Shelf Life of Essential Oils

Shelf Life for Essential Oils

By Certified Aromatherapist KG Stiles, LMT, CAT, CBT, CBP, NCTMB


There are many variables affecting the shelf life of essential oils. This is a general guideline only for the shelf life of different types of essential oils. It is impossible to say exactly what an essential oil’s shelf life will be. Proper storage conditions will make a significant difference in the shelf life and quality of your essential oil. If you store your oils in a dark glass bottle that is kept dark, full, closed, and cool, you can have some general idea about shelf life. Refrigerating your oils helps extend their shelf life. Generally I recommend you always refrigerate your citrus, and conifer oils to extend shelf life. Refrigerating your blue oils is also highly recommended to retain their vibrant blue color. Rose oil is the only essential oil you should not refrigerate as it will congeal and thicken.

Please Note: If an essential oil begins to appear cloudy, thicken, or smell more acidic, it has likely begun to oxidize.

Approximately 6 months-2 years from distillation:

Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens
Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus globulus
Grapefruit – Citrus paradisi
Juniper berry – Juniperus communis
Lemon – Citrus limon
Lemongrass (West Indian) – Cymbopogon citratus
Sweet Orange – Citrus sinensis
Pine – Abies siberica
Black Spruce – Picea mariana
Tangerine – Citrus reticulata

Approximately 3-4 years from distillation:

Ammi Visnaga – Ammi Visnaga ~ Khella Plant Seeds
Black Pepper – Piper nigrum
Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
Carrot Seed – Daucas carota
Cinnamon Leaf – Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Clove Bud – Eugenia caryophyllata
Fennel, Bitter – Foeniculum vulgare
Helichrysum – Helichrysum italicum
Ledum – Ledum groenlandicum
Neroli – Citrus aurantium var amara
Petitgrain – Citrus aurantifolia
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis ct cineole
Sweet Marjoram – Origanum marjorana
Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
Lemon Tea Tree – Leptospermum petersonii

Approximately 4-5 years from distillation:

Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum
Cinnamon Bark – Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Coriander – Coriandrum sativum
Basil – Osimum basilicum ct linalool
Blue Tansy Tanacetum anuum ~ Moroccan Blue Chamomile
Clary Sage – Salvia sclarea
Frankincense – Boswellia fereana
Geranium Bourbon – Pelargonium graveolens
Rose Geranium – Pelargonium roseum
German Chamomile – Matricaria recutita
Ginger, Fresh Root – Zingiber officinale
Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
Sweet Marjoram – Origanum marjorana
Palmarosa – Cymbopogon martini
Peppermint – Mentha piperita
Ravensara – Ravensara aromatica
Rose Geranium – geranium roseum

Rosewood – Aniba rosaeodora
Spike Lavender – Lavandula latifolia
Thyme ct vulgaris – Thymus vulgaris
Yarrow – Achillea millefolium
Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata

Approximately 6-8 years or longer:

Atlas Cedarwood – Cedrus atlantica
Himalayan Cedarwood – Cedrus deodora
Virginian Cedarwood – Juniperus virginiana
Myrrh – Commiphora myrrha
Patchouli – Pogostemon patchouli Rose Otto – Rosa damacena
Spikenard – Nardostachys jatamansi
Vetiver – Vetiveria zizanoides
East Indian Sandalwood – Santalum album

Aromatherapy is Nature’s Medicine in its purest and most essential form. Aromatic Oils are the very soul of a plant. Even a drop or two can produce significant results. Properly administered essential oils are a natural, safe and effective way to enhance an animal’s health and well-being and may produce satisfying results where other methods have failed. Please consult with your veterinarian regarding serious health concerns and do not attempt to diagnose.

PLEASE NOTE: There are many cheap, synthetic copies of aromatic oils, but these are not recommended for therapeutic use. For best results purchase the highest quality oils you can possibly find. Use organically grown or wild crafted essential oils that have been tested for purity and are pesticide free.

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