even bothering discussing this? The reason is because this is the ultimate demonstration of hypocrisy in this marketplace and how people and companies will wage a campaign of fear when it suits their agenda. I think we will also see how people suddenly change their positions on the toxicity of said ingredient once they learn that their beloved savior has been feeding it to them for years. They will also be willing to overlook the fact that it was their company who originally told them this component was toxic. This is just the way things go when dealing with the brainwashed. Amazingly, the said brainwashed will try to strike fear into people about using products with a safe ingredient like ethyl vanillin all the while they swill and slather aromatherapy blends from their messiah which contain significant amounts of toxic oils like Rue which contains high levels of some very toxic ketones.

As far as the company making the product, I suspect one of three things will happen:

1. They will deny to everyone that their product has this ingredient in it, try to cover it up, quickly change the formula and possibly sue anyone who makes the claim that this chemical is in their product. It's not really a wise choice to go this route as I am going to give instructions on how any lab can reproduce my results and with the large amount of this product on the market, any number of labs can reproduce my findings from a very simple procedure (so if you have this product, hold on to it, you may want it for your own court case if you believe its toxic). Nevertheless, this company is not very wise to begin with and so it would not surprise me at all if they try and go down this road, trying to discredit me in the process (as they repeatedly attempt do on a regular basis, but largely in vain as only the worst of the brainwashed actually believe them).

2. They will acknowledge that the product contains this chemical but deny that they ever said it was toxic. Of course they may be able to do this because perhaps they never said on any corporate site that it was toxic, I don't know. However it certainly was encouraged to their distributors to emphasize the supposed toxicity from journal article published in 1940 where massive doses in rodents were studied (details on this later). It was also published on the "certified synthetic" website which was forced to be taken down after said company was convinced to give up their ridiculous lawsuit (with a little extra persuasion in the form of analytical results on a number of their oils provided to their adversary by our team here at EOU).

3. They will accept responsibility, and apologize for spreading fear about a harmless flavor ingredient in order to promote an agenda. Can't see this happening, but it is technically a possibility.

So now the details. First it might be helpful to review a little of the background to those who have not been following all this drama for the last couple of years. If you are brand new to essential oils or have been asleep for the last few years on what has been going on in the industry then you may have no idea what I am talking about and may need to ask a friend who is a little more up to date as to who these companies are to which I am referring. I thought about naming names for this one but I don't think its necessary as anyone can find out if they really want to and most people here are very familiar with this story already and so I want to keep with the values of this site of not mentioning any company names, primarily because there is no such thing as bad publicity anymore and secondly, one of these companies is like Voldemort to me and the utterance of the name in public is just bad energy to me.

So where is the hypocrisy? A while back there was a large eo company, lets call them Company Y, who made accusations that their main competitor, lets call them Company D, was selling a peppermint oil that contained a trace amount of ethyl vanillin. For the record, we here at EOU analyzed said peppermint but were never able to detect ethyl vanillin in any of our tests. Nevertheless the claims were made and then the campaign of fear began. After the reports of ethyl vanillin surfaced we then saw various reps of Company Y spreading fear about how deadly and toxic ethyl vanillin was because of a 1940 article in the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association (Volume 29, page 425) entitled "On the Toxicity of Vanillin and Ethyl Vanillin for Rabbits and Rats" (just google that title and you will find websites with an actual copy of the article). In the study they fed massive doses of vanillin and ethyl vanillin to these rodents that are not even remotely in the sphere of the % level of consumption that a human would consume these flavor ingredients in food products. Anything is toxic in the right dose, whether its synthetic or natural is irrelevant.

At the time all of this came out, many of you saw me comment on this multiple times. Even though I never saw ethyl vanillin in the peppermint oil from Company D, my biggest point, which most people seemed to ignore, was that, even if ethyl vanillin was in there at 0.07% or whatever (and I don't believe it was), who cares? I went on to inform people that ethyl vanillin was a safe, effective and very pleasant flavor ingredient found in many different products and consumed by millions every day. If you have ever eaten vanilla candy, ice cream, cake batter, icing, soft drinks, protein powders, etc. then you have ingested way more ethyl vanillin than you would ever hope to get from said peppermint with such a trace amount of claimed ethyl vanillin. After I made that post, it later hit me out of the blue when I was drinking a powdered vanilla protein mix that I got at a local grocery. PROTEIN POWDER!!!!!! Doesn't Company Y sell their own brand of vanilla protein powder?? After a quick search on line, I confirmed that indeed they do! And knowing what I know about the flavor industry I just knew that they had to be using ethyl vanillin to flavor it.

This is where it gets good. So the arrangements were made for someone to purchase some containers of the product from Company Y called "Pure Protein Complete" and have them shipped directly to me in unopened, untampered, sealed containers. Upon arrival the first thing I did was open the containers to smell them. Having worked as a flavor and fragrance chemist in the past as well as a perfumer I am very familiar with the odor of ethyl vanillin, has a very nice and distinct aroma/flavor of wedding cake (in my opinion). As soon as I opened the container and took the first whiff I knew, without a doubt, that this product was flavored with ethyl vanillin. But just my olfactory opinion was obviously not enough to prove anything so I had to get it into a form that I could inject on the GC. Most of the powder is non-volatile stuff that won't dissolve in anything and won't come off on the column because its too heavy. But by simply putting a few grams of the powder into some dichloromethane solvent, I knew that whatever ethyl vanillin was in the product would be easily extracted into the dichloromethane, with little else being pulled out of the mixture. As you can see from the pictures I just took a couple grams of the powder and put it into a small glass bottle, then added enough dichloromethane to cover it all, capped the bottle, shake vigorously and then put in the microwave for 15 seconds to further facilitate the extraction. Just for added measure I let the powder set in the dichloromethane for a couple of days, shaking it up at various times along the way in order to make sure I extract as much of the volatile flavor ingredients as possible into the solvent. Then, after a couple days, I simply poured the mixture through filter paper to separate all the non-dissolvable solids from the liquid extract.

Now for the money shot. I ran the resultant extract on the GC/MS and as you can see in the picture, there were two very dominant peaks in the mixture, vanillin and none other than ETHYL VANILLIN!!! No question about this result, 100% certain in the identification based on the mass spectrum, retention time and odor, this protein powder is flavored with ethyl vanillin! So Company Y and their reps, who were so vocal and adament about the supposed "toxicity" of ethyl vanillin were actually selling, promoting, and most likely using a product designed specifically for human consumption which contained the deadly ethyl vanillin!! LOL This, to me, is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Finally, let me say once again that, personally, I find nothing wrong with this protein powder and it might very well be a good product. The fact that it has ethyl vanillin in it means nothing to me other than its exactly what one would expect for such a product. But many reps from Company Y have had such fear and criticism over the the mere claim of ethyl vanillin being in the peppermint of Company D that I thought they should be aware that if they really are afraid of this "devastating poison" known as ethyl vanillin then they might want to refrain from drinking any more of their own company's protein powder as well as stop eating all vanilla ice cream, candy, gum, soda, cake, pudding, etc. that they will inevitably encounter in everyday life.

The other troubling piece of this equation is the fact that the ingredient list on this product clearly makes the claim of "natural vanilla flavor" as you can see in the last picture below. In case the reader is not aware, ethyl vanillin does not occur in nature so anytime you see it in a product its NECESSARILY from a synthetic source. Mysteriously the image of the ingredient list on the website of Company Y has now disappeared. Must be just some sort of computer glitch right?

I now open the floor to all the flat-earther's out there for the denial and rebuke!

Why a "free" Oil Can Still Be a Scam Oil ‒ April 8th, 2015
I am speaking out about this because there have been few cases worse than this in my 20 years in this industry of a company so blatantly giving the EO industry a bad name…

There is a page out there called "I Love EssentialOils" which is basically a front for a company that is selling fake essential oils. I know there are several pages called this but this one in particular is promoting a brand that is selling, in many cases, synthetic fragrance compounds and calling them 100% organic essential oils. Not only is it illegal to call a product organic without organic certification but they are also selling products are not even natural (as demonstrated by by the Honeysuckle EO analysis and more to come, if anyone has that ridiculous product called Apple EO I would love to take a look at that one!). I am not going to link to this page from here because I don't want to give them free advertisement, but they have bought themselves quite a lot of “likes” by giving away their fake junk oils.

