There are a great number of variables that influence the actual essential oil you receive in the 15 ml bottle that contains approximately 300 drops of oil that you will carefully use for the well-being of you, your family, and friends. That 15ml was extracted and distilled from up to 300 pounds of plant matter. Consider the following to be of utmost importance to you:
Where and how was that plant grown? What were the soil conditions? What were the water conditions during the growing season? Were there any insecticides, pesticides, or herbicides used? Is it truly organic?
When and how was the material harvested? Was it the right season? The correct maturity of the plant? The optimum time of day?
What about the processing? Were proper cleaning and preparation made with the equipment? Were the correct parts of the plant used in the distillation process? Were temperatures maintained at proper levels? Were the clean and viable containers used during the process and for gathering?
What about packaging and distribution? Were the clean and viable containers used during the process and for gathering? Was there any cutting (adding other similar and hard-to-detect less expensive oils) done to lower the cost of the oil?
These and other questions are very important to each of as we use essential oils and their derivative products. Unfortunately it would be impossible for any one of us to answer all these question. Fortunately, dōTERRA is making it their business to answer each of these questions. The first two items in dōTERRA’s Mission Statement are that they will see that we, as their customers, receive the best-sourced and best-processed essential oils in the world. Then they will use the most modern Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy testing (see below the dōTERRA description of this testing) through a third party to assure us that testing standards will meet or exceeding ISO and AFNOR standards. As a pledge of this quality they will label these products with their trade marked seal of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, CPTG® .
dōTERRA’s products, as explained above, stand alone as Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, CPTG® . Below this in guaranteed purity in the industry are these grades of products.
Grade A essential oils are pure therapeutic quality (highest grade) and are usually made from naturally (often organically) grown plants distilled at the proper temperatures using steam distillation. This is the category that all of DōTerra’s essential oils and essential oil-enhanced products start from. Beyond this they are tested and certified as described above.
Grade B essential oils are food grade; they may contain synthetics, pesticides, fertilizers, chemical/synthetic extenders, or carrier oils.
Grade C oils are perfume grade and may contain the same type of adulterating chemicals as food grade oils. They also usually contain solvents which are used to gain a higher yield of oil.
Floral Water is a byproduct of the distillation process and can be very high quality if it comes from a Grade A distillation process. Accordingly it is of very low quality if it comes from poor quality raw materials and/or poor distillation processes.
Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, CPTG® is the label you will see on dōTERRA Essential Oils. Of lesser-guaranteed purity will be those with labels such as “Pure Essential Oil or “Pure Therapeutic Grade”.
Our admiration to the dōTERRA founding team for their commitment to our safety and well-being.
dōTERRA’s own description of CPTG® testing:
CPTG® Testing Methods
dōTERRA’s CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®* quality protocol employs five different analytical methods to ensure dōTERRA’s essential oils are both pure (extracts contain only the volatile aromatic compounds of a plant), and potent (extracts have consistent chemical composition from batch to batch). The CPTG quality protocol requires the use of independent laboratories for standardization and testing.
Test 1: Gas Chromatography
After the aromatic compounds (also called essential oils) are carefully distilled from plant material, samples are tested for chemical composition using gas chromatography. In gas chromatography, volatile essential oil compounds are vaporized and passed through a long column called a gas chromatograph. Each individual compound travels or “elutes” through the column at a different rate and is measured as it exits the column during the testing period. Using gas chromatography, quality control engineers can determine which compounds are present in a test sample and, as importantly, at what levels.
Test 2: Mass Spectrometry
In addition to gas chromatography, essential oil samples also are tested for composition using mass spectrometry. In mass spectrometry, samples are vaporized and then ionized and each individual compound in a sample is measured by weight. Mass spectrometry provides additional insight to the purity of an essential oil by revealing the presence of non-aromatic compounds, such as heavy metals or other pollutants, which are too heavy to elute along a gas chromatograph. The combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry is sometimes referred to as a GC/MS test.
Test 3: FTIR Scan (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy)
After an essential oil passes the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests, it is transported to a manufacturing facility for filling. Before being released into the facility, the essential oil “batch” is held in quarantine while additional quality tests are performed. Those tests include an FTIR Scan which, similar to GC/MS testing, is also a analysis of material composition. In an FTIR Scan, a light is shown at the material sample and the amount of light absorbed by the chemical constituents of the sample is measured. Results are then compared against a historical database to ensure adherence to composition standards.
Test 4: Microbial Testing
Before a batch of essential oils can be released from quarantine to manufacturing, it must be tested for the presence of bio-hazards such as bacteria, fungus, and mold. In microbial testing, samples are drawn from each batch of essential oils and applied to growing mediums in dishes or “plates.” After an incubation period, each plate is analyzed for growth of microbes. This test is performed on all incoming material to the manufacturing facility, and also performed on finished product to ensure no harmful organisms have been introduced to the product during the filling and labeling process, and to ensure shelf-life stability.
Test 5: Organoleptic Testing
Organoleptic testing brings a human touch to each step of the CPTG quality control process. Organoleptics include those attributes of an essential oil that can be tested with taste, sight, touch, and smell. From growers and harvesters to essential oil chemists; from manufacturing engineers to essential oil practitioners; dōTERRA’s global network of essential oil providers carefully monitors the quality of each CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oil. The extraction of essential oils is very much an art form that can be enhanced by, but not replaced with, mechanical analytics. The wisdom and experience of dōTERRA’s essential oil experts are an indispensable part of the CPTG quality control standard