3rd Party Test Results for Peppermint Essential Oil

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Our Donors – We Thank You

First of all, a huge round of applause to the donors, who funded this testing and made it all possible:

1 – Pauline W.
2 – Carol T.
3 – Becky H.
4 – Lisa R.
5 – Pam K.
6 – Jean B.
7 – Danielle M.
8 – S. C.
9 – Yvonne G.
10 – Jessica J.
11 – Abbie P.
12 – Leslie
13 – Deborah C.
14 – Cydne K.
15 – Michelle C.
16 – Tonya S.
17 – Lisa R.
18 – Cynthia B.
19- Leslie R.
20 – Shannon G.
21 – Kylie S.
22 – Sharon E.
23 – Kelly G
24 – Doina S.
25 – Vivian Q.
26 – Jennifer D.
27 – Jen A.
28 – Monica P.
29 – Marge C.
30 – Danielle M.
31 – Allison K.
32 – Christina C.
33 – Kristi B.
34 – April R.
35 – Melissa W.
36- Enrique R.
37- Stacie L.
38- Tracy R.
39 – Sandra B.
40 – Susan P.
41 – Mona G.
42 – Paula B.
43 – Victoria M.
44 – Cheryl M.
45 – Patty R.
46 – Jessica B.
47 – Ginger W.
48 – Jamie P.
49 – Susan S.
50 – Danielle M.
51 – Kim P.
52 – Sabrina B.
53 – Amanda R. here and here
54 – Ashley G.
55 – Juanita D.
56 – Emily N.
57 – Janelle L.
58 – Sherry M.
59 – Heather S.
60 – Sheryl P.
61 – Tamara K.
62 – Shannan F.
63 – Erica L.
64 – Christina S.
65 – Lauralee L.
66 – Jill K.

As well as to Scena Essentials, who paid in full for her sample to be tested.

Without you donors, this testing would not be possible!

The people who donated funds got to choose which companies got tested this time. The ones chosen for this round are:

NOTE: There are no affiliate links to essential oil companies on this post – the links go directly to the company websites.

Why we perform 3rd party testing

Before I get to the results (which I know you are anxious to see), I want to explain why we do this testing.

We usually can tell that we are getting what we pay for when we make our purchases, but essential oils are a little harder to figure out.

We are told by companies that their essential oils are “pure” and by others that theirs is “therapeutic grade.” We are made to believe some companies sell superior oils, and are worth the extra cost. This is all part of a good marketing strategy, and it apparently works very well. (read more on this topic here: Name Games)

Our previous testing (Round 1, Round 2) has revealed these statements not to be true. In fact, we have found other companies to test as good or better than the expensive brands. A relief to all of our pocketbooks!

As our last round of testing (Tea Tree) revealed some brands were found Not In Compliance with ISO standards. There is no way to know this without GC/MS testing.

We do 3rd party testing to ensure that we, as consumers are getting what we are told we are getting. This is the only way for us to know.

This also holds companies accountable – since no one else is.

Check out the response Plant Therapy had when they discovered their Tea Tree was found Not In Compliance (NIC). Instead of pointing the finger at me, the chemist, or the standards set in place for testing, they took responsibility. Pulling their batch of NIC oil, at great cost to them financially (a reported $50,000 when all was said and done), they replaced it. Further, they insisted we test their new batch, at their expense, which we did (results are here). I personally appreciated the integrity shown by their response, as did many of you, who immediately supported them with your purchases.

Although all companies should do their own GC/MS testing, and make those easily available to us, many do not. Our testing is a good way for the companies to see results from a 3rd party. If they see results posted here that do not line up with the GC/MS testing their supplier gives them, it may be an indicator they need to look closer at their supplier. This would also be a good time for said companies to begin doing their own 3rd party testing, on each batch, if they don’t already. The cost for a GC/MS test to be run on a barrel, or even a gallon’s worth, of essential oil is easily absorbed in the cost of doing business.

A case example of the importance of a company performing its own 3rd party testing

Here is a great example from Karen, owner of Aromatics International, on the importance of a company doing their own 3rd party testing:

“There was an instance last year where we received Cinnamon Bark and Cinnamon Leaf from a well known distiller.  These were both new oils for us and we know the distiller well.  When the GC/MS reports came back, we realized that the Cinnamon Bark had been labeled as a Cinnamon Leaf.  In contacting the distiller, they were horrified to learn that they had mislabeled the product in their warehouse where they had distilled.  It was an innocent mistake that could have had really bad results.”

Because of Karen’s due diligence, she was able to catch an innocent mistake of mislabeling by her supplier. For those who don’t realize the significance, Cinnamon Bark is a potential skin allergen with a max dermal use level of 0.07% (source is Robert Tisserand‘s book, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd edition, page 248). Cinnamon Leaf is the preferred choice for topical applications.  It still has a topical maximum of 0.6% for skin safety, but that’s 10 times more than Cinnamon Bark.

What GC/MS tests can tell us

The bottle says “Basil” – but do we know which kind? Many companies don’t even provide a Latin name, much less a chemotype (if applicable to the essential oil), to indicate exactly what we are getting. Is it the Basil chemotype estragole, with a dermal limit of .1% due to it being potentially carcinogenic? Or perhaps the linalool chemotype with a 3.3% dermal limit? It pays to know.

Read: Latin Names Do Matter, and The Importance of Knowing Chemotypes.

Beyond the basics of Latin name and chemotype, we need to see GC/MS tests to verify the contents of the bottle. Even knowing the Latin name and chemotype, we need to know exactly how much linalool does Lavender have, anyways? Is it on the low end of the scale? Drought, heavy rain, soil conditions, and much more effects the constituent percentages (read more: Determining Essential Oil Quality). Running a GC/MS test on a batch received from a supplier is the norm for a company who wants to provide a reliable essential oil for their customer.

Although some companies will provide a GC/MS report if you ask for them, many times they are not current to the batch available for purchase. An old GC/MS that does not reflect the current bottles for sale is not going to do much good.

As mentioned above, many factors influence the constituents of an essential oil, and it should be standard process to GC/MS test each new batch, so variations can be worked around.

One company who provides current GC/MS reports right on their website, as well as archives of GC/MS reports – Aromatics International. When I asked Karen, the owner, why she does this, this was her response:

“I am a firm believer in GC/MS testing. We spend a significant amount of money ensuring that we as consumers receive amazing oils! While GC/MS testing isn’t all inclusive, it certainly gives us a picture of the oil we are using. There are many ideas out there concerning the GC/MS reporting but I do know it has been an amazing journey for myself, understanding more about chemical components and choosing oils that have my certain criteria for whatever purpose. I have met some who felt you could smell if an oil was adulterated if one had enough experience.  Sometimes, maybe, but not often. Testing has shown oils that were high in phthalates from being stored in plastic, or components that aren’t typically in a specific oil.”

It all boils down to this statement (from AI’s GC/MS Reporting page):

“The precise breakdown of the chemical components in individual oils given to us by GC/MS reports are important as the therapeutic benefits and safety issues of essential oils are, in large part, determined by their chemical makeup.

Reading a GC/MS report

Although a GC/MS report may not tell us the whole story, it does tell us the constituents in the essential oil, and it is the best method known for revealing adulteration.

Essential oils are made up of dozens, and even hundreds, of constituents, and these are reflected in a GC/MS report. Different essential oils are known to have a certain range of constituents – for example, menthol in Peppermint, or linalool in Lavender. If you know the key constituents to look for, as well as the ranges they should fall within, you can read a GC/MS report as well.

The ISO Standards Used

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – sets standards in many industries. There are ISO standards for many (though not all) essential oils, and they exist to help traders determine quality. “NF T 75-210:2008” referenced in the report uses the same standards as the ISO.

ISO has two standards for peppermint oil. One for peppermint grown in the USA, and one for peppermint grown in the rest of the world. According to Robert Tisserand:

“US-grown peppermint is regarded as premium quality oil, and generally sells for higher prices.”

Although you can purchase the ISO standards for Peppermint essential oil here, it is also listed, in Robert Tisserand’s book, Essential Oil Safety. I have his new edition right in front of me, and there is an ISO standard for US Peppermint essential oil, and an ISO standard for non-US Peppermint essential oil, which were updated in 2006.

