I often receive samples of essential oils from marketers and manufacturers, and you guys already know about L’orpur’s organic starter essential oil kit.
Let me put it this way, I am very unforgiving and extremely strict when it comes to the quality of essential oils, and I am quick to give my unbiased reviews, whether the product in front of me comes from my own line, is being marketed by a friend or has been sent to me for an honest review.
So, without meandering further let me tell you about an essential oil range that I received a few days back. The kit had 9 little bottles in all, which was cool because most sellers start with a modest range. But, then came the shocker!
The same oil two and four times over!
I admit; I did not pay a lot of attention to the labels at first except for the name of the oil in large font. And when all the bottles were out of the box, I had four lavenders, two peppermints and one each of myrrh, frankincense and lemongrass.
At first, I thought it must have been a mistake. Then, I though it must be different types of lavender but a closer look revealed that I had 3 bottles of lavandula augustifolia and one of a cultivar called L. angustifolia maillette. The two bottles of peppermint were both of Mentha Piperita.
‘OK, I will bite, I murmured” and proceeded to open one bottle after another. And this is what I found!
The difference in similarity!
Before I tell you if Life Essenz is marketing the same product in 4 different bottles and under 4 different names, I know I will have to tell you a bit about Lavender essential oil.
Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) comes from the famed Lamiaceae family, which has several famous members; think all the herbs in your kitchen (oregano, thyme, basil and others). The species Angustifolia has 47 variants and each has several cultivars, so we are talking about a lot of different flowering shrubs here.
The differences in these plants are not just physical but also chemical, and these trickle down into the essential oil derived from the blooms. What’s more, the temperature and soil, harvest conditions and distillation process all make a difference to both the aroma and the therapeutic benefits of the oil.
Let me start by telling you about the aromas and then I will discuss the therapeutic benefits of these oils.
For starters, the balance of floral and herbaceous notes is almost perfect and the harmony wafts from the bottle and actually reaches your brain. And as you revel in the sense of calm and satisfaction that begins to pervade your being, you are awarded with lilting floral notes; the kind that are not at all common to regular lavender essential oil.
It’s a distinctive powdery floral tone; the kind that can serve to get the attention of a paramour and yourself. In a split second this balanced scent restores a sense of confidence, self-love and self-worth. I mean I was sitting in my dressing gown in the middle of the day, too lazy to shower but this scent invoked a mental imagery of me dressed up in my fineries so vividly that I had the overwhelming desire to tidy up, despite the fact that the lethargy was borne out of a stressful event.
Gone were the all-consuming pangs of worry. It was like at least for a while I had a clear mind and brain and I could hear my inner voice saying, “You can do it”; “You can get through this”. Damn it was good!
The next thing I knew I was on the website of Life Essenz. I wanted to know: why the distinct difference in the olfactory and mental effects of the 4 lavenders. I was not expecting straight answers but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a third party test report (more on this coming up) and this is what I found.
The floral tone of the sillage this oil is attributed to its high ester content; i.e.
Now, these esters not only impact the aroma of the oil but also its therapeutic properties. Esters are the primary relaxants in essential oils. So, the more you have of these compounds, the greater will be the relaxation value offered by the oil.
Life Essenz Kashmir Lavender is a good oil for early evening use when you want to rid your mind of the turmoil of the day, but don’t want to be relaxed to the point where you want to head to bed. Because it is a balanced aroma, it will blend well with both floral and citrus oils. If you want to carry your sense of calm and relaxation with you, add a drop of this oil to your body lotion.
Think of how the aroma of fresh cut grass makes you feel or even a walk through the woods. I am sure you will agree with me when I say that the herbaceous scent has a clarifying effect on the senses and the brain. Well, that is exactly what you get from this oil.
On the therapeutic side, the oil has the highest content of a terpene known as ocimene [CIS- beta ocimene (highest) and trans-beta ocimene (second highest)]. No, I am not going to put you through chemistry 101 here, instead let me tell you what this phytochemical can do for you. This phytocompound is a very strong antimicrobial agent.
It is particularly effective against fungal and viral infections. So, if you have a compromised immune system that makes you vulnerable to such infections, this is the oil to use. Moreover, the high content of E-beta farnesene in this oil makes it an effective insect repellant. Combine it with citronella to keep the skin protected from bug bites and infections.
Ocimene is also one of the terpenes found in cannabis, which means that its calming effect borders on being sedative. So, it’s great to control racing thoughts.
Because the oil also has the highest content of alpha-terpineol, which is an immune-stimulant, this is the best variety of lavender essential oil to clear clogged sinuses and respiratory congestion in general. As far as diffusion/inhalation goes, I would suggest enjoying the aroma to deal with a tense or stressful first half of the day.
This oil comes from a giant cultivar of lavandula angustifolia called Maillette. The first thing I noticed was that the company had actually taken the trouble of not only mentioning the botanical name of the plant but also its cultivar. I know very, very few manufacturers/sellers who are that conscientious and transparent about product quality.
