Does it really matter where the plant is grown?
Would you prefer to use a Lavender oil from plants grown on the side of the highway in Utah or from plants grown in farmer's fields in France? Stop and think about what plants growing next to the highway absorbs, versus plants growing in pristine country. Now you can clearly understand why this distinction is an important one.
Every step in the process of extracting an
essential oil will effect the purity and
potency of the final product.
Does a tomato grown organically in your own backyard taste better than a tomato that is grown thousands of miles away, picked immature, and ripened on a truck while being shipped to a grocery store near you? Do you think the tomato you grew (organically), to it's full potential, on it's vine, has a higher amount of nutrients than the long distance counterpart?
Of course it does. Kind of a no=brainer, right? It works the same way for the plants used to make an essential oil - in fact, any plant, no matter it's intended use. When a plant is grown in it's native environment, it thrives. It is the healthiest it can be. This means that it will also produce heightened, optimal levels of the therapeutic aromatic compounds, just as Mother Nature intended.
To produce the highest quality essential oil, the plant materials must be harvested within a very specific time frame during the plant's life cycle. Once distillation is complete, the essential oils are moved to their distribution companies.
A high quality supplier ensures a continued supply by forming
authentic, genuine relationships and partnership with their growers,
who are also responsible for distilling the product to the distributor's standards.
Aside from growing the plants in their native, indigenous environments, the best supplier ensures the plants are grown in an ethical & sustainable manner at all times. Not only does this mean we're all contributing to the planet in a kind way, it also ensures a continued supply of the highest quality essential oils available.
Look for a company that openly expresses their commitment to their growers. Providing beyond fair trade compensation for their superior products, as well as year-round payments (not just at the time of harvest/oil production) is extremely rare in this business. In fact, I know of only one company that does this. In poor countries, like many of the third world countries that produce essential oils, workers stress the natural resources, and harvest inappropriately, simply because they needed to feed their families. With the partnerships a high quality company forms, this will not be an issue. The native, artisan growers should be compensated well. When they are, they are known to request exclusive partnerships with their distributor. It's partnerships such as these that have created over 85% exclusivity for one company in particular. Simply put, no one else in the world has access to these oils.
When I first began using essential oils for therapeutic purposes, my main concern was quality. I wanted the best. The first thing that stood out to me was that only one single company was completely transparent about the kind of testing they do, when they do it (every single batch, every time, no exceptions), and what that meant for me as a consumer depending on this product.
It wasn't long before I realized that the ethics behind the quality commitment extended to these partnerships with artisan growers all over the world, 26 out of 40 which are developing countries. Some of which are the poorest in the world. Giving back to these communities means providing beyond fair trade wages, and year-round compensation (not just after harvest season) and even providing charitbale support through a non-profit organization within the company. The communities providing the world with the finest essential oils can then develop a secure (and growing) source of income. The brand I use doesn't want to own the farms. They form meaningful relationships that form the basis of their solid, respected and authentic partnerships.
I love that the company I trust has a large, philanthropic heart, dedicated to bringing fresh water, schools, trades training, feminine products, housing, and so much more to their growers through a non-profit organization that runs on the generous donations of their distributors that are matched by the company.
For me, this again shows me that the entire organization walks the walk, and isn't just talking the talk.