According to D Gary Young (Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide p18, Essential Science Publishing 2006),

“ISO…guidelines help buyers differentiate between a high quality essential oil and a lower grade oil with a similar chemical makeup and fragrance.”

In setting these standards, a committee looks very carefully at a large number of gas chromatograph profiles for an essential oil, and selects a few key components based on both their importance and uniqueness. Each of these is given a maximum and minimum range. If a test sample does not contain all of the key components within that range, it does not meet the ISO standard.

For an explanation about the ISO standard from Tony Larkman, CEO of The Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA Ltd), please read: The ISO Standard and Why I Like It.

Our Chemist

We hired chemist Daniel Dantin, from Sarl Pyrenessences Analyses (the same lab who provided our 3rd party analyses for Tea Tree) to analyze the thirteen results from twelve different companies. Daniel Dantin is a world-recognized chemist, and many companies in the aromatherapy world send their essential oils to him for expert testing. Mr. Dantin is known for his professionalism and expertise, as well as his reasonable fees for analyses.

In the words of Marge Clark (Nature’s Gift):

“[Daniel is] one of the most highly regarded analysts in the industry, who is known for his impartiality.”

Sarl Pyrenessences is ISO certified.

Our Essential Oil Expert

We also hired Robert Tisserand, world-renowned expert in aromatherapy and essential oils, to weigh in with his expert opinion and help us understand the meaning of the analyses provided by our 3rd party lab results.

Robert Tisserand is the author of The Art of Aromatherapy, the first book in English on the subject of aromatherapy. He is a well-known expert in aromatherapy and essential oils research, gives regular seminars, and has literally written the book on essential oil safety – aptly named Essential Oil Safety. I could keep listing his achievements, but we don’t have the space! ;)

Peppermint Essential Oil Official 3rd Party Test Results…

The various bottles of Peppermint essential oil were mailed to the Sarl Pyrenessences Analyses lab in France. These bottles were shipped in their original sealed and labeled bottles, analyzed via GC/MS, and the results were e-mailed to me last Monday (October 7th).

As a courtesy, I notified the 12 companies the same day, and attached a PDF with their test results, giving them an opportunity to respond before I published the results here on LAEO.

After the reactions of some companies, we developed our Dispute Policy, notified all the companies of it, and gave them another two days to decide how to respond.

In alphabetical order, here you will find a list of the companies who were tested, the exact comments and conclusions off the Sarl Pyrenessences Analyses lab report (with a link to the pdf of the report), comments by our Expert on essential oils, Robert Tisserand, as well as a comment by the companies themselves (if they chose to provide us with one).

(I want to point out that the “trans-Thyuanol” referred to in the quotes from the chemist is known also by another name: “trans-sabinene hydrate” – which is how it is listed in the ISO standards)

Bulk Apothecary

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol too low,

 BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHAPIPERATA ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Bulk Apothecary Peppermint Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): Although the ISO standard for non-USA peppermint oil requires a minimum of 0.5% TSH (the same as USA-grown peppermint), some experts believe that peppermint clones produced outside the USA may have TSH levels as low as 0.l%. Even without this consideration, the TSH in this sample was 0.33% – too close to definitively red-flag the oil.

Bulk Apothecary’s official statement from Gary Pellegrino Jr., Vice President, about the 3rd party test results:

“After reviewing test results on our Peppermint Oil, we don’t believe that the slightly low level of Thrans-Thuyanol indicates any sort of adulteration.  After speaking to industry experts, we have confirmed that since the results were within a margin of error they are easily be explained by Common Quantitative Systematic Lab Errors in Gas Chromatography that occur in all labs, even the most reputable ISO certified labs.  A list of these common errors can be found at http://www.interchromforum.com/html/qnt_err_gc.html.  We would also like to add that we purchase all of our ingredients from only the most ethical producers around the world and stand behind all of our products.  If there is ever a question of quality, we are happy to have you return the product for a full refund with no questions asked.”

doTERRA

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol and Neomenthol too low,
  • % of Limonene and 1,8-cineole too high :

 BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: doTERRA Peppermint Analysis.

