Natural and organic are two buzzwords used in product marketing that get thrown around a lot. Like most things that are overused, their true meaning somehow gets lost in the shuffle. Consider hackneyed words such as ‘cute’, which no one can really say what it means. (It’s just cute.) Dictionary definitions in the case of these two catchphrases don’t help to distinguish the two. Natural is defined as “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind” and organic is described as “of or relating to or derived from living matter.”
Natural vs. Organic
Sometimes the dictionary doesn’t tell the whole story, and a bit of detective work reveals, as they say, the true blue of the sky. Organic is a strictly regulated term coined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the website of which clearly states: “Organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.” Beauty and other products labeled ‘organic’ undergo a strict regulatory process to insure that they do not contain synthetic additives or pesticides.
Natural, on the other hand, is a horse of another color, so to speak. Many soap manufacturers use the word, ‘natural’ to signify that their products were made without synthetic dyes, oils or fragrances. It is an umbrella term, which has nothing to do with rainfall but everything to do with almost anything created by nature. The big difference is that unlike organic, there are no legal stipulations when using this term.
Remember that not all essential oils are created equal and that many may even be detrimental to your health. Make sure upon purchase that they are certified pure therapeutic grade. To clearly summarize the difference between the two, according to the USDA: “If you make a product and want to claim that it or its ingredients are organic, your final product needs to be certified. If you are not certified, you must not make any organic claim on the principal display panel or use the USDA organic seal anywhere on the package.”
Studies and Statistics Concerning Natural and Organic Oils
We recently published an in-depth, industry guide to essential oils, and what the research glaringly shows is that the finiacial statistics speak for themselves. The global essential oil market is booming, and according to a new report from Grand View Research, by 2024, sales are expected to reach USD $13.94 billion. The demand for essential oils from the health spa and relaxation industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% by the year 2024.
The increase concerns a heightened awareness concerning both the beneficial aspects of essential oils and the visible shift of focus from synthetic to natural products. With this surge in requests for fragrances and flavors to be used in many applications including personal care, food and beverages, home care, and aromatherapy comes the need for massive capital investment to maintain the somewhat limited availability of raw materials.
Long-term sustainability and over consumption of essential oils could potentially create a negative global environment because a tremendous amount of plant material is needed to extract them. Depending on quality, the essential oils can be quite expensive and although many cheaper ones are readily available, they are often altered with other oils and do not pass third party testing because of their inferior quality.
The natural versus synthetic fragrance debate is one with no winners, as it is ultimately a matter of personal preference. As the master perfumers at Alpha Aromatics like to put it, the fragrance that is best for any individual, product or product line is the one that most closely aligns with the creator’s personal beliefs.
Clinical Studies About Essential Oils
Humans have been using essential oils for thousands of years. It is mostly for this reason that the conventional scientific approach, which tests a substance first in a lab, then on animals and thirdly on humans, is not a good fit. Conservative research review boards tend to approve clinical studies that follow the more conventional scientific path. Slowly but surely, however, this practice is changing, as more and more studies focusing on essential oils are occurring around the world in Europe, Australia, Japan, India, the United States and Canada.
Although much of this research is privately funded and not generally available to consumers, some findings have found their way into cosmetic and plant product journals, which over the course of the last decade or so have become vital sources of information on our mounting knowledge about essential oils.
Benefits of Essential Oils
For thousands of years, man has been using essential oils for medicinal and health purposes. These oils are very potent because they contain highly concentrated non-water soluble chemicals from plants that are distilled from different parts, including leaves, roots and flowers. Ancient Jews and Egyptians created these oils by soaking the plants in oil and then filtering the oil through a linen bag. Today these oils are much more concentrated due to the fact that better distillation methods have been developed.
The many benefits of essential oils derive from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and their popularity has grown because whatever help or relief they provide comes without any side effects. Their use is widespread and ranges from aromatherapy to household cleaning products, to personal beauty care and natural medicine treatments.
Like all things in life, essential oils have their pros and cons. Many plants contain materials that are toxic and irritating or likely to cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin. If, however, these oils are used safely and correctly, they can provide many health-related benefits. There are no miracle cures, but many essential oils have been credited with aiding digestion, hormonal balance, congestion, anxiety, depression, lightness of mood, treating acne, increasing concentration and acting as germicides, just to mention a handful.
