When you start to consider what you put in, on and around your body, well, it can get you thinking. Doesn’t it make sense that you should be able to support your body’s needs with natural plant-based remedies, herbs you may even grow in your own garden, healing molecules the human body has known for eons?
You need to know this: essential oils are not all equal. In the United States, they are held to perfume, NOT therapeutic, standards. The vast majority of essential oils you can buy are highly adulterated, even if the label says otherwise. If you are using essential oils to affect your health, know the source of your oils. (See, “Is Your Oil Pure?” for more on that). This is why I am confident using and sharing ONLY Young Living Essential Oils. Frankly, other essential oils scare me.
Yes, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are safe, as well as effective and powerful. They are a wonderful way to support your body’s natural drive toward balance and health. While it is very difficult to cause harm with essential oils, here are some common-sense guidelines to help assure comfort and success:
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets.
- The safest place to put essential oils is on the soles of feet.
- People with allergies should be cautious when choosing essential oils.
- If in doubt, patch test an essential oil on a small area of skin.
- It may be best to dilute oils that are high in phenols or aldehydes, especially for the young or elderly.
- If in doubt, dilute. You can always strengthen the concentration of oil, as needed.
There are conditions that can result in skin being irritated by essential oils. Here are a few:
- Some oils react with UV rays resulting in phototoxicity. Avoid using bergamot, orange, lemon, rue, angelica root, lemongrass, cumin and verbena absolute on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
- Any adulterated oil can irritate the skin. Keep this in mind if someone thinks they reacted to an essential oil in the past—it was probably adulterated.
- Taking several medications at the same time as using essential oils can result in irritated skin.
- Using chemicals—for example, while gardening or cleaning house—while using essential oils can result in skin irritation.
- Essential oils can react with synthetic, petroleum-based personal care products. If this occurs, remove the essential oil using a vegetable oil, and then wash the skin with soap and water. It should be safe to reapply the oil.
- Skin can become sensitized to repeated application of the same oil over a long period of time. To avoid this, rotate oils, application sites, or use a dilution.
If there is a reaction to a topically-applied essential oil, simply remove it with vegetable oil on a cotton ball. If skin irritation is a concern, try diluting the oil to a 2.5% or 5% dilution. You might try using only one oil or blend at a time, using less oil, and/or using it less frequently. Since the essential oil is working hard to remove toxins from your body, be sure to drink lots of water.
This may seem so obvious and unlikely, but I’ll mention it anyway. If an essential oil is accidentally ingested in large quantities—especially oils high in methyl salicylate (wintergreen), 1, 8 cineole (eucalyptus) or camphor—here is what you do:
- Call poison control.
- Do not induce vomiting.
- Drink vegetable oil.
- Feed activated charcoal, if you have it.
The cautions you take with essential oils are common sense. Our great-grandmothers didn’t need warning labels. As this meme mocks, modern living has confused us. We have gotten away from our natural biological heritage, the healing sources that surround us. Essential oils are a beautiful and empowering path home. Don’t be afraid to take it.