Although our Chemist only commented on the constituents that were out of range, you can see from the report that “ethyl vanillin” is listed as the last constituent in the analysis. When I asked Mr. Dantin about the constituent, he told me ethyl vanillin is a “synthetic compound.” The sample only contains 0.07% ethyl vanillin, which is technically a trace amount. However, according to Mr. Dantin, “ethyl vanillin is a huge odor, more than vanillin!”

To confirm our Chemist’s comment that ethyl vanillin is a “huge odor,” I overnighted doTERRA’s Peppermint to our Essential Oil Expert and asked his advice.

Our Essential Oil Expert comment after an organoleptic assessment (sniff test!): This essential oil smells very pleasant, but it lacks the “clean” odor of a quality peppermint oil. It is over-sweet and reminiscent of a peppermint and dark chocolate candy. This would be consistent with a low concentration of added ethyl vanillin, a powerful odorant that smells of vanilla/chocolate.

Essential Oil Expert comments: Two samples (DoTerra and Heritage) were clearly from the same source. Both samples also contained 0.07% ethyl vanillin, which is a synthetic compound. The fact that many samples were run on the same equipment, but ethyl vanillin only showed up in two oils (which were virtually identical in every other respect as well) suggests that this was not an aberration or contamination that happened during analysis.

Our Essential Oil Expert adds: Both [samples (DoTerra and Heritage)] had high alpha-pinene (2%). Although this is not a key ISO standard constituent, it’s unusual to see peppermint oil with a-pinene this high.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): The level of trans-sabinene hydrate (TSH) has long been used as one possible indicator of adulteration of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil with cornmint (Mentha arvensis) oil. Peppermint oil has a minimum of 0.5% (usually close to 1.0%) of this compound, but cornmint oil contains only a trace amount. So levels of TSH below 0.5% suggest the possibility of adulteration with cornmint oil. The two oils are very similar, but cornmint is cheaper than peppermint. This sample had low TSH, but was close to the .5% lower limit (.36%) – too close to definitively red-flag the oil.

doTERRA’s official statement from Helen Anderson, Corporate Counsel, about the 3rd party test results:
“We take the quality of our products very seriously and go to great lengths to ensure that all our oils meet our high standards for safety and effectiveness. All of our oils are tested using five different analytical methods: gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), microbial testing, and organoleptic testing. The oil tested in this experiment was no exception. We got the batch number today from the French lab that conducted this experiment. We then looked up the results from when that batch was tested previously by Analytical Resource Laboratories and Dr. Robert Pappas’ Essential Oil University (see attached results). When tested previously, the oil was well within widely accepted composition standards for peppermint and contained no unexpected components. We do not know why the results are different, but we have many questions we look forward to discussing with the French lab. We are very confident in our testing protocol, but we are also constantly reviewing and adding to it. If there is something for us to learn from this, we will embrace it. But based on what we know so far, we believe the previous testing is a more reliable analysis of the oil.”

These are the “attached results” doTERRA is referencing:

Our Essential Oil Expert’s comments about the EOU report: This analysis lists 30 constituents (no constituents below 0.1% are listed), compared to 116 listed by Daniel Dantin. In this analysis, 1,8-cineole is even more out of compliance, at 9.21% (should not be over 6.0%). Menthone” is listed twice. The second one should be “Isomenthone.” gamma-Terpinene is also listed twice.

Edens Garden

Edens Garden has chosen to dispute the 3rd party results according to our Dispute Resolution Policy. Their report will not be shared at this time. 

Edens Garden has decided not to dispute our results after all.

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol too low,

BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Edens Garden Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): Although the ISO standard for non-USA peppermint oil requires a minimum of 0.5% TSH (the same as USA-grown peppermint), some experts believe that peppermint clones produced outside the USA may have TSH levels as low as 0.1%. The TSH in this sample was 0.22%.

Edens Garden’s official statement from Grace Martin, about the 3rd party test results:

“Thank you for your time and care concerning this project. Edens Garden has an ongoing interest in pursuing research into essential oils to enhance understanding of the powerful benefits they provide. With this in mind, we commend you on your effort in bringing awareness and helping to establish higher standards for essential oils.

