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Frequently Asked Questions


Click here for FAQ’s not related to aromatherapy, ie how fast we ship, which credit cards we accept, etc.

 

General Essential Oil Questions

Are your oils therapeutic grade? (The most consistently asked question.)

Are your products 100% pure with no additives added to the essential oils?

What is the definition of the words essential oils? How do they differ from say olive oil or other vegetable oils?

How are essential oils made?

What’s a CO2?

Why do I have to dilute the oils?

What is a carrier oil?

What is an “appropriate dilution?”

I keep seeing “Lavender 40/42.” What is that and why don’t you sell it?

What's the difference between an absolute and an essential oil?

I’m a soapmaker. What qualities of the essential oils survive saponification?

I am in the process of looking for a new supplier. I need to know if your essential oils are all pure and unadulterated and do you guarantee their purity?

I’ve been reading about how the number of times that an essential oil is distilled, makes a difference in the quality of the essential oil. Do the essential oils from Nature’s Gift come from the first distillation?

How do I store the essential oils?

Can I store the oils with eyedropper tops, instead of the caps you ship them in? It would be much more convenient.

Are all your oils organic?

Are your oils safe to take internally?

Can I buy larger quantities of your oils?

 

About Specific Essential Oils

Please see our descriptive listing of each oil for complete details about each oils physical and emotional effects, blending suggestions, safety warnings, etc.

 

About Our Other Products

What is the difference between a synergy and a personal blend or anointing oil?

Which diffuser is best for me?

 

Emotional Uses of the Oils

A friend who lives far away is in the process of going through a divorce. I would like to send her something that would possibly help her through this trying time as well as possibly soothe her.

I would like to order an oil for anxiety. Could you offer some suggestions about this type of oil? Does it require a special blend?

 

Skin Care Questions

Is there anything I can do to help a friend who is going through radiation therapy? I’m thinking lavender, but which one?

What carrier oils can I use for oily skin with acne, without making it worse?

You say not to use the oils neat, but I read that neat tea tree is effective dabbed on blemishes.

What essential oils are effective for acne, for dry skin, for sensitive skin, for aging skin, etc?

I recently received some serious cuts on my face that needed stitches Do you have a recommendation for the scars?

I was wondering if you think the Helichrysum diluted with the rosehips oil would be good for the “thread veins.” I use the hydrosol you sent me quite a bit. Both my mom and I have tiny thread veins under our eye area where it meets the cheek bone, and i noticed the hydrosol says its good for thread veins. Since my mom has “mature” and I have “aging” skin, I thought perhaps the Rosehips and Helichrysum would work? What do you think?

 

General Information (That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else)

How many drops per ml?

Is there a difference between essential oils and standardized herbal extract supplements?

How do I know if the oils I am buying are pure and natural?

How do I know how to use the oils? (I’m buying them for skin care.)

 

Books and Information Sources

What books to you recommend for beginners?

Do you have any recipes for body lotions (normal to dry skin) or hand creams?

 

Answers:

Are your oils therapeutic grade?

To answer that question, first you must define what is meant by “therapeutic grade essential oils.” What does it really mean? There is no organization that oversees therapeutic quality so the definition is really up for grabs. It can be what you make it. This is the reason that at Nature’s Gift we do not make the claim that our oils are “therapeutic grade” since, in this country, the term is meaningless, and often used as just marketing hype. Any vendor can claim that their oils are “therapeutic grade” since there is no definition of the term.

In our opinion and experience, the correct term should be “aromatherapy grade” since aromatherapy requires only the finest of essential oils. Another term that we like to use is “clinical grade.” Since many of our oils are used in hospitals, hospices, and in clinical research projects, it seems to fit.

There are many criteria that must be met for an essential oil to truly be of aromatherapy quality.

Because the answer to this question is too long for the FAQ, please click here to read the complete answer.

 

Are your products 100% pure no additives added to the essential oils?

We guarantee both the purity and the quality (two different aspects!) of our oils and hydrosols. The ONLY time something is added is in the case of the clearly marked 10% dilutions of our oils, and, of course the personal and massage blends...all are clearly marked as diluted both on our site, and on the labels.

 

What is the definition of the words “essential oils?” How do they differ from olive oil or other vegetable oils?

Essential oils are highly volatile plant essences, produced primarily by steam distillation (sometimes by cold pressing or by CO2 extraction or solvent extraction). They contain the aromatic molecules of the plant. The plant produces them for various reasons...reproductive (to lure bees for pollinization, for example), protection (the antifungal properties of the leaves of the melaleuca trees give us Tea Tree oil, among others) etc.

