How To Safely Use Essential Oils
Updated: Feb 2, 2019
Essential oils are very potent – they are literally derived from plant material so every single drop is very concentrated and holds great medicinal value. Read on for how to improve your life with essential oils... the right way!
Many people tend to shy away from actually using essential oils. There are known dangers in the improper use of them. In this article you'll discover how to use these powerful, natural agents to get the most out of them.
It's important to use essential oils sparingly and follow proper dilution recommendations when using them. Although some oils are safe to use 'neat' (meaning – straight out of the bottle without dilution) others applied undiluted can cause mild to severe chemical burns.
When it comes to essential oils, less is more. Just like doubling or tripling up on prescribed or over-the-counter drugs isn't going to double or triple the healing benefit, nor will doing the same with essential oils. Doing this can potentially have the opposite effect and lead to serious complications.
Most Essential Oils Can be Toxic when Ingested
Oils are highly concentrated and have strong chemical constituents that forces the liver to work extremely hard. Animal livers cannot process these chemicals at all, so do not give them orally to your pets, it can lead to instant death.
Young children and baby's internal organs are still developing and therefore are unable to process the complex compounds in essential oils. Organ damage or complete organ failure can result. Seek medical help immediately if essential oils are ingested in large quantities.
Safety Precautions when Dealing with Essential Oils
Here’s a list of safety precautions you should take before using essential oils:
1) Only Buy High Quality Pure Essential Oils
There are many websites on the internet hawking essential oils. Always buy from a reputable seller that offers 100% pure essential oils – we suggest therapeutic grade and organic (whenever possible).
We recommend Edens Garden because they only sell therapeutic grade, 100% pure oils and they are reasonably priced.
2) Storing Your Essential Oils
Because essential oils degrade when exposed to light and heat, make sure to store your oils in a dark, cool, and dry place. Make sure you purchase oils that are in amber or cobalt colored bottles.
If you like to create your own blends purchase empty amber or cobalt glass bottles (here's a great, inexpensive kit) and store them away from direct sunlight. Plastic bottles are never recommended for essential oils as they degrade the plastic.
3) Test for Allergic Reactions
Before using any essential oil be sure to do a patch test to check for any adverse reaction.
Mix 1 drop of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil and apply it to your inner forearm, wait 30 – 60 minutes. If you notice any skin irritation immediately wash the area with a mild soap and warm water and refrain from using that oil.
Before topical application, most essential oils must be diluted in a base ingredient such as a carrier oil (like olive, coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, almond, or others), whole milk, bath salts, honey, aloe vera gel, plant butters such as shea butter or cocoa butter, etc.
Use these dilution ratios as a general guide:
Newborn babies of 0 – 3 months: Do not use essential oils.
Infants 3 months to 2 years: 0.25% dilution - which is 1 drop in 4 teaspoons of carrier oil applied topically.
Toddlers 2 to 6 years: 0.5% dilution - which is 1 drop in 2 teaspoons of carrier oil.
Children from 6 to 15 years: 1% dilution - which is 1 drop in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
Adults: 2% dilution - which is 2 drops in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
For adults only, some oils can be used 'neat' or undiluted – here is a list of specific oils and their dilution ratios.
5) People with Health Problems
If you currently have major health issues – such as heart patients, asthma patients, people with epilepsy, hypertension, you must consult your doctor before using essential oils.
There are two schools of thought on ingesting essential oils.
The British school of thought prohibits ingestion of essential oils and only recommends essential oils for topical application, aromatherapy, and massage.
The French school of thought conditionally allows ingestion of essential oils They must be 100% pure, diluted and taken in very small quantities.
Before considering taking an essential oil(s) internally, make certain that your oil meets these four criteria:
It is 100% pure without any sort of additives and synthetic chemicals
It is USDA certified organic and GMO free
It is free of heavy metals
If your oil meets the above criteria, then you can safely ingest it in a fatty medium such as carrier oil, whole milk, yogurt, honey or in capsule form but do not take it in water.
Because the liver must process these complex molecules, it is not recommended to ingest more than 2 drops daily.
7) Pregnancy & Nursing
It is recommended to completely refrain from using essential oils during both pregnancy and nursing because the oil molecules enter the blood stream and can transfer into the placenta. Essential oil molecules have also been found in breast milk.
Essential oils have been widely known to benefit pet health. When using essential oils for pets, never administer them orally. There are many uses for essential oils for pets (externally), such as for pest control, which they work wonders for.
Check out this post on ways you can use essential oils for your pets.
Exercise caution with essential oils around children, keep oils out of reach. When using essential oils on children follow these best practices for dilution:
Newborn babies of 0 – 3 months: Do not use essential oils at all.
Infants 4 – 12 months: 0.25% dilution which is 1 drop in 4 tsp of carrier oil applied topically.
Toddlers 12 – 36 months: 0.5% dilution which is 1 drop in 2 tsp of carrier oil. Do not ingest.
Children from 3 – 13 years: 1% dilution 1 drop in 1 tsp.
You can use essential oils for children by adding it their baths, as a lotion, a foot blend, a massage oil or in a diffuser.
10) Sun Exposure After Using Essential Oils
Some essential oils are photo toxic, meaning they react to exposure to the sun. These essential oils are mainly citrus oils including lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, wild orange, grapefruit, mandarin orange, lime and other citrus oils.
When using citrus oils, apply them at night before bed or use them in products that won’t remain on your skin like hand washes, body washes, and shampoos.
11) Avoid Contact with Mucous Membranes
Avoid applying essential oils to your mucous membranes, these include your mouth, nose, eyelids and the genital areas. The result can be a severe burning sensation or chemical burns. In case of contact with mucous membranes, flush them out with a carrier oil or whole milk (the oils are attracted to the fat molecules) not with water – since water repels oil.
12) Essential Oils are Flammable
All essential oils have varying degrees of flammability so they should be kept away from direct contact with open flames such as those from gas stove tops, candles, matches and open fires.
13) Keep Essential Oils out of Your Eyes, Nose and Ears
It is never advised to drop any essential oils into your eyes, nose or ears. This can lead to serious internal damage.
For more information on using essential oils safely we recommend:
► Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
Essential Oil Jewelry Diffusers
Click an image to purchase
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