Essential oils which contain a lot of monoterpenes or oxides have the shortest shelf life, of approximately 1-2 years. Essential oils which contain a lot of phenols may last up to 3 years. Essential oils which contain ketones, monoterpenols, and/or esters have a shelf life of 4-5 years.
Oils that contain a high percentage of sesquiterpenes and/or sesquiterpenols have the longest shelf life. Although the aromatic quality of these oils may improve over time, their therapeutic quality can still diminish. Thus for therapeutic use, it may be wise to use within the lower threshold of 4 years.
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I found some information about essential oil shelf life recently that is going to. happens to them over time in Retha's explanation on the Plant Therapy blog, .