Unfortunately they have some supporters who will defend them to the hilt despite hard evidence that these are not essential oils. And they will claim that nobody is being ripped off because many of these bottles have been given away for free (actually its in exchange for likes and positive reviews, even though not required, but most people will give a positive review when you've given them something for free, that’s another issue). As if "free" snake oil excuses one from being a snake oil salesman.

I am speaking out about this because there have been few cases worse than this in my 20 years in this industry of a company so blatantly giving the EO industry a bad name that I could not let this one go any longer. I want people to understand, that just because you give something away doesn’t necessarily mean you are not scamming. If you give someone a product that is called 100% organic essential oil and it contains large amounts of toxic chemicals like DEP then you are still committing fraud and scamming people. If people think these are truly natural and organic products, you have to know that some people are going to ingest them and put them on their skin. I hate to think of the potential for injuries here from this unethical company grossly misrepresenting its products. I would have no problem with this page if it were called “I Love Synthetic Fragrance Oils” but make no mistake about it, If you like this page, you DON’T love essential oils, they have NOTHING to do withtrue essential oils. Please unlike them immediately and share this post if you really do LOVE ESSENTIAL OILS!!!

Important Definitions Concerning Aromatic Products ‒ March 22nd, 2015
here a few important definitions that will hopefully clear up confusion for some of you…

For those new to the world of essential oils and aromatherapy here a few important definitions that will hopefully clear up confusion for some of you.

Essential Oil

Essential oils are the volatile, aromatic molecules obtained by steam or hydrodistillation of botanicals. Most essential oils are primarily composed of terpenes and their oxygenated derivatives. Different parts of the plants can be used to obtain essential oils, including the flowers, leaves, seeds, roots, stems, bark, wood, etc.

Essential oils are not really "oils" in the chemical sense of the word. The term is coined going back to the Alchemy days when basically anything that did not dissolve in water was called an oil. The alchemists believed in four basic elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water. In their search for the "elixir of life" they made many chemical discoveries and when distillation was discovered it was believed to be a process of purification and concentration of spiritual forces into the missing element, the "Quintessential" or 5th element. Alchemists distilled everything looking for the 5th element and upon distilling aromatic plants they found substances which floated on water (to them an oil) which they called the "Quintessence." In these "Essential Oils" they thought they had found the missing 5th element.

Cold-pressed citrus oils are the only exception to the distillation rule for EOs. While the pressed oils from various citrus peels are also considered to be essential oils, these are not to be confused with cold-pressed fixed or carrier oils such as olive, grapeseed, coconut etc. which are non-volatile oils composed mainly of fatty acid triglycerides. Citrus oils are the ONLY exceptions the the "EO Rule" of having to be steam distilled in order to be termed an essential oil. This is primarily because citrus oils are still mainly composed of volatile molecules. They are the only pressed oils that are still essentially (no pun intended) entirely volatile, unlike other pressed oils which contain large amounts of non-volatile molecules in them. While it may seem inconsistent to carve out this exception for citrus only to be the only non-distilled product to still be called an essential oil, this is just how the industry has historically grown up and accepted this way so we just have to deal with it and accept it to because its most likely never going to change.

It's important to note that essential oils are NEVER solvent extracted and its always incorrect to refer to an extracted product as an essential oil. Extraction, in chemistry terms, means that a solvent was used. Distillation is a fundamentally different process than extraction. This is why one of the first things I teach my students is to NEVER say that essential oils are EXTRACTED by steam distillation. Anyone caught saying this will be promptly ejected from the EOU (just kidding, but it is one of my pet peeves). The proper way to express this is to say that essential oils are OBTAINED by steam distillation.


Absolutes are solvent extracted products. They produced by a multi-step process which involves first extracting the flower (or other biomass) with a non-polar solvent such as hexane. After the hexane is evaporated a waxy product is obtained called the CONCRETE. The concrete is then extracted using a polar solvent such as ethanol. The polarity of ethanol will allow extraction of the more polar and volatile aromatics from the concrete while leaving behind the non-polar plant waxes which don’t dissolve well in ethanol. Finally, the ethanol is evaporated to leave behind the absolute which will typically have 1-5% ethanol remaining in it and sometimes a trace of hexane, depending on the method used.

CO2s or Carbon Dioxide Extracts

CO2 extracts, like absolutes, are solvent extracted products. The key difference is that the solvent in this case is simply CO2 or Carbon Dioxide (that’s right, the same stuff you exhale with every breath!). Obviously, carbon dioxide is a gas under normal atmospheric conditions, but under certain conditions of low temperature and high pressure we can actually force Carbon Dioxide to become a liquid. In the liquid phase CO2 happens to be a good solvent for extracting out the aromatic molecules from plants. Once the desired extraction is complete, you simply bring the extraction vessel to normal atmospheric conditions and the CO2 rapidly converts back to a gas and dissipates, leaving behind a very high quality aromatic product that is the true, unchanged essence of the plant and completely free of solvent. CO2 Selects - obtained at lower pressures and more closely compare to the volatility of essential oils since the less of the heavier waxy materials are extracted. CO2 Totals - Obtained at higher pressures to get out the volatiles along with the heavier molecules and plant waxes that would not be seen in essential oils. The CO2 Totals are many times solid or semi-solid in appearance.

Why I do free Analyses for the Little Guys and Why the Charlatans are Mad at Me ‒ January 31st, 2015
Most importantly people should know that I am not wanting to go on a witch hunt or try to hurt any legitimate businesses out there.…

In 1998 I left a job in industry where I was the senior chemist and only perfumer (at the time) for a medium sized well respected essential oil and fragrance company to pursue a career on my own as a consultant to the fragrance, flavor, and essential oil industries. In 1999 I started Essential Oil University ( essentialoils.org ) as a paid subscription database that was and still is the largest online database for the literature reference reports of GC/MS analyses of essential oils. In 1999 my business started transitioning because so many people who were sending me samples for testing were asking me where they could also purchase the good oils. Many of my clients could not afford to go direct to source because they only needed to purchase a few kilos here and there so I gradually started bringing in essentials oils in small bulk quantities and breaking them down into smaller quantities for my clients who wanted to get pure oil and get it from a source that they could trust would do the proper quality controls before selling it to them. I was in an ideal position to do this because not only was I testing for end users and small retailers and wholesalers in the US but I was also testing for many producers internationally so I had and extensive database of direct distillers of oils and most all of them knew me because of my analytical testing business. Because of the these relationships established as a trusted analyst these suppliers would ship oils to me without ever requiring money up front, many times they would even pay for analysis reports with oil so that I could then turn around and sell for more than I would have received for just the report alone. That first year of selling essential oils from the basement in my house I can remember we did a whopping $90,000 in sales in sizes ranging from 1 ounce to 1 kg. My first website was very rudimentary and I actually programmed the entire thing myself. It had a very crude order submission system but people were willing to put up with this crude system because they knew my reputation for quality. This was the birth of EOU as trusted source of wholesale essential oils which later blossomed into a successful business serving over 7000 customers worldwide with their wholesale essential oil needs. In the mid 2000s I realized I had to get professionals to build me a real e-commerce site so I spent over $20,000 to have a new site programmed that encompassed my growing EO Chemical Reference Database as well as an ordering system for wholesale quantities of oils all into a single site that would allow somewhat automated processing of credit card orders and accounting. To my knowledge, EOU was one of the first, if not THE first true wholesaler of essential oils, sourced directly from distillers, that was allowing online ordering with publicly accessible published prices. Even though I enjoyed my role as a wholesaler to all the mom and pop businesses out there, it was never really my intention to get into the sales of EOs and my passion was always in the analysis, research and education of essential oils and these were becoming areas I could not spend as much time in because I was having to spend so much effort on the sourcing and day to day operations of running a wholesale business. For the last three years or so of running the wholesale business I found myself loosing my passion because I was not doing what I really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to get back to my roots and that eventually I was going to have to make a change.

In 2011, I made the transition to take EOU back to its original roots as a consulting, analytical and educational company. It was at that time that www.essentialoils.org stopped all sales of essential oils and became a database only website and all the information there was then made available for free to everyone (previously it was only available to customers who were buying oils from EOU). So that I would not let down my 7000+ businesses customers who had come to rely on EOU to be their warehouse I sold off the sales division of EOU and that site continued on under a new name which is owned by my brother. In order to save money and because I had already spent $20,000 on the development of the full website I just had a programmer friend split out the database section of the old site to become the new EOU site, this is why the sites look similar in menu structure etc. (but I am going to be revamping the EOU site this year, complete with a new iPhone app for the database). Even though the sales company is owned by a family member I will not publish the name of the company because I do not advertise or endorse any companies either publicly or privately and I don't ever want to be accused of advertising for anyone. People who are familiar with this site know that I do not allow the mentioning of company names whether it be for praise or for condemnation, and doing so will most likely get you banned. I want to keep this site an advertising free zone.

