What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils

Essential oils

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from benifical plants. They are obtained through distillation or by cold pressing. This results in aromotic compounds that give each essential oil its characteristic fragrance.  However, only the oils obtained through distillation are considered to be the ‘real essential oils’. Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy and they are believed to have healing effects, open our chakra’s and to support our overall well-being.

How do you use essential oils?

You can use essential oils in several ways.

  • Inhale them directly out of the bottle
  • Steam them with a bowl of water
  • With a diffuser or humidifier
  • Dilute them with a carrier oil to apply them to your skin
  • Add a few drops with a carrier oil in your bath water
  • Use them with a carrier oil for massages
  • Add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner
  • A few drops on your pillow case for a good night of sleep
  • Add them to foods for extra flavor

Not every essential oil is suited for all purpose mentioned above. Always check on the label how to use them properly.

How to choose good quality essential oils?

  • When you purchase essential oil in a store, please remember you are not testing perfume. Directly applying the undiluted oil to your skin might cause allergic reactions. And don’t hold the bottle too close when you want to smell the oil.
  • If a company sells all their oils for the same price, this is a red flag. The process of extracting the oils, isn’t the same for each plant. The price should be based on the amount of raw material is needed to produce is. Which results in different costs and prices. When the essential oils are prices the same, they’re probably either synthetic or of low quality.
  • Choose oils from companies that list the botanical name, the country of origin, distillation date on the label.
  • Buy only oils that are sold in dark glass bottles. Clear glass can spoil the oil.
  • Good quality oils are never the cheapest oils on the market. Don’t buy it if the price seems to be good to be true.
  • Buy essential oils from specialized companies.
  • Quality oils are tested for the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests GC/MS. Check of the seller provides batch-specific reports on their website.
  • Look for organic oils. Pollutants on plants can be more concentrated in the essential oil.
  • Check if the oil only contains compounds of the plant, and are not diluted with synthetic additives
  • Purchase from a brand with a good reputation.

Quality brands for essential oils

Below my top 4 of brands for essential oils. I listed them here because they are reputable and honest brands. All of their oils are well-tested and they work with the best, sustainable companies all over the world. I chose a few more expensive and a few cheaper brands, so there are options for every budget. 
 

doTERRA

Plant Therapy

  • Each oil undergoes testing by third parties.
  • All test results are available on Plant Therapy’s website.
  • They have organic-only oils, but not all their oils are organic. Look for the USDA-Certified organic oils. They have more affordable products, those are not the high-quality oils. 
  • 100% pure products.

Eden’s Garden

  • Each oil undergoes GC/MS testing by third parties.
  • Their plants come from their indigenous locations (where they grow naturally). 
  • All oils are 100% pure. 
  • They don’t add any bases, carriers, parafins or additives.
  • Their oils are free of pesticides, GMO’s, fertilizers and chemicals.
  • Their oils are organic as far as possible. 
  • The product’s are animal-cruelty free.

Plant Guru

  • All oils go through third party GC/MS testing.
  • All oils are 100%.
  • No chemicals, pesticides or GMO’s are added.
  • All their essential oils are manufactured from sustainable sources. 
  • They are a small family business.
  • They believe essential oils should be affordable so everyone can enjoy the healing power of their oils. This is why they are cheaper compared to other reputable brands on the market. 

 

Essential oils and their benefits

Uses:

  • Reduces stress
  • Improves skin conditions; acne, eczema, rashes, sores
  • Sore throat
  • Bladder infection

Aroma: Citrusy fresh

 

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • Mild side effects may include dizziness, muscle cramos, heartburn
  • It might make the skin more sensitive to the sun

Goes well with:

    • Lavender
    • Patchouli
    • Lime

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 2What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 3

Uses:

  • Restores emotional balance
  • Strengthens confidence
  • Strengthens self-worth
  • Antiviral; flu, cold
  • Promotes digestions
  • Supports endocrine system
  • Erotic Aphrodisiac
  • Increases circulation
  • It might help to quit smoking. The respiratory system is stimulated in a way that mimics cigarette smoke

