People love their essential oils, no doubt, and the prices that some people pay for the finest essential oils is a testament to their value. Long held sacred for their medicinal values and pleasant fragrances, some oils fetch thousands of dollars per a single fluid ounce!
Below are the top 21 most expensive essential oils in the world. These are the most common. I did not include all of the fringe or more rare essential oils such as Beeswax Absolute, Coffee Flower (can go for over $1300 an oz!), or Genêt (Broom) Absolute because these oils only serve a niche market. I may however include include these later in a rare essential oils post.
Note: these prices are extrapolated from the single serving bottles (usually 1-5 ml) and are current as of September 2013. Prices will vary across different vendors based on quality and supply.
#21 – Hops Flower Essential Oil – $100/oz
Like most floral essential oils, it takes many, many pounds of petals to create a small amount of oil. However, in this case, hops flowers are more abundant (and in less demand) than flowers such as rose and jasmine. So, while it is still expensive, it doesn’t fetch the higher price of similar floral oils.
Hops flower essential oil is most popular for its ability to induce sleep for people who suffer from insomnia or general restlessness. It is also used as a antimicrobial and disinfectant. It has been used to treat asthma, skin rashes, stress, nervousness, headaches, stomach aches, coughing and menstrual cramps in women. It also helps prevent and expel gas and acts as a diuretic. Learn more about Hops Flower Essential Oil.
#20 – Vanilla Absolute Essential Oil – $105/oz
Vanilla’s high price is both politically and naturally high. See, there was a natural shortage of vanilla up until about 2005 when farmers started growing the stuff like mad men. This caused the prices to plummet. Once the vanilla was worthless to the farmers, they burned their crops, putting vanilla back at square one. Additionally, the main supplier of vanilla, Madagascar, faces political turmoil constantly, so this doesn’t bode well for the economy. Hoarding by the producers also artificially increases the prices. Learn more about Vanilla Absolute Essential Oil.
This oil is mainly used in the fragrance industry. Because of its viscosity and properties it does not do well in aromatherapy. However, added to a lotion or fragrance, it smells absolutely wonderful, and a little bit goes a long way. A small vile will last you ages.
#19 – St. John’s Wort Essential Oil – $108/oz
St. John’s gained a lot of popularity a decade ago as a herbal remedy for depression. The oil is similarly used for anxiety in aromatherapy, but is most popularly used topically for burns, varicose veins, bruising and wounds. When combined with a carrier oil and wintergreen, it is said to be the perfect combination to combat the pain of gout. I know it sounds counter intuitive to put something with the word ‘wort’ in it to improve your skin, but it actually works! Learn more about St. John’s Wort Essential Oil.
#18 Sandalwood Essential Oil (Australian) – $143/oz
The most popular sandalwood comes from India, but since their ban on harvesting the trees for oil (because of a shortage), Australia has picked up the slack. Because many believe Australian sandalwood is subpar to that of India, it cost less, but still will cost you a pretty penny. The scent of sandalwood is unmistakable and has been used by perfumers for centuries. And while it will set you back a little bit, you can score a 1/8 oz bottle for only $27, and it will last you ages. It is also used for various skin and stomach conditions. Learn more about Sandalwood Essential Oil.
#17 Chamomile Essential Oil (Roman) – $144/oz
While there are many types of chamomile essential oil, roman is by far the most prized and sought after. Because of high demand, the price increases. Furthermore, limited resources cause the price to increase further. These flowers only grow in certain parts of Europe and are only suitable for harvesting a short time period of the year. The flower petals only yield about .4% to 1.0% oil. That is a lot of petals for a little amount of oil! But, most people don’t mind the high prices because of the oils amazing odor, calming effects and skin healing abilities. Learn more Roman Chamomile Essential Oil.
#16 Blue Chamomile Essential Oil (German) – $159/oz
German chamomile shares many similar things as roman chamomile, but the nuances lie in the ‘blue’. The oil achieves its blue color during distillation (and this is why I call it Heisenberg essential oil). The blue color comes from a higher level of azulene not found in the roman variety. Azulene is the active part of the oil that is prized for its skin healing and anti-inflammatory abilities. If you are looking for an essential oil for skin use this is the essential oil for you since it is considered to be more powerful than its roman counterpart.
#15 Helichrysum Essential Oil – $186/oz
Revered for its magic skin healing abilities, helichrysum essential oil is a must-have. One of our Facebook fans writes, “I used Helichrysum EO after sinus surgery and never swelled or bruised. Didn’t even know I had surgery!!…I also, dropped the corner of a wooden box on the top of my bare foot, ouch!! I immediately put Helichrysum on it and it never bruised or swelled up. The next day I could not tell anything happened. I am a believer.” It is als popular for its use in scarring, burns, stretch marks and wounds. Learn about the other benefits of Helichrysum Essential Oil.
