How do you know if an essential oil has been adulterated? How do you know if an essential oil is synthetic? How do you know that an essential oil contains the chemical compounds that make it therapeutic? These are great questions, and very important because you need to know the quality of your oils before using them in your natural therapy. Luckily a GC/MS report can help you get these answers.
What is a GC/MS Report?
This is a test using two different techniques. GC stands for Gas Chromatography and MS is for Mass Spectrometry. This basically provides us with a “fingerprint” of the essential oil which allows us to compare to reference profiles allowing us to know if the oil has been adulterated in any way. It is the most useful and respected form of testing for essential oils, and it should be readily available for any consumer before they purchase an essential oil.
The GC/MS report itself breaks down all of the chemical constituents in a particular batch of essential oil. Similar to a blood test for humans, it shows the unique makeup for that oil charted out in percentages. Honestly, it does help to have a trained eye when reading these tests as they can be cumbersome, but if you have a basic understanding of chemical families, they are helpful. In addition, if an oil has been contaminated, that will show up on the report as well.
Here are some of the items a GC/MS Analysis can show:
- The botanical source of the oil
- Identify and give percentages of chemical composition
- Identify contaminants or adulteration
- Detect oxidation
- Compare with similar oils
Why is GC/MS Report Important?
Purity – By viewing the results of the GC/MS test, you can see if the essential oil is pure and unadulterated. This is pertinent information because there may be synthetics, fragrances, or other oils added to an essential oil. When this happens, the user may have allergic reactions, headaches, or worse.
Therapeutic use – When you are choosing to use an oil for a specific therapy, you want to make sure that oil contains those chemical constituents to treat that issue. If you are looking for sedative properties and end up using an altered or contaminated oil, it could result in no calming relief or possibly even an adverse effect. In order for something to be true aromatherapy, it has to be done with pure plant extracts.
Safety – You need to know what is in your oil for many safety reasons. If you have a child, you may be avoiding 1,8-Cineole. Additionally, if you have an allergy to a particular chemical, you may be looking to avoid using essential oils that contain it.
Here at My Pure Earth, we always proudly display our GC/MS reports so that you are confident in purchasing and using our pure essential oils. If a company does not share this information, that should be a red flag and you should definitely question their integrity. In addition, you should look for a GC/MS report for the specific batch of oil that you are purchasing. Some companies may post a representative batch report that may be for an older lot of that particular essential oil.
What is Missing From a GC/MS Report?
Unfortunately, even though this quantitative analysis is incredibly helpful and informative, it does lack a few things. A GC/MS report cannot detect:
- Most pesticides
- Heavy metals
- If the essential oil smells good
Overall, a Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry report is a useful tool when deciding on your essential oil purchase. Educating yourself on what you choose to use as your natural therapy is important. Knowing purity, safety, and therapeutic properties can improve your choice and ultimately, your health! But even if you are not a trained aromatherapist, just knowing that a company is transparent and offers these reports to consumers should give you a boost in confidence. Any essential oil company who is proud of their quality, should share up to date reports with consumers. That is why you can find our reports under each essential oil when you click on the “Test Results” tab. My Pure Earth is very proud of our quality, so we shout it loud and proud by having our GC/MS reports listed on our website for everyone to see.