Why do some essential oils cost more than others?

There's a lot that goes into producing an essential oil. Or maybe I should say, there "should be" a lot that goes into producing an essential oil. The problem is that a lot of essential oils on the market are adulterated or synthetic. Some to a lesser degree than others, but still, when dealing with essential oils, you don't want anything synthetic or adulterated, at all. You're putting these oils on you, in you, around you and they do absorb into the skin and enter your blood stream, organs, brain, cells, etc... Just breathing in the oils, you get them "inside you".
So, why do some essential oils cost more than others? To answer that question, I'm only going to be talking about Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils, and why within only that grade of essential oils are there price differences. If I include other grades and brands of oils, I'd have to include the impact adulteration, synthetic agents, unethical practices, and other foreign fillers could have on an essential oils price, but that's not the point of this article, so I won't include it here.
What are essential oils?

Top 8 Reasons

  1. Location
    Some CPTG essential oils you can be harvested from farms but some have to be grown in the wild. For those oils like frankincense, melissa, copaiba, wintergreen, and more, it can take long periods of time just for the farmer to reach the plant. Sometimes the plant has to be visited multiple times during the harvesting process too. CPTG oils come from all over the world, over 40 countries actually, so there can also be a lot involved in just transporting the oils from the mountains, forest, deserts, or country itself... to the United States.
  2. Yield
    A big factor has to do with how much essential oil you can get from one plant. A lemon or orange, for example, can produce a lot of essential oil. They carry large amounts of oil in their rinds. Citrus essential oils are some of the least expensive because of the high yield. Plants like rose, sandalwood, ginger, cinnamon bark, and many others, contain small quantities of essential oils, therefore you have to have A LOT of that plant in order to just fill up one bottle. There are all sorts of variations of yield size in between, but it's definitely a big factor in pricing. The less plant material you need, the less expensive it can be.
  3. Harvesting
    To harvest an essential oil from a plant, sometimes it can only be done during a certain time of day, month or year. Sometimes the process can extend over a long period of time. In the case of frankincense, the tree has to be scored, then allow the sap to drain and dry over several weeks period. Some plants can be harvested by machine, but many have to be done by hand. 
  4. Distilling
    Each essential oil has to be distilled at the perfect temperature and pressure for that particular plant. And the process for each plant can vary greatly. Sometimes the process is simple and short, but other times complicated and over an extended period of time. Sometimes complex machinery is needed, others times not. Plus, it must be carefully done in the right way so as to not damage the essential oil or allow for any impurities or contaminants to enter in during the process.
  5. Growing
    Some plants grow quickly and can be harvested multiple times a year, but most of the time it is a slow process and only once a year can the essential oil be harvested. In the case of a sandalwood tree, it takes about 30 years to grow to maturity before the essential oil can be extracted. Sometime the plant will produce a fruit that contains the essential oils, but most of the time the oil comes from the stems, leafs, bark, roots, wood etc... therefore part of the plant or even the whole plant must be harvested and regrown each time. That can have a big impact on cost. Plus, growing conditions have to be just right and the plant well tended to during its growing season.
  6. Farmers
    CPTG oils are produced through a cooperative of many farmers around the world. They are paid a fair price for their crop. doTERRA has removed middle men from the equation, so the farmers are able to interact with doTERRA on a personal level and get the real market value for their labors and goods, always. doTERRA provides a way for farmers to get paid throughout the year, so they have money to invest into their next cops and they get paid a premium for produce great crops. Farmers that work for doTERRA are well taken care of and the quality comes through in the oil you get. Sometimes these family farms go back generations and generations, and doTERRA wants to help preserve that quality and legacy. Because farmers are prospering with doTERRA, they can invest in growing their farms and lands more, therefore ensuring sufficient essential oil for everyone, for decades to come.
  7. Testing
    CPTG oils are tested far more than any other essential oils in the market to ensure purity and potency. All tests are done by 3rd party laboratories, and even multiple times before the essential oil is sealed in the bottle. A complex analysis of each batch of oil guarantees you are getting consistency in every bottle. The Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade quality protocol includes the following tests:
    - Organoleptic testing
    - Microbial testing
    - Gas chromatography
    - Mass spectrometry
    - Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
    - Chirality testing
    - Isotopic analysis
    - Heavy metal testing
    That's A LOT of testing, but it's all necessary to ensuring you get the best essential oil.
  8. Because of how useful it is! (*Myth)
    Nope, the usefulness or popularity of an essential oils has nothing to do with it's price.

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