Today seems like a great day to address a question that I get asked a lot:  are doTERRA essential oils organic?   I actually love it when people ask this question because it’s the perfect opportunity to share my passion for doTERRA and explain why our essential oils are actually BETTER than organic.  It might sound crazy but it’s true.

I’m a stickler for organics.  We spend more on food than on our mortgage.  Eating organic food is important.  I have a small garden and use no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  We also try to reduce toxins in our home:  natural, paraben-free shampoos, no anti-perspirant, glass instead of plastics, avoid the microwave as much as possible.  You get the picture, right?  So, when I first shopped for essential oils, I REALLY wanted my oils to be organic.  This was important to me.  Until I realized something pretty major….the USDA certified organic label didn’t mean that an essential oil was truly therapeutic.  It only meant that it’s organic.  Let me explain.  This is something that you definitely want to know.

Recognize the little USDA Organic symbol above?  I’m sure you do.   Let me tell you a bit about what it means.  According to the USDA,  In order to be certified as USDA Organic, the item has 95% or more certified organic content.   Organic processed foods can’t contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.  There are some exceptions and there’s a wee bit of subjectivity.  USDA Organic items cannot have GMOs or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

But is organic the BEST?  Before I get into essential oils, let’s talk a little bit about meat.   You can purchase USDA Organic beef.  This means:

  • Animal health and welfare standards were met (sounds vague to me).
  • No antibiotics or growth hormones were used.
  • The animal was fed 100% organic feed.
  • The animal was provided access to the outdoors (more vagueness).

Really and truly, the BEST quality, healthiest, ideal beef will come from a cow that is completely pastured and fed a 100% exclusive grass-fed diet.  This is a cow that is able to freely roam, not penned, and eat what God intended.  THIS is how my grandparents raised their cattle.  However, this is not necessarily organic.  Personally, I will purchase grass-fed, pastured beef from farmers that I know and trust and I PREFER this over USDA Organic.  Sometimes, organic is NOT best.  Now let’s talk essential oils.

Are doTerra Essential Oils Organic?

doTerra uses a series of five analytical tests to ensure potency and purity:

  • Gas Chromatography
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • FTIR Scan (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy)
  • Microbial Testing.
  • Organoleptic Testing.

If you want to know more about each test, you can read here. Testing is out-sourced and done by independent, third party laboratories.  Dr. Robert Pappas, the foremost authority on essential oil chemistry, provides some of the testing. Testing is done at multiple production points:  after plant selection, harvesting, distillation, at the production facility, and upon filling bottles.   This series of testing ensures the following:

  • Essential oils are the correct chemical composition.
  • Essential oils are pure with no heavy metals, pollutants, pesticides, or GMOs.
  • There is no bacteria, fungus, mold, or other harmful organisms.
  • Essential oils look, smell, taste, and feel the way they should.

Like many other essential oil companies, doTERRA created their own quality control standard: Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.  This is an internal standard and doTERRA’s promise that every single essential oil has been tested to this level.  What does this mean for you?  Consistency and purity.  Your oils will always be powerful.  And they will always work.

What about organic essential oils?  Let’s go back and look at the USDA organic standards.   Organic simply implies that an essential oil is grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on land that has been farmed organically.  Well, I can grow organic oregano here in my backyard in Georgia.  In fact, I do.  If my tiny backyard was certified as organic (big money), I could distill the oils and sell it as organic.  And it would be.  But here’s the deal….the USDA Organic oregano essential oil that I grew in my own little backyard will very likely have very LITTLE therapeutic value.  It will taste great and be an excellent herb for cooking.  But as far as using it for therapeutic purposes….don’t bother.

Here’s the deal with essential oils.   Growing, harvesting,  and distilling essential oils is both an ART and a SCIENCE.  There are so, so many more factors beyond whether a plant was grown organically.  You also have to look at the following:

  • Where and how was the plant grown?  It’s super important that plants be grown indigenously.  They need specific climates in order to have the ideal chemical constituency.  Lavender needs high altitudes.  This is one reason that France produces excellent lavender.  The best oregano is grown in Turkey.  My little Georgia oregano can’t compare.
  • What were the soil conditions? the water conditions?  Soil that is too acidic or alkaline can produce an inferior plant.
  • When and how was the material harvested?  Was the plant at the proper maturity?   If you are REALLY a geek and super into this stuff, check out this research piece that shows how environmental factors impact the essential oil content of the melissa plant.
  • How are the plants processed?  Were distillation temperatures maintained?
  • Were other substances added to the oils to make them cheaper to produce?  An essential oil that is USDA Organic could actually have an organic carrier oil added.  The oil won’t be pure but it would still be organic.

Do  you see how organic really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when it comes to essential oils?

So, what’s a mama to do?  Well, I can tell you what I did.  I did a TREMENDOUS amount of research.  I researched doTerra and numerous other companies.  What I discovered was that doTerra consistently puts out a high quality, therapeutic oil because they truly want to change healthcare as we know it. They believe in the power of essential oils.  They believe that things need to change.  And they are honorable and trustworthy.  Bottom line…the owners of doTERRA simply do the right thing.

If that’s not enough, doTerra also strives to pay sustainable, fair wages to indigenous farmers.  In many cases, they work directly with farmers in an effort to improve their circumstances and communities as well as to create a high quality, sustainable product.  Here’s a video that explains a bit about doTerra’s co-impact sourcing.  It’s really pretty cool.

One thing about me...I vote with my dollar.  I’m a sucker for items manufactured in the U.S.A.  I don’t shop at Wal-Mart (too many reasons to name and that’s a whole notha blog post).  And I’m fiercely loyal to companies that share my values.  That’s why I’m loyal to doTerra.

So, to answer the question…are doTERRA essential oils organic?  Theoretically, no, they are not.  But, in reality, they are BETTER than ORGANIC.