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!!

Using Essential Oils on the Skin

Using Essential Oils on the Skin 

Dilutions: Depending on the specific oil and the situation, a total of 5-18 drops of essential oil goes into 1 oz. of carrier oil (vegetable based oil such as Jojoba or Sweet Almond oil) or unscented cream. These amounts vary based on the person for whom you are making the blend (see dilutions below) and on the strength of the specific oil you are using. For example, you can use several drops of Lavender to every 1 drop of Rose.

1% dilution: 5-6 total drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil or cream. This dilution is used for children, elders, chronically ill persons, and pregnant women.

2% dilution: 10-12 total drops of essential oils in each ounce of carrier oil or cream. This dilution is used for the average adult and daily or long-term use of the product.

3% dilution: 15-18 total drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil or cream. This dilution is used for specific illnesses or for acute injury. Blends made at this dilution are used for a week or two, for an acute situation.

Using Essential Oils in a Bath

Salts: Add the essential oils into a bath salt. (Sea Salt and Epsom Salts are nice.) Add 8-10 drops total of essential oil to each ounce of salt. Use 1 tablespoon of that blended salt in a full bath.

Milk: Add 3-4 total drops of essential oil to a cup of milk. Add the milk to your full bath.

Jojoba oil: Add 3-4 drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of Jojoba oil and add to your full bath.

Using Essential Oils in a Spray
In a 2-ounce spray bottle filled with water add 10-15 drops of essential oils and spray freely in any room.

Using Essential Oils in a Steam
To do a steam, add 1 drop of essential oil, or 1 drop of a blend of several essential oils, to a bowl of steamy water. Make sure the water is just steaming, not boiling. CLOSE YOUR EYES and lean over the bowl and breathe in the oil. To enhance the effects use a towel over your head to create a tent to hold the steam in.
If the water feels too hot, let it cool first!

Massage Oil
1oz jojoba oil (or any carrier oil you like), 2% dilution

4 drops Grapefruit
4 drops Lavender
4 drops Sandalwood

Moisturizing Cream
2oz unscented cream, 2% dilution

12 drops Sandalwood
4 drop Geranium
4 drop Ylang Ylang

Steam Blend
(Makes enough for 20 steams)

10 drops Ravintsara
10 drops Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
5 drops Lemon

Use 1 drop of this mixture in a bowl of steaming, hot water. Close your eyes and drape a towel over your head and the bowl. Breathe deeply.

Bath: 11-15 drops in a tub of water
Foot Bath: 10 drops in a warm bowl of water
Facial Honey Mask: 3 drops in 1 heaping teaspoon of honey
Body Mist: 20 drops in 4 ounces of distilled water. Shake well before use

Hair Oil: 20 drops in 1 ounce of carrier oil

Order my NEW Book HERE

For more recipes and information on natural beauty, order my new book today. Visit HERE to find out more information. -Shannon Buck

Monday, February 23, 2015

Essential Oil Shelf Life & Storage Tips

It is impossible to say exactly what an essential oil shelf life will be. The storage conditions will vary and make a significant difference. If the essential oil has been received directly from the distiller shortly after distillation and the glass bottle is kept dark, full, closed, and cool, we can make some generalizations. Please note these are simply Fresh-Picked Beauty’s opinions based on experience and an understanding of the chemistry of each oil. I store all of my oils in a designated refrigerator and I always purchase the citrus oils in small amounts in order to use them quickly.  

Normally you won't know when the oil was distilled unless you call the essential oil company and ask them for that particular information.  Always work with reputable sellers that are able to provide batch specific information such as the date of distillation. 

Note that if an essential oil begins to appear cloudy, thicker, or if it smells more acidic, it has likely begun to oxidize.

I like to purchase essential oil from Mountain Rose Herbs.  They offer Certified Organic oils and they sell enough essential oils on a regular basis to ensure you are getting recently distilled oil which are genuine and fresh! You can visit Mountain Rose Herbs HERE

Approximately 1-2 years from distillation:
Grapefruit - Citrus paradisi
Lemon - Citrus limon
Lime- Citrus aurantifolia
Mandarin - Citurs reticulata
Mastic - Pistacia lentiscus
Nutmeg - Myristica fragrans
Orange - Citrus sinensis
Palo Santo - Bursera graveolens