The oil has the highest content of linalool (44.76), almost touching the higher end of the average range. The distinctive herbaceous and citrus notes of the aroma are attributed to this terpene alcohol. Because this phytochemical is used in industrial grade pest control products, this is the lavender variant to use in your household cleaning products.
As far as its therapeutic benefits go, linalool is not just an anti-anxiety agent but also a pain relieving substance. Linalool also has anti-nociceptive properties. So, if you intend to use lavender essential oil in a blend meant to combat chronic pain or even nerve pain, consider this variant.
Furthermore, linalool puts you in touch with your emotions and helps you to better understand your emotions and take a rational look at your circumstances and experiences. So, this is also the variant to use if you are feeling overwhelmed and are in dire need of both calmness and clarity.
Moreover, this lavender variant also has the highest quantity of linalyl acetate. Now, this ester has hypotensive and cardio-protective properties. So, this oil will also help you to keep your ticker and your circulatory system in good health. Plus, it is an exceptional anti-inflammatory agent, which makes this oil an ideal choice for a blend meant to counter skin irritation and inflammatory dermal conditions.
At the outset, let me tell you that this is the most expensive variant of the four. I will discuss how it compares with the market average later. So, what does this variant bring to the table?
Well, the plant is still lavandula angustifolia, but it’s harvested and distilled at high altitude. Does that make a difference? Huge! For starters these plants are hardy enough to thrive in harsh weather, and they do send some of that hardiness into the essential oil.
In terms of chemistry, you get the second highest quantity of linalyl acetate, add to this the highest quantity of ocimene and you get an oil that has unparalleled relaxation properties. Because the oil also has the highest content of lavandulyl acetate, this is the truest lavender aroma you will ever enjoy. Plus, this ester gives this variant added calming and relaxing effects. The ester is also known to be beneficial for skin and hair health.
The smoothness of the aroma comes from beta caryophyllene, which is a neuro-protective agent and antioxidant. So, this lavender variant can be combined with rosemary and turmeric essential oils for its ability to deal with cognitive issues. The oil also has the highest quantity of terpinen-4-ol. Both these substances have exhibited anti-cancerous properties on human cancer cells. So, use this variant in an antioxidant blend meant to prevent the onset of skin cancer in high risk individuals.
So, there you have it – that’s the low down on the 4 lavender essential oils from Life Essenz. If I were to pick just one of the four, I’d go for the high altitude True Lavender, quite simply because of the four, I enjoyed the aroma of this variant the most. In fact, I would not mind wearing it as a single note perfume oil. That’s how good the powdery floral scent of this oil is!
With the 4 lavenders out of the way, I reached for the 2 peppermints. Once again, Life Essenz has taken a new path here. While both the oils are distilled from Mentha Piperita, one is a pure peppermint that is harvested and distilled in India. So, it’s one plant and one geographical location, which means you get a lot of consistency in terms of both the aroma and the therapeutic effects.
The second peppermint essential oil also comes from Mentha Piperita but this one is a combination of oils from 5 different geographical locations. Let me tell you how and why that makes a difference.
This oil from India has an “in your face” minty quality about it, which is owed to high levels of menthone and menthol. Both phytochemicals offer the minty aroma and the characteristic cooling effect of peppermint.
Furthermore, this variant has the highest quantity of isomenthone, which gives it a distinctive uplifting quality. Couple this with the menthyl acetate in it and you get the perfect oil for an energizing blend.
Because these substances all have a role to play in the distinctive taste and aroma of peppermint, this variant has a very clean, mentholated aroma with undertones of spice/pepper, which is just the way a high quality peppermint oil ought to be.
Of the two variants of peppermint, I felt that Fine Peppermint was exceptionally well suited for diffusion, particularly in blends meant to energize and improve cognitive functions. The higher quantity of menthyl acetate also makes it the ideal choice for use in natural antiperspirants.
This is a combination of 5 peppermint oils, so the aromatic effect is not “in your face” but well-rounded. So, along with the cooling of menthol, you get a distinctive sweetness, much like candy cane.
In fact, the mingling of spicy, minty and sweet notes gives this oil the unique ability to boost energy levels, focus, confidence and happiness. After all, every time I am reminded of candy cane, I can’t help but go back to a happy memory from my childhood.
That said, of the two oils, this variant has the lower quantity of menthofuran, one of the two compounds that have the potential for toxicity (Peppermint essential oil has these compounds, regardless of raw material and manufacturer). So, Royal peppermint would be a better choice for oral use.
This variant has the highest amount of neomenthol, menthol, beta caryophyllene as well as 1,8 cineole. So, it offers greater anti-inflammatory, carminative and analgesic effects. Hence, this would be my pick if I wanted peppermint essential oil for use in a pain and abdominal discomfort relief blend. Plus, the higher amount of 1,8 cineole would earn it a place in my cough and nasal congestion relief blends as well.