Edens Garden essential oils are 100% pure therapeutic grade. We take very great pride in offering the highest quality available. We unconditionally guarantee all of our products and always offer a no questions asked 30 day money back guarantee. We have chosen to not add any bases, carriers, additives, etc to any of our oils. Each are in their purest form possible. This is very important to us and something we do not compromise on.

Edens Garden oils are all tested using a variety of analytical methods. These tests help ensure extract purity and composition potency by ensuring major constituents are within generally accepted guidelines, as well as providing quantitative proof that received product matches approved samples. If a certain batch does not meet these standards they are never used. We reviewed the lot # associated with tested sample done by chemist Daniel Dantin and have confirmed it passed all tests and is “In Compliance”.

All our best,
Grace Martin
Edens Garden”

Essential Oil Exchange

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

BATCH IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Essential Oil Exchange Analysis.

Essential Oil Exchange’s official statement from Sophia, about the 3rd party test results:

“That tests looks pretty spot-on for the Peppermint oil! We never adulterate any oils, so I’m sure this result will give some reassurance to not only those who are curious about our products, but suppliers in general as consumers are very well educated these days about looking for a quality supplier for their needs.

EOX will make available (most likely in PDF format) all of the COA, GCMS, and MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) documents for each of the oils online in the near future, which will look a lot like the one you provided for us.

[Our essential oils are undiluted, unadulterated, 100% pure, and therapeutic grade. Many of the EOX essential oils are extracted by steam distillation of pure plant material under natural pressure. The citrus fruit oils are obtained by cold-pressing the peels of the fruits, with exception of the lime oil which is steam distilled.

Essential Oil Exchange is a unique member-driven essential oil supplier that is working to provide access to affordable, high quality essential oils as well as to create a well informed community of individuals passionate about these marvelous medicines. We are always working to bring you accurate information about the many uses of essential oils, and strive to ensure the quality of each batch of essential oils that we provide by working with small, artisan distillers from all over the world. EOX specializes in wild-crafted oils and they come from their indigenous regions from around the world... there are not a lot of essential oils produced locally the way that other kinds of farming is done.]“

Heritage

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of Limonene, 1,8-Cinéole, too high
  • % of trans-Thuyanol and Neomenthol too low :

BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Heritage Peppermint Analysis.

Although our Chemist only commented on the constituents that were out of range, you can see from the report that “ethyl vanillin” is listed as the last constituent in the analysis. When I asked Mr. Dantin about the constituent, he told me ethyl vanillin is a “synthetic compound.” The sample only contains 0.07% ethyl vanillin, which is technically a trace amount. However, according to Mr. Dantin, “ethyl vanillin is a huge odor, more than vanillin!”

Essential Oil Expert commentsTwo samples (DoTerra and Heritage) were clearly from the same source. Both samples also contained 0.07% ethyl vanillin, which is a synthetic compound. The fact that many samples were run on the same equipment, but ethyl vanillin only showed up in two oils (which were virtually identical in every other respect as well) suggests that this was not an aberration or contamination that happened during analysis.

Our Essential Oil Expert adds: Both [samples (DoTerra and Heritage)] had high alpha-pinene (2%). Although this is not a key ISO standard constituent, it’s unusual to see peppermint oil with a-pinene this high.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): The level of trans-sabinene hydrate (TSH) has long been used as one possible indicator of adulteration of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil with cornmint (Mentha arvensis) oil. Peppermint oil has a minimum of 0.5% (usually close to 1.0%) of this compound, but cornmint oil contains only a trace amount. So levels of TSH below 0.5% suggest the possibility of adulteration with cornmint oil. The two oils are very similar, but cornmint is cheaper than peppermint. This sample had low TSH, but was close to the .5% lower limit (.38%) – too close to definitively red-flag the oil.

Heritage’s official statement from Linda Sherman, owner, about the 3rd party test results:

“When I heard about your idea to perform 3rd party analysis testing of several company’s oils, I thought it was brilliant. The Myrrh analysis by Dr. Pappas definitely demonstrated that quality oils can be purchased from a number of companies, rather than just a few.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the test results on HEO’s Peppermint essential oil.

