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Why distillation dates are important when buying essential oils.

Why is it so important

to check the distillation date

from the manufacturer?

Is that date even listed?

Image by monicore from Pixabay

Well, lesson learned. I recently was going through all my essential oils.

I have accumulated a lot from the aromatherapy certification program I had enrolled in. There was a supply list of all the oils to buy for the course, so I did!

After all, who does not want to get involved in the course and use the oils, smell the oils, make the blends, inhalers, and lotions?
All this brings me to the dating of the batches. When you buy the oil that is not the date when it expires, when it expires is the distillation date.

Some of my oils were 2 years old when I bought them! One oil, fennel, was 3 years old!

No offense, but I have expired sweet marjoram, fennel, laurel leaf and only 4 months to use the orange oil. The orange oil is a favorite, but cleaning with fennel? Laurel leaf? Don’t think so…. ☹

The chart below shows the distillation date which is important. It tells you when the essential oil expires.

NameLatin NameBatchDistilledBoughtShelf lifeExpires
Anise Pimpinella anisumANS 1029/201710/13/20195 yr2022
Cinnamon leafCinnamonum seylanicumCIL 1053/20184/20204 yr.2022
Fennel sweetFoeniculum vulgareFEN 1057/201610/12/20194 yr.2020
Laurel leafLaurus nobilisLLF 1119/20177/14/20193 yr2020
Marjoram sweetOriganum margoranaSWM 1137/20177/19/20194 yr2021
My example of short-dated essential oils

What if I don’t know when my oils expire? How do I tell how long they are good?

I did find out from the seller of my oils that most oils are distilled once a year–some even less. I guess that is the case and point with Anise or the fennel oil. The list below helps judge, but beware that your bought date could be years earlier.

1-2 years Most citrus oils; orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit.

3-4 years Conifer oils; pines, firs, spruces. Bergamot, black pepper, Citronella, cypress,

eucalyptus, laurel leaf, juniper berry, geranium.

5-8 years Lavender, rose, carrot seed, helichrysum, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood.

I hope my mistakes help someone else. I listened to a NAHA webinar from Penny Price a while back.

she said: “Your box should have no more than 30 oils, learn to use them!”

Before clicking the BUY NOW button, check the DISTILLATION DATE!

It will save you aggravation. What I am going to do with an outdated fennel and laurel leaf oil are beyond me. I thought that I had 2 years left on these oils. In fact, I thought I had 2 or three years left to use all these oils. I am posting this as a precaution. It is so important that we safely and sustainably use essential oils. I feel that I have wasted precious product. This year my sweet marjoram and nutmeg will expire in July. The orange oil will expire in September, with only 4 months of dating. I think the company ought to put a disclaimer on the page that has short, dated oils.

As always, Happy blending,