Unlike fixed oils (the vegetable oils that you mention) they are highly concentrated and must be diluted in a carrier...they should never be used undiluted (or “neat”) on the skin.

They work on the oldest part of the brain (the limbic system) and have intense effects on the parasympathetic nervous system, as well as powerful antibacterial effects.

 

How are essential oils made?

Primarily by steam distillation, but sometimes by hydrodistillation (water, rather than steam), CO2 extraction, or other methods. Read more here.

 

What’s a CO2?

An aromatic extracted by a newer and more expensive method than the traditional steam distillation. In my opinion the CO2’s usually tend to give a richer, fuller more aromatic product than their steam distilled equivalents. Read more here.

 

Why do I have to dilute the oils?

For your own safety. Many of the oils are irritants or sensitizers and can do serious damage if not used in appropriate dilution on the skin. Secondarily, these oils are precious natural resources. Using them neat is, with very rare exceptions, unnecessary. Less is more where the oils are concerned; extend them by properly diluting them.

 

What is a carrier oil?

Pure essential oils are too concentrated for use directly on to the skin. It is therefore necessary to use a carrier oil to assist in application. Carrier oils are vegetable, nut, or seed oils, many of which have therapeutic properties in and of themselves. Carrier oils used in aromatherapy should be cold pressed oils, if at all possible. Not all carrier oils should be used at 100% concentration. Some are best used in dilution with another carrier oil. For example Evening Primrose or Borage Seed oils are quite thick, and better diluted in a lighter carrier oil. You may blend different carrier oils to achieve the desired result. For more information please see our pages about specific carrier oils and additives.

 

What is an “appropriate dilution?”

For a healthy adult, the “standard” is a 2.5% dilution, ie, 15 drops per fluid ounce of carrier oil, or 2 to 3 drops per teaspoon of carrier. For a child, or a delicate elderly person, the dilution should be much weaker, perhaps five drops per ounce or one drop per teaspoon. Please note that this is total dilution, if you are using a blend of oils, mix your blend of undiluted oils, and then measure out the appropriate number of drops of the blend. Read more about Methods of Application here.

 

I keep seeing “Lavender 40/42.” What is that and why don‘t you sell it?

You may see a lavender essential oil listed by many vendors as a Lavender 40/42, in there in the list with Lavender angustifolia, and or Lavender officianalis, and lavenders from different countries.

The 40/42 is a guarantee that certain chemical components of the lavender will be present in set, specified percentages.

The trouble is, mother nature doesn’t grow ‘em that way. She is a bit whimsical...and in a natural straight from the garden, steam distilled essential oil of lavender, odds are every season will give you a slightly different essential oil. So...the manufacturers who are more concerned that the lavender smell exactly the same, year after year, and act exactly the same, year after year, then they are concerned about the therapeutic value of the lavender...they will opt for uniformity. And if the lavender doesn’t grow that way...well, it’s easy to tinker to MAKE it that way.

It is a simple process for a chemist to add some synthetic linalol or synthetic linalyl acetate to some lavender or lavandin oil to bring it “up to spec.”

 

What’s the difference between an absolute and an essential oil?

Essential oils are steam distilled...the absolutes are solvent extracted and may have traces of solvents left in them.

When we offer both, as in rose, the absolute tends to smell more like the fresh blossom, while the steam distilled rose otto is far superior therapeutically.

 

What qualities of the oils survive saponification?

There has been NO research done upon what components of the EO’s do and do not survive saponification. We know they get changed, both from the heat, and the effects of the lye...but we do NOT know how they change. No one has done the lab work. Couple the fact that we do NOT know exactly ’how’ the EO’s work...we have some general ideas, but it is so often the trace elements that make the difference, and we honestly don’t have the full understanding. we can not say that “this phytochemical produces that result”... we just can’t.

So...we don’t know at ALL what phytochemicals survive saponification; and we don’t know for sure WHICH phytochemicals cause the results we want.

BUT...rather than say they don’t survive...my rule of thumb has three (sometimes contradictory) parts:

1. SOME of the effects survive...the main action of any EO is olfactory...by inhalation.

  • when we inhale them, they cross the bloodbrain barrier through the lungs.
  • they react thru the olfactory receptors in the back of the nose and cause reactions in the limbic system, the oldest part of the brain, effecting the parasympathetic nervous system, the emotions, heartrate, breathing depth, and speed, etc.
  • they PROBABLY act upon the skin...but we don’t know.

