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What are Food Grade and Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils?

Posted by Ashlyn on

We’re often asked if our essential oils are edible, or “food grade”. All of our citrus oils, and other specific edible oils, are from edible plants. If you recognize the source of these oils as food (i.e. peppermint, oregano, cinnamon bark), then natural extraction methods such as steam distillation and cold pressing do nothing to change this quality, and these methods do not make the oil toxic. However, in order for us to claim an essential oil is food grade we would have to sell the oil as a food product and include a Nutrition Facts panel on the label, as required by law. Brands that claim their essential oils are food grade should display a Nutrition Facts panel on their label.

Our oils are intended for aromatherapy and are labeled as such. Additionally, we include cautionary language created by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) intended to protect consumers from misuse of the product. Some presumably food grade oils do have specific cautions against internal use that should be followed. Please note that our essential oils are highly concentrated and thus caution should be taken if you consume them. Oils that are not food grade will have the statement “Not for Internal Use” in the caution box on the label. If you have questions regarding the use of any NOW Solutions essential oil please contact our Certified Nutritionists by calling 888-669-3663 and choosing option 5 or by emailing

Therapeutic-grade essential oils are oils that a third party pharmacopeia or other statutory organization has (supposedly) created monographs for, which can be used by any brand as a measure of quality. We’ve reviewed the information regarding this grade and have concluded that “therapeutic grade” is just a marketing term used by some brands, with no authoritative body or organization behind the term.


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