According to the latest estimates, the essential oil market will grow at the rate of 11% for the next ten years. In 2025 it will reach a value of 15.8 billion of dollars.
The boom of essential oils continues, from food to cosmetics. But higher production costs compared to synthetic products make it a fairly common adulteration object.
For aromatherapy, the quality of essential oils means products 100% natural or not adulterated with the addition of chemicals, and 100% pure or unmixed with other oils having similar characteristics.
The most common methods of adulteration of essential oils are:
- dilution with less expensive vegetable oils, alcohols and synthetic oils eg. DPG (dipropylene glycol) for lavender oil;
- mix with less expensive oils of the same plant, but coming from another country. For example: Bourbon geranium with geranium from China; Bilberry cranberry with blueberry in the Balkans;
- mix with the cheapest oils extracted from a different part of the same plant. For example: shoots of cloves with leaves; Cinnamon bark with cinnamon leaf; Angelica root with Angelica leaf;
- dilution with less expensive essential oils from plants of similar species. For example: Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) with wild thyme (Thymus mastichina); Lavender with Lavendin; Ceylon Cinnamon with Chinese Cassia;
- adulteration with less expensive essential oils extracted from other plants or species with a similar name;
- mix with natural or semi-synthetic compounds. For example: Lemon with citral or orange terpenes; Peppermint (one of the most adulterated oils) with menthol; Eucalyptus with cineol; Geranium with geraniol or citronella; Patchouli with spit buds of cloves; Rosemary with camphor; Thymus with thymol or carvacrol; Cardamon with terpenyl acetate.
Some essential oils are more adulterated than others. Two categories can be distinguished:
– they were sold less, but of high value like sandalwood, rose, agarwood, iris;
– they were best sold as lavender, peppermint, citrus oils, oregano and thyme.
Prices vary greatly depending on the scarcity of raw materials, harvest problems, climate, extraction yield and demand.
The theme of adulteration is key to the development of essential oils, but finding them often requires highly sophisticated detection methods. Only chemical and chemical-physical analysis can provide reliable information. In Renolab’s laboratory, by gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) it is possible to identify the different components; if an oil has been rectified. It is also possible to reveal traces of solvents or mineral oils. Contact us for information or to request a quote.