2. I don’t use cp soap to deliver the very expensive oils...ie, my acne treatment blend has German Chamomile and Helichrysum, among other things...I am not going to subject them to saponification.

3. The sensitizing and irritating EO’s...the ones that are NOT skinsafe. I *assume* that their properties will come thru intact...that if it is too dangerous to use in a massage blend, it’s too dangerous to use in soap. (Yes, I err on the side of caution.)

 

Addendum: I do believe the EMOTIONAL effects of the oils will come through in soap...if you can smell them, they will act on the emotions...thus a citrus or peppermint “wake up shower soap” WILL wake you up...lavender or roman chamo or the other “relaxing” oils will help you sleep well.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the antibacterial oils do continue to have some effect in soaps...although plain soap is also antibacterial...so?????

I hate giving you a long involved “I don’t know” for an answer. I don’t think cold process soap is the BEST method of delivery for the oils.... On the other hand, I am so glad to find another soaper planning on using REAL oils to scent her soaps...(the thought of “apple spice” soap makes me want to frowup! ;-)

Use the oils...you will know that you are producing the purest and most natural body and spirit pampering products available! Just don’t guarantee that “this soap will do that”.... Does that make sense?

 

Are your essential oils are all pure and unadulterated and do you guarantee their purity?

To the best of my knowledge, they are. Now, that’s a “guarded response.” I take pride in my oils. Some, but not all, I have had gas chromotography tests (GC) performed at my own expense. Many come with GC’s from the supplier. Some are from small growers/distillers that I have known for years and trust implicitly. Our goal from day one has been to provide the BEST quality, not the most affordable oils. I do guarantee their purity.

If, for some reason, either you or I have reason to believe an oil is NOT what it is said to be it gets pulled from our inventory. I am in the middle of a “mess” with a supplier right now over a steam distilled that...my nose said was “too good to be true”...I know this source doesn’t test their oils... so I had the oil GC’d at my expense. Sure enough, it is not a pure steam distilled oil...it has some absolute in it...no wonder it smells so yummy. I have gone back to the supplier (who was appalled) and am awaiting my money back. Close to a thousand dollars, so I’m awaiting it rather eagerly.... I am also offering the clients who purchased the oil from me their money back. Some have chosen to keep the oil because they still enjoy it. Others appreciated my honesty, sent their oil back, and received refunds. (I’m making soap with the returned oil...most expensive hand crafted soap in history I think!)

 

Also, if I have an oil tested and it comes back as adulterated, do you refund the purchase price?

This situation has never happened in the past, but YES, we would not only refund your money, but also pay 1/2 of the cost of testing. I would, of course, expect to be able to return the oil to my supplier and hopefully get part of my money back.

 

Are any of your oils redistilled?

The only time oils are “redistilled” are in the case of, for example, peppermint...where some clients want some of the natural phytochemicals removed. In this case, the oil will be distilled, and then redistilled. It SHOULD be sold as “rectified” or “redistilled”...ie, clearly labeled for what it is. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many vendors really aren’t aware of what they are buying, especially when they buy from the big commercial brokers who usually just supply the food industry.

Only one Nature’s Gift oil is ever redistilled. Period. Many people are used to a redistilled Eucalyptus globulous, and expect the sharpness one sees in a redistilled oil. We offer both a rectified and an unrectified Eucalyptus globulous; and we offer a Bergaptine Free Bergamot, for safety. Redistilling, adding or subtracting any of the chemicals that nature PUT in the oil, alters the healing nature of the EO. And that is not acceptable to me. I have, however, bent to the pressure to supply the above two oils.

 

How do I store the essential oils?

Tightly sealed, in a cool, dry, dark place. Heat, light, and oxygen will degrade your valuable essential oils. We recommend, after you have used part of a bottle, decanting into a smaller bottle so that the bottles are kept nearly full. A cool closet is the best storage place.

 

Can I store the oils with eyedropper tops, instead of the caps you ship them in? It would be much more convenient.

Unfortunately, no. Over time, the vapors of the essential oil will eat through the rubber (or other material) of the dropper’s bulb, leaving you with a sticky mess on the top of the bottle, ruining the valuable oil within. The oils should be stored airtight, in the bottle we ship them in, with the orifice reducer and top. (The orifice reducer is an integral part of the bottle’s seal and should not be removed.) Glass eyedroppers or, better yet, our disposable pipettes may be used for accurate dispursing and/or measuring but should never be used for storage.

 

Are all your oils organic?

Many, but not all. The horticultural status of each essential oil is clearly listed as part of its description.