How To Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are known for their potency. They should be used sparingly, as a few drops will work well aromatically or topically, but much more will not be effective. The human body easily absorbs the tiny molecules present in essential oils, and when applied to the skin, they go to work right away. This is also true when they are diffused in the air in aromatherapy. This emphasizes the importance of using these oils exactly as stated in the guidelines indicated on the bottle.
Alpha Aromatics and Essential Oils
Our perfumers at Alpha Aromatics are masters at blending essential oils into distinctive signature fragrances and logos for some of the biggest name industries in the world today, including hotel chains, retail stores, health and fitness centers and restaurants. In business for well over seven decades, our focus is the creation of high-quality, distinctive fragrances for use in industry and also personal care and other products for their clients who hail from every corner of the world. Our fragrances are not only pure, but also sustainable and protective of our environment. Our talented and experienced team of experts can customize a scent for anyone, any place or product or product line.
Some Popular Oils And How They Are Used
Among Alpha Aromatic’s many clients are those involved in the health and fitness industry. While each signature fragrance is unique to each company, most of these type of businesses create a signature scent based at least in part on some percentage of peppermint oil. This is because this oil is both cooling and calming and is known to relieve sore muscles. It also has anti-microbial properties and helps to energize workouts and combat fatigue.
Peppermint oil is a hybrid species of spearmint and water mint. It is the among the most versatile of all essential oils and is often used in a range of personal care products ranging from mouthwashes, toothpastes soaps and shampoos, to massage oils, body washes and lotions. Its antiseptic and anti-microbial properties prevent acne, cool skin and help to eliminate dandruff.
This calming anti-bacterial essential oil is used extensively in personal care products such as shampoos, skin care lotions, bath gels, soaps and personal fragrance choices. Lavender is also a favorite in perfumes and aromatherapy because it is very versatile and extremely fragrant. Its use dates back at least to 16th century England when it was used to scent laundry and toilets and sold in the plague-ridden streets of London as a way to ameliorate the pungent odors of death and dying.
The fragrance experts at Alpha Aromatics are well aware of the many uses and health benefits of this “queen of essential oils.” The ethereal beauty and intoxicating redolence of the exquisite red rose epitomizes the passion of romantic love. This oil is said to have properties that kill bacteria, boost the libido and act as an anti-depressant. Rose oil is often a note in fragrances intended to encourage retail sales of intimate apparel and personal care products for women such as soaps and lotions and cosmetics.
Uplifting and earthy, this essential oil is know to inspire mental clarity and is often found in skin care and other oral hygiene and personal care products, such as mouthwash and toothpaste because of its antiseptic qualities. It also serves as a powerful astringent that can help protect skin cells, reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
Lemon, Lime And Orange Oils
These three citrus essential oils are known to be effective antiseptics and astringents that stimulate the immune system. They are uplifting and cleansing in nature, particularly lemon, which renders a perception of extreme cleanliness. This is why artisan perfumers such as the masters at Alpha Aromatics, add it to notes in many fragrances intended for use in company restrooms.
Lemon oil is also a powerful ingredient in hair and skin care products especially when it is cold pressed directly from the peel. In the case of skin care applications, lemon oil is a natural toner and an astringent that tightens facial tissues and works well with oily skin types. It is also effective in shampoos and hair gels promoted to treat oily hair.
To sum things up, there are ultimately two aspects to gleaning the optimum benefits from essential oils. One concerns a true understanding of the differences between natural and organic types, as there are camps that prefer one to the other. Secondly, all essential oil users must educate themselves about both their health benefits and their proper application.
We believe in a world where environmental, societal and economic qualities exist in balance. From personal care fragrances to odor neutralizers, scent profiles, natural and organic oils and more, we have all of the natural and organic oil supplies that you need. Call (412) 252-1012, submit a written inquiry or question, or visit 294 Alpha Drive in Pittsburgh today for more information.
Final thoughts on essential oils:
Friends don’t let friends buy essential oils in the grocery store. ~ The Painted Teacup