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Nomenclature of essential oils

Afnor Group


AFNOR standard of essential oil

Only an essential oil obtained by distillation of a botanically defined plant in a still using steam under low pressure corresponds to the AFNOR standard (AFNOR NF - T75.006 - 10/87).

The product obtained by mechanical expression on citrus fruits should be called essence and not essential oil.

There is a specific nomenclature for essential oils that will enable you to identify with certainty the essential oil you are looking for :

  • The Latin name
    The French name is not enough to identify it. For example, there are several types of lavender essential oil. The properties may vary from one type to another. Always refer to the Latin name prescribed by a naturopath.

  • The chemotype
    The chemotype identifies the main biochemical components of an essential oil. To find out more, consult our glossary of essential oils.

  • The extraction process
    With the exception of certain plant species, such as citrus fruits, whose essences are extracted by cold expression, most essential oils are obtained by distillation. But there are several distillation techniques. To improve yield, some producers use solvents or other essential oils, which have the effect of destroying certain substances originally present in the plant. We advise you to choose pure, natural oils with the "AB" (Agriculture Biologique) label, which certifies that the oils have been obtained by distillation at controlled temperature and low pressure.

  • Origin of extraction
    Essences can be extracted from different parts of the plant: the flower, the leaf, the root, the seed, etc. This origin is not insignificant. Generally speaking, different properties are recognised depending on the source of the essence.