Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)

Essential oils are in high demand and it seems like there is a new company sprouting up almost weekly that offers "The BEST" essential oils that money can buy.  Recently, there has been a debacle going on in the aromatherapy industry involving adulterated essential oils.  Adulterated Blue Tansy essential oil is what got the ball rolling.  An aromatherapist noticed that her bottle of Blue Tansy did not smell like it should and it prompted her to have it tested to find out exactly what was in her bottle.  Come to find it, it was not pure Blue Tansy oil.  In the following weeks, many other aromatherapist sent in samples of various oils to have them tested too.  It was shocking to see the GC/MS test results indicating that several essential oils were either synthetic or adulterated.  

So what exactly is a GC/MS test? I thought you would like to know so here is a bit of information for you........

It is essential to buy high quality oils; cheap oils or “bargains” are almost always of poor quality. In order for essential oils to have a therapeutic effect they must be pure plant extracts. The best way to assure purity and quality of each batch of oil is by knowing your source and testing the oil with Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).

Gas Chromatography (GC) is a method of separating the volatile compounds in essential oils into individual components. The result is a linear graph that charts these components. Mass Spectrometry (MS) identifies each of these components and their percentages. This process is used to identify any adulteration of the essential oil tested. Adulterated oils or perfume oils will not offer therapeutic effects and may in fact cause allergies, headaches and chemical sensitivities.

The precise breakdown of the chemical components in individual oils provided by GC/MS reports is important as the therapeutic benefits and safety issues of essential oils are, in large part, determined by their chemical makeup.


Testing every batch of oil with GC/MS technology assures purity and gives us the exact chemistry of each oil. This process is vital for medicinal blending and for quality assurance.

You should purchase oils from companies that can provide you with honest GC/MS reports for every oil they sell and they should be batch specific for that particular bottle of oil.  The old saying "You get what you pay for..." is true for essential oils.  If the price is too good to be true, it probably is!!