Comment bien choisir ses huiles essentielles ? - Epycure

BIEN-ETRE How to choose the right essential oils?

3min reading time

Natural and very effective against small everyday ailments, essential oils have recognized therapeutic virtues: soothing, toning, anti-inflammatory, etc.

To best benefit from all their benefits, it is however necessary to check a few criteria to guarantee their quality:


The requirement here is that your essential oil does not contain any synthetic products. Some unscrupulous producers spray their harvest with synthetic molecules before picking, thus allowing a better yield. Take the time to read the label carefully before purchasing and check the manufacturer.

100% PURE

Several points of vigilance are necessary to have a so-called pure essential oil.

This first involves excluding those from which certain molecules in the composition have been isolated with the aim of being resold for cosmetic purposes, for example. The essential oil must contain the total number of its aromatic molecules for optimal effectiveness. Some essential oils are also “terpenated”, rectified, for better skin tolerance, which alters their effectiveness.

Essential oil should not be “cut” with other products. Some unethical manufacturers do not hesitate to add different parts of the same plant, less effective and above all less expensive: an addition of essential oil of clove leaves to that of cloves for example. Before purchasing, take care to validate which organ of the plant has been chosen: the bark for cinnamon, the seeds for cardamom, the leaf for saro, the rhizome for ginger, etc.

Finally, it happens that certain essential oils are totally or partially substituted by another, again to guarantee better performance. Let us cite, for example, the substitution of Damascus rose essential oil (it takes four tonnes of petals to obtain one kilo of essential oil!) with its cousin, Egyptian rose geranium essential oil, which also has a fragrance with notes of rose. Or the replacement of Indian sandalwood (santalum album) with another sandalwood native to Australia (Santalum spicatum) or New Caledonia (S. neocaledonicum). A little moving thought for all the students who chose Latin by parental injunction: this will be very useful for you in choosing your essential oil! “Vernacular” names – common name as opposed to scientific name – like Sandalwood do not indicate which one it is. Its Latin name will leave no room for doubt!


This notion of so-called complete or integral essential oil concerns the distillation method.

As a reminder, an essential oil is the volatile essence extracted from an aromatic plant (thyme, lavender, eucalyptus) after steam distillation or cold pressing for citrus fruits (lemon, orange). Therapeutic grade essential oils contain “head fractions” and “tail fractions.” The distillation time must therefore be sufficient and scrupulously controlled to obtain complete extraction of the aromatic molecules.


It’s the identity card of your essential oil! It is said that it must be “biochemically determined”. The species of a plant vary according to determining factors: place of growth, climate and sunshine, composition of the soil, altitude, characterizing a relative composition of certain active ingredients. Let's take the case of thyme which presents numerous chemotypes: Thymus vulgaris and thymol, thymus vulgaris and carvacrol, linalool and thuyanol. They all have different activities and toxicity that it is good to know, otherwise there will be incidents.

You will have understood, the choice of an essential oil is not made lightly. Quality comes at a price if you want to get the best results.

Avoid those of industrial quality whose origin is uncertain and prefer a chemotyped essential oil, 100% pure and natural, distributed in pharmacies or whose manufacturer is recognized if you choose to order them on the internet. If you are a novice, the best thing is to get information from a professional so as not to make any mistakes.