The scent of this oil has a slightly more balsamic tone than what I am used to and just for that I peeped into the composition of this extract. The Myrrh oil from Life Essenz is particularly rich in compounds known as sesquiterpenes.
In fact, I compared the quantities of furanoeudesma-1,3-diene (FD) and curzarene (curzurene) in this oil with those of other oils and I found that the extract in front of me was truly one of the richest in these components.
So, why does this matter? Simple, the antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits of myrrh come courtesy of its sesquiterpene content. So, more sesquiterpenes equate to greater therapeutic benefits.
The two compounds mentioned above are very strong analgesic agents. In rodent subjects, they were found to be almost as strong as morphine in controlling pain. And that gave me enough reason to put this oil to test on my back pain.
The blend included 4 drops of Life Essenz Myrrh and 1 tsp coconut oil. The pain (which I would rate at a 6 on a scale of 1-10) was reduced to a 3 within 15-20 minutes of application. Thus far, I haven’t used a myrrh oil with such potent and quick acting analgesic effects.
The minute I opened the bottle and inhaled the scent of this oil, I knew I wasn’t dealing with a run-of-the-mill frankincense essential oil. In this case the proof is in the perfume (aroma). The camphorous and pungent notes are what we have come to recognize as typical Frankincense.
But Life Essenz’s Frankincense has distinctive spicy and earthy tones, kind of like wet mud mixed with clove and peppered with camphor. The overall effect is far sweeter and more pleasant than of any other frankincense oil that I have used.
The difference, I found, was attributed to the fact that this oil comes from Boswellia carterii and not B. serrata or B. sacra. Normally, you are served up B.serrata when you buy Frankincense essential oil because it is the cheapest of the different variants of Frankincense.
B. carterii oil offers the perfect balance of several monoterpenes that offer a host of therapeutic benefits. Life Essenz’s Frankincense has significant amounts of alpha pinene (more than average), sabinene (more than average) and limonene ( more than average) as well as beta myrcene, para cymene and beta caryophyllene.
Together these phytochemicals exert extremely powerful anti-inflammatory and regenerative effects. So, this oil is ideal for skincare blends. Also, I found it more effective against respiratory congestion and infections than other variants of frankincense essential oil.
In terms of aromatherapy, I have fallen in love with the ability of this oil to calm the mind to the point where you can actually start focusing on things that matter and the real problem at hand. Definitely a winner, I’d say.
The citrus and herbaceous tones, which are characteristic of lemongrass, are both present in Life Essenz’s Lemongrass essential oil, but there is a third floral note that brings down the sourness of the citrus and the bitterness of the herbaceous notes. The overall effect is a tangy/vibrant aroma that I truly enjoyed, and that’s a big thing because I have never been a fan of the aroma of this oil.
When I dug deeper, I found that Life Essenz’s oil had significantly higher quantities of geraniol, a monoterpene with a sweet/floral aroma. Geraniol is an extremely strong antiseptic agent and an insect repellant. So, what I had in my hand was the perfect oil for household cleaners, but one that did not have the over-the-top citrus note.
It’s also an effective mosquito repellant and an antimicrobial agent, and when it isn’t fighting bugs, it helps to tone down the inflammation they bring into our lives. Geranyl acetate and neral are two other terpenes that can be found in higher than average quantities in Life Essenz Lemongrass essential oil. Of the two, geranyl acetate also brings its own sweet floral tone to the scent of the oil.
Together, these two are formidable destroyers of disease causing microorganisms. In my opinion, this is a very good oil but I would go slow on it because of its higher than normal neral (citral A) content, which has the potential to cause dermal sensitivity.
Because I was very impressed with the quality of the oils, it was natural to wonder, why the company only offers 5 oils. I know most organizations start small but these guys have very good products on their hands, so why not forge ahead at full speed?
To find the answer, I spoke to their representative and looked through their website, and what I discovered gave me a sense of appreciation not just for this company’s products but also its operational style.
Life Essenz builds a relationship with the community that it buys from. A relationship that is based on the principle of “everybody wins”. They pay a fair price to the farmers and distillers and support the farming community connected with their suppliers.
Because they make sure that the distillation is done in the area where the plants are grown, overhead costs are low and there is a lower risk of degradation.
The company does not randomly buy the raw material and oil from anybody who offers the cheapest rate. Because they form a long standing association with their suppliers they get to keep the batch sizes small and a tight grip on quality. In simple words, the way they say it- everybody wins.
No wonder they have started small with just 5 oils. After all, it does take time to forge such ties.
I for one sure am buying their oils, and if you value quality, you should to. More importantly, it’s not everyday that you get quality products that don’t burn a hole in your wallet but do leave you feeling good about your purchase. That is Life Essenz for you!