Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
The purity of an essential oil is its most important characteristic. When an essential oil is adulterated or contaminated, it becomes less effective and can even be dangerous. Using an essential oil that isn’t pure means you run the risk of putting germs, heavy metals, or adulterants onto or into your body, which can provoke irritation, adverse effects, or even sickness.
That’s why doTERRA values purity above all else when producing essential oils.
From the beginning, the mission of doTERRA has been to share pure, high-quality essential oils with the world.
Not all essential oil companies choose to enforce high testing standards for their oils. In fact, many companies skip important steps in the testing process to save money or time. Unfortunately, when proper testing measures aren’t taken, it’s impossible to ensure an essential oil is truly pure.
Because there’s little market regulation, the essential oil industry is littered with adulteration and contamination. Pure essential oils are costly to produce, and unscrupulous suppliers and brokers may try to lower the cost by adding other substances and adulterating the final product.
A company might not even know the essential oils they sell are adulterated. They buy from a broker they trust, not realizing they’re being duped, because they don’t have the resources or expertise to test for the most sophisticated kinds of adulteration. They advertise their products as “pure,” even though they aren’t.
Every batch of doTERRA essential oil undergoes rigorous third-party and internal testing to ensure your products are free of adulteration. From the source to you, doTERRA essential oils are certified pure, which means you enjoy perfect peace of mind when you choose to bring them into your home and routines.
doTERRA is committed to sourcing the best and helping the most. This means sourcing pure essential oils sustainably, ethically, and responsibly for individuals and communities worldwide—not just taking care of people but also the environment.
Want to learn more about how doTERRA sources essential oils responsibly? Go behind the bottle and see real-life stories about the sourcing process.
To ensure each bottle of essential oil is pure and free of contaminants or synthetic fillers, doTERRA created the CPTG Certified Pure Tested Grade® protocol. The CPTG process subjects every batch of essential oil to rigorous examination and third-party testing to guarantee transparency, certifying that there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients, or harmful contaminants.
doTERRA goes a step further, putting all our products and packaging through a battery of tests to ensure a long, effective shelf-life.
You may be wondering if essential oil purity really matters or what would happen if you used essential oils that aren’t pure.
Essential oil purity does matter. If you use an adulterated, contaminated, or synthetic oil, you won’t receive the full natural benefit of the plant. In some cases, low-quality oils can pose serious threats to your health.
This is why doTERRA cares so deeply about essential oil purity. Pure, unadulterated essential oils are safer and more effective.
How can you tell if your essential oils are pure? Before you buy essential oils, do some research to find out how essential oil companies source, produce, and test their products.
Here are a few questions to ask:
doTERRA begins the CPTG testing process shortly after distillation, reviewing each essential oil for its chemical composition. The doTERRA production facility then runs a second round of tests to ensure the essential oils distilled and tested during the first round are the same ones that arrived at our facility. A third review occurs when the essential oils are packaged into bottles before they’re shipped out to consumers.
Each test confirms our essential oils are free of contaminants, ensuring no unexpected alterations occurred during production.
Proper growing, harvesting and distillation methods are also crucial to maintaining purity. Poor production practices and synthetic essential oil variations reveal how impossible it is to accurately identify a pure essential oil without scientific analysis. Appropriately analyzing an essential oil’s constituents is one of the most challenging and detailed aspects of quality assurance.
Knowing which of the many species of a given plant will provide the most benefits is the first step in producing the highest-quality essential oil. Relying on the expertise of botanists, chemists, and wellness practitioners, doTERRA carefully selects botanical materials for their natural concentrations of active aromatic compounds.
Nurturing plants in the most favorable environment and carefully harvesting and transporting plant material for processing ensures an optimal yield of pure and potent essential oils. Spanning the globe, doTERRA growers and harvesters are experts at cultivating plants specific to the essential oil industry.
Learn more about the doTERRA sourcing process below.
The CPTG quality testing process includes eight main steps to guarantee every batch of doTERRA essential oil is pure, unadulterated, and safe to use.
Here are the tests doTERRA uses to ensure essential oil purity:
Organoleptic testing uses sight, smell, taste, and touch for immediate clues into a product’s acceptability. An essential oil with an unusual smell, uneven consistency, or strange color instantly tells the distiller something’s wrong. Often, organoleptic testing serves as preliminary quality control before any other tests are conducted.
Microbial testing analyzes essential oils for biohazardous microorganisms, such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and mold. Testers draw a sample and then add that sample to a sterile growth medium in an enclosed dish or plate. The sample is incubated for a while and then observed for microbial growth. This test is performed on products entering the manufacturing facility and on finished products to ensure no products have been contaminated during the filling process.
In gas chromatography, an essential oil is vaporized and passed through a long column to separate the essential oil into its individual components. Each component travels through the column at a different speed, depending on its molecular weight and chemical properties, which are measured as the component exits the column. Gas chromatography testing allows quality control analysts to determine which compounds are present in a test sample.
Mass spectrometry complements gas chromatography in further determining the composition of an essential oil. In mass spectrometry, the constituents previously separated by gas chromatography are ionized and sent through a series of magnetic fields. Using molecular weight and charge, the amount of each constituent can be identified, providing additional insights into the potency of an essential oil.
Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) ensures the potency and consistent quality of a batch of essential oil, identifying the structural components of essential oil compounds. Infrared light of different frequencies is shined through an essential oil sample, and the amount of light absorbed by the sample is measured. The quality of the sample is determined by comparing the results from an FTIR reading to a historical database with absorption patterns of high-quality samples.
Chirality, a term derived from the Greek word for “hand,” describes the 3D orientation of a molecule. Just as you have two hands, chiral molecules exist in two forms, distinguished as either the right or the left hand. You can visualize this principle by looking at your hands: when placed side by side, they’re mirror images of each other.
In molecules, each “hand” has different chemical properties, which affects physiologic interactions in the body. One hand is produced predominantly in nature. In a laboratory environment, the ratio of right- to left-handed molecules is always 50-50 because of their structural similarities. The ratio of right- to left-handed constituents can be determined through a special type of gas chromatography.
Though not commonly performed on a batch-to-batch basis, this testing method ensures no synthetic elements are present in any essential oils.
Matter is made up of tiny chemical building blocks called elements. Dozens of elements exist, and each one contains a distinct number of protons that distinguish it from other elements. Sometimes, an element can exist in more than one stable form depending on the number of neutrons. When this occurs, the elements are called isotopes. The element carbon exists in two stable isotopes, carbon-12 (six protons and six neutrons) and carbon-13 (six protons and seven neutrons).
Because essential oils are organic compounds, they’re composed primarily of carbon atoms and will have a certain ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 isotopes. This ratio varies based on location around the world.
A special type of mass spectroscopy determines which isotopes are present in an essential oil constituent and at what amounts. If sourced from the same location, every constituent in an essential oil should have the same ratio of isotopes. If a particular constituent has an isotopic profile different from the other constituents, the quality control analyst will know a particular essential oil contains an adulteration.
Heavy metal testing shows the heavy metal content in any given essential oil. When properly distilled, essential oils shouldn’t contain heavy metals. ICP-MS testing uses a high-energy medium called inductively coupled plasma (ICP) to ionize the sample. The sample is then run through a mass spectroscope, which separates the sample into its elemental parts and provides a reading about which elements are present and at what quantities.
When you use a bottle of doTERRA essential oil, you can be confident it contains no contaminants, fillers, or adulterations.
The CPTG process goes beyond what would be considered good enough, because doTERRA knows how important it is to feel good about what you’re putting in your body, near your children, and around your home.
Find out why doTERRA has the best essential oils on the market.