Distillation Process


While there is a science to the distillation of essential oils, it is also an art. Distillers not only rely on years of experience, they also employ modern technologies and techniques.

The most common method of extracting essential oils is a low-heat steam distillation process. In this process, pressurized steam is circulated through plant material. The essential oils are liberated from the plant and carried away by the steam. When the steam cools, the water and oils naturally separate and the oil is collected. To ensure the highest quality oil extract with the correct chemical composition, the temperature and pressure must be closely monitored. Too little heat or pressure and the oil will not release; too much, and the oil’s composition and potency will be affected.

Compression, in which plant parts are pressed to squeeze out the essential oil, is another common method of distillation. Many citrus oils are expressed in this manner.



Quality Testing

Every batch of dōTERRA® essential oils is subjected to strict requirements set forth in the CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. This protocol ensures potency, purity, and consistency batch to batch.

The CPTG testing begins immediately after distillation with each oil being reviewed for its chemical composition. A second round of testing is carried out at our production facility to ensure that what was distilled and tested is the same essential oil as was received. A third review of the chemistry of the oil is conducted in a three-phase procedure as the oils are packaged into the bottles we use as consumers. Each of these tests confirms that the essential oil is free of contaminants and unexpected alterations during production.

The CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade quality protocol includes the following tests: 

Organoleptic testing
Microbial testing
Gas chromatography
Mass spectrometry
Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
Chirality testing
Isotopic analysis
Heavy metal testing

HOLISTIC HEALTH & ESSENTIAL OILS