Anyone who knows me knows my passion for EO analysis and research and for this industry in general. Some have said that by me doing analysis for free which can allow people to expose the scammers is just hurting the industry. I would have to disagree. Yes it does hurt the FAKE EO industry, but I believe what I am doing is actually good for the TRUE EO industry. Right now we have the situation where most people just see one industry and don't realize there is a subculture of vermin out there who will sell any bit of cheap fake crap they can get their hands on and call it an essential oil. These people don't do analysis on anything they buy and so they have no idea what they are selling. They will just buy the cheapest thing they can find that is called "melissa oil" for example, not caring if its authentic or not and then turn around and sell it a 20 times cost as the real thing. In the specific of melissa oil, for instance, these unscrupulous suppliers will purchase a cheap melissa on ebay for example for say $177/kg. Anyone in the industry knows that true melissa oil sells DIRECT FROM SOURCE at anywhere from $2500 - $3500/kg. They will then turn around and sell this "melissa" oil, which is really nothing more than compound involving synthetic citral (citral is also in melissa along with a lot of other important stuff not found in the fake oil), as true 100% therapeutic grade melissa oil. And because they bought this fake "melissa" at such cheap price they are able to turn it around and significantly undercut everyone out there selling the true melissa oil and still make a massive profit. And the mom and pop businesses out there who are buying the real stuff as well as the duped end users cannot afford to do testing on these scam oils to prove that these oils are fakes so they are left in a position of helplessness. It is for the real suppliers of essential oils out there and for the end users everywhere there that I do what I do. The mom out there who just spent $30-$40 on a bottle of melissa oil is not going to spend another $150 to have it analyzed. This is what the scammers are counting on. I am sorry but I cannot just stand by and allow this to continue. I just thought if the buyers out there who know very little about true essential oils had somewhere they could go to confirm what they are buying is real then perhaps the scammers would think twice about jumping into this industry to take advantage of easy marks. This should also make the suppliers of true oils feel better because they have a source to site on what the true oil looks like and when their competitors who are selling fake oils at drastically cheaper prices get exposed then hopefully it forces them to stop selling these products as true oils. Only through education will people be able to learn how to spot a fake. That is what keeps me going and that is why I do analyses for free to people who cannot otherwise afford it and who have been tricked into buying an oil that is cheaper than the rate direct from source.

Obviously the scammers and criminals out there who get in this to make an easy buck by selling fake synthetic crap as true EOs don't really like it too much when I publish analytical results on their garbage EOs. Even though I never name any names of suppliers on this site, these angry buyers who have been lied to and swindled out of their hard earned cash end up going back to the scammers and demanding their money back. When this happens, inevitably the scammers get mad at me and threaten me in all kinds of ways that you could never imagine. Instead of these cretins getting mad at their own suppliers they get mad at me for doing the analysis and try to say that I have an ulterior motive because I have interests in other EO companies or because my brother owns an EO company or whatever else that they can try to grasp at to discredit me instead of actually addressing whether or not the analysis is actually correct. These lowlife scammers have even tried to suggest that I would falsely say that an oil is bad just so I can send them to my brother's company and that any time I say a sample is good from any of the HUNDREDS of companies who send me samples for analysis its only because it from a company who was supplied by my brother. Hopefully all of you know that this is an attempt to trash my name because these thieves have no other recourse. They cannot actually talk about their fake oils because they have no defense there, I stand behind EVERY analysis I do. If anyone sends a sample out to another analyst (one who is reputable and actually specializes in essential oils) who comes to a different conclusion about an oil I have stated is a fake then I will reimburse you 100% of your analysis costs. I will even refer you to other EO analysts if you have any questions about my the accuracy of my assessments.

Most importantly people should know that I am not wanting to go on a witch hunt or try to hurt any legitimate businesses out there. I realize that the small companies selling mostly good oils are going to get stung once in a while with an adulterated oil because they cannot afford to analyze every batch of oil. I want those of you in this position to know that I am not out to get you, I know you are trying to do the best you can and without the budget for outside testing or in house equipment and chemists that you are at an disadvantage. You are the companies who have spent the time to educate yourselves on what the true oils cost and how to properly promote your oils. But all the education in the world will not inoculate you from getting ahold of an adulterated oil from time to time. Rest assured I am not doing free analysis for anyone on any companies oils, so don't feel like you are being targeted. The people I am targeting are the thieves who are knowingly buying cheap synthetic crap at ridiculously low prices and then selling them online as pure oils on their websites, ebay and Amazon at prices that too cheap to even be possible given the current market bulk prices. These are the people who are most severely damaging the image of our industry and they must be stopped. Until now nobody had the ability or enough desire to put money into stopping them, I am the equalizer that allows anyone to expose a scam artist selling fragrance as pure essential oils.

Finally let me say that hundreds of you out there have asked me publicly and privately where you can get the good oils and if I would recommend a good supplier to them. I hope all of you out there realize that I would love to help you, believe me I would, but I just cannot recommend a supplier to you. The only time I will do this is if there is only one unique supplier of a very difficult oil to get that cannot be purchased anywhere else, and even in those cases I am reluctant to don't generally do this for people I don't know. I have too many companies that use me for analysis and if I started recommending some companies and not others it would inevitably cause clients to become mad at me if I got into the recommendation game. Not to mention it would destroy the trust that so many have placed in me over the years to give them unbiased results. I hope some of you out there will come forward and post here and verify that whenever you ask me to put you in touch with a good supplier that I always tell you, whether its in public or in private, that I will not endorse any companies. Sometimes my own brother gets mad at me for that but I have made a commitment to never do that and to never allow advertising on this site. Sorry for this long letter, but with all the lies going around I figured I should make a statement so people would not be fooled by the liars and scammers, and especially the CONVICTED CRIMINAL posting lies about me on his website and FB page.

Thanks for all your continued support,

Dr. P

The Blue Tansy Fraud and Unethical Suppliers ‒ January 26th, 2015
If anyone tries to sell you a blue or blue-green oil that is labeled Tanacetum vulgare just know that its going to be adulterated or a completely fake product…

Buyers of blue tansy beware. There are unethical suppliers out there who are selling a "Blue Tansy" oil which has significant amounts of thujone (a known neurotoxin). But this is not the worst of it, when they are caught selling this fake, compounded oil, they are trying to convince their customers that this "Blue Tansy" was mistakenly labeled and should have been labeled Tanacetum vulgare instead of Tanacetum annuum, and because its vulgare that is why it has the thujone in it. They will claim that the product is not adulterated but was simply just a case of mistake in labeling it with the wrong species, and what they are selling is the "Vulgare" type of blue tansy. What these suppliers don't realize is that they cannot make the "honest mistake" plea because, unfortunately for them, the known chemistry of these plants won't allow for such a ridiculous claim. While it is true that Tanacetum vulgare has high thujone, the oil is NEVER blue as it contains no chamazulene. Tanacetum vulgare is NEVER CALLED BLUE TANSY!! If anyone tries to sell you a blue or blue-green oil that is labeled Tanacetum vulgare just know that its going to be adulterated or a completely fake product. The only way an oil from Tanacetum vulgare is going to be blue is if something else was added to it. Common Tansy (aka Idaho Tansy) from Tanacetum vulgare does not contain chamazulene and has a light yellow color. If your chemically challenged supplier tries convince you that Tanacetum vulgare should have chamazulene in it then you may want to enlighten him with the below research articles which examine all the various chemotypes of Tanacetum vulgare, none of which contain chamazulene.

  • J. Agric. Food Chem., 2004, 52 (6), pp 1742–1748
  • Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 29 (2001) 267-285
  • J. Nat. Prod., 1984, 47 (6), pp 964–969

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Profiles in Essential Oils Jan 2015: Blue Tansy Oil ‒ January 15th, 2015
The pleasant odor of this oil is unique and and hard to compare to any other oil, having terpenic, camphoraceous and fruity notes all occurring simultaneously…

Blue tansy essential oil is the volatile oil obtained by steam distillation of leaves, shoots and arial parts of Tanacetum annuum with an average oil yields ranging from 0.25 - 0.50% by mass. The oil is known for its relatively high chamazulene content resulting in its ink blue color, almost appearing black when the chamazulene is on the high side. The oil can start to take on a green tint with aging but remains predominantly dark blue. Commercial scale production of the oil can yield a product with chamazulene levels up to 15% but typical ranges are somewhat lower. Small laboratory distillations of just the fresh aerial parts have literature reports claiming chamazulene content as high as 38%, but these levels are never seen in the commercially produced oil.