However, please be aware, if you are manufacturing products and need certified organic ingredients that while we often purchase certified organic oils, hydrosols and carriers, we ourselves are NOT certified organic resellers. We simply do not have the manpower and time to go through the amazingly detailed paperwork involved in becoming a certified reseller. So, although the majority of our oils are organic when we receive them, once we open the seal on the producers packaging, the chain of certification is broken. Does it matter? Not to us; the oils are the same. But if you need to show the “chain” of certification, then you will not be able to.

 

Are your oils safe to take internally?

This gets asked so often it has its very own page on the website. Please click here for the answer.

 

Can I buy larger quantities of your oils?

We will be delighted to quote you bulk sizes on any of our products. Some popular products already have bulk prices available online.

 

What is the difference between a synergy and an anointing oil?

Our synergies are undiluted; blends of whole, pure essential oils. Our anointing oils are already diluted in Jojoba Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil to a perfume level for application to pulse points. If you want to use a personal blend for full body massage please dilute it further. Please read About Synergies and Anointing Oils here.

 

Which diffuser is best for me?

This depends on your planned usage. Please read Which Diffuser is Best for You?

 

A friend who lives far away is in the process of going through a divorce. I would like to send her something that would possibly help her through this trying time as well as possibly soothe her.

For your friend...my first thought is some of the hydrosols, since we have no idea whether she has any knowledge of the essential oils and how to use them safely and appropriately.

My first thoughts are Rose Hydrosol, or even better a White Rose (Rosa alba) Hydrosol...there is NOTHING like rose to give a woman confidence in her own feminity...and if she is being divorced, that confidence is under attack on a lot of levels.

And Neroli hydrosol, for comfort and uplift and spiritual sustenance, and lightening stress and anxiety. the hydrosols can just be used as facial / body spritzers, a few drops taken internally in a glass of spring water...added to a glass of wine or a cup of tea/coffee...or used to perfume the air around you, spritzed on your pillow case...all sorts of uses. Those are my first thoughts...I hope they help.

 

I would like to order an oil for anxiety. Could you offer some suggestions about this type of oil? Does it require a special blend?

In my experience Neroli is a lovely oil for calming anxiety. However, my favorite blend for anxiety is the blend I wear in stressful situations, a blend of Neroli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Vetiver (for grounding!), Frankincense (in case I forget to breathe), and a lighthearted touch of Sweet Orange. You may try your hand at blending the components, or purchase our Reunité Synergy either in an undiluted synergy or in a diluted annointing blend.

 

Is there anything I can do to help a friend who is going through radiation therapy? I’m thinking lavender, but which one?

I’d use the High Altitude Wild French Lavender...it’s truly the best we have and for this you want the best.

But I’d also grab some Blue Tansy...

That, btw, is the combination that Kurt Schnaubelt recommends, as well.

Also...several sources recommend applying NEAT Niaouli to the site daily or twice daily for a few weeks prior to the start of the radiation...the thinking is that (for reasons unknown to me) somehow the Niaouli helps to “toughen” the skin so it’s less apt to burn...the British authors seem to recommend this.

But if the treatment is starting soon...stick with the Blue Tansy and High Altitude Lavender.

 

What carrier oils can I use for oily skin with acne, without making it worse?

My choices for oily skin, with no acne, would be Jojoba Oil (because it is believed to have a sebum balancing affect), Hazelnut Oil for its astringency, and either Grapeseed Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil because they are so light, and will not block pores. For skin with acne, I’d avoid the jojoba and look at the other three carriers. If you'd like you can try our Oily Skin Carrier Oil Sampler.

 

You say not to use the oils neat, but I read that neat tea tree is effective dabbed on blemishes.

No essential oil should be used neat on the face, and I believe Tea Tree is too harsh for facial care. A safer solution to “spot treatment” of blemishes is to take a cotton ball, dip in distilled water, and then add one drop of either Tea Tree, if you insist, or preferably Manuka, then touch the blemish with the cotton ball.

 

What essential oils are effective for acne, for dry skin, for sensitive skin, for aging skin, etc?

Please see our list of essential oils suggested for various skin types and skin problems. You might make your selection from that chart, then blend into a suitable carrier oil.

 

I recently received some serious cuts on my face that needed stitches Do you have a recommendation for the scars?

Kurt Schnaubelt recommends a strong dilution of Helichrysum italicuum in a base of Rosehip Seed Oil, applied several times a day. At first I was a bit skeptical, but have received raves from clients who have tried it, and have seen amazing healing from major surgical scarring, dog bites, etc. The secret seems to be applying a very small amount of the mixture several times a day, and not expecting instant results. We offer it here.

