By Nick Rana, CN, Quality Assurance Department, NOW Foods
There are many companies selling Essential Oils today spinning many tall tales regarding the quality of their products. Though a particular species of plant harvested and distilled for its essential oil during a particular growing season in a specific region may produce a fragrance that differs from the same species grown that season in a different region, many of the main chemical markers and physical specifications may be similar.
Natural products by their very definition will vary from season to season. We take both the organoleptic (sensory organ stimulator) and chemical properties into account when evaluating our essential oils. Our Quality Assurance and Control departments adhere to specifications used by the Essential Oil and Flavor Industry and published in The Essential Oils by Guenther, as well as Fenaroli’s Handbook of Flavor Ingredients.
These texts, as well as other sources of scientific information, detail specific physical and chemical properties that compose a fingerprint defining the peculiarities of a particular oil. A partial list of the components that we analyze for would include Specific Gravity, Refractive Index, Optical Rotation, Flash Point, Infrared Absorption (as published in FCC), Solubility, Taste/Odor, Color/Appearance, Heavy Metals and Predominant Active Chemical Components.
Our in-house laboratory employs state-of-the-art analytical equipment that allows us to perform highly specialized analyses, such as Gas Chromatography and Infrared Spectrometry. We use our own analysis results to confirm specification sheet results and certificates of analyses received from 3rd party outside laboratories and vendors. As always, when it comes to Essential Oils, individual practitioners and lay people will decide for themselves which variety of a flower or leaf produces the essential oil that best suits their particular need. The nose, eyes, ears, hands and heart of a man or woman, used with humility and wisdom, are still the best tools given us by God to discern what is necessary and good.
NOW’s Essential Oils
NOW® Foods is committed to offering the purest and most potent natural essential oils available. We purchase only pure FCC and food grade oils (excluding Jasmine). All of our oils, except Jasmine, are derived through natural distillation or cold pressing methods.