#14 Angelica Root Essential Oil – $226/oz
Angelica root was made popular by the Chinese for its use to improve the reproductive system. The oil warrants a big price tag because it takes nearly 500 lbs of angelica root to produce 1 lb. of oil. It is known to rid the body of toxins, improve respiratory function, immune function, and cure skin ailments and infections. It is also used to rid the body and mind of stress. But be careful to not apply this oil topically if you plan on going outside- it is known to attract bugs and is phototoxic because of its constituent bergapten. Learn more about Angelica Root Essential Oil.
#13 Jasmine Absolute Essential Oil – $241/oz
Here is another example of a floral expressed oil. Since the Jasmine flowers are rare, highly prized and have a low oil yield, you can expect to pay a pretty penny for only a single drop of Jasmine Absolute. Would you believe that it takes just shy of a metric ton (2,000 lbs) of jasmine petals to produce a single pound of jasmine absolute? That is the weight of a typical car! Oh and also, the flowers must be picked at the exact right time of the season, early in the morning when their fragrance is the strongest. Why would anyone pay this much for jasmine absolute. Simple-because it smells amazing and has amazing properties. It has been used in perfumes for centuries and even worn by famous figures such as Louis XVI and Cleopatra. It is known to be an aphrodisiac, but if you’re not in the mood for that, it will help improve your memory! Learn more about Jasmine Absolute Essential Oil and its benefits.
#12 Rose Otto Essential Oil (Chinese) – $332/oz
Not quite as expensive as the famous Bulgarian Rose, but still a good value (at nearly half the price) for someone looking for rose essential oil. It is most commonly used in fragrances and for its aphrodisiac qualities. It is also popular for use in skin products because of it rejuvenating effects.
Be sure to note when buying high end fragrances and products containing rose essential oil whether it is Chinese or Bulgarian. Also make sure that it is not Rose Absolute. Good quality Chinese rose essential oil may be labeled as ‘Rose Otto’. This refers to the superior method of oil extraction, which is by steam distillation. Rose absolute oil is produced using solvents or CO2 extraction, and is not as pure. While rose essential oil is one of the most expensive and popular essential oils, a little bit goes a long way, and it is a definite addition to any essential oil connoisseurs collection. Great for a gift! Learn more about Rose Essential Oil.
#11 Lemon Balm Essential Oil (Melissa) – $337/oz
Lemon balm essential oil, also known as Melissa Essential Oil, is derived from flowers which have a very low oil yield, hence the high cost. It is widely used for its calming power and also for its ability to repel pesky insects. It has also been clinically proven to reduce herpes simplex lesions (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18693101). It is also very popular in the fragrance industry.
Would you believe it takes 3 tons of petals to make just one lb. of lemon balm essential oil? Some people pay tens of thousands of dollars for a single lb. of the highest quality lemon balm oil. Be sure you buy a quality brand of lemon balm essential oil that is pure and unadulterated. Learn more about Lemon Balm Essential Oil.
#10 Neroli Essential Oil (Orange Blossom) - $354/oz
This essential oil also comes from flowers-but you probably aren’t surprised by this point. Neroli was made popular by the Princess of Nerola, Italy in the late 17th century. She would often wear it as a fragrance, and add it to baths. Since then it has become an essential scent for perfumers worldwide. It is generally considered safe and blends well with many other scents, so it makes a great addition to any skin or fragrance product. Besides its use in fragrance products, it is also used to calm nerves and improve circulation. Rumor has it that it is also one of the ingredients in the well-guarded Coca Cola recipe. Learn more about Neroli Essential Oil.
#9 Sandalwood Essential Oil (Indian) - $429/oz
This essential oil is extremely hard to come by because of recent restrictions placed on the cultivation of sandalwood trees in India. Make sure the label says ‘Santalum album’ as this is the true Indian variety. More commonly you will see ‘Santalum spicatum’ which is the Australian variety. Since the harvesting is controlled by the Government and the trees must be mature in order to be harvested, production is very limited, and prices are very high. Sandalwood is on of the most popular base notes used in perfumes and colognes with a woody, yet fresh note. It has been used for centuries in religious rituals as well. Learn more about Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits.
#8 Elecampane Essential Oil - $560/oz
One of the more rare essential oils, elecampane is most commonly used to cure respiratory ailments including asthma, whooping cough, and respiratory infections. It is derived from the flowering plant. In mythology the elecampane plant first grew from Helen’s tears. The plant grows wildly on the remote island of St. Helena. The essential oil is also popular for curing diarrhea. Maybe this is why Helen was so revered! She gave birth to the Immodium AD of Greek Mythology. Another interesting fact is that the flower is used as a critical ingredient for popular hallucinogen liquor absinthe! Learn more about Elecampane Essential Oil Benefits.
