Where the oil is sourced is essential. The composition of the plant will vary greatly based on the location, climate, and environment. Where the plant is grown is a primary factor in determining the therapeutic quality of the essential oil.
Potency begins with the seed. The proper seed variety (species) and even chemotype for particular plants must be carefully selected so that the distinct molecular profile of the aromatic compounds produced by the plant can be achieved. For example, there are many different plant varieties and chemotypes for rosemary. The chemotype depicts the level of particular compounds within the oil composition which will determine specific health benefits. It’s important that you know your plants and what types of benefits they offer.
The environment plays a key role in the potency or therapeutic value of the plant. Growing season, elevation, climate, moisture, soil, terrain, and pH all factor into the quality or potency of the essential oil produced. It is also essential that the right part of the plant be harvested. The aromatic compounds from the leaves of the plant will differ from what is produced in the flowers. For example, we only use the yellow flowering tops of the Helichrysum italicum plant wild-crafted from Corsica for the most dependable benefits, but many producers will harvest the leaves and stalks as well to increase the oil yield of this delicate crop thereby increasing their profitability. This completely changes the composition of essential oil.
Plants grown in traditional or indigenous environments yield better results because the natural elements specific to that region promote a more therapeutic profile of the aromatic compounds produced by the plant. For example, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is indigenous to the Provence region of France. The high altitudes at which lavender is grown result in the plant having higher ester and sesquiterpene alcohol content, thereby increasing its therapeutic benefits. You simply cannot duplicate the rocky soil and Mediterranean growing conditions that are specific to this region anywhere else. Although lavender grows readily in the United States, the therapeutic values are not as beneficial because the growing conditions that exist in its native land cannot be duplicated.
Although essential oils can be acquired from other regions for a much lower price choosing oils that are sourced from indigenous regions will ensure you are receiving the highest quality essential oils.