Essentially all blue tansy for oil production is grown in the northwestern parts of Morocco, although other regions are being explored as the oil has seen record prices in 2014 due to supply shortages. The recent drastically increased demand and following supply shortfall has resulted in a significant amount of adulterated or outright fake oil on the market. Typical adulterations are found with Nepalese chamomile, regular tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) as well as with other Moroccan oils such as Moroccan artemisias (Artemisia herba alba), wild Moroccan chamomile (Omenis mixta or multicaulis) and even Atlas cedar wood oil (Cedrus atlantica). All of these adulterations are easily detected by GC/MS. Of particular concern is the adulteration with the artemesias or with common vulgare tansy which typically contain high thujone, a known neurotoxin. There should be no more than a trace of thujone in the oil of blue tansy, if any at all. It should be noted that the name "Blue Tansy Oil" is reserved only for the oil obtained from Tanacetum annuum. The oil from Tanacetum vulgare is NEVER referred to "Blue Tansy Oil" as this oil is high thujone and has no chamazulene and therefore is not blue in color. Any oil sold as Tanacetum vulgare that is blue in color and also contains significant thujone is not an authentic oil.

Blue tansy oil is often referred to in Morocco as Moroccan blue chamomile oil but this name is not preferred because of the confusion with the wild Moroccan chamomile which has vastly different chemistry and odor. The pleasant odor of this oil is unique and and hard to compare to any other oil, having terpenic, camphoraceous and fruity notes all occurring simultaneously. The oil has gained quite a following in aromatherapy circles for its therapeutic value and its easy to see the odor value of the oil from a perfumery standpoint but most perfumers are likely reluctant to formulate with the oil because of the intense blue color. Perhaps a fractionated version of the oil will one day be used in perfumery where the chamazulene has been removed (chamazulene contributes nothing to the odor).

There is currently no ISO standard for blue tansy essential oil. The EOU Standard for blue tansy essential oil is based on years of data collected from GC/MS analyses of samples from various suppliers in Morocco. The EOU Standard is simply a benchmark for quality. It is realized that natural variations can cause production of oil with components outside of these ranges and an oil with components slightly out of these ranges doesn't necessarily mean the oil has been adulterated. All of the below ranges would be considered when calculating the overall EOU Score (based on 100 points possible) for the oil being evaluated.

EOU Standard For Blue Tansy Oil

Table I. Physical Constants

Constant Value
Appearance Dark blue opaque moble liquid
Odor Camphoraceous, terpenic, fruity
Specific Gravity (20 C) 0.892 - 0.940
Refractive Index (20 C) 1.490 - 1.510
Optical Rotation (20 C) not measurable

Table II. Chemical Component Ranges (GC%)

Chemical Component Range (GC%)

*It should be noted that pulegone is almost always observed in blue tansy oil at anywhere from 1-4%. However, pulegone is not officially part of this standard yet because some samples have shown 0% pulegone content and therefore it's not certain that pulegone is actually coming from blue tansy or if some fields are contaminated with Moroccan pennyroyal. It is also possible that blue tansy is distilled right after pennyroyal harvest and the stills are not cleaned properly in between crop changeover. Since pulegone content can be up to 80% in pennyroyal, its suspected that the pulegone content in most all blue tansy oil is not actually from the blue tansy plant itself.

alpha-Pinene 1.00 - 5.00
Sabinene 1.00 - 28.00
beta-Pinene 3.50 - 10.00
Myrcene 2.50 - 15.00
alpha-Phellandrene 4.00 - 8.00
alpha-Terpinene 0.40 - 2.00
p-Cymene 2.00 - 8.00
Limonene 1.00 - 4.00
1,8-Cineole 0.30 - 2.50
gamma-Terpinene 1.00 - 3.00
Camphor 5.00 - 17.00
Borneol 1.00 - 3.50
Terpinene-4-ol 1.00 - 4.00
beta-Caryophyllene 1.00 - 3.00
Germacrene D 1.00 - 3.00
3,6-Dihydrochamazulene 1.00 - 15.00
Chamazulene 3.00 - 15.00
Profiles in Essential Oils Dec 2014: Tea Tree Oil ‒ November 27th, 2014
The EOU Standard for Tea Tree Oil shown below is a bit more strict than the ISO standard which was last updated in 2004…

Tea tree oil is the volatile oil obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia with an average oil yield of about 1% by mass (but can range from 0.5-3%). Tea tree has been successfully cultivated in Guatemala, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Vietnam, China and Australia. Australian tea tree oil is the largest in terms of production and considered by most to be the highest quality oil in the world. Due to growing demand many suppliers are adulterating Australian tea tree oil with inferior Chinese tea tree oil which is chemically very similar but can bet detected, even at low levels of adulteration, based on experienced odor evaluation, chiral GC/MS testing and Optical Rotation measurements.

Tea tree oil is often referred to as simply Melaleuca oil although this name is not really desirable among EO educators and aficionados because of the fact that there are several different Melaleuca species which are relevant to the essential oil and aromatherapy markets. Melaleuca quinquenervia (Niaouli), Melaleuca cajeputi (Cajeput) and Melaleuca ericifolia (Rosalina) to name a few are just some of the Melaleuca genus that are involved in EO production which is why referring to Tea Tree oil as Melaleuca oil is not desirable as this would only add further confusion in a industry where confusion abounds.

The EOU Standard for Tea Tree Oil shown below is a bit more strict than the ISO standard which was last updated in 2004 (ISO 4730:2004(E)) so any oil passing the EOU standard will also meet ISO specs. It should also be noted that the EOU standard monitors more components than the ISO standard and is FREE to everyone (ISO standards are only available to purchase for $60 each and cannot be shared). The EOU Standard is simply a benchmark for quality. It is realized that natural variations can cause truly natural oils to have specifications outside of these ranges but these ranges would have to be adhered to before EOU would approve any sample for purchase for any of its clients. All of the below ranges would be considered when calculating the overall EOU Score (based on 100 points possible) for the oil being evaluated.

EOU Standard For Tea Tree Oil

Table I. Physical Constants

Constant Value
Appearance Colorless to pale yellow mobile oil
Odor Terpenic with slighty camphoraceous and sweet cineolic notes and spicy/peppery dryout.
Specific Gravity (20 C) 0.887 - 0.905
Refractive Index (20 C) 1.4750 - 1.4810
Optical Rotation (20 C) +8 to +15
Flashpoint avg 59 deg C closed cup

Table II. Chemical Component Ranges (GC%)

Chemical Component Range (GC%)
alpha-Pinene 1.00 - 5.00
Sabinene 0.10 - 3.00
alpha-Terpinene 6.00 - 13.00
Limonene 0.50 - 1.50
p-Cymene 0.50 - 5.00
1,8-Cineole 0.01 - 5.00
gamma-Terpinene 15.00 - 25.00
Terpinolene 2.00 - 5.00
Terpinene-4-ol 33.00 - 47.00
alpha-Terpineol 2.00 - 5.00
beta-Caryophyllene 0.10 - 1.00
Aromadendrene 0.10 - 3.00
Viridiflorene (Ledene) 0.50 - 3.00
Bicyclogermacrene 0.50 - 3.00
delta-Cadinene 0.50 - 3.00
Globulol 0.01 - 1.00
Viridiflorol 0.01 - 1.00

Table III. Enantiomeric Distribution of Key Chiral Components as Determined by Chiral GC/MS

Chemical Component D L
Terpinen-4-ol 68-72% 32-28%
The EOU Score for Essential Oils ‒ November 23rd, 2015
I have not seen this type of scoring system anywhere else and its something I think will be appreciated by my customers…

With all the different "grades" of oils out there from the different companies it seems we are now to the point these grades only mean something the reps of the company touting the grade, thus causing a lot of fighting and bickering as to which "grade" is the best. So with the grade concept having basically no universal appeal my clients have recently been asking me to just score the oils that I analyze for them on a 100 point scale. So I had to figure out a way to encompass aspects of the oil into the calculation of what I call the EOU Score for an oil. This score is based on a combination of the odor, chemistry and physical constants of the oil and breaks down as follows:

Table I. Enantiomeric Distribution of Key Chiral Components as Determined by Chiral GC/MS

Aspect Value
GC/MS detailed chemical breakdown 40 points
Organoleptic properties (odor/flavor) 30 points
Optical Rotation (OR) 10 points
Refreactive Index (RI) 10 points
Specific Gravity (SG) 10 points

The sum of these will give rise to the EOU Score for the oil.