Aroma: Mild, woody & spicy

 

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • May cause irritation to the sensitive skin
  • During pregnancy the skin is more sensitve. So, it's advised to avoid during pregnancy
  • Too much can over-stimulate the kidney's

Goes well with:

    • Clary Sage
    • Geranium
    • Jasmin
    • Rose
    • Lavender
    • Sandalwood

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 4What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 5

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Purifying and cleansing
  • Antibacterial 
  • Treats diabetes
  • Disinfectant
  • Cooling and soothing
  • Reduce pain and stress
  • Reduce spasms
  • Reduce redness

Smell / Aroma:

Rich, earthy and a bit woody evergreen scent

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Not for ingestion
  • May cause irritation

Goes well with:

  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree
  • Frankincense

My recommendation:
What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 6What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 7

 

  • Uses:
    • Great for relaxation
    • Calming anxiety and stress
    • Natural anti-histamine
    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Skin healing effect

    Aroma:

    Sweet fruit, with a hint of herbal notes

    Precautions / Side Effects:

    • Make sure you buy Blue Tansy essential oil. Don't buy oil from the Common Tansy. The Commin Tansy has high concentrations of thujone, which is a toxic enzyme. Make sure it says Tanacetum Annuum on the label, that's Blue Tansy.

    Goes well with:

    • Jasmine
    • Geranium
    • Lavender
    • Clary Sage
    • Petitgrain

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 8What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 9

Uses:

  • Uplifting and energizing
  • Helps with digestive problems
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduse spasms
  • Reduse nausea
  • Antimicrobial
  • Natural aphrodisiac

Aroma:

Sweet, spicy with wooden undertones

 

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • Can be irritating when you have sensitive skin
  • Pregnant and lactating women should not ingest cardamom oil

Goes well with:

    • Citrus oils, such as:
      • Wilde Orange
      • Lemon
      • Bergamot

My recommendation:

 
What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 10What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 11

Uses:

  • It reduces menstrual cramps
  • It stimulates and regulates the menstrual cycle
  • For relaxation and calmness
  • Natural antidepressant
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Stimulates the libido
  • Soothes skin that is inflammated
  • Helps with pain in muscles and joints

Aroma:

Soft, sweet, nutty with a slightly floral scent

 

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • May increase estrogen, but not all studies agree on this
  • May not be appropriate for use for people who have low blood pressure

Goes well with:

  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Bergamot
  • Citrus
  • Sandalwood

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 12What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 13

Uses:

  • Natural aphrodisiac
  • Antibacterial
  • Improves digestion
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves hair and skin quality
  • Helps relieve muscle spasm and cramps

Aroma:

Spicy, slightly musky fragrance

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • Don't take this oil orally, unless approved by your physician.
  • Avoid when pregant because of mild muscle stimulating effects.

Goes well with:

  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Clary sage

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 14What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 15

Uses:

  • Helps reduce anxiety and stress
  • Helps reduce menstrual cramps and ease menopausal symptoms
  • Regulates and balances the menstrual cycle
  • Bacterial infections
  • Nausea
  • Flu and colds
  • Stomach problems
  • Reduce muscle spasms
  • Natural aphrodisiac
  • It might help with drug withdrawal
  • Natural antidepressant

Aroma:

A medium strength, fruity, grape and flowery-like aroma with a subtle vanilla note.