 

I was wondering if you think the Helichrysum diluted with the rosehips oil would be good for the “thread veins.” I use the hydrosol you sent me quite a bit. Both my mom and I have tiny thread veins under our eye area where it meets the cheek bone, and I noticed the hydrosol says it’s good for thread veins. since my mom has “mature” and I “aging” skin, I thought perhaps the rosehips and Helichrysum would work? What do you think?

I think it would definitely be good for wrinkles (not that either you or your mom would ever develop that W word in the eye area;). Primarily I recommend it for scars...but I think perhaps it might help with the wrinkles as well.

For thread veins...I am getting raves from clients about Neroli hydrosol...now, it’s NOT one of the recommendations for Neroli...but folks are using it for one thing, and seeing results with thread veins as a “side effect,” you know?

Neroli is wonderful for mature skin...which makes me wonder about Neroli in Rose Hip Seed Oil, rather than the Helichrysum?

In other words, I don’t KNOW...but that’s my hunch. Hope this helps!

 

How many drops per ml?

How many drops REALLY varies by the oil...a thick oil like Patchouli or Vetiver is going to come up in big thick drops (like molasses, the Vetiver) while a citrus oil is going to give you more drops per ml.

Having said that...the “average”...ie industry standard is:

600 drops = 1 oz

300 drops = 1/2 oz = 15 ml

100 drops = 5 ml = one teaspoon

20 drops per ml

Sorta. Kinda.

if you are using the same droppers each time you’ll get “consistent” ratios. if you are putting together formulas in mass quantities, once you’ve “fixed” your blend...ie 5 parts this EO, 3 parts that one, and 2 of that one...then you can use your scale that measures in grams and weigh them, instead of counting drops.

 

Is there a difference between essential oils and standardized herbal extract supplements?

A huge difference. Most of the herbal extractions are done in alcohol or glycerine and extract different properties from the plants than come from steam distillation, plus the EO’s are much more powerful...the reason they need diluting. Also, herbal extracts are meant to be taken orally, as “nutritional substitutes.” Very few authorities will suggest taking the oils internally except under medical supervision.

 

How do I know if the oils I am buying are pure and natural?

This is REALLY hard...because I think it takes years of experience before you open a bottle of an EO and sniff it and the red flag goes off in your brain that something’s “not right” about it.

We have to educate ourselves, sample as many different samples of the SAME essential oil, from different vendors, as you can get your hands on. Try to get the same essential oil in organic and “conventional farmed” samples. Those who take the time and trouble to raise the crop organically are also more apt to NOT cut any corners in the distillation process.

Get a sample of the same oil...or supposedly the same oil...from as many suppliers as you have access to. Ask for... Basil, Bulgarian Lavender, Grapefruit, Sandalwood. Several oils. Or for specific lavenders that they have listed. Then see if you can experience differences in the oils. First check out the differences in aroma, in intensity...and then see if you get the results that the specific oil is supposed to give, emotionally or physically...

Keep that up, and you will learn, at least, to tell when an oil is not the quality you want.

 

How do I know how to use the oils? (I’m buying them for skin care.)

The general rule of thumb is that MOST oils should be used at a 2.5% dilution. This translates to 15 drops of total essential oils to one fluid ounce of carrier oil. With infants, children or the elderly/infirm you would cut the dilution WAY down, for example, for a newborn infant I’d only use one or at most two drops of essential oil.

For skin care, after choosing the appropriate synergy or oil, you have several directions you can take:

  • The oils may be added to an unscented liquid cleanser, or to our Organic Liquid Castile Soap.

  • They may be diluted in your chosen carrier oil (depending upon skin type) and used as a moisturizer.

  • Ideally, you will also have chosen a hydrosol, appropriate to your skin type, and use that as a toner. Apply the diluted synergy in carrier oil while your skin is still moist from the hydrosol, thus trapping the aromatic water into your skin cells.

  • You might consider purchasing either our Introduction to Aromatherapy Booklet or some of the aromatherapy books listed on our Recommended Reading List for more information than we can provide online.

 

What books to you recommend for beginners?

Two books that I think are WONDERFUL for the first timers are Roberta Wilson's Essential Oils: for Vibrant Health and Beauty and Colleen K. Dodt's Essential Oils Book.

 

Do you have any recipes for body lotions (normal to dry skin) or hand creams?

I don't give recipes for creams and lotions, because they are the toiletries products MOST prone to spoilage...mold and bacteria growth. I truly recommend that folks purchase an unscented/no fragrance lotion and add their own EO's. The commercial ones are SAFER.

 

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