The GC/MS part for the scoring will also involve chiral GC/MS where applicable and I look at how well the oil adheres to the broader ISO standard as well as our own EOU standards for each oil which are more rigorous. Depending on how much each of the key component (and by key component I don't just mean major components, there are many minor key components as well that have to be monitored) are out of range will determine how many points are docked for that section. Likewise if any of the physical constants are out of range it would also reduce the score accordingly.

Going forward, any company hiring EOU to analyze an oil for them can request the full battery of tests and have an EOU Score assigned to their oil, but only oils that go through all the tests can be eligible for the score. I will show some examples of some oils that have been scored this way soon. Would like to know everyone's feedback and opinions concerning this kind of scoring system.

I realize that the EOU Score will involve subjective elements that are unavoidable and so I realize this type of system is not for everyone. This is just how I will score the oils for my various clients, not trying to say this should be any sort of universal standard. If you don't like it thats OK, but people who hire me to evaluate an oil always want me to comment on the odor quality and in my opinion the odor is of equal importance to the chemistry, I cannot put one above the other in terms of importance. Furthermore, please realize the odor is evaluated within the oils own frame of reference, you have to compare apples to apples, species to species. Most people don't consider tea tree to be as good of an odor as lavender oil but a tea tree oil can still get a score of 35 in odor evaluation based on how it compares to other tea tree oils on the market. Likewise you would not compare Virginia cedar wood to Atlas cedar or to western red cedar (Giant Arborvitae), they are all different species and can only be compared like with like. In addition, the odor score has nothing to do with whether or not I personally like the odor of an oil. Lemongrass is disgusting to me but I am still able to discern a good quality lemongrass from a bad quality, the best quality lemongrass is tolerable compared to the other lemongrass oils and the very best would get a 35 on the odor score because its the best COMPARED TO OTHER LEMONGRASS OILS.

Lastly, I realize everyone has opinions, but please realize I am basing my opinions of odor evaluation on 20 years experience in professionally evaluating hundreds of different species of oils from all over the world and a library of tens of thousands of samples, not to mention experience working as a perfumer in industry. So yes there is definitely a subjective component but I do have sort of a unique position in the industry, from both the aromatherapy side as well as the fragrance side, from which to base my opinions. In the end it all boils down to whose opinion do you trust anyway. Customers who use me want my opinion in the report and this is just the best way to go about giving my opinion in a somewhat systematic approach. I have not seen this type of scoring system anywhere else and its something I think will be appreciated by my customers to give a give numerical score to their oils which can help them in making buying decisions in the future.

Dr. P

Are Your Essential Oils Permeable? ‒ October 31st, 2014
Permeability is not a characteristic that is applicable to an essential oil…

Someone recently asked me if a certain brand of essential oils was "permeable" like the brand that their MLM was selling. At first I was confused and then thought maybe I just heard them wrong and so I asked them to repeat the question. Low and behold I did hear them correctly the first time and my only response was "Permeable???? You might as well ask me if the oils have fairies in them."

Permeability is not a characteristic that is applicable to an essential oil. The definition of permeability is as follows:

capable of being permeated : penetrable; especially : having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through

Cell membranes are permeable, not essential oils. The question seems to be part of a marketing ploy and one that's not really well thought through. Apparently no one is really contemplating the absurdness of the semantics. In order for something to be permeable, or semi-permeable as in cell membranes, there has to be some kind of barrier that will allow particles or molecules of a certain size through the membrane while blocking out objects of anything larger than the "holes" in the membrane. To say an essential oil is permeable is a ridiculous statement because it would be the OBJECT of what is being permeated.

But if a certain brand wants to say that their essential oils are capable of PERMEATING cell membranes in the body, well, thats really not a point of differentiation between a good oil and a bad oil because if a particular oil is capable of permeating anything then ANY brand of that particular oil would also be capable of permeating that same thing, regardless of the quality. So, for example, if your research says that brand A lavender oil permeates a particular cell then so would brands B, C and D, as long as those brands are also lavender oil. In fact, the ability to permeate a membrane is really only a function of molecular size and so you would not even have to have actual lavender oil to demonstrate the same permeability. As you may know, linalool and linalyl acetate make up about 70-80% of true lavender, depending on origin. You could literally take an equal part mixture of linalool and linalyl acetate, from synthetic or natural sources, and show the same or better level of cell membrane permeability. Assuming such permeability occurs at all (another issue altogether).

In short, the permeability of a cell membrane to essential oil molecules is not a function of the quality of an oil but a function of the size and shape of the molecule trying to permeate the membrane. Not only is this marketing tag line absurd when you consider its current grammatical form, but even when you give the originators the benefit of the doubt on their questionable linguistic skills it still doesn't matter because the issue of cell permeability has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with essential oil quality.

As annoying as stuff like this is, at least it gives people with a reasonable amount of critical thinking ability a way to weed out the EO zombies who are trying to sell to them products with scientific sounding terms without ever understanding what they are saying in the first place. So let this tag line be a red flag to anyone who is cornered by an aggressive glassy-eyed rep trying to sell you with claims like "our essential oils are the best because they are permeable!" When you hear this you know to run the other way, regardless of what company is making this claim.

Wintergreen and Birch ‒ November 25th, 2014
wintergreen oil is a perfect replacement for birch oil as they are chemically almost identical, both consisting of 99%+ methyl salicylate…

True birch oil has very low production anymore and can be quite difficult to find. As a result, many people have been asking me about alternatives. Most of you may already know, but for those who don't, wintergreen oil is a perfect replacement for birch oil as they are chemically almost identical, both consisting of 99%+ methyl salicylate. But an interesting tidbit that you may not know about these oils is that the methyl salicylate is not actually in either of these plants. The wintergreen leaves and the birch bark have to be soaked in warm water for many hours in order to liberate the methyl salicylate through a chemical reaction, only then can the methyl salicylate be distilled. The fact is that many essential oil plants have components that form during processing or during the actual steam distillation process as well as other components that get destroyed. Another example of how essential oils, while naturally derived, are not natural products, they still require man made processes to isolate them and during these processes reactions occur making the EO different than the original oil that was in the plant. Just something that people should realize, especially the natural purists out there that think anything man made is bad. Lets not forget that without man, there is no essential oil.

What is NOT an Essential Oil Analysis Report ‒ October 4th, 2014
It's basically the supplier saying to his customer "I know you don't know anything about the chemistry of essential oils and all you need is a piece of paper that looks scientific…

It always baffles me when my clients say they ask their suppliers for an analysis report and the supplier responds to them with a simple chromatogram like the one above. In case you are confused lets be perfectly clear, THIS IS NOT AN EO ANALYSIS REPORT. This is a "report" that either an ignorant supplier representative is just passing along because he doesn't know enough about analysis of essential oils himself to know what a true report looks like, or else its one sent by a supplier who has complete and utter contempt for his customer. The latter is usually the case. It's basically the supplier saying to his customer "I know you don't know anything about the chemistry of essential oils and all you need is a piece of paper that looks scientific to make you feel good about the oil I am selling you and you will go off and tell all your friends how wonderful and transparent I am as a supplier." This may seem harsh but sadly its true and happens many times in our industry.

What's even more baffling to me is how often the customer accepts this as some kind of meaningful data! Perhaps you are one who has settled for such a response from a supplier? Did you ever ask yourself why you were ok with it? Was the supplier right about you? Did you just need a piece of paper to feel good and no need to actually understand the piece of paper? Maybe you did want to understand it and just felt intimidated to ask questions or didn't want to look stupid by admitting your confusion. Well I am here to tell you that you should not feel stupid at all if you didn't understand it. I have spent almost 20 years of my life analyzing essential oils on a daily basis and if a supplier sent me a "report" like that I would not be able to understand it either!! You see, a chromatogram alone is nothing but a series of meaningless lines on a graph, it could be any chromatogram of any oil for all you know. The peaks on the graph simply represent relative abundance of a chemical component (the vertical or Y-axis) graphed as a function of Time in minutes (the horizontal or X-axis). But the graph alone doesn't tell you what the peaks are or their concentration in the oil, which is the only way to make any kind of judgement on the quality of the oil.

