Why is it so important to check the distillation date from the manufacturer?
Is that date even listed?
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 and the distillation date.
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…. ☹
Let’s look at a few examples:
- Anise (Pimpinella anisum) With a batch number as: ANS 102. This was distilled in 9/2017. I bought it on 10/13/2019. The shelf life is 5 yrs, which means it expires in 2022.
- Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamonum seylanicum) With a batch number as: CIL 105. This was distilled in 3/2018. I bought it in 4/2020. The shelf life is 4 yrs, which means it expires in 2022.
- Fennel sweet (Foeniculum vulgare) With a batch number as: FEN 105. This was distilled in 7/2016. I bought it in 10/12/2019. The shelf life is 4 yrs, this oil expired in 2020.
- Laurel leaf (Laurus nobilis) With a batch number as: LLF 111. This was distilled in 9/2017. I bought it in 7/14/2019. The shelf life is 3 yrs, this oil expired in 2020.
- Marjoram sweet (Origanum margorana) With a batch number as: SWM 113. This was distilled in 7/2017. I bought it in 7/19/2019. The shelf life is 4 yrs, this oil has expired in July 2021.
So if you look at the chart, you will see that the distilled date is 2 to 3 years before the date I bought the oil. The total life span for my use could only be 1 year! and when you are buying oils for a course, that’s a lot of money and waste.
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 distilled 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 expired 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.