Using Essential Oils Safely

January 14, 2018

 

 

 

I'm a huge advocate of natural medicine and essential oils but I also strongly believe in being informed and educated. Especially with things pertaining to your body and health. Recently, I have received many emails inquiring about essential oil safety and how to know if these oils are good quality. I thought I would write a blog with some information for everyone that I have collected:) Even though I am putting this information out there, make sure you always do your own research. 

 

First of all, what are essential oils and how do I use them safely??

 

Essential oils are naturally occurring, highly concentrated liquids that can be harmful to you, your family and pets if not used properly, They are produced with steam or water dilution from the stems, buds, leaves, petals, or bark of plants. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells

 

Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Using undiluted oils can be harmful to you an cause severe irritation and sensitization. Using a 2% dilution is generally considered safe for most adults. What this means is that for every 30ml of carrier oil, you can add 12 drops of essential oil. 

 

Some essential oils are photo-toxic, meaning that they react when exposed to the sun. There is no risk if the skin to which the oils are applied is covered in such a way as to prevent the sun from reaching them. Make sure you research which oils are photo-toxic before applying them if you know you will be in the sun. The oils that are generally considered photosensitive are citrus oils like orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot.

 

Certain essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy, in children, and for those with epilepsy, heart conditions, asthma and hypertension. It’s possible for essential oils to interact with medications or over-the-counter drugs. Always check with your health care practitioner if you have any safety concerns regarding medication interactions.

 

When using essential oils, less is best. Use the smallest amount possible for the desired effect. There is no need to add 10 drops of essential oil to your diffuser and leave it running all day long.

 

Not all essential oils are safe from aromatherapy. Certain oils should never be used in your diffuser. Do not diffuse oils around newborns, babies, young children, pregnant or nursing women, or pets unless you are sure they are safe. Use a diffuser for about 30–45 minutes at a time for the most effectiveness. Don't put essential oils into your humidifier. 

 

Personally, I am not a fan on essential oils used internally. I don't feel there's enough research done on ingesting oils. That being said, if you choose to use them this way make sure you are doing so with guidance from a knowledgeable practitioner. 

 

Essential oils are best stored in a closed bottle, out of direct sunlight in a cool place, and out of reach of children and pets. Dark glass bottles are the best for essential oils. Some oils can dissolve plastic.

 

How do I buy essential oils?

 

Avoid buying oils from shops that don't provide the essential oil's botanical (Latin name), country of origin or method of extraction. Example:  Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 

 

Look for oils that are organic as a first choice. 

 

Make sure you do your research and are purchasing them from a reputable supplier. (Especially when purchasing online.)

 

Watch out for words like "fragrance oil" or "perfume oil". These are not essential oils and have no therapeutic properties.

 

When purchasing essential oils, make sure to look at the cost. Think of it this way...it takes roughly 250lbs of rose petals to make 30ml of rose oil or one drop of peppermint oil is equal to roughly 28 cups of peppermint tea...so you can see why rose oil or peppermint oil  would be so expensive. Good quality oils will never be cheap but since the oils are so highly concentrated and so little is required for most applications, it works itself out in the long run. Some botanical's are more costly to grow and harvest than others, therefore some essential oils are more expensive than others. Some companies offer the essential oil pre-diluted in a carrier oil, like jojoba or grapeseed oil to make their products more affordable. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing how these oils were diluted and if they were done so correctly. So make sure the oil does not say "essential oil blend" on the label.

 

A simple test may help you find out if the essential oil offered to you is pure or diluted. Put a drop of the oil on a paper and then allow to dry. If an oil stain remains, chances are that some carrier oils are mixed with the essential oil.

 

Be cautious of retailers that supply their essential oils in clear or plastic bottles. Essential oils are best stored in a dark, glass bottle.

 

Buy from a a source that is knowledgeable. Ask questions and look for information on their website or packaging. Pay attention to educational background and length of business. Read reviews by other consumers!!

 

There is so much information out there and it can be overwhelming and confusing. Just make sure you trust who and where you get your essential oils and other aromatherapy products from. If you have questions, ask them. If you are unsure, trust your gut. Always practice safety and remember that essential oils are highly volatile and should be treated like you would medicine. 

 

I can say with confidence that all the essential oils we use in Essentials by Nature products come from several reputable Canadian wholesale suppliers. A lot of time and research went into sourcing our ingredients. All the oils we use are essential oils and we do not use fragrance oils. We maintain sustainable processes, mixing, testing, and packaging our products. 

 

Should you have any further questions about any of this information, or about any Essentials by Nature products, please don't hesitate to send us an email.

 

As always, lots of love.

 

Jill

 

References:

 

http://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety

 

https://www.aromaweb.com/articles/default.asp

 

http://herbalacademyofne.com/tag/using-essential-oils/

 

http://roberttisserand.com/essential-oil-safety-2nd-edition/

 

http://naha.org/assets/uploads/PregnancyGuidelines-Oct11.pdf

 

 

 

 

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