In short, without a table to identify the component that each peak stands for along with the percentage that each peak is present in the mixture then the supplier representative may just as well sent you a graph of his monthly drug testing analysis! And if your among those who think "well at least my supplier gives me something, thats more than other suppliers do" well then theres nothing I can do to help you with that because you see, your need to feel good surpasses your need for understanding. With a report like this in your hands you may feel good, but any thinking person can see that you have ABSOLUTELY no more understanding about the oil in question than you would from the supplier who gives you no report at all. And at least the supplier who doesn't provide any report at all doesn't have contempt for your intelligence!

What are You Proving When you Dissolve Styrofoam with Lemon Oil? ‒ June 25th, 2014
Anyone who understands anything about anatomy and chemistry knows how silly this demonstration is…

Basically you are proving that hydrocarbons like limonene (about 60-70% in lemon oil) are good organic solvents and like all good organic solvents they easily dissolve styrofoam. Gasoline, turpentine, kerosone, diesel fuel and nail polish remover will all do the same thing, so what? This demonstration proves NOTHING about the ability of lemon oil to "detox" your body of hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, etc. Sort of silly to say this when your actually ingesting hydrocarbons (i.e. the lemon oil) to eliminate hydrocarbons? Please don't be offended if you happen to be one of those who has used this demo yourself, I am posting this to help you not look foolish to people who might actually know something about essential oils and chemistry. Undoubtedly some will be offended and "un-like" my page because of this but before you go away with your feathers ruffled think about it like this: If you had toilet paper trailing from you after leaving a public restroom would you want your friend to tell you about it or just let you walk around and let everyone laugh at you? And do you get mad at your friend for pointing out the situation to save you further embarrassment or do you thank him? I hope you will be the type of person who will not shoot the messenger and be thankful for someone who cares enough about you to tell you the truth.

Lemon oil is almost entirely composed of monoterpenes which are hydrocarbons (the primary one being limonene) and as such the lemon oil, and citrus oils in general, are very good non-polar organic solvents. What this means is that they are excellent at dissolving other non-polar organic molecules (like dissolves like). Monoterpenes are not just good at dissolving petrochemicals, they dissolve MANY organic chemicals from many different sources. Citrus oils in general are just very good organic solvents. This is why things like lemon oil are used in furniture/wood cleaners and polishes, orange oils in mechanic shop cleaners (Fast Orange) and limonene in things like Goo Gone etc. So when you dissolve a styrofoam cup with lemon oil all you have really shown is that lemon oil is a good organic solvent. No surprise here, its not really something to promote, seriously. I mean, if you take gasoline and put in a styrofoam cup it will do the same thing, but you don't recommend taking gasoline internally, at least I hope you don't LOL. I am not saying it's going to kill you to put ONE DROP lemon in your water from time to time. What I am saying that using the dissolving styrofoam cup demo as the REASON to put a drop of lemon in your water is like saying that because cyanide kills cancer cells that you should use cyanide for anti-cancer treatments.

I am not even getting into the issue of whether or not lemon oil is or isn't detoxing. I am just commenting on the ridiculousness of the dissolving cup demo only, that's it. Anyone who understands anything about anatomy and chemistry knows how silly this demonstration is. To use the fact that lemon oil will dissolve a styrofoam cup to somehow demonstrate that lemon oil is good inside your body for "detoxing" is not really the best use of a demonstration, and in fact, I would argue that it could be interpreted negatively. I mean lets face it, these excellent organic solvents known as essential oils are not only good at dissolving petrochemicals they will also dissolve mucous membranes in the body, this is why you don't want to get the oils in your eyes for example. This is also why they have a drying effect on the skin, they dissolve body oils (which is one of many reasons why its better to use a carrier oil with EOs on the skin). To say that lemon oil just targets the petrochemicals in your body and doesn't dissolve anything else is just plain silliness.

So please, from one friend to another, take the toilet paper off your shoe and hopefully you don't get mad at me for bringing it to your attention.

The Definition of an Essential Oil and Why Wikipedia is Wrong ‒ June 15th, 2014
It is a "living" resource that is constantly changing and improving but will NEVER be 100% correct by its very nature…

First let me say that I have nothing against Wikipedia, it is a great resource that is mainly correct but still has areas that need correcting. It is a "living" resource that is constantly changing and improving but will NEVER be 100% correct by its very nature. Once such area that needs to be corrected is in the definition of the term Essential Oil. The term Essential Oil has a very specific meaning in the industry and for good reason. The term has a deep and rich historical background which one should first be familiar with.

The term "essential oil" actually goes back to the days of the Alchemists in the Middle Ages. Alchemists searching for the "elixir of life" and "the philosophers stone" made many chemical discoveries. In the Hippocratic system of medicine it was said that the four temperaments, nervous (hyper), sanguine (cheerful), lymphatic (slothful), and bilious (grouchy) correspond to the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water and that disease is due to an imbalance of these elements. Thus rheumatoid arthritis, a waterycondition, should be treatable with heat (or the fire element) as a remedy to the water imbalance. Once distillation was discovered it became a symbol of purification and concentration of spiritual forces into the missing element, the "Quintessential" or 5th element. Alchemists distilled everything looking for the 5th element and quite often blew themselves up in the process! Once they started hydro distilling aromatic plants they found "oils" which separated from the water after the distillate was condensed (they aren't actually oils but in the days of the Alchemist anything that separated from water was called an oil). They called this oil the "Quintessence" because they thought they had found the missing 5th element. Since this "Quintessence" was thought to be an oil, the term "essential oil" eventually evolved because it was believed that this "oil" was "essential" to life.

Because of this history its important to realize what can legitimately be called an essential oil. Some have said here that its only just a matter of semantics and that I am being too picky about what is allowed to be called an essential oil. But what they fail to realize is that there is a practical side as well concerning what we allow to be called an essential oil. There are very good reasons to make the distinction and strictly define essential oils as only those volatile products obtained by steam or hydro-distillation with the only exception being the citrus oils which are mainly cold pressed (but can also be distilled, the point is they are volatile and no solvent is used, only mechanical process).

In the fragrance, flavor and aromatherapy industries there are basically two processes of obtaining volatile aromatic products, distillation and extraction. They are very different processes and its important to understand why its not correct to mix the terms. Most essential oil production uses steam to liberate the volatile oil from the plant. The plant never comes into contact with any solvents during a distillation process. In an extraction process the oil is pulled out from the plant material by chemical solvents. Its critical to realize the difference between the two methods because if one refers to a solvent extracted product as an essential oil he would be misleading his customer and the method of production is important because of what is expected by the industry. People in the industry, especially in the aromatherapy field, who are knowledgeable about essential oils are looking for products that have not been in contact with chemical solvents. When solvents are used there are always solvent residues left in the product after production. For example, jasmine is never commercially produced by distillation because the flower does not lend itself to production this way (for several reasons which I won't go into here). The primary method is by a two step solvent extraction process to obtain what is called jasmine absolute. Absolutes are made by first extracting the flowers with hexane or similar non-polar hydrocarbon solvent which pulls out not only the volatile aromatics but also the heavier plant waxes as well. After the hexane is evaporated you are left with a soft semi solid mass called the "concrete." The concrete can be sold as is but will always have some residual hexane (or similar) solvent in it. The concrete can also be further extracted with ethanol to pull out all of the more polar aromatic components and leaving behind the non-polar waxes (the floral wax by product is also sold). When the ethanol is evaporated the more polar aromatic components are concentrated into what is called the absolute, which, depending on the plant, can have a consistency like an essential oil, but typically also includes heavier components that do not come out in distillation. The absolute will generally will contain some residual ethanol (maybe only 1 % or so but can be higher if not evaporated well) and can even contain some residual hexane, but if done properly no hexane will be detectable.

These extracted products like Absolutes, Concretes, Florasols, CO2s, etc. are not called essential oils in the industry because of the method they are produced and because they generally contain solvent residues (CO2 as a residue is obviously not a concern but the chemistry of the CO2 product will still be different than the essential oil). Most buyers, when looking for essential oils, don't want products with solvent residues or that have ever come into contact with solvents which is why its improper to refer to absolutes or other extracted products as essential oils. Most everyone in industry only recognizes essential oils as products produced by steam or hydro-distillation (with the exception of cold pressed citrus oils).