We have purchased our Peppermint essential oil from a USA farmer for a number of years and have been encouraged by the numerous positive comments and testimonies from our customers, which include MDs and numerous health care providers who do their own testing of the oil and report that they feel the quality is exceptional. We are also aware of other organizations that source their Peppermint oil from the same farm. The oil is used internally in their application and is held to the highest scrutiny for quality.

Dr. Robert Pappas (an expert in essential oil chemistry and analysis – the same Dr. Pappas who analyzed the Myrrh samples in Round #1) analyzed the batch of Peppermint you had the Pyrenessences Analyses Lab in France analyze and provided this statement:
“This peppermint is excellent quality and has one of the highest menthol levels of any peppermint known. It has a very nice, candy-like sweetness to the aroma. No traces of pesticides were detected in the analysis. Odor quality is excellent. – Dr. Robert S. Pappas”

Speaking of the specific minor components that were reported as “not in compliance,” Dr. Pappas wrote in an email he copied to you, “I have seen samples [of peppermint oil] that I have personally distilled with similar levels.”

We feel Dr. Pappas provides the “interpretation” of the test results that is lacking when all one sees and reports are the mechanical facts. Relying solely on ISO standards to judge an essential oil can be problematic since there are only a few compounds listed and monitored out of hundreds of compounds present in the complete, natural essential oil. This “incomplete” assessment leaves room for an unethical company to adulterate the oil and still meet ISO standards. These adulterated oils may go undetected by a lab technician only trained to report the results of the test, whereas a master in the chemistry of essential oils evaluates the whole oil. His expertise is invaluable and cannot be duplicated by a machine.

Dr. Pappas wrote, “ISO is a selective standard designed for industry conformity, not with therapy in mind . . . .Of course I look at the numbers, but that is not where it ends. The best evaluation of an oil has to not only include the overall chemical analysis of a wide range of components, but equally important is the organoleptic evaluation of an oil, which is something that a machine cannot give you. This is where the art meets the science.”

Thank you again. I appreciate having the opportunity to respond.”

Mountain Rose Herbs

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol too low

BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Mountain Rose Herbs Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): Although the ISO standard for non-USA peppermint oil requires a minimum of 0.5% TSH (the same as USA-grown peppermint), some experts believe that peppermint clones produced outside the USA may have TSH levels as low as 0.l%. Even without this consideration, the TSH in this sample was 0.43% – too close to definitively red-flag the oil.

Mountain Rose Herbs’ official statement from Christine Guerts, Product Manager, about the 3rd party test results:

“This material is a spot buy from a secondary supplier as we wait for our primary stock to come in. Our main source for Peppermint essential oil is a distiller in India, who we work directly with to import the material. We will be testing this next lot when it arrives to insure that we are offering a quality essential oil to our customers.”

Nature’s Gift (USA sample)

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

BATCH IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Nature’s Gift USA Peppermint Analysis.

Nature’s Gift (India sample)

Comments and conclusions from our Chemist, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol and Menthol too low,
  • % of Menthone too high :

BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Nature’s Gift India Peppermint Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): Although the ISO standard for non-USA peppermint oil requires a minimum of 0.5% TSH (the same as USA-grown peppermint), some experts believe that peppermint clones produced outside the USA may have TSH levels as low as 0.1%. The TSH in this sample was 0.26%.

Our Essential Oil Expert adds: The menthol content [27.97% for an ISO range of 36-46%] is unusually low for peppermint, and may negatively affect the therapeutic potential of this essential oil. The TSH level was 0.26%.

Nature’s Gift’s official statement from Marge Clark, owner, about the 3rd party test results:

“As stated on our website,   the ISO standard is based on a rectified oil, designed for large quantity commercial grade oils.  Our USA midwestern peppermint is exactly that, a commercial grade oil. It passed.

The Indian oil is unrectified, straight from the still, what aromatherapy practitioners claim to want.  The ISO specifications are designed for commercial grade oils, not pure, natural unrectified oils.

We have a commercially produced rectified product that passed with flying colors; we have a certified organic small (boutique) producer whose oils did not.   I would hope your readers can draw their own conclusions.”

