Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

Have you heard of therapeutic grade essential oils?

At some point during the 1990’s the term first popped up in the Essential Oil industry. It was invented by the marketing department of a company who wanted buyers to believe that they alone had the highest quality, “therapeutic grade” oils on the market at the time.

Since then, several other companies have jumped on the bandwagon of claiming their oils to be “therapeutic grade,” “aromatherapy grade” or “medicinal grade.”

But what do these titles mean? Read on to find out!

What Is Therapeutic Grade?

a question mark on a blackboard

In short, there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade”. There isn’t even a legitimate grading system for essential oils, nor is there a superior organization that oversees the therapeutic quality of oils within the United States.

Technically, any company can claim their oils are “therapeutic grade” since it’s a made-up marketing term.

That’s not to say that those companies who do claim to be therapeutic grade are intentionally trying to be misleading. Quite the contrary. The majority of essential oils on the market are distilled and standardized to be used as flavorings or aromas in other industries.

Those who carefully select high-quality oils specifically for aromatherapy and therapeutic uses understandably wanted to make a distinction between their essential oils and the lesser-quality versions used in other industries. 

Many Essential oil companies check for specific attributes such as soil conditions and rotation, quality of the seed used, climate, altitude and growing conditions of the farm or country sourced from, type of process used for harvesting, distillation and storage conditions, and even more. This is because each of these can play into the end quality of their product.

Although it is an unofficial term, “therapeutic grade” seems to fit the description of the high standards these companies have for ensuring the purity and quality of the oils they sell.

Is IdealEssentials Therapeutic Grade

A dropper of oil going into a vial

IdealEssentials does not claim to be therapeutic grade since the term is basically meaningless from a legal perspective.

However, our oils do fit the standard industry description of what other companies call therapeutic grade.

Oils from IdealEssentials are each sourced from a specifically cited country, from a single crop of named botanical species, undergo single distillation, and are ethically sourced. They’re not derived from a mixture of crops from various countries or even different years.

By this definition, IdealEssentials would indeed be considered therapeutic grade, although we do not specifically claim to be so.

IdealEssentials: High Standards of Purity and Quality Testing

Some lab equipment

At IdealEssentials, we take the purity and quality of our oils very seriously and rigorously test each batch of oils to ensure it’s purity.

We perform the following eight specific tests on our oils:

Gas chromatography and Mass spectrometry

Unique to each batch, these tests help verify extract purity and potency by testing whether major constituents are within generally accepted guidelines, as well as ensuring product matches approved samples.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)

FTIR is also an analysis of material composition. In an FTIR Scan, a light is shown at the material sample and the amount of light absorbed by the chemical constituents of the sample is measured. Results are then compared against a historical database to ensure adherence to composition standards.

Organoleptic (appearance/odor)

These tests verify that each batch of essential oils is correctly examined and free from contaminants in both appearance and odor.

Optical Rotation

When light is shone through certain compounds the light will bend, or rotate. The degree to which the light is rotated is called optical rotation. This can be measured by an instrument and described with a number. Only certain chemical compounds have the ability to rotate the light and these “chiral” compounds vary depending on the essential oil. The degree of light rotation and its direction through the oil are important criteria of essential oil purity.

Specific Gravity

The specific gravity of the oil is its density in relation to that of water and is also known as relative density. Any oil lighter than water will form a separate layer on top of the water. Most of the essential oils being lighter than water will create the separate layer on top.

Isotopic Analysis

Every component in an essential oil should have the same ratio of isotopes if it was sourced from the same location. If a component has an isotopic profile different than that of the other components, it tells the scientist that the oil contains contaminations from another location, thus is not true to its source.

Heavy Metal Testing

As the name implies, this test shows the amount of heavy metal content in the essential oil. When properly distilled, essential oils should not contain heavy metals.

Full Micro Panel

Involves analyzing a batch of essential oils for the presence of bio-hazardous contaminants such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and mold.


Some lavender oil in a bowl

Although IdealEssentials does not officially claim to be “therapeutic grade”, we go to great lengths to make sure our oils are among the highest quality available.

We also strive to offer the best value on the market.

If you’re looking for a high-quality oil at an affordable price, look no further than IdealEssentials!



Writer and expert