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in their Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2) defines an essential oil as a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase. This may seem to be overly picky or just semantics to the new user of essential oils but I can tell you with certainty that those who are in this field are very strict on what they allow to be called an essential oil and if you don't understand this difference you will come off as ignorant to them and you will lose credibility.

So please, don't shoot the messenger here, I did not make the rules, I am only reporting them! If you don't believe me just do your research. Hopefully I can get Wikipedia to change their definition, we will see.

Essential Oils and Refrigeration ‒ May 27th, 2014
For most oils refrigeration is not necessary but can't hurt…

For most oils refrigeration is not necessary but can't hurt. With the blue oils you definitely should refrigerate if you want to slow the oxidation process and keep the blue color as long as possible. Chamazulene is what causes the blue color and when it oxidizes it will cause the oil to become green. When this happens it doesn't mean the oil is necessarily bad but just a sign that some of the chamazulene has reacted with air. My general rule of thumb is basically "if the oil smells good, it is good" LOL. You can also extend the lifetime of citrus oils by refrigeration as limonene and monoterpenes in general are susceptible to oxidation. When limonene oxide forms in a citrus oil you will know it, even a very small amount will cause a foul odor. The biggest enemy to the oils by far is oxygen. Keeping low amount of airspace in the bottle is crucial to preservation for long periods. If possible, you definitely want to change to a smaller container before the bottle is half empty. If you refrigerate a half empty bottle it may slow the oxidation process but it will not protect against it, the oxygen in the bottle will still react with the oil, just at a slower rate. Don't put the oils in the freezer because some of them have components that will crystalize out. Many times when components crystalize out at the bottom of an oil the person doesn't notice it then pours off the liquid on the top which won't be representative of what the total chemistry of the oil should be. To make matters worse, the oil left at the bottom will now be abnormally high in the crystalized component after some of the liquid is poured off, so even after you warm it back up and get it liquid, its chemistry will not be right. So its not really the freezing of the oil itself that is the biggest concern but the resulting changes in the relative percentages of key components that result if a person uses a partially frozen oil before its all brought back to room temperature and thoroughly re-mixed.

Peppermint Oil and Ethyl Vanillin ‒ May 17th, 2014
So I guess it comes down to a matter of trust and who one chooses to believe on this issue…

Since so many people have asked me to comment on this I figured I would take some time to put to rest any misinformation that’s been floating around out there, since this directly calls into question my results and abilities. First, I wanted to publish the full GC/MS analysis of the early 2013 lot of doTerra peppermint reported on which was claimed to have contained a trace of ethyl vanillin (see figure 1).

As you can see from the report in which we looked at everything down to 0.01%, there is no finding of ethyl vanillin in the oil, despite what was claimed on certain other websites. So I guess it comes down to a matter of trust and who one chooses to believe on this issue. Before making that decision on who to believe however, it would at least be prudent for one to become educated about many aspects of the report which claims to have found ethyl vanillin. There are several things I think that people who are not familiar with EO analysis should consider when evaluating my report versus that of the other lab:

1. Essential Oil University uses the very latest GC/MS technology on two state of the art instruments (getting ready to purchase a third very soon) including one instrument for dedicated chiral analysis. Our primary instrument is a Shimadzu GCMS QP2010 Ultra which has quite a bit more sensitivity than the much older 5890 series Agilent instrument used by the other lab. In addition to greater sensitivity, the Shimadzu instrument is well known by those of us familiar with both Shimadzu and Agilent, to give more quantitatively accurate MS results than the Agilent 5890 series. In my initial report on this oil I only included 30 or so components from an auto-generated quick report because those components are typically the ones most customers are interested in for peppermint oil. People had made accusations that somehow my methods were not as good because I could only see 30 components, but that was not the case at all. In that initial report we intentionally did the cutoff for the 30 typical main components. In this report we expand the report out to look at everything down to 0.01% which gets us to 60 or so components. We could expand the report out to the 0.001% level but we still see no ethyl vanillin. In addition, we don’t typically report on components out to 0.001% because most people in this industry realize that the accuracy of the identifications on trace components pulled from the MS library are considerably less than 100% certain, even when searched on components at 0.1% or less, let alone ones pulled from 0.01% or less. An analyst can certainly report what his MS is identifying at say 0.07% but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a high degree of certainty in what the library is assigning as the component ID.

2. At EOU we use the industry standard non-polar DB5 column for most applications. There is a reason that DB5 is the standard and its because it gives the best separation and best overall results for essential oils. It is not known why the other lab chooses to use the older polar carbowax type column (in this case HP Innowax). When this column is used it makes it impossible to really compare with the results of other reputable labs because the retention order of the components is drastically different than on the non-polar DB5 column. Perhaps non-uniformity with other labs is intentional, making comparison difficult and not subjecting oneself to scrutiny over potentially misidentified components or perhaps its just inexperience. But there is no question that DB5 or similar non-polar is the column of choice for essential oil analysis.

3. The other lab used a dilution of peppermint in hexane which means there is just one more variable introduced along the way for the possibility of trace contamination to occur. When solvents are used they are typically pulled from a large container used over and over again and over long periods of time the solvent inevitably becomes contaminated with trace components which is why when reporting on trace elements, careful measures have to me made to insure that the source is not secondary contamination.

4. In addition to our own custom component library with thousands of components specific to essential oils and fragrances created by running pure authentic component samples, EOU also uses the latest commercial libraries for its component identifications including the latest Wiley library with over 400,000 mass spectra. The other lab used an older NIST library with only 75,000 mass spectra for its source of identification of the components. Furthermore, most people in the industry realize the severe short comings of the government sponsored NIST library which has a considerable number of errors in it.

5. The chain of custody on the reported peppermint of the other lab is HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE. The lab report does not even state a doTerra lot number, and in fact, the report does not even claim the sample is a doTerra oil. The name of the file for the analysis was HARRIS/MPDT8952. This means the sample, if indeed actually was originally a doTerra oil, was transferred to another bottle and re-labeled. This gives yet another point of potential contamination, again assuming that the sample actually was a doTerra oil initially. The lab who did the report would not, and indeed could not, claim on the report that this was a doTerra oil because they know they could not verify it as such. A prime example of the complete incompetence in the sampling process can be demonstrated by viewing her own videos on youtube. Back when Lea Harris sent me samples of Myrrh oil for analysis from various companies she clearly records in this video ( http://youtu.be/1u-E6Wknw5A ) that the Young Living sample is #1 and doTerra is #5. But when you go to the site where she reports the results she lists doTerra as #1 and Young Living as #5 ( http://www.nourishingtreasures.com/index.php/2013/04/17/essential-oils-testing-and-the-results-are-in/ ). In my opinion none of the testing results on any site controlled by Lea Harris can be trusted, not because of the labs used but because of her own incompetence in the sample preparation process.

6. The component percentages do not match the percentages that we get and that we have confirmed with other labs for this lot of oil. For example, they report a menthol content of only 42%. I can tell you I have never seen a doTerra lot of peppermint oil with that low of menthol content. The lot in question was closer to 48% menthol which is in line with what doTerra menthol levels consistently run in their peppermint oil, at least all the samples they have sent me for analysis.

7. Finally, its entirely possible that the ethyl vanillin peak claimed to be present at only 0.07% was actually a misidentification of another trace component of peppermint oil that perhaps the analyst did not consider. Ethyl vanillin has molecular weight of 166 and when its in pure form in reasonable concentration it has the mass spectrum shown in Figure 2. Note the main mass fragments of ethyl vanillin are at 166, 137, 138, 109 and 81. Consider also that this is the mass spectrum when ethyl vanillin is in pure form with no interference from other co-eluting components, as can happen in complex mixtures. When extremely dilute and when other components are co-eluting this spectrum can be altered. Now take a look at the mass spectra of a naturally occurring trace peppermint oil component called iso-mint lactone, a little known component of mint oil (Figure 3). As you can see, iso-mint lactone contains the same main mass fragments at 166, 137, 138, 109 and 81. Again this is the spectrum for the pure component with no interference from other co-eluting components. When in extreme dilution or when interference with other components in a complex mixture occurs (like in essential oils) this spectrum can look different in its relative peak intensities. Furthermore, the retention time of iso-mint lactone is almost exactly the same as ethyl vanillin!! Its entirely possible that the other lab mistakenly identified iso-mint lactone as ethyl vanillin in such a dilute concentration. Even an experienced analyst could make this mistake. The analyst of the other lab identified mint lactone but does not list its cousin iso-mint lactone and most likely does not have this mass spectrum in his library and even if it were there, confusion of the computer between two similar mass spectra happens all the time, especially when you are looking at components in such small concentration.

