Essential Oil Safety
Essential oils are trendy. I cringed when I wrote that, but let’s face it, there are many essential oil lovers that really don’t know the true potency of the scents they love. Some people purchase essential oils based on what smells pleasant. The more experienced user will choose oils for their therapeutic properties. Both users are benefiting, but are they using essential oils safely? There is a good reason that essential oils are so effective; they are some of the most powerful liquids on earth. Essential oils are nature’s prescriptions and must be used with the same caution.
Given the trend, that is holistic healing and essential oils, I have stumbled upon numerous generalizations and alarmingly false statements on some of the blogs and websites that are out there. As someone who has chosen the path of wellness and essential oils as her career, I feel a sense of duty to correct some of these wrongs and set the record straight.
Something to think about…
The same drop of pure lavender essential oil that has a beautiful aroma and eases stress will kill bacteria on your counter tops, effectively clean small cuts and scrapes, and miraculously treat a severe burn with little to no scarring. That must be a very powerful oil indeed!
The unique molecular structure of essential oils make it possible for them to be absorbed by the skin and quickly enter the blood stream. Once in the body, essential oils can readily cross the blood-brain barrier. This structure has yet to be duplicated or even closely copied by synthetic medicine.
Here’s the basics…
As you want to be sure to use the smallest amount of essential oil possible that will deliver therapeutic results, you must use pure, unadulterated essential oils. If you are using essential oils that are cut with synthetic chemicals, you risk an adverse reaction, causing you to abandon essential oil treatment altogether. The same could be true if your oils are cut with a carrier oil or water, as diluted essential oils will not produce the level of treatment that pure, unadulterated oils will.
Keep in mind that certain essential oils are almost always sold in a dilution. Essential oils of rose, neroli, some chamomiles, and sandalwood are examples of oils that are diluted to keep costs low enough for the general public. Without being diluted, these oils would cost upwards of $100 per teaspoon!
Another reason that pure essential oils are best, is that by diluting them yourself, you are in control of the potency of the treatment. There are different dilutions for different groups of people. Feel free to use this handy guide to properly dilute your oils!
.25% Dilution - for ages 6 months – 6 years
1 drop essential oil per 4 teaspoons carrier oil
If child is sick, dilution can be increased to .50%= 1 drop essential oil per 2 teaspoons carrier oil.
1% Dilution - ages 6+, pregnant women, elderly, those with sensitive skin, health issues, or compromised immune systems
1 drop essential oil per 1 teaspoon carrier oil
2% Dilution – for daily use, ideal for most adults
2 drops essential oil per teaspoon carrier oil
3% Dilution – for short-term use for temporary issues, muscle injuries, respiratory congestion
3 drops essential oil per teaspoon carrier oil
Up to 10% dilution can be safely used depending on health concern and length of use.
25% Dilution – Acute issues only - muscle cramps, severe bruising, severe pain
25 drops essential oil per teaspoon carrier oil
A word about Wintergreen…
Methyl salicylate is the active component in Wintergreen essential oil. It is an extremely powerful pain reliever. It is effective and must be used with the knowledge that it must NEVER be overused. It must always be prepared as a 1 or 2% dilution, and NEVER used in conjunction with medications that contain methyl salicylate. These are usually medications for arthritis and/or muscle pain.
Here is a brief list: Bengay Thera-Gesic
Flex-All 454 Lido Pro Patch
Icy Hot Terocin
Just a couple more things…
Another risk involved in essential oil use is photosensitivity. This can occur with dermal use of certain cold-pressed citrus oils, such as: lemon, lime, orange and bergamot, also angelica root and cumin. Always consider the age and health of the person that the essential oils are intended for and dilute accordingly. Know where your oils are coming from and that they are high quality and pure. Know that organic does not necessarily equate quality. Always research for yourself. Never take someone’s word for it when dealing with the well-being of yourself and your family. My hope is that you can now use essential oils to the best of your ability, blissfully, wonderfully, and most of all effectively.
National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy
Risks and Uses of Essential Oils
University of Minnesota
Are Essential Oils Safe?