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • Pregnant women should avoid it
  • It should only be used in trace quantities
  • It should never be consumed
  • It might cause some irritations

Goes well with:

  • Clary Sage
  • Vetiver
  • Frankincense
  • Neroli
  • Orange
  • Jasmine
  • Lemon
  • Geranium

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 16What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 17

Uses:

  • Skin problems: acne, dry skin, reduces the appearance wrinkles, spots, stretch marks, discoloration scars
  • Indigestion
  • Colds, coughs
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and stress
  • Relieves pain
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Stimulates the immune system

Aroma:

Woody, sweet and spicy

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • It may cause rashes
  • It may cause stomach pain and nausea
  • It may cause irritation to the skin

Goes well with:

  • Citrus oils: Lime, Orange
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Rose
  • Clary Sage
  • Sandalwood
  • Bergamot
  • Peppermint

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 18What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 19

Uses:

  • Reduces feelings of stress and anxiety
  • It improves the cognitive function
  • Balances the hormones and emotions
  • Enhances mood
  • Sometimes used as an insect repellant

Aroma:

A fresh, sweet, lightly floral scent with herbal notes.

Precautions / Side Effects:

  • It may cause irritatations / rashes when applied tot he skin
  • Not known what might bet he side effects when taken in larger amounts
  • As far as known it is likely safe for pregnant and lactating women

Goes well with:

  • Bergamot
  • Lime
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Clary Sage

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 20What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 21

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Balances the mood
  • Helps to reduce stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • It may help with weight loss
  • Helps to treat acne.

Smell / Aroma:

Citrusy and sweet. 

Precautions / Side effects:

  • May cause irritation when applying the oil to the skin
  • It can be dangerous in combination with certain medications

Goes well with:

  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Franincense
  • Geranium

 My recommendation:
What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 22What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 23

Uses / health benefits:

  • Natural aphrodisiac
  • Antidepressant
  • Uplifting the senses
  • Soothens menopause symptoms and PMS-symptoms
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves immunity
  • Helps with insomnia

Smell / Aroma:

Sweet, intense and alluring scent

 

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Considered safe
  • Might cause allergic reactions
  • Pregnant and lactating women only in food amounts

Goes well with:

  • Rose
  • Clary Sage
  • Lime
  • Bergamot
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • Frankincense

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 24What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 25

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Calming and sedative
  • Treats anxiety, restlessness and depression
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Fungal infections
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual cramps

Smell / Aroma:

Floral, sweet and herbal notes

Precautions / Side effects:

  • May cause skin irritation, nausea and headaches.
  • Constipation
  • Increased appetite

 Goes well with:

  • Geranium
  • Clary Sage
  • Citrusy oils
  • Vetiver

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 26What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 27

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Stress relieve / Depression
  • Treats acne
  • Stimulates immune system
  • Helps with losing weight

Smell / Aroma:

Smells like ripe lemons, a refreshing, citrusy scent

Precautions / Side effects:

  • May make the skin more sensitive to the sun

 Goes well with:

  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Geranium

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 28What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 29

Uses / health benefits:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Relieve insomnia 
  • Calming and relaxing
  • Good for the skin: scars, stretch marks, wrinkles
  • Helps to prevent depression

Smell / Aroma:

Sweet, floral, honeyed fragrance. 

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Inhaling Neroli oil can be dangerous to pets
  • Not to be ingested
  • It can make the skin more sensitive for the sun

Goes well with:

  • Sandalwood
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Jasmine
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 30What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 31

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Enhances the mood
  • Antidepressant
  • Disinfectant
  • Supports clean skin
  • Helps to detoxify the body

Smell / Aroma:

Sweet, citrusy fragrance, like orange peels

Precautions / Side effects:

  • May cause skin irritation

Goes well with:

  • Franincense
  • Lavender
  • Geranium

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 32What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 33

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Used to purify and cleanse from negative energies
  • Relieve cold, flu
  • Relieve stress, anxiety and depression
  • Relieve headaches
  • Insect repellant
  • Reduces allergies

Smell / Aroma:

Sweet and woody

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Avoid use if it has oxidized
  • May cause skin irritation

Goes well with:

  • Franincense
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Lavender

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 34What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 35

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Relieve muscle pains
  • Relieve spasms and cramps
  • Calms inflamed skin
  • Treats irritable bowel syndrome
  • Helps with digestive problems
  • Relieve from itching

