When you choose doTERRA, you are choosing essential oils gently and carefully distilled
from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced
growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy.
Each doTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG
Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. Experienced essential oil users will
immediately recognize the superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective
therapeutic-grade doTERRA essential oils.
While there is a science to the distillation of essential oils, it is also an art. Distillers not
only rely on years of experience, they also employ modern technologies and techniques.
The most common method of extracting essential oils is a low-heat steam distillation
process. In this process, pressurized steam is circulated through plant material. The
essential oils are liberated from the plant and carried away by the steam. When the steam cools, the water and oils naturally separate and the oil is collected. To ensure the highest quality oil extract with the correct chemical composition, the temperature and pressure must be closely monitored. Too little heat or pressure and the oil will not release; too much, and the oil’s composition and potency will be affected.
Steam distillation is the most common way to extract aromatic compounds (essential oil) from a plant. During the steam distillation process, steam passes through the plant material. The combination of heated steam and gentle pressure causes the essential oil to be released from microscopic protective sacs. As the vapor mixture flows through a condenser and cools, it yields a layer of oil and a layer of water. The essential oil rises to the top and is separated from the hydrosol (floral water) and collected.
Some have asked about the difference between first distillations in comparison to complete distillations. The temperature for steam distilling is usually between 140–212 degrees Fahrenheit. Since different plants require different pressures, times, and temperatures, using this particular distillation method makes it possible to adjust the temperature based on the plant type, making it a very effective and precise way to obtain the purest compounds.
Unlike steam distillation, expression, sometimes referred to as “cold pressed,” does not involve heat. In this process, oil is extracted from the product under mechanical pressure. doTERRA uses expression to extract all of its citrus oils, such as Wild Orange, Lemon, Lime, Bergamot, and Grapefruit, from the rind.
Proper distillation requires a consideration for the uniqueness of pressure, temperature, time, and harvesting practices, each of which may be as diverse as the plants themselves. A poor distillation process can alter or destroy the necessary aromatic compounds that comprise the essential oil, leaving a substance far different from the intended goal and something that would not be used to support health and wellness. For this reason, the best distillation artisans dedicate their efforts and work to only a few select plants. This focused effort develops proper knowledge and experience, helping ensure congruency between the oil chemistry of the plant and its distilled form.
CPTG Quality Control
The purity of an essential oil is its most important characteristic. An essential oil that isn’t pure means you run the risk of putting germs, heavy metals, or adulterants onto or into your body, which can provoke irritation, adverse effects, or even sickness. Without an accepted standard for essential oil quality, doTERRA created its own testing process, calling it CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®. The CPTG process certifies that there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients, or harmful contaminants in their essential oils that would reduce their efficacy. doTERRA even goes a step further, putting all their products and the packaging through a battery of tests to ensure a long and effective shelf-life. This protocol ensures potency, purity, and consistency batch to batch.
Before the CPTG® Process Begins
Proper methods of growing, harvesting, and distilling are also crucial to maintaining purity. Poor production practices and the development of synthetic essential oil variations suggest that it is impossible to accurately identify a pure essential oil without scientific analysis. Appropriate analysis of the constituents within an essential oil is one of the most challenging and detailed aspects of quality assurance.
Knowing which of the many different species of a given plant will provide the most profound therapeutic health benefits is the first step in producing the highest quality essential oil. Relying on the expertise of botanists, chemists and wellness practitioners, botanical materials are carefully selected for their natural concentrations of active aromatic compounds.
Nurturing plants in the most favorable environment and carefully harvesting and transporting plant material for processing ensures an optimal yield of pure and potent essential oils. Spanning the continents of the globe, doTERRA’s exclusive network of growers and harvesters are experts at cultivating plants specific to the essential oil industry.
The CPTG® Process
The CPTG testing begins immediately after distillation with each oil being reviewed for its chemical composition. A second round of testing is carried out at our production facility to ensure that what was distilled and tested is the same essential oil as was received. A third review of the chemistry of the oil is conducted in a three-phase procedure as the oils are packaged into the bottles we use as consumers. Each of these tests confirms that the essential oil is free of contaminants and unexpected alterations during production.
The CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade quality protocol includes the following tests:
• Organoleptic testing
• Microbial testing
• Gas chromatography
• Mass spectrometry
• Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
• Chirality testing
• Isotopic analysis
• Heavy metal testing
Historically, gas chromatography was sufficient to identify individual components in an essential oil. However, as more sophisticated methods for developing synthetic essential oil products formed, further validation methods were needed. Over time, additional testing methods such as mass spectroscopy, chiral analysis, FTIR Scan, carbon isotope analysis and others have been developed to more accurately identify each individual essential oil constituent.
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