Judging quality, how do you do it? Some people judge quality by looking at the overall package. They consider price, availability, ease of use etc. Other people judge quality on its effectiveness to do a job. Other people care about ethics and use that as a mark of quality.
The point we’re trying to make is that to different people quality means different things. This leads us on to our point of discussion.
As we teach aromatherapy we’re of course interested in the debate around its use. A common question we come across is; Are organic essential oils better or worse than non-organic oils?
We could look at this question in a number of ways but we want to focus on effectiveness to answer the question today.
Our question is therefore not about price, ethics or availability but instead how well it does its job.
What is an organic essential oil?
Before we look at the effectiveness of organic essential oils over non-organic oils we should first define what one is.
If an essential oil is organic it is because it follows a set of rules that decide what an organic product is. Like with food these rules are regulated by a government body.
Just like with food, the place of production is certified organic rather the product itself and then the products they produce are certified organic from then on. Quite simply if the producer isn’t certified organic then the product isn’t.
The regulations will differ from country to country but effectively an organic essential oil will be produced without the use of chemicals.
Are organic essential oils better than non-organic?
Now we know exactly what organic oils are, it is now time to judge if it is better than the non-organic counterpart. Remembering what we’re judging quality on, effectiveness, the answer simply has to be a no.
It won’t have any effect on the effectiveness of the oil if it is organic or not. In many cases it can perform less efficiently if produced inefficiently.
What actually makes it more effective is the process. A lot of factors come in to play but the big ones are the seeds used to start the plants, how they’re grown and maintained, how they’re harvested and distilled.
Other benefits of organic essential oils
Despite their lack of edge in the effectiveness department, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t a better choice for a lot of people. As we discussed earlier to a lot of people the ethics of a product is very important. You might like the organic culture; you might feel cleaner knowing that there aren’t any pesticides in your essential oils. You might be happier knowing that you’re supporting a certain business and that you know who you’re supporting throughout the chain of production.
These factors matter to a lot of people when judging quality. In our opinion though, when it comes down to effectiveness organic essential oils are no better than non-organic oils.