NOW

Chemist comments and conclusions, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol too low,

BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: NOW Peppermint Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): The level of trans-sabinene hydrate (TSH) has long been used as one possible indicator of adulteration of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil with cornmint (Mentha arvensis) oil. Peppermint oil has a minimum of 0.5% (usually close to 1.0%) of this compound, but cornmint oil contains only a trace amount. So levels of TSH below 0.5% suggest the possibility of adulteration with cornmint oil. The two oils are very similar, but cornmint is cheaper than peppermint.

Additional comment from our Essential Oil Expert: This oil had other compounds with levels that were non-compliant with ISO standards for US-grown peppermint oil, but would be compliant for non-US grown peppermint. Again, market price is the difference, with US peppermint being higher priced. TSH was very low in this oil (0.09%).

NOW did not provide me with a statement to share on their behalf.

NYR Organics

Chemist comments and conclusions, as cut and pasted right from the report:

BATCH IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: NYR Organics Peppermint Analysis.

NYR Organics official statement from Jane Killingsworth, Social Media Manager:

“At Neal’s Yard Remedies we only ever use natural and organic essential oils to fragrance our products, and delight our customers with their aromatherapeutic benefits.  We believe in offering our customers the highest quality products, and were the first high street retailer in the UK to sell certified organic essential oils. Our English Black Mitcham Peppermint Essential Oil comes from the beautiful Frith Farm, a family owned farm in Berkshire, UK, who have a long tradition of growing and distilling the finest quality herbs. Neal’s Yard Remedies has been working with the team at Frith Farm for over 25 years and look forward to working with them for many more.”

Scena Essentials

Chemist comments and conclusions, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol, Menthofurane and 1,8-cinéole too low,

 BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Scena Essentials Peppermint Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): The level of trans-sabinene hydrate (TSH) has long been used as one possible indicator of adulteration of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil with cornmint (Mentha arvensis) oil. Peppermint oil has a minimum of 0.5% (usually close to 1.0%) of this compound, but cornmint oil contains only a trace amount. So levels of TSH below 0.5% suggest the possibility of adulteration with cornmint oil. The two oils are very similar, but cornmint is cheaper than peppermint.

Additional comment from our Essential Oil Expert: This oil had other compounds with levels that were non-compliant with ISO standards for US-grown peppermint oil, but would be compliant for non-US grown peppermint. Again, market price is the difference, with US peppermint being higher priced. TSH was very low in this oil (0.04%).

Scena Essentials’ official statement from Susan Sharp, owner:

“The sample tested from Scena Essentials is actually a sample of mint our supplier provided us when our regular peppermint was out of stock.  It is a blend of 100% pure mints to achieve a “redistilled crystal white.  We purchased it originally as redistilled crystal white mentha peperita, and reordered it again because our customers preferred it to the domestic peppermint that we do have successful GCMS results.”

Spark Naturals

Chemist comments and conclusions, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of Menthofurane too low,

 BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Spark Naturals Peppermint Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of Menthofurane: Since it was not massively low, and since all the other parameters were in line, this oil looks reasonably good.

Spark Naturals declined our offer to comment on the results officially.

Young Living

Chemist comments and conclusions, as cut and pasted right from the report:

  • % of trans-Thuyanol, Menthofurane and Menthol too low,
  • % of B-Caryophyllene too high :

BATCH NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NORM OF MENTHA
PIPERATA US ESSENTIAL OIL: NF T 75-210 : 2008

You can view the report for yourself by clicking here: Young Living Peppermint Analysis.

Comments from our Essential Oil Expert regarding the level of trans-Thujanol (a.k.a. trans-sabinene hydrate): The level of trans-sabinene hydrate (TSH) has long been used as one possible indicator of adulteration of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil with cornmint (Mentha arvensis) oil. Peppermint oil has a minimum of 0.5% (usually close to 1.0%) of this compound, but cornmint oil contains only a trace amount. So levels of TSH below 0.5% suggest the possibility of adulteration with cornmint oil. The two oils are very similar, but cornmint is cheaper than peppermint.

Additional comment from our Essential Oil Expert: This oil had other compounds with levels that were non-compliant with ISO standards for US-grown peppermint oil, but would be compliant for non-US grown peppermint. Again, market price is the difference, with US peppermint being higher priced. TSH was still low in this oil (0.15%).

