Medieval Herbal Episode 3: WHO do I trust to buy my oils?

I warned you that I’m new at this, right? I have this question. It made me go hunting the answer. I found a few folks who had already written this blog entry for me. I’m not a big fan of recreating the wheel, so let me supply you with the blogs, then bullet the points for you.

The first one I found was this one, from the HippieHomemaker, which directed me to this one from


  1. There’s no governing body for aromatherapy, and therefore no governing body for essential oils. So, the mythical “therapeutic grade” is just a trademarked phrase by the company that’s selling it to you.
  2. There’s a really neat article here, at the East-West School for Herbal & Aromatic Studies, about how to choose the place you get your oils from. I borrowed this from the HippieHomemaker, who shortened the list already:
  •              the supplier is on the small size and not a large corporation.
  • the supplier is owned by an aromatherapy practitioner or essential oil specialist

  • the supplier has relations with his/her distillers, if possible

  • a supplier who can readily supply a batch-specific MS/GC spec report on each essential oil it sells

  • a supplier who is readily able to provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) as needed

  • a supplier who has a strong unquestioned noncontroversial reputation in the field

  • a supplier who has preferably been in the field for a number of years and is well known to other aromatherapy practitioners and/or educators

3.  One drop of the essential oil can be as potent as 75 cups of tea with the same herb. BE CAREFUL!

4. The Showdown post is a really good side-by-side comparison of the different brands available to get your oils.


So, that’s what I know so far. Most of my experience with essential oils is for topical application only, anyway, so the “do not ingest” warnings aren’t really a thing. I’m not selling anything, so there’s that, too.


A little practical advice from the newbie, here? Double check your supplier against the checklist above and do your research before you ingest anything the company creates. Most of the answers should be available online for these companies, so don’t be afraid to ask my friend Google all about it! Educate yourself!

Next time, we’ll talk about what is “PERIOD” for herbs at the time. I’m going to take the oils I use for the problems from my post a few days ago and cross check them against what was available and known during the medieval period. I think you’ll be surprised at the answer! 🙂 Stay tuned!


Until then!


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