In conclusion, its not really known exactly what could have happened with the claims of ethyl vanillin in the peppermint sample but all I can say is that we have never seen ethyl vanillin in any sample of doTerra peppermint oil here at EOU and there are enough questionable practices and motives by the sites publishing these ridiculous results to doubt their accuracy. But as I have always said from the very beginning, if all you can find wrong with an oil is a HIGHLY SUSPECT trace amount of a commonly used, non-toxic flavor ingredient that, if it were actually in there (not believed to be the case), then you are really reaching anyway, especially when I can find way worse and highly toxic components and at higher levels in many of the mint oil samples sold by other companies, particularly in spearmint oil (see committing Adultery Chapter 3 on this FB page).


  1. You will never see me say COMPANY X has the best oils in the world.
  2. You will never see me recommend any companies so please don't ask me publicly or privately whose oils you should use.
  3. You will never see me offer an oil for sale unless its something I have distilled myself for charity (EOU does not sell oils either so please don't ask me how you can buy oils from me).
  4. You will never see me tell people how to use the oils use the oils to cure cancer, blindness, deafness, scoliosis, or other nonsense. I am sure you can find yourself a charismatic charlatan with a Messiah complex who will take advantage of your desperation and fill your head with misinformation if that's what your looking for, but it's not here. You will never see me say I use COMPANY X's blend to help with this or that ailment. Its fine to share how you use the oils but name dropping will be considered advertising and could get you banned.

Since I own this page and you won't see me doing these things here, do you think its a good idea for you to be doing them? Probably not.

Follow the rules, or get banned. That is all.

Colored Glass Bottles and Essential Oils ‒ February 13th, 2014
truth is that most essential oils are photochemically inactive in the visible region but do have some reactivity in the ultra-violet (UV) region…

Many people ask me all the time if its really necessary for essential oils to be stored in colored glass bottles. My preference is to store the oils in clear glass because color analysis is important to me and I want to be able to clearly see the color of the oil. The truth is that most essential oils are photochemically inactive in the visible region but do have some reactivity in the ultra-violet (UV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since UV light of high enough energy to cause photochemical reactions in most organic molecules is absorbed (not transmitted) by normal glass, regardless of color, most of the time it really makes little difference if the oils are in clear, brown, blue, green, purple or whatever color glass. Of course there are a few exceptions, as with the chamazulene containing oils (blue chamomile, blue yarrow, blue tansy, etc.) that you would not want to store in colorless bottles for long periods under heavy lighting conditions. This is because chamazulene has strong absorption in the VISIBLE region of the spectrum (thus the intense dark blue color of these oils) and so it is the lower energy visible light and not just UV light that can significantly effect these oils. As a general rule, if the liquid is intensely colored then thats telling you that there is significant activity in the visible region and normal light can effect the product since clear glass is obviously transparent to all frequencies of the visible spectrum.

But even so, photochemical degradation is not really the biggest threat to essential oils. Of more concern is thermal degradation and reaction with oxygen, these are the biggest enemies of essential oils in general. For this reason you should really be more concerned about refrigerating oils like citrus and the chamazulene containing oils because they are more susceptible to thermal degradation than other oils. Furthermore, since oxygen plays a big role in decomposition, you should keep airspace in the oil to a minimum. I recommend as a general rule that once the oil container is half full then its time to transfer the oil to a smaller bottle, this will significantly extend the useful life of the oil. If you want to see how air affects oils then try putting some orange or grapefruit oil in a bottle and only filling it about 1/10 the way full. Come back to the oil about 6 months later and dip a scent strip in the oil to evaluate it and you will notice a drastic difference in the odor. Many times viscosity will also change because the oxygen can cause polymerization reactions making the oil a thicker consistency.

So, in summary, if you just take extra measures to keep the airspace to a minimum and the temperature at 75 or below (even lower in the case of citrus and other oils more susceptible to thermal decomposition) then you can keep the oils smelling nicer for longer periods as well as extend their effectiveness and these two things will contribute far more the preserving the oil than any colored bottle will do.

Aromatherapy United: Good intentions but is the FDA really the answer? ‒ October 27th, 2013
Have we not yet learned our lessons about the federal government involvement in our lives, especially in light of what is going on right now concerning Obamacare…

I recently banned a lady on from this Facebook page for violating my "no spamming" policy and using the traffic on this site to promote another website. But after reading the site I think I must call everyone's attention to the protest site over at www.aromatherapyunited.org. While this site may have the best of intentions, unfortunately the world does not operate on intentions and at some point we have to consider the results of our actions and look ahead to the unintended consequences that can arise from "good intentions." The reason I am bringing attention to this site is because I am hoping people will weigh in their opinions and carefully consider the likely result of supporting such an effort. On this site its primary goal is stated as follows: "Our first project is to start an online petition to gather signatures, which will be presented to the FDA and the FTC in the form of a formal complaint against the companies and their distributors/salespeople – named and unnamed – who are violating the laws and risking the health of their customers and putting the future of Aromatherapy in jeopardy." Anyone who knows me knows that I have been a supporter and advocate for the aromatherapy community for many years and have contributed a lot of time and free information to those who have a passion in this area. So this is why I have decided to draw attention to the Aromatherapy United website. Not because I believe in what they are doing but because I greatly fear the unintended consequences of what they are doing.

I totally agree that irresponsible behavior of quite a few representatives of MLM and even some non-MLM companies needs to be addressed and that some of the usage methodologies they promote can be dangerous and risk government intervention into this alternative field of therapy that we have all enjoyed for many decades in this country. But I personally believe that a petition to the FDA is an even a greater risk of losing our freedoms and access to essential oils and our abilities to use them without Big Brother dictating and regulating this last bastion of our health. I mean isn't the whole point of aromatherapy to be able to use what God has given as an alternative to the massively expensive and inefficient frankenstein we have created known as the American Healthcare System? Have we not yet learned our lessons about the federal government involvement in our lives, especially in light of what is going on right now concerning Obamacare? Have we not learned that when government bureaucrats get involved with most anything that we usually end up being sorry in the end? Does anyone remember the famous promise "Anyone who is happy with their current insurance plan can keep it" and do they really believe it now that the "Affordable Healthcare Act" is coming to fruition? I know of several people who are being forced onto other, more expensive plans because of the enforcement of this law. If you haven't seen your plan change yet, just wait, you will and you are almost certain be paying more. For example, I know an elderly couple whose premiums have skyrocketed and their deductibles doubled because they are now being required to cover conditions, like maternity, that they will never need!! This will be happening to all of us because of the forced mandates that this law is implementing on the insurance industry in the name of "fairness." But I think we are all finding out that the "Affordable Healthcare Act" will be anything but fair and its definitely not going to be AFFORDABLE, at least not to people who where paying their own way to begin with. Not only this but the federal government is so incompetent that they cannot even get the websites for enrollment up and running so if you don't have insurance and you cannot get enrolled because morons can't implement a functioning website well, guess what, your going to be paying a fine! Thank you federal government, you always make our lives so much easier!!

In summary, do we really want this kind of incompetence and bureaucracy getting involved with aromatherapy? I think the people behind the Aromatherapy United site have just not thought this through. Aromatherapy is an ALTERNATIVE to the system. Why do we want the very SYSTEM that its an alternative to to be involved with regulating it? I just don't understand the logic here, a petition to the Federal Government, REALLY? We need to stop being sheep looking to the government to be our nanny and start taking care of ourselves and use other means to convince those who are doing dangerous things to stop what they are doing. We do this through education and logical persuasion, not through government coercion. Will we ever be able to stop EVERYONE from doing unsafe practices? Of course not, no more than we can stop people from bungee jumping, sky diving or any other dangerous behavior. I my humble opinion, involving the FDA here would be the WORST possible thing that could happen. You think oils are expensive now, just wait until you get the FDA involved in regulating ALL sales of essential oils in addition to having to deal with all the ridiculous regulations that Europe is now dealing with. People, lets just think a little bit before we act can we? It's time to wake up. Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. Why do we keep doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different outcome? So again, while intentions may be perfectly honorable, we have to look at the unintended consequences. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!!

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