Note: As there was no indicator on the website what the country of origin was for Young Living’s Peppermint essential oil, I (Lea) e-mailed their Product Support department on Monday around noon and asked. Wednesday morning I still had not received a reply to my e-mail, so I telephoned their customer service and was told their Peppermint essential oil originates “in the US.” I asked “Are you sure?” and she said “Yes.” Hours later I received an e-mail in response to my original one from Monday, from a separate person, stating, “Our Peppermint originates in the Unites States and France.” Remember, this test was run against US ISO standards.

Young Living official statement from Shane Smith, Director of Communications:

“Young Living Essential Oils stands behind the quality and effectiveness of its products. When it comes to our essential oils, Young Living sets the standard for purity and authenticity. We carefully monitor every step of the production of our oils from beginning to end through our unique Seed to Seal® process, ensuring the purity of each essential oil and protecting nature’s living energy in every bottle.”

UPDATE: Shane (who I just quoted) had let me know their R&D team was going to review what I sent them and get back to me. They just did. Here is the official statement from Dr. Cole Wooley, PhD, Vice President of Research & Development:

My name is Dr. Cole Woolley, PhD, and I am the Vice President of Research & Development at Young Living Essential Oils. I want to first thank you for the work you are doing to provide the general public with unbiased, quality information about the essential oils market. The science of essential oils is generally not well understood, and the unsuspecting public can be easily misled by marketing hype. As your test results show, there are essential oils in the marketplace that are laced with synthetic compounds. This is unfortunate for everyone.

The good news is that there are companies who are protecting the integrity of this burgeoning market, and your test results show that the Peppermint essential oil sold by Young Living, as well as some others, are 100% natural and pure. We source our essential oils from around the globe, many of those sources being our own farms that are located in seven different countries. However, regardless of the country of origin, we hold ourselves to the highest of standards, and we test every batch of essential oil in our quality laboratory. To ensure that we are meeting our high standards consistently across our broad line of essential oils, we test each batch of essential oil using optical rotation, specific gravity, refractive index, and gas chromatography (GC) testing, to name a few.

We are aware of the ISO standards available to the market and applaud the fact that uniform standards do exist. We also understand that while they are very useful benchmarks for the industry, they are not the only applicable benchmarks to be considered. Those who understand the natural planting, growing, harvesting, and distillation process will understand that many variables occur in nature that will impact the molecular makeup of any given batch of essential oil. Because of that, we do not rectify or manipulate an essential oil in order to meet ISO standards. In the case of Young Living Peppermint essential oil, we source it from “Origins other than US” Therefore, when the GC results for Young Living’s Peppermint essential oil are compared with the “Origins other than U.S.” norms for the 13 components in ISO 856, we discover that 12 out of 13 components are in compliance with the norms. We are currently investigating the single exception.

Thank you for providing us with the test results and allowing us the opportunity to respond. We appreciate your professionalism and objectivity regarding your testing process. In the future please feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have about Young Living or our essential oils. My contact information is: [e-mail removed]. Please add my colleague, Dr. Richard Carlson, PhD, to our correspondence [e-mail removed].

Thank you again for supporting the essential oil community.

Dr. Cole Woolley, PhD
Vice President of Research & Development
Young Living Essential Oils

Summary & Conclusion

3 companies were found In Compliance; 10 were found Not In Compliance.

Please consider that these results reflect a single batch of Peppermint, and does not reflect on all batches (previous, current, or future), and certainly does not reflect on any other essential oils the company may sell.

I do recognize the possibility that other interpretations can be given to explain the results provided, and I welcome you to share those with us in the comments below.

The authors of and contributors to this report can not be held liable for the actions of anyone who reads this report. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions from the information provided to my readers, on behalf of the donors who purchased the testing and chose the brands to be tested.

Everything possible has been done to ensure the information contained  in the post is correct. If you find any errors, please e-mail Lea directly.

If anyone has questions about the contents of the report(s), I direct you to the chemist who provided the reports to me. His contact info can be found on the reports themselves.

What do you think about this? Let them know! (contact info inside)

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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3rd Party Test Results for Peppermint Essential Oil — 3 Comments

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