Essential oils are made up of many chemical components, istockphoto, with permission
Essential oils are made up of many chemical components, istockphoto, with permission

Aromatherapists should, quite naturally, be concerned about what an essential oil is chemically composed of; however, the purity of essential oils is often open to abuse.  There are several things that you can do to try and ascertain the purity of the essential oil that you are buying, such as obtaining a GC-MS report, but I came across some interesting databases that may help in reseaching the purity of essential oil chemical components, or help you to understand what a particular essential oil should ideally be composed of.

  • The Essential Oil Research Database – this database of essential oil information is maintained by Bob and Rhiannon Harris of the Essential Oil Resource Consultants.  You do have to pay a fee to access the database but it is sourced from over 200 scientific journals and contains information on many trials of specific essential oils in aromatherapy.  A sample (and further information) can be found here.
  • The Cosmetic Database – this database is not strictly about essential oils and their chemical components but if you have wondered what goes into those regular beauty products that you commonly find on the shelf in your local store, you may find this database interesting.  Just type in the product or ingredient that you are interested in and you will find information on the chemical ingredients and the potential health hazards that they may present.  You may surprised at what you find…
  • Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Database – I found this very interesting database that allows you to search for phytochemicals in a specific plant species.  For example, type in “lavender” and it will bring up the list of chemical components found in lavender (in addition to be able to find which other plant species a certain chemical component can also be found in).  Further research of your own is needed on the information that you find, but it is a good starting point if you are unfamiliar with the common chemical components of particular plant species.
  •  The Cropwatch Files – Want to know the latest on the sustainability of certain plants and their use as an essential oil?  This website gives you links to various reports to information about such things;  for example argan oil.

However, as with all things, confirm the credibility of the information that you find with various sources, not just one.  But these databases could be a starting point for certain essential oil information, depending on what it is that you are looking for 🙂

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