The launch of PURE™ Essential Oils at Convention 2015 in May was met with tremendous enthusiasm, and Melaleuca has been absolutely thrilled with the phenomenal customer response. Tens of thousands of customers, many of whom were already familiar with and using essential oils, are now enjoying the uncompromising purity, guaranteed quality, and aromatic excellence of PURE Essential Oils.
While the use of essential oils is commonplace for many people, others are new to the experience. It stands to reason that customers would have questions about essential oils: What are they exactly? Where do they come from? What are their benefits? How are they used? Since May, Melaleuca has fielded numerous questions like these.
One of the most common questions customers have asked, is whether or not Melaleuca’s essential oils are “therapeutic grade.” Others have heard the term “therapeutic grade” and want to know what it means.
The term “therapeutic grade” sounds technical, official, and impressive, as if it were an industry-recognized certification reserved only for the highest-quality essential oils. If that were the case, and this term was in fact used to grade essential oils, then Melaleuca PURE Essential Oils—which are 100% pure—would easily qualify for the distinction.
The problem is that the term “therapeutic grade” and another like it, “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade,” are nothing but marketing ploys. They were made-up by essential oil companies to help sell their own products.
Differentiating one product from another is a critical aspect of marketing. However, there are times when this differentiation is a “certification” fabricated in an attempt to elevate a product as the market’s “gold standard.” This was the tactic used in 2007 to create the term “therapeutic grade.”
Prior to 2007, the term “therapeutic grade” did not exist in the essential oil market. This term is not an independent or third party endorsement of purity and quality, but a trademarked marketing term created by a company selling essential oils. This 2007 creation spurred a greater fallacy, the term “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.” Again, this term sounds technical, implying the product has been “certified” to be pure and of therapeutic grade. But, like its predecessor, it is nothing more than a made up, trademarked phrase.
What’s more, these fabricated terms are defined by the very companies who invented them. Where there should be consistency, “therapeutic grade” seems to have different definitions. For example, some sources list as many as seven tests to determine “therapeutic grade,” while other sources list only two tests for the same “certification.”
Currently, there is no governing body that certifies essential oil quality and production, or designates a standardized grading system for essential oils. Making up terms like “therapeutic grade” and “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” implies that there is such a controlling entity, and Melaleuca believes that this practice is deceitful and unethical.
To put it succinctly, these terms have no real certification or quality value. They are complete myths.
That being said, Melaleuca is committed to ensuring that PURE Essential Oils are always the highest quality, purist oils available on the market. In the absence of a central governing body, we rely on two entities that provide reputable quality specifications for many essential oils: the Association Française de Normalisation (AFNOR) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In the event that there is no AFNOR or ISO standard upon which to grade our essential oils, we compare them to historical testing data from essential oils experts.
There are other terms used to describe the quality of some essential oils. These terms include “medicinal grade” and “aromatherapy grade.” Again, they do not have any actual certification value.
Until there is a government agency or other official body that certifies or “grades” essential oils, the best and easiest way to determine the purity of any oil is to look at the label on the bottle. Melaleuca’s PURE Essential Oils are labeled as 100% pure. (That should tell you all you need to know, as nothing can be purer than 100%.) Each oil is certified not to contain any impurities or synthetic ingredients.
The other thing to keep in mind when it comes to essential oils, is that purity and quality are two different things. Just because something is pure doesn’t mean it is high quality. Look at it this way: How would you like a glass of 100% pure orange juice…squeezed from unripe, sour oranges?
PURE Essential Oils are also rigorously tested to meet stringent quality specifications. They undergo a battery of seven different quality tests to ensure they are always the highest quality available:
- Chirality testing
- Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) testing
- Heavy metal/pesticide/herbicide testing
- Microbial testing
- Optical rotation and refractive index testing
- Organoleptic testing
- Specific gravity testing
In addition, each PURE Essential Oil is harvested through ethical and sustainable practices and traceable to its botanical plant source. The result is a line of essential oils of the highest standards.
If you have any additional questions about PURE Essential Oils, please refer to the Essential Oils FAQ page.