Tips For Safely Using Essential Oils
I want to share with you some tips for safely using essential oils. I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and claims on the internet about how essential oils can be used to cure diseases and a bunch of other nonsense. First, I’d like to state from the beginning that making claims of using something to “cure” anything is wrong, and possibly illegal. So when you read things like that, take it with a grain of salt.
In this article, I intend to help you understand using essential oils so you can make an informed decision about whether they are right to use for you or your family. I’m also going to attempt to dispel some of the misinformation surrounding essential oils and their safe use.
If you want to use essential oils safely you need to get educated about them. This is probably the number one thing I would advise anyone to do before they begin using essential oils. I completed 2 different certification programs on essential oils prior to beginning to use them for myself. I also keep numerous reference books close at hand to refer to when using these oils. One of the books I refer to frequently is called “Essential Oil Safety- A Guide For Health Care Professionals” by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. This book is probably way more in-depth than the average user will ever need. But if you want to know what the chemical constituents of an essential oil are, as well as the cautions for use and possible side effects, then this is an invaluable reference. However, you decide to get educated, just try to avoid some of the more sensational claims out there on the internet.
One of the claims I have seen on some of the multilevel marketing sites that sell essential oils is that they are perfectly safe for internal use. Unfortunately, many people believe the hype because they are natural plant extracts so they must be safe, right? Wrong! Although some essential oils are safe to use internally, they also can interact with some prescription drugs you may currently be prescribed. For instance, a few essential oils can potentiate the effects of some drugs. This means they can increase the effects, which could be dangerous. Additionally, essential oils are highly concentrated and consist of many chemical compounds which can be harmful in high doses. Did you know that ingesting 1 drop of lemon essential oil is equivalent to drinking the juice of 20 lemons? I never advise anyone to take any essential oil internally without knowing the risks and discussing it with their personal physician. This will help you avoid any drug interactions that might occur.
Some oils, including almost all citrus oils, should not be used on the skin prior to sun exposure. These oils contain furocoumarins, which can cause phototoxicity. Phototoxicity means they can increase the effects of UV rays and allow you to burn more easily. This also applies to using them before going into a tanning bed. The only citrus oil that I am aware of the does not contain furocoumarins is Bergamot FCF which we and some other suppliers sell, which is one of the few essential oils that is modified prior to packaging. Even this oil has a small amount of furocoumarins, just not at nearly the levels of other essential oils which contain them. So even using this oil I would not recommend going out in the sun for at least 24 hours if you use them on your skin.
There are also cautions to be taken when using oils besides citrus on your skin. Doing a patch test is essential before using essential oils on your skin to test for sensitivity. Also, repeated use can cause you to develop sensitivity to some oils. If you are allergic to nuts you shouldn’t use carrier oils made from nuts on your skin. They can cause an allergic reaction as well.
The essential oils that contain camphor compounds should not be used near the faces or mouths of babies or children under 10 years of age. They can cause respiratory issues and may cause a baby to stop breathing.
Some essential oils should not be used by pregnant women. Some of them have the effect of increasing menstruation which could cause harm to the fetus or spontaneous abortion, especially in the first trimester. There are essential oils that can change estrogen levels, and you don’t want to be around anything that can change your hormone levels if you are pregnant. By the same token, those with certain types of estrogen-dependent cancers should not use these essential oils either.
Taking some essential oils by mouth, even in small quantities, can be harmful or fatal. Did you know that ingesting Eucalyptus oil can cause seizures and coma? Or that ingesting Wintergreen oil can do the same damage to your body as if you had taken a large amount of aspirin? Clary Sage oil can cause seizures in children in very small amounts.
These are just a few examples of why it is so important to consider your safety when you decide to use essential oils. Even with 35 years of experience in the medical field, I felt it was still important for me to become certified in essential oils and aromatherapy prior to using them. Now I’m not saying you need to go that far to safely use essential oils. I’m simply trying to make you aware that using them safely is important.
While I do sell essential oils I feel it is my duty to inform everyone about the safety considerations you need to take into account. I am a believer in the effectiveness of essential oils and I use them in one way or another on a daily basis. But I would never want someone to sacrifice their safety just to make a sale. This is also why you will never see me making claims that essential oils can “cure” anything at all. Not only are such claims wrong, but they are also illegal and could subject someone to charges of practicing medicine without a license. Remember that the next time you are reading the claims of some of these MLM reps selling essential oils and making miraculous claims.
What you need to understand about essential oils is that they are composed of many chemical compounds. If you do the research you can see the compounds contained in each one because they have been subjected to testing by gas chromatography. So we know, for instance, that certain essential oils contain a high concentration of a-pinene. We know how a-pinene affects the body. What we cannot be sure of is what concentration of the chemical will be present in any given bottle of the essential oil that contains a-pinene. There are so many things that can affect the concentration, such as weather, soil, and the time of year, even the time of day, the plant is harvested.
You also need to be aware that everyone’s biochemistry is just a bit different. That’s why some drugs may make one person sleepy while the next person is jacked up from the same drug. So we can say with relative confidence that a certain essential oil has a certain effect on most people. For instance, Lavender and Chamomile are said to have a relaxing effect that can help you rest and sleep. However, we cannot make the claim that it will do that for every person in all situations. There are just too many variables.
Now that you know why essential oil safety is so important, please use these tips for safely using essential oils. Get educated about essential oils before using them. I would say it’s best to start out with the safest oils such as Lavender, Tea Tree, or any of the citrus oils and learn all you can about them first. Then branch out to other oils as you become more educated and confident in using them.
Whether you buy your oils from me or some other supplier, always assure you are getting 100% natural oils. Avoid anything that contains the term fragrance oil or hydrosol. These are not pure essential oils and do not contain beneficial chemicals for therapeutic use.
If you have any questions or concerns about the oils we offer or anything else to do with essential oils, please feel free to contact us.