You have probably noticed that the use of essential oils is becoming more and more widespread. People are finally waking up and realizing that they’d like to cut out harmful toxins from their lives, and essential oils offer a simple way to do so. Instead of purchasing a large plastic bottle of cleaning chemicals, you can mix your own in a reusable glass spray bottle. Simply add a bit of vinegar, a couple of drops of essential oil, and voila—you have an eco-friendly way to disinfect your surfaces without guilt.
Unfortunately, things are not always this simple. Where you source your essential oils plays a large role in determining whether your new disinfecting spray is really as eco-friendly as you think it is. When it comes to aromatherapy and nature conservation, there are a lot of different factors to consider.
How Much Plant Matter Does It Take to Make Essential Oils?
Hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds of plant material are required to make just one gallon of essential oil. If you consider the amount of land and water that are required to grow enough plant matter for just one single gallon, you can imagine how many resources are needed to supply the demand for essential oils these days. For instance, one single drop of rose otto essential oil can contain up to 60 roses.
When the demand for certain essential oils outweighs the supply, an imbalance begins to occur. The increase of unsustainable methods is leading to the decline of many revered plant species. For example, the demand for rosewood essential oil is the main reason why the plant is being over-harvested. It is currently listed as an endangered species, meaning that there is a 20 percent chance it will become extinct within 20 years.
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If you currently are relying on sandalwood essential oil to boost your meditation practice or to help you get to sleep at night, don’t fret. There are sustainable ways of sourcing sandalwood essential oil that will not lead to the extinction of the plant, as is the case with most of the other plants mentioned above as well.
How Do You Know If Your Essential Oils Are Sustainably Sourced?
According to the dictionary, sustainability is defined as “not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.” 2 This definition raises a lot of questions when it comes to whether or not essential oils are sustainably sourced.
There are a handful of questions you need to ask before deciding to purchase essential oils from any company. If you are living in the United States, are the plants used to make the essential oils sourced from within the U.S.? While some plants simply cannot be grown in the U.S. climate, important questions need to be asked about plants that are not grown locally. Are the workers growing and harvesting these plants being paid a fair wage? Does growing these plants help support the local community? Is the essential oil industry negatively affecting the communities these plants are grown in?
When it comes to the plants themselves, are they being threatened by the demand for their essential oils? Does harvesting the plant damage the ecosystem? Are forests being cut down to make room for monocultures used for essential oils? 3
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that play a role in the relationship between aromatherapy and nature conservation. All of this isn’t to discourage you—there are plenty of essential oil companies out there that acknowledge all of these factors and ensure that their oils are ethically sourced. By supporting these companies, you can ensure that your use of essential oils remains sustainable and eco-friendly.
All of the essential oils used by MONQ are from non-GMO, organically grown, or sustainably wildcrafted plants. These plants come from within the United States when possible and from elsewhere in the world when required. MONQ’s scientists have traveled the world to meet with healers, clinicians, scientists, and tribal leaders to source the purest plants from their native environments.
The plants are followed directly from the source, through the distillation process to the labs within the United States where the final product is finally created, ensuring ethical sourcing from start to finish. You can read more about MONQ’s ingredients here.
Keeping Your Essential Oil Use Eco-Friendly
Essential oils are highly concentrated and are almost always used diluted for safety purposes. Because of this, a little bottle of essential oil can go a long way. When sourced from honest companies and used in moderation, essential oils are an excellent way to begin moving away from toxic chemicals.
Natural dishwashing liquid, laundry detergents, and homemade bath and body products can be made through the use of essential oils. Essential oils can purify the air, ease muscle pain, reduce headaches, and disinfect surfaces, eliminating the need to purchase many chemical-based products.
The popularity of aromatherapy has raised a lot of controversy in the realm of nature conservation. By supporting companies that practice ethical sourcing, you can ensure that these eco-friendly essential oils will be available for years to come.
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