#7 Seaweed Absolute Extra Essential Oil - $650/oz
One of the more rare essential oils on this list. If you are familiar with Seinfeld you will know why some people would choose to buy this one! Kramer has the “brilliant” idea to create a cologne that smells like you just got out of the ocean. Everyone laughs at him, but Calvin Klein ends up stealing it (only in the episode of course). However, many people do seek ocean inspired fragrances and this makes the perfect addition. Its woody, briny and herbaceous scent is great in small doses when added to more masculine blends. It is also added to many designer skin products for its unique skin-calming abilities.
#6 Rose Essential Oil (Bulgarian) - $700/oz
Perhaps the most popular essential oil of them all. At least the most popular one that most people can’t afford. Want to know why it’s so expensive? You guessed it-flowers! Tons of flowers. Literally! It is estimated to take 4 tons of rose petals to make a single pound of rose essential oil. Can you even imagine 4 tons of rose petals? So for every drop of rose essential oil used, you basically just picked 30 roses. And it smells like it, too! This stuff is not soft as a rose on the nose, it is highly concentrated, and very strong. This means a little bit goes a long way, so you can justify spending an arm and a leg for the stuff when one drop added to your favorite lotion will be plenty.
Always make sure the name on the package says ‘Rosa damascena’ as this is the official latin name. But, be careful because this rose also grows in China. You need to be certain it is from Bulgaria. It is one of the most highly sought after essential oils for its immense popularity for its fragrance and magical properties for the skin. Learn more about Rose Essential Oil Benefits.
#5 Agarwood Essential Oil - $850/oz
Before we get into the more rare and less commonly used essential oils on this list I’d like to discuss Agarwood Essential Oil also known as ‘Oud’. This oil is most commonly referred to as the most expensive essential oil in the world. And for once, it is not derived from flowers! This oil is derived from a tree, but not just any tree. The Agarwood tree only grows native in a handful of countries in Asia and is now being introduced to New Zealand. Since the tree is endangered and the oil derived from it is in such high demand, the production and harvesting is tightly controlled. Furthermore, the oil can only be extracted from the trunk of the tree once a fungus has infected the tree. All the conditions must be absolutely perfect in order to get oil from this sucker! Since the process is so arduous and the trees take so long to mature, the high price is completely justified. The sweet and deep odor of this oil has been smelled by millions and used in fragrances since biblical times. Learn more about Agarwood Essential Oil.
#4 Cannabis Flower Essential Oil - $946/oz
This essential serves up a double whammy! Since the growth of the cannabis plant is highly regulated and the oil is produced from the flower, this makes the price of the oil sky rocket! The oil is very popular for its use in fragrances and even some sweet foods! Be sure not to get this oil mixed up with its older brother, hemp oil, which is FAR cheaper and is derived from the seeds of the plant. If you are buying this oil to get high, don’t bother, it containts virtually no THC, the active component in marijuana. However, diffusing is known to cause relaxation and ease tension. It is also good for inflammation, skin irritations and female hormone imbalances. Learn more about Cannabis Flower Essential Oil.
#3 Frangipani Absolute Essential Oil - $1,482/oz
It’s hard to believe that the creamy, sweet scent of the flower could exceed the beauty, but I’m giving it a run for its money. The frangipani flower is extremely rare and is only found wild in the Comoros Islands in France. The oil is so thick that is often requires a low heat to render the waxy liquid usable. It is most commonly used in perfumes, but is also great for stress and inflammation.
If you are looking for a unique scent to make your friends jealous and curious, Frangipani Essential Oil is for you!
#2 Tuberose Absolute Essential Oil - $1,645/oz
I’ve seen the market price for this oil all over the place, but a high quality therapeutic grade tuberose essential oil is going to set you back. No surprise that is expressed from flowers and it smells lovely! It is commonly used in fragrances, but also in aromatherapy for its relaxing properties. Some regard the sweet floral smell as an aphrodisiac and give the oil credit for their creative inspiration! Learn more about Tuberose Essential Oil.
#1 Champaca Absolute Essential Oil - $2,256/oz
They say money can’t buy happiness, but those who hail Champaca as the cure for depression disagree. Champaca has been used to treat the blues for centuries, and many swear by it. It also has a rich, floral, citrus scent that creates quite the unique scent for any fragrance lover. Indians traditionally use this oil to cure headaches and even vertigo! If your paying this much you also are going to need some “sexy” benefits. Well, rest assured, because this oil is also known as a powerful aphrodisiac. And for that reason, I proclaim this the “happy essential oil!” But, only buy it if you are loaded or just want a drop or two.