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Why chemistry is an important topic to understand before using an essential oil

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jan 19, 2021

When you think of essential oils you may not automatically think about chemistry. But chemistry and science are important with essential oils.

Dr. Nicole Stevens, Director of Clinical Research at doTERRA, joined us to explain chemistry in a way that won't sound scary or make your eyes glaze over!

Dr. Stevens has taught chemistry at the university level for a number of years and says at its heart, chemistry is the study of matter. She says, "Atoms and molecules make up us and everything around us! Chemistry looks at how these atoms and molecules behave and interact and change. I think it is one of the most fundamental of all sciences."

So, chemistry is an important topic to understand before using an essential oil. Dr. Stevens explained that essential oils are made up of molecules, so chemistry helps them understand how these molecules behave.

She says, "This is especially interesting when we start to study how the molecules of an essential oil interact with the molecules of other living things, like humans! Chemistry is helping us understand how natural essential oils can be used safely to enhance health and promote wellness."

And, of course, chemistry is key to understanding of an essential oil's purity. Using an essential oil that is not pure means you run the risk of germs, plastics, heavy metals or contaminants entering your body. These can cause irritation and other adverse effects.

To make sure an essential oil is pure, doTERRA does testing. Purity and testing go hand in hand because testing validates purity and potency. Dr. Stevens says that's why she loves her job at doTERRA. "I get to play around with the science that I love and ensure that we are providing the purest essential oils to our users. The quality testing that our scientists provide ensures that every bottle of essential oil contains nothing but 100% pure compounds for maximum efficiency and safety. And our clinical research is doing groundbreaking studies on how these oils interact with the human body. doTERRA takes the science behind the oils very seriously," Dr. Stevens said.

If you'd like to learn more, doTERRA has some great resources on their main website, There are more articles about the science behind essential oils, as well as information about how the oils themselves are sourced.

For more information about essential oil testing and purity, a great place to start is