Approximately 2-3 years from distillation:
Balsam Fir - Abies balsamea
Common Spruce - Picea Communis
Conifer Blend - Abies alba, Pinus nigra, Pinus wallichiana
Cypress - Cupressus sempervirens
Douglas Pine - Pseudotsuga menzies
Engleman Spruce - Picea engelmanii
Eucalyptus citriodora - Eucalyptus citriodora
Eucalyptus globulus - Eucalyptus globulus
Eucalyptus radiata - Eucalyptus radiata
Frankincense - Boswellia carterii
Galbanum - Ferula galbanum
Helichrysum - Helichrysum gymnocephalum
Helichrysum - Helichrysum Odoritissimum
Honey Myrtle - Melaleuca teretifolia
Juniper berry - Juniperus communis
Juniper (Utah) - Juniperus osteoperma
Larch - Pinus resinosa
Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Lemongrass (West Indian) - Cymbopogon citratus
May Chang - Litsea cubeba
Melissa - Melissa officinalis
Myrtle - Myrtus communis
Niaouli 1,8 cineole - Melaleuca Quinquenervia
Norway Pine - Pinus resinosa
Oregano - Origanum vulgare
Pinion Pine - Pinus redulis
Plai - Zingiber Cassumunar
Ponderosa Pine - Pinus ponderosa
Rhododendron - Rhododredron Anthopogon
Rock Rose- Cistus ladaniferus
Saro - Cinnamosma fragrans
Scotch Pine - Pinus sylvestris
Silver Fir - Abies alba
Thyme ct thymol - Thymus vulgarus ct thymol
White Fir - Abies concolor
White Pine - Pinus strobus

Approximately 3-4 years from distillation:
Black Pepper - Piper nigrum
Black Spruce - Picea mariana
Bergamot - Citrus bergamia
Citronella Java - Cymbopogon winterianus
Clove-Eugenia caryophyllata
Coriander - Coriandrum sativum
Elemi - Canarium luzonicum
Fragonia - Agonis fragrans
Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus dives
Fingerroot - Boesenbergia pandurata
Gingergrass - Cymbopogon martinii var sofia
Helichrysum - Helichrysum bracteiferum
Hemlock - Tsuga caneaensis
Lemongrass Rhodinol - Cymbopogon citratus ct rhodinol
Neroli - Citrus aurantium var amara
Opopanax - Commiphora guidotti
Ravintsara - Cinnamomun camphora
Rosalina - Melaleuca ericifolia
Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor/verbenone
Siberian Fir- Abies siberica
Sitka Spruce - Picea sitchensis
Suganda Kokila  - Cinnamomum glaucescens
Sweet Marjoram - Origanum marjorana
Tamala ct linalol - Cinnamomum tamala
Tea Tree - Melaleuca alternifolia
Turmeric - Curcuma longa
Vanilla - Vanilla planifolia
White Spruce - Picea glauca
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

Approximately 4-5 years from distillation:
Bergamot Mint - Mentha citrata
Cardamom CO2 - Elettaria cardamomum
Basil - Osimum basilicum ct linalool
Clary Sage - Salvia sclarea
Geranium - Pelargonium x asperum
German Chamomile - Matricaria recutita
Ghandi Root - Homalomena aromatica
Ginger - Zingiber officinale
Helichrysum - Helichrysum italicum
Ho wood - Cinnamomun  camphora ct linalol
Jasmine Absolute - Jasminum grandiflorum
Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia
Linalol berry - Bursera delpechiana
Neroli/Petitgrain Co-distill - Citrus aurantium var amara
Palmarosa - Cymbopogon martini
Peppermint - Mentha x piperita
Petitgrain - Citrus aurantium
Roman Chamomile - Chamaemelum nobile
Rose/Geranium co-distill - Rosa damascena/Pelargouium
Rose Otto/Absolute - Rosa damacena
Rosewood - Aniba rosaeodora
Spike Lavender - Lavandula latifolia
Thyme (Benchmark) - Thymus zygis loefl l.
Thyme ct linalol - Thymus vulgarus ct linalol
Wild Mint - Wild Mint
Xanthoxylum - Zanthoxylum armatum
Ylang Ylang - Cananga odorata

Approximately 6-8 years or longer: 
Balsam Capaiba - Copaifera officinalis
Balsam Poplar - Populus balsamifera
Blue Cypress - Callitris intratropica
Carrot seed Daucus carota
Cedarwood - Cedrus atlantica
Cedarwood - Juniperus virginiana
Myrrh - Commiphora myrrha
Patchouli - Pogostemom cablin
Sandalwood - Santalum album
Spikenard - Nardostachys jatamansi
Vetiver - Vetiveria zizanoides

General shelf life from a chemical family perspective:
About 1-3 years – Monoterpene rich oils, Monoterpene/Oxide (cineole) rich oils, Monoterpene/ Aldehyde rich oils, Monoterpene/Monoterpenol rich oils.
About 3-5 years – Monoterpenol rich oils, Monoterpenol/Ester rich oils, Ketone
and Phenol rich oils (Phenols are closer to 3 years).

About 6-8 years, or longer – Sesquiterpene rich oils, Sesquiterpenol rich oils.