An Introduction to Essential Oils

What you should know before you embark into the world of essential oils.

Not everything you read/see about essential oils on the internet or social media is true! Gasp!!

There are so many different sources of information out there. Some are excellent however, some may lead you dangerously astray.

When it comes to essential oil safety you should be looking to the experts for guidance and advice. Certified Aromatherapists and Essential Oil experts ( meaning they have years and years of clinical experience or research ) are your best bet!

Tips for Finding Resources

  • Seek out credible sources from places such as CFA, NAHA, AIA, or experts in the Aromatherapy field.
  • Read books and articles not affiliated with any company engaged mainly in Essential Oil sales.
  • Attend classes and workshops put on by Aromatherapists. Avoid engaging in ones based purely on sales.
  • Essential Oils are not a one size fits all deal. Contrary to popular belief, there is NOT always an oil for that!
  • Aromatherapy is a science. It should be studied seriously and responsibly.

Most of the information you see floating around the internet on FB or other Social Media is derived from MLM companies whose interest is in selling essential oils and not necessarily health and wellness. Many reps recommend unsafe usage and an overuse of oils in an effort to sell more.

Website Recommendations

Essential Oil Safety

Never use Essential Oils Neat / Undiluted.

– You’ll often see that Lavender and Tea Tree are sited to be safe for undiluted use. However, severe sensitivity could still apply to certain people. It is best to always dilute your oils before using.

– What if you’ve been using oils neat for awhile and you’ve never experienced a problem? …..consider yourself lucky. However, the more you use an oil undiluted the higher the chance of a sensitization occuring.

Some Essential Oils should be avoided during Pregnancy, or for those with Asthma, Epilepsy or other serious health conditions.

– I’ve written a post on Essential Oils and Pregnancy you can find it here. You should always consult your main Doctor/Physician prior to any Essential Oil use. Especially if you are Pregnant, have any medical issues, conditions or are taking any medication.

Less is more.

– Children and those with low skin integrity should be using a dilution rate of 1% which is 1 drop of oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil ( like sweet almond oil or coconut oil ) If you’d like to make a larger quantity then 6 drops of oil per 30ml.

– Adults should be using a 2% dilution which is 12 drops of essential oil per 30ml of carrier oil.

– For pain, chronic/specific issues it is best to consult a Certified Aromatherapists for higher dilution rates.

– The same Essential Oils and Blends should not be used constantly day in and day out at high dilutions. Your body can build up a tolerance to the oils, they become less effective and you have a greater chance of sensitization occuring.

– Essential Oils do not need to be diluted for use in your diffuser. Blends/Synergies that contain a carrier oil should not be used in your diffuser as they can clog it up. You can use anywhere from 1-10 drops depending on your preference. Always start low and add more if needed.

– You should not run your diffuser constantly. A good guideline to follow is a 30-60 min on and then 60 min off rotation. If you are using your diffuser for sleep or to freshen the scent in your home reduce the number of drops you are using to 1-3.

Essential Oils should NOT be taken Internally.

– ” With oral administration there is a greater risk of overdose, of gastric irritation, and of interactions with medications. Therefore only practitioners who are qualified to diagnose, trained to weigh risks against benefits, and have a knowledge of essential oil pharmacology should prescribe essential oils for oral administration. ” [ Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014, pg 50. ]

– But everyone and their neighbour adds it to their drinking water??… NOT a good idea! We all know oil and water don’t mix….no matter how hard you shake it.

Here’s an excellent article on this topic: ” Friends Don’t let Friends Drink Essential Oils “

– Daily and frequent internal use is generally only suggested by MLM companies/reps as a ( very unsafe ) marketing tool. ( They need you to keep using and buying lots of high priced oils. ) There is no need for general internal use. You will get faster, safer results from inhalation or topical applications.

– Internal use is often suggested by some companies and reps as a preventative measure to not getting sick. This is a dangerous practice and makes no sense really. You don’t wake up every day and pop 2 Tylenol on the off chance you might get a headache, so why do that with oils.

– The CFA, NAHA etc does not support or recommend internal use and neither can any Certified Aromatherapists unless properly trained to do so.

Essential Oils are Flammable.

Always keep Essential Oils away from Children and the lids on tight. If ingestion occurs contact poison control immediately.

Some oils are Phototoxic, meaning that the skin could burn, blister or irritate when exposed to sunlight / UV rays.

– some common phototoxic oils include Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin and Orange.

I have my Oils, now what?

– Essential Oils are highly volatile plant essences meaning they can evaporate very quickly. Always ensure the lids are on tight.

– Essential Oils and Carrier Oils should be stored somewhere cool and dark. The fridge, basement or cold storage room are all great options.

– Ouch, I got oils in my eye!!!!… Immediately flush the eye using cream, milk or a carrier oil. After you’ve emulsified the essential oil you can then rinse the eye with water. Repeat as necessary.

– I spilled essential oil all over myslef?…. the same concept as the eye, rub a carrier oil onto the skin and then wash off with soap and water.

– If you apply an oil or blend and you immediately have a sensitivity reaction. Dilute the oil on your skin further and use soap and water to wash the area. If the reaction is severe or prolonged you are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately.

Book Recommendations

  • The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele – this is a great book for beginners.
  • Essential Oil Safety 2nd Edition – Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young – this is an amazing resource for anyone wanting specific essential oil safety information.
  • The Art, Science and Business of Aromatherapy – Kayla Fioravanti, R.A – this book has it all, great for anyone who is interested in Aromatherapy as a business.

Did I forget anything??? Still have questions??

Please contact me, my goal is to fill this post with as much safety information as you guys need to safely use essential oils in your home and on your family!!

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