Smell / Aroma:

Cool and refreshing

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Large amounts of peppermint oil can be toxic
  • Don’t apply to face and chest of children
  • Allergic reactions
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea

Goes well with:

  • Grapefruit
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 36What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 37

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Relaxing
  • Helps insomnia
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Treats skin problems
  • Helps cardiovascular system
  • Helps digestive system
  • Great addition to hot drinks

Smell / Aroma:

Fresh, floral and woody fragrance

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Pregnant and lactating women should avoid petitgrain oil

Goes well with:

  • Geranium
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Clary Sage
  • Lavender
  • Jasmin
  • Neroli

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 38What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 39

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Treats the skin; clears acne, wrinkles, dry skin, eczema
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Relieve pain
  • Relieve menstrual cramps
  • Antibacterial
  • Aphrodisiac

Smell / Aroma:

Deep, warm, floral fragrance

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Inhaling too much may cause headaches
  • It may cause skin irritation

Goes well with:

  • Bergamot
  • Jasmine
  • Geranium
  • Neroli
  • Vetiver
  • Sandalwood
  • Frankincense
  • Ylang Ylang

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 40What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 41

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Urinary and genital disorders
  • Treats skin diseases
  • Mental disorders
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Liver and gallbladder problems
  • Relaxing and calming effect
  • Reduce high blood pressure  

Smell / Aroma:

Woody and earthy

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Not to be ingested: can cause itching, nausea, stomach and kidney problems.
  • May cause skin irritation

Goes well with:

  • Bergamot
  • Black Pepper
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Vetiver 
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Grapefruit

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 42What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 43

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Healthy skin
  • Enhances mood
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Relieve muscle pain
  • Relieve menstruation cramps
  • Helps with constipation
  • Relaxing and calming
  • Pancreatitis

Smell / Aroma:

Earthy and musky

Precautions / Side effects:

  • May cause irritation when applied to the skin

Goes well with:

  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Rose
  • Neroli
  • Vetiver

My recommendation:

 
What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 44What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 45

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Antibacterial properties
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Treats and improves skin conditions such as acne
  • Also used as a natural deodorant and insect repellant
  • Antisceptic
  • Mouthwash
  • Nail fungus
  • Stimulates the immune system

Smell / Aroma:

Astringent, medicinal, woody and earthy.

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Not for ingestion
  • May cause skin irritation or swelling 

Goes well with:

  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Rose
  • Spruce

My recommendation:
What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 46What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 47

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Calming and relaxing
  • Helps with insomnia
  • Warming
  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Also used as insect repellant
  • Natural anti-oxidant

Smell / Aroma:

Sweet, earthy and woody.

Precautions / Side effects:

  • Must be avoided by pregnant women, it can induce miscarriages
  • Lactating women should also avoid vetiver oil

Goes well with:

  • Cedarwood
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Jasmine
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Petitgrain

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 48What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 49

Uses / health benefits: 

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Relieve pain
  • Enhance mood
  • Good for the skin; wound healing and scars
  • Kill bacteria
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Lower blood pressure

Smell / Aroma:

Sweet, fruity and floral scent

Precautions / Side effects:

  • May cause irritations

Goes well with:

  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Vetiver
  • Sandalwood

My recommendation:

What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 50What are essential oils and where to buy high-quality oils 51

What’s Matcha: Japan’s magic green tea!

Japanse groene thee

Even if you’ve never drank it before, you might have seen it on a menu in a bar or restaurant or you may have seen those strange people walking with a cup filled with this weird-looking green potion: Matcha! Matcha is booming and in NYC it’s so incredibly populair, there are special Matcha bars! So what’s matcha drink exactly? Why is everybody drinking it? And how do you know the difference between high quality matcha and lower quality matcha? Here you can read all about it, so you can also become a part of the healthy matcha-hype and start making your own matcha!

