Essential Oil Purity and Quality

We carry several different, wonderful  brands of essential oils at Pass Health Foods, including Simplers Botanicals and Aura Cacia; the majority of our oils, however, are from NOW Foods.  

Our oils from NOW Foods are 100% pure and unadulterated and are extremely high quality, while remaining very reasonably priced.  NOW Foods is a local, Illinois based company, which works diligently to ensure quality while remaining affordably priced.

Every one of NOW’s essential oils go through rigorous testing by quality control experts and are verified by both of the following tests:
Gas Chromatography (GC)
GC is an "identity" test that is used on complex mixtures to separate and identify individual volatile components through specific analytical columns combined with a carrier gas. This "fingerprint" allows an experienced analytical chemist to positively identify the oil's species.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
With FTIR, a beam of infrared light is passed through a sample to determine the frequency at which energy is absorbed. It is a highly accurate method that helps reveal and confirm the identity and purity of essential oils. NOW's experienced analytical chemists use this sophisticated tool to check every oil.

For more information on NOW’s essential oil testing, please see this article on their testing methods, and this article on assuring the identity and quality of their essential oils.

NOW Foods also has an interesting stance on Food Grade Essential oils and “Therapeutic Grade” oils.  I’ll copy their statements on essential oils below:

Food Grade Essential Oils
We’re often asked if our essential oils are edible, or “food grade”.  All of our citrus oils, and other specific edible oils, are from edible plants. If you recognize the source of these oils as food (i.e. peppermint, oregano, cinnamon bark), then natural extraction methods such as steam distillation and cold pressing do nothing to change this quality, and these methods do not make the oil toxic. However, in order for us to claim an essential oil is food grade we would have to sell the oil as a food product and include a Nutrition Facts panel on the label, as required by law. Brands that claim their essential oils are food grade should display a Nutrition Facts panel on their label.

Our oils are intended for aromatherapy and are labeled as such. Additionally, we include cautionary language created by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) intended to protect consumers from misuse of the product. Some presumably food grade oils do have specific cautions against internal use that should be followed. Please note that our essential oils are highly concentrated and thus caution should be taken if you consume them. 

"Therapeutic Grade" Essential Oils
Therapeutic-grade essential oils are oils that a third party pharmacopeia or other statutory organization has (supposedly) created monographs for, which can be used by any brand as a measure of quality. We’ve reviewed the information regarding this grade and have concluded that “therapeutic grade” is just a marketing term used by some brands, with no authoritative body or organization behind the term.

At NOW Solutions we take assurance of the quality and purity of our essential oils very seriously. We’ve made long-term investments in the instrumentation and the professional staff necessary to assure the identity, purity and quality of our essential oils, and we work closely with our growers and suppliers to ensure the quality of our raw materials. By ensuring all aspects of essential oil quality we guarantee that what’s on the label is what our customers get in the bottle.

Here is a list of available safely sheets on various NOW essential oils.