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Essential Oils / Aromatherapy

Sweet Willow Naturals carries Aura Cacia 100% pure essential oils. These oils are GC/MS tested and verified to confirm purity. This is the only official scientifically valid method of verifying essential oil purity, which is why we use this brand.

Just like a fine wine, a number of factors affect the quality of an essential oil, including:

  • The botanical origin of the essential oil
  • The part of the plant used
  • The climate where the plant was grown
  • The cultivation and harvest techniques
  • The time of harvest
  • The method of oil production, and 
  • The method and length of storage after production. 

Gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), and similar additive-revealing techniques can analyze the constituents in oils. A GC will identify the presence and relative quantities of chemical constituents within an essential oil. The chromatogram shows the relative concentration of chemical compounds according to retention time, but it does not identify the specific component.

The MS measures the positive or negative ion currents determining molecular weight. The results are recorded graphically or as a computer output. Each peak is compared with a database, which contains about 75,000 spectra. So the mass spectrometer (MS) can measure the presence and quantity of chemical constituents. 

The downside is GC/MS testing is expensive. Ideally, a GC/MS should be conducted for each batch, as natural factors will affect each batch of essential oil and we're looking for constituents to be within certain ranges. The cost can be prohibitive for small distillers, who may make very high quality essential oils but not be able to pass on the cost to have a GC/MS for each batch.

In addition, reading a GC/MS requires skill and experience, and it is important to have an understanding of what pharmacological constituents you are looking for to compare it to. You need to have the "standard" or accepted ranges for each constituent to determine whether your particular sample fits these ranges. (Remember that a GC/MS cannot always detect specific synthetic diluents nor even specific diluents of natural origin.)



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