After discovering in our first round of testing that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to obtain a quality oil, we wanted to test more companies.
We have the results from our second round of testing!
Back in April I wrote a post, 300% more Tea Tree Oil is sold than produced, after finding out there is three times more Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) sold than produced. This indicates someone out there is diluting or adulterating Tea Tree to keep up with demand – and no one wants to purchase Tea Tree that is not Tea Tree!
I sent him ten plain bottles marked only with a number, 1 through 10, and he sent me back his analysis. Because Tea Tree is trickier to test, we not only ran the GC/MS, but some extra physical characteristics as well: specific gravity, refractive index, optical rotation, miscibility, and flash point.
ISO Standards for Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) essential oil has certain standards it must meet in order to be considered “in compliance” with the norm for Tea Tree. These guidelines are as follows:
Quality companies will regularly run their own GC/MS testing on each batch they obtain from distillers to be sure they are getting an essential oil that is in compliance with standards before passing them on to their customers.
Is More Terpinene-4-ol Better?
It has been rumored that higher levels of Terpinene-4-ol is better. Is that true?
According to the spokesperson of the ATTIA (Australian Tea Tree Industry Association), he has “never seen a T-4-ol level in pure TTO to exceed 45%, neither has the analyst from the DPI.” When he sees the Terpinene-4-ol level over 42%, he “immediately submit[s] it for a chiral test on the assumption that it has been adulterated with T-4-ol which is a waste product from factories that ‘correct’ eucalyptus, sandalwood, tarragon, pine, fennel and aniseed oils.” (source)
Testing RESULTS Tea Tree Essential Oil
I now have the results for the bottles labeled 1 through 10, and I have put them together for you here with their names and the results:
- Aromatics International - IN COMPLIANCE
- doTERRA – IN COMPLIANCE
- Eden’s Garden - IN COMPLIANCE
- Essential Oil Exchange - IN COMPLIANCE
- J&M Botanicals (organic) – IN COMPLIANCE
Native American NutritionalsERROR: “Melaleuca” (Melaleuca quinquinerva) was purchased and sent to be tested and not “Tea Tree” (Melaleuca alternifolia) that NAN sells. This was a mistake on our part and in no way reflects on Native American Nutritionals. There is no ISO standard for Niaouli oil, but it is Robert Tisserand’s opinion that this is a genuine Niaouli oil, judging from the constituent percentages.
- NOW (organic line) – IN COMPLIANCE
- Plant Therapy - NOT IN COMPLIANCE
- Spark Naturals – NOT IN COMPLIANCE
- Wyndmere (organic) - IN COMPLIANCE
Tea Tree Essential Oils found “Not In Compliance”
As for sample #8 from Plant Therapy, the sample was not in compliance due to the % of limeonene being too high, as well as the presence of some unusual compounds. Note: Read their response to these results here.
UPDATE: We have tested Plant Therapy’s new batch and they have been found IN COMPLIANCE. Read more here…
Finally, sample #9 from Spark Naturals was found not in compliance. The chemist commented in the report this was due to three things:
- % of Terpinene-4-ol was too high (read why “more” is not “better” here: Tea Tree Oil Quality and Constituents)
- % of a-copaene unusual
- density and optical rotation out of range
Tea Tree Oil Testing Results: Conclusion
The bad news is we revealed two brands that did not fall in compliance – but the good news is there are now more brands to recommend. Hooray for that!
Here are the pdf versions of the documents the chemist sent to me. The only thing I changed was my physical mailing address. I changed that to my websites.
NOTE: for those that did not fall in compliance, this does not mean all the essential oils they sell are poor quality. This only reflects on the particular batch of Tea Tree reflected by the bottle we sent for testing.
We are already taking donations for our 3rd round of testing – this time on Peppermint. You can send PayPal funds to email@example.com (no fees, please!). Thank you for your support!
Shared on: Fat Tuesday
|Lea Harris is a Certified Aromatherapist with Advanced Graduate training from Aromahead Institute in July 2013, but she is not a doctor. Please consult a trained aromatherapist or your doctor before using any of the suggestions on this website, as the user's age and health conditions must be taken into account before using. The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.|
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