Are doTERRA Essential Oils Organic?

Today seems like a great day to address a question that I get asked a lot: are doTERRA essential oils organic?  I actually love it when people ask this question because it’s the perfect opportunity to share my passion for doTERRA and explain why our essential oils are actually BEYOND organic. It might sound crazy but it’s true. Don’t get us wrong, this post is not intended to be a CPTG Certified  Pure Therapeutic Grade® vs. certified organic debate. Certified organic is good. We support organic practices from any organization that seeks to produce quality products, but the certified organic standard is not  the only standard of quality. I completely understand the need for reassurance that doTERRA’s products  are sourced from the highest quality sources and are organic. So you might be wondering why doTERRA does not have an organic certification.  Here is their reasons why:

We source our essential oils from a number of growers and distillers  from around the world. Each location has its own specific laws and rules  governing agriculture and collecting wild crafted botanicals. However, through the GC/MS analysis process,  we are able to determine if any chemical residue exists in the essential oil, such as pesticides, herbicides, extenders, and solvents. With this rigorous analysis process, we are able to ensure that all CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils offered by dōTERRA  are a step above organic. We look for plant materials that are grown in specific environments, but we do not label our oils as organic due to the varying regulations in each country.

dōTERRA International sources essential oils from responsibly managed farms throughout the world where growing, harvesting, and distilling  methods meet dōTERRA’s strict standards for purity (CPTG—Certified Pure  Therapeutic Grade). Because organic certification varies from country to country, province to province, and in the US, from state to state, it is not currently possible to acquire all oils under certified organic status. However, dōTERRA’s ongoing commitment to the highest quality  production means that all our essential oils are analyzed and  cross-tested by independent laboratories. This cross-testing ensures  that our green product offering contains pure aromatic extracts and are a step above organic.

CPTG essential oils are free of pesticides, chemical residues,  fillers, herbicides, extenders, and solvents. We partner with experts  that have been doing this a while, and their long history of tested  purity is part of the art of producing such beautiful oils. They are farmers and collectors and chemists, but they are committed to distilling essential oils as artisans and we believe are mindful of their environments and are committed to sustainable practices. Our network is vast and our suppliers’ methods are diverse. If we were to learn of any actions of a supplier causing harm to either the environment or to the local people of their community we would certainly  seek other and more appropriate sources.

CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils mean something very different. It means we protect the chemical compound of the plant just as it was produced from the earth. We don’t need to improve upon that. If we have the care, the scientific knowledge, the commitment and the integrity, we can preserve that.
— Dr. David K. Hill, D.C., dōTERRA’s Chief Medical Officer.

But is organic the best?

Organic – Definition 

Before I get into essential oils, let’s talk a little bit about veggies. You can purchase Organic veggies.

This means:

The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that:

‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of  man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified  organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation. 

Organic agriculture  is a systems approach to production that is working towards  environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production.  Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control’.

**Taken from DEFRA - Crown Copyright 

Organic labelling

For composite foods  to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come  from organically produced plants or animals. EU-wide rules require  organic foods to be approved by an organic certification body, which  carries out regular inspections to ensure the food meets a strict set of  detailed regulations, relating to production methods and labelling.

Look for labels like the Soil Association.  This is the gold standard of organic labelling. Because some  ingredients are not available organically, a list of non-organic food  ingredients are allowed however, all artificial colourings and  sweeteners are banned in organic food.

Sometimes, organic is NOT best.  Now let’s talk essential oils.

Are doTerra Essential Oils Organic?

doTerra uses a series of five analytical tests to ensure potency and purity:

  • Gas Chromatography

  • Mass Spectrometry

  • FTIR Scan (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy)

  • Microbial Testing.

  • Organoleptic Testing.

Testing is out-sourced and done by independent, third party laboratories. Dr. Robert Pappas, the foremost authority on essential oil chemistry, provides some of the testing. Testing is done at multiple production points: after plant selection, harvesting, distillation, at the production facility, and upon filling bottles.   This series of testing ensures the following:

  • Essential oils are the correct chemical composition.

  • Essential oils are pure with no heavy metals, pollutants, pesticides, or GMOs.

  • There is no bacteria, fungus, mold, or other harmful organisms.

  • Essential oils look, smell, taste, and feel the way they should.

Like many other essential oil companies, doTERRA created their own quality control standard: Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.  This is an internal standard and doTERRA’s promise that every single essential oil has been tested to this level.  What does this mean for you? Consistency and purity. Your oils will always be powerful. And they will always work.

What about organic essential oils?  Let’s go back and look at the Organic standards. Organic simply implies that an essential oil is grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on land that has been farmed organically.  Well, I can grow organic sage here in my backyard in MALTA. In fact, I do.  If my tiny backyard was certified as organic (big money), I could distill the oils and sell it as organic. And it would be. But here’s the deal….the Organic sage essential oil that I grew in my own little backyard will very likely have very LITTLE therapeutic value.  It will taste great and be an excellent herb for cooking. But as far as using it for therapeutic purposes… don’t bother.

Here’s the deal with essential oils.   Growing, harvesting,  and distilling essential oils is both an ART and a SCIENCE.  There are so, so many more factors beyond whether a plant was grown organically.

  • Where and how was the plant grown?  It’s super important that plants be grown indigenously.  They need specific climates in order to have the ideal chemical constituency.  Lavender needs high altitudes.  This is one reason that France and Bulgaria produces excellent lavender. The best oregano is grown in Turkey.

  • What were the soil conditions? the water conditions?  Soil that is too acidic or alkaline can produce an inferior plant.

  • When and how was the material harvested?  Was the plant at the proper maturity?  If you are REALLY a geek and super into this stuff, check out this research piece that shows how environmental factors impact the essential oil content of the Melissa plant.

  • How are the plants processed?  Were distillation temperatures maintained?

  • Were other substances added to the oils to make them cheaper to produce?

    An essential oil that is USDA Organic could actually have an organic carrier oil added.  The oil won’t be pure but it would still be organic.

Do  you see how organic really isn’t all it’s about when it comes to essential oils?

So, what’s a brother has to do?  Well, I can tell you what I did.  I did a TREMENDOUS amount of research.  I researched doTERRA and numerous other companies.  What I discovered was that doTERRA consistently puts out a high quality, therapeutic oil because they truly want to change healthcare as we know it. They believe in the power of essential oils.  They believe that things need to change.  And they are honorable and trustworthy.  Bottom line…the owners of doTERRA simply do the right thing.

If that’s not enough, doTERRA also strives to pay sustainable, fair wages to indigenous farmers. In many cases, they work directly with farmers in an effort to improve their circumstances and communities as well as to create a high quality, sustainable product.  Here’s a video that explains a bit about doTerra’s co-impact sourcing. It’s really pretty cool.

Our long-term hope is as we grow the demand for essential oils, we can help develop clean industry for local economies around the production of plants and extracts. These standards are so important to us because we do our best to only use organic and keep ALL chemicals out of our home. We love doTERRA!

One thing is for sure, I vote with my Euro… I support local produce and local brands. And I’m loyal to companies that share my values. That’s why I’m loyal to doTERRA.

So, to answer the question…are doTERRA essential oils organic?  Theoretically, no, they are not. But, in reality, they are BETTER than ORGANIC.

Want safe “beyond organic” essential oils in your home? Click here to learn more