What’s matcha and where does it come from?

Matcha is a green tea from Japan – Even though the history of matcha actually already started during the Song dynasty in China. But it were the Japanese Zen Buddhists who brought this drink after their travels to China and developed their own matcha traditions and production methods. High-quality matcha is often used during the famous Japanese tea ceremonies. There are many rituals during these ceremonies when it comes to the preparation, serving and drinking of the tea.

High-quality and low-quality matcha

The quality of matcha tea is very important, especially for the real matcha-lovers and matcha-connoisseurs. However, for a non-connoisseur, the difference in premium and high-quality matcha is very difficult to perceive.

The highest quality is the quality that is used for ceremonies in Buddhist temples. Naturally, you pay a higher price for this quality. After the highest quality, the premium quality matcha follows. And the lowest quality is the culinary matcha. The culinary quality matcha is used mainly in dishes. This matcha is the cheapest and often has more of a bitter taste. The taste is different because the matcha is made from a different part of the tea plant; the lower leaves of the plant.

The place of the leaf on the plant, the way it is processed, oxidation and the stone that is used to grind the tea, are deciding factors for the quality.

Premium-quality organic matcha:

What's Matcha: Japan's magic green tea! 52

Culinary quality matcha:

What's Matcha: Japan's magic green tea! 53What's Matcha: Japan's magic green tea! 54

How to recognize high-quality matcha?

You can recognize high-quality matcha by its smell. High-quality matcha has a sweet aroma and lower quality matcha smells a bit smokey/plant-like. Good matcha feels like a silky smooth powder that easily glides through your fingers, isn’t bitter, has a lingering aftertaste en when you whisk it, there should appear a foam layer.

How to prepare matcha yourself?

Pour warm water on top of the powder (60 to 70 degrees) or warm milk. Then it should be whisked until it becomes a frothy green drink. You can also use a healthy milk alternative, like almond milk. Note: When you whisk it too long, the tea can become too bitter!

You can also use matcha powder in dishes or as a flavor enhancer (for a matcha latte, pastries or ice cream).

There are two ways to prepare your matcha: thick and thin!

For thin matcha, you need about 1.75 grams of matcha powder in combination with 75ml of warm (not boiling) water. This matcha is lighter, thinner and often times has a bit more of a bitter taste to it. Mix the substance with a bamboo whisk for better results. The whisk ensures that it becomes more of a dense substance and creates the foam.

For thicker tea – this is the high-quality matcha I talked about earlier, the type that is used for the ceremonies – you need to use a bit more matcha. About 3.75 grams for 40ml warm water. The matcha you can use for the thicker variant is the more expensive matcha. This because it is made of older tea which gives the matcha a sweeter and weaker taste compared to the thin matcha. To get the desired result it’s important to stir in a slower tempo and longer with the bamboo whisk to prevent it will foam.

What are the health benefits of matcha tea?

Green tea is already known for its health benefits and from all of the different green tea sorts, matcha is the healthiest! One cup of matcha in the morning brings a healthy start of the day. Because: it protects your kidney’s and your liver thanks to the antioxidants (it can contain 5x as many antioxidants than normal green tea!), it restores the digestion, carcinogenic free radicals are eliminated and it can help with MS, Alzheimer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. Furthermore, it contains vitamin A, B, C and E, chlorophyll, epigallocatechin, essential amino acids (building blocks for proteins) and it helps to keep your blood sugar level low.

Chlorofyl also helps your blood to be able to absorb more oxygen, it helps your immune system, it cleans your body (detox) and it is responsible for the famous green color. The epigallocatechin has a healing effect on the skin.

Additionally, matcha makes you more energized, it improves your memory and ability to concentrate, it is a natural fat burner and it has a calming effect.

Do you also want to start making your own matcha? You can also start with this cute starter kit:

What's Matcha: Japan's magic green tea! 55

Enjoy your matcha experience!

Lots of love xx

Angelica