Behind The Scenes: Sourcing High-Quality Essential Oils | achs.edu

    Nov 17, 2020 12:00:00 PM

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    When you visit our Apothecary Shoppe website and click on any essential oil, you’ll see a complete listing ready for you to easily purchase. What you can’t see is just how much work goes into sourcing these high-quality essential oils that we offer.

    Using the example of our organically grown and pesticide-free cypress Cupressus sempervirens (L.) we take a behind-the-scenes look at the essential oil sourcing process.

    Essential Oil Evaluation Process

    Our expert aromatherapists here at the Apothecary Shoppe personally assess all of our essential oils—using touch, taste, smell, and third-party lab analyses—to ensure that the essential oil is suitable for use and entirely free of adulterants.

    Our GMP and Quality Assurance Coordinator, Natalya, describes the evaluation process:

    “Each lot of essential oil undergoes a rigorous sample evaluation process involving several steps. It includes my initial assessment of the technical documentation, provided by a supplier. I review the oil’s constituent profile, properties, organic status, and other relevant information. In addition, I make sure the oil is fresh and distilled within the last 12 months when possible. If these criteria meet our requirements, then we move to independent lab testing.

    Lab analysis is used to confirm authenticity and composition of the oil using GC/MS and reveal any pesticide residue. At this stage, we complete a comparative analysis with the International Standards Organization (ISO) profile for the oil and with both the US and British Pharmacopeias when available. If the oil sample passes all testing and also has no pesticides, we move to the ordering. I want to note that we don’t accept samples even with minimal amounts of pesticides; our policy is zero pesticides. Customers can download independent third-party lab reports including GC/MS and pesticide testing results for each of the Apothecary Shoppe’s pesticide free essential oils." 

    For example, here is the pesticide report and GC/MS for our current lot of C. sempervirens essential oil.

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    The Search For Pesticide Free

    Our search for pesticide-free cypress C. sempervirens essential oil was particularly memorable because we had to go through so many different samples. Natalya recounts the experience: “We rejected six organic cypress C. sempervirens samples because the independent lab detected insecticides, fungicides or pesticides in the samples, here are a few that were detected: Tebuconazole in the amount of 0.0142 ppm, and herbicide Methabenzthiazuron in the amount of 0.0026 ppm. These lots originated in the EU, where Methabenzthiazuron was banned in 2006. Another three lots of organic cypress were rejected after the initial documentation review. Pesticide reports from vendors showed the presence of Chlorpyrifos in the amount of 0.0039 ppm in the first sample and 0.012 ppm in the second sample. Hexachlorobenzene appeared in the third sample in the amount of less than 0.010 ppm.”

    Apothecary Shoppe Purchasing and Facility Manager, Erin, says that another difficulty in sourcing high-quality organic, pesticide-free essential oils is that most harvesters/distillers are looking to sell in large drums over 200 kg at a time. In comparison, the Apothecary Shoppe normally looks to purchase 1-10 kg of product at a time to ensure our students’ lab kits are prepared with the freshest oils we can source. “Dorene, ACHS Founder and President, works really hard to create and nurture sustainable, ethical relationships with farmers, harvesters, and distillers who will sell to us since we are an educational buyer,” Erin says.

    You can see our collection of pesticide-free essential oils, each with a pesticide report and GC/MS report, by clicking here.

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    Sustainable Sourcing

    ACHS is dedicated to creating sustainable relationships with our vendors. We have been committed to sustainable practices for the environment and in our business practices since Dorene founded the college in 1978, and in 2016 ACHS became a Certified B Corporation. Certified B Corporations like ACHS meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and operate with a clear mission to benefit the communities they serve. Read more about what it means to be a Certified B Corporation here.

    To give back to the community, we donate 2% of essential oil sales to promote education initiatives in botanical production for the essential oil industry. In 2019, the donation funded a well pump in Nepal with Lebermuth that helped women in the Sarlahi district increase their crop and yield, resulting in opportunities to market their essential oil products to fair trade international buyers. The donation also funded the Presidential Scholarship Award, which allowed the recipient, Nepalese resident Digambar Prasad Chaudhary, to get an education at ACHS. You can read more about some of our initiatives here. 

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

    About American College of Healthcare Sciences

    American College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

    This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

    We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us. 

    When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

    For more information visit achs.edu.

    Authored by American College of Healthcare Sciences

    ACHS's mission is to foster competence, professionalism and cooperation in holistic healthcare, and preserve and share knowledge in natural medicine. This includes sharing helpful, informative, holistic healthcare articles on the ACHS Health and Wellness Blog.

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