How to Choose a Supplier of Herbs and Essential Oils

The use of herbs, essential, and fragrance oils to naturally improve one's sense of well being and help ensure good health has surged in popularity in recent years. While there are many excellent suppliers that offer high quality products free of harsh and even dangerous additives many companies aren't so trustworthy. Unfortunately there is never a shortage of shady businesses willing to take advantage of consumer demand for products; the problem is exacerbated by the ease of opening and running Internet businesses. Consumers looking for herbs, essential, and fragrance oils must take care when choosing suppliers to ensure the quality of the products they purchase. When choosing suppliers the most important aspect to focus on is the quality of the materials wanted to purchase. Good bargains are attractive… but it is not worth it if the quality of the product is not up to standard. The quality of your materials is of the utmost importance, especially if they are for ingestion. Consumers should be wary of suppliers that offer bargains that seem too good to be true, or suppliers who do not have enough information available about their product. Consumers can safeguard the quality of the items they purchase by asking potential suppliers a few simple questions.

Some questions to ask when purchasing herbs:

*Where did the herbs originate from? Regional differences are often very apparent in harvested herbs; their scent, strength, and even color can vary by region. The potential supplier should be willing and able to state what country, or at the very least what region, the herbs originated from.

*Are the herbs pesticide and herbicide free? This question is of particular importance since those chemicals are not something a person wants to ingest, burn, bathe in, or fragrance their home with. This is also important to environmentally conscious consumers since roughly 90% of pesticides and herbicides run off into the ground water leading to increased pollution. If the supplier can not guarantee that the herbs are pesticide and herbicide free then consumers should not buy them.

* Have the herbs been irradiated? This is important because irradiation can leave chemical traces in the product that are unwanted. If the supplier can not state that the herbs have not been irradiated then consumers should not buy them.

Questions to keep in mind when buying oils:

*Where did the oils originate from? Just like herbs the essential oils home region can affect its scent, potency, and even color.

*How were the oils extracted? Oils that have been extracted using solvents are called absolutes and are not suitable for ingestion. Distilled and expeller pressed essential oils are suitable for ingestion. This is very basic information; if a supplier can not give this information consumers should most certainly avoid them.

*Are the fragrance or essential oils pure and uncut? Consumers should make sure that the oils have not been cut with DPG or Carrier oils. Cut oils, while suitable for wearing on the skin, are not suitable for crafting purposes because they do not smell strongly enough. These oils are also not meant for consumption.

* Are the oils fragrance or essential? Each type of oil has its uses and both can be beneficial, but it is very important that the consumer knows what they are buying. The strength of the oil determines how much of it they should use, and whether or not they can get any alleochemical benefits from the oil. Fragrance oils are also not meant for ingestion; they are synthetic renditions of essential oils and are only suitable for use as fragrance.

One way a consumer can find potential suppliers is to spend some time on aromatherapy or herbal message boards and forums and read through any existing threads about suppliers. Consumers can also start their own topic listing all of the materials that they need. If they pick a well populated board they will get lots of responses. These responses will be particularly helpful because of the responders' personal experience with the suppliers they are recommending. Consumers can also check their local health food, and crafting stores for materials.

The last, but very important, step that a consumer can take is to check every potential supplier's record with the Better Business Bureau. Suppliers who have numerous unresolved complaints should be regarded as not trustworthy enough to purchase herbs or essential and fragrance oils from. With a little caution and inquisitiveness it is easy for the average consumer to find a trustworthy supplier for all of the herbal needs.