Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

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Home => Health Articles => Klaus Ferlow => Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

provided and © by Klaus Ferlow

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When we started our business with organic- toxin free medicinal herbal and personal care products we included from the beginning steam distilled genuine pure essential oils into our program. I also attended an Advanced Aromatic Seminar by Dr. Malte Hozzel, Ph.D., a authority from Europe with his own distilling plant in the Province of France in April 2000 at AMBROSIA essential oil APOTHECARY, Winnipeg. It was an extensive advanced aromatic study of 25 hours.

Since the population at large in Canada has very little or no knowledge about the therapeutic health benefits of genuine, pure essentials oils and in comparison with synthetic fragrance oils, I would like to take away some of the confusion:

In Europe even Medical Doctors are using high quality essential oils internally in hospitals and we here in North America are so far behind. Since essential oils have become popular in the last decade, many of these oils are sold in clinics, health food stores, grocery stores, pharmacies etc. but do you really know what you are getting?

What are genuine, pure essential oil?

Essential oils are not merely plant secretions, but rather that they actively participate in the development of plants. The evaporation of essences from the plant surface is seen as a defense mechanism against infection by bacteria, fungi, and pests. Aromatic plants have a protective aura of scent, just as all living things have an aura light. This aromatic auro also protects plants form excesses of heat and cold.

What are the different processes for making essential oils?

There are five different processes:

Steam distillation (this offers you the highest quality)

Solvent extraction




What is the criteria for a true essential oil?

The oil must be 100% natural, preferable from certified organic plant or wild crafted without herbicide and pesticide spraying and chemical fertilizer

Steam distillation must be slow and prolonged

A detailed description of the biochemical compounds (gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry)

The oil must be 100% authentic, nothing added, nothing taken away

How to make sure you are getting the quality essential oil you are asking for?

The following four things need to be on the label and/or therapeutic fact sheet:

• Complete latin name, genus and species

Example: Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula spica

• The distilled part:

It is vital to know which part of the plant (secreting organ) has been distilled:

Flower, leaf, bark, etc.. Example:

Citrus reticulata (mandarin tree)

Peel: 0-0.85 of n-methyl antranilate – mild antispasmodic

Leaf: 50% of n-methyl antranilate – powerful antispasmodic

• The chemotype (chemical type)

• Recognized internationally and widely used in scientific University publications, the chemotype associated with the latin scientific denomination allows for the perfect comprehension of the mode of action of essential oils, resulting in the correct use of this powerful, efficient natural therapy. The type of soil, altitude, sunlight, climate, and surrounding plant population are all elements that influence the essence manufactured by the plant.

• Example: First chemotype Thymus vulgaris C.T. thujanol (Thujanol thyme)

• In addition to its important anti-infectious properties, this essential oil stimulates and regenerates the liver. It is very safe and is devoid of any negative side effects.

The price:

All essential oils are not created equal and the price is influenced by a wide range of factors, such as the necessity of picking several kilos of plants to make a small quantity of essential oils and that's why the oils is sold in small bottles of 5, 10, 15ml only, some oils are sold by the drop. Here are a few examples to get to one kilo (approx 1 litre):

6 to 7 kg of cloves flower buds

50 kg of lavendin

150 kg of true lavender

3500 – 4000 kg of Damask flower rose, that's one hectare of roses!

What about precautions using essential oils?

There are a number of Aromatherapy Associations in Canada and USA and their members are certified Aromatherapists and received professional training and I suggest to contact them finding an Aromatherapist in your area. Professional advice is necessary to avoid any harm to your health and well-being.

What do you need to know about synthetic fragrance oils?

Just recently I wrote the article for the leading Health Magazine in UK, "Positive Health" with the title: "Fragrance – A Growing Environmental and Health Hazard."

These oils are best described as "un-natural", mass produced in a laboratory using mostly all synthetic, sometimes part synthetic, part natural ingredients and they are very powerful and have a stronger scent which also last longer than premium essential oils. A variety of chemicals are found in these oils, such as:

Acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, methylene chloride, a-pinene, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate and fluoride, g-terpinene, a-terpineol, just to name a few. 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace, a Report by the Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Sept. 1986 (Report 00-827).

The chemicals were found in thirty-one fragrance products based on a 1991 EPA, Environmental Protection Agency Study. These oils create all kind of health problems such as allergic reactions, asthma, respiratory disorders, alter blood pressure, pulse and mood, trigger migraine headaches, dizziness, eye irritant, nausea, vomiting, damage immune system, panic attacks/anxiety, neurotoxic reaction, convulsion, coma and the list goes on. Best advise: try to avoid them!


"The laws of nature are the laws of health, and he who lives according to these laws is never sick. He who obeys the laws, maintains an equilibrium in all parts, thus ensures true harmony; and harmony is health, while discord is disease.

The Aquarian Gospel


The Art of Aromatherapy, Robert Tisserand, ISBN 0-89281-001-7

A guide to essential oils, Jennie Harding, ISBN 0-75257-783-2

Essential oils, Sara Rose, ISBN 1-84273-441-5

About the author

Klaus Ferlow, herbalist, innovator, lecturer, researcher, writer, founder, President and co-owner of FERLOW BOTANICALS, Div. of Ferlow Brothers Ltd, Vancouver, B.C., manufacturing, distributing TOXIN free medicinal herbal and personal care products to professional health & wellness practitioners and selected stores with practitioners on staff since 1993. , www.ferlowbotanicals.com

His educational articles have been published in dozen of Health Magazines, Magazines, Newspapers, Newsletters in Canada and numerous websites around the world.

Disclaimer: This information is offered for its educational value and should not be used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease, please contact your health care practitioner.


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Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils