As the pace of modern life creates stress on us emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, essential oils are enjoying a revival. Truth be told, they have long been revered for their therapeutic powers and properties but we, citizens of modern life have lost touch and access to the information.
These oils, when of the correct purity, represent powerful and natural, low toxic and safe support for our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. To get the most from essential oils you need to feel comfortable in the quality of the oil and how to actually use it.
Here are my guidelines for the safe use of essential oils.
Go First Class
Always use oils of a very high quality – therapeutic grade. Never compromise. Pure and untampered with.
Not all oils are created equal so be sure you use a brand that has a reputation for quality.
I use and recommend doTERRA oils because of their potency, purity and the incredible ethics and social responsibility embraced by the company.
The Force is Strong with This One
Essential oils are so pure and because of that purity they must come with a warning.
There are very, very few reports of adverse reactions with the use of pure essential oils.
The most common reaction is a skin sensitivity to the oils which is unique to an individual. There are, of course a few oils that are not to be applied topically or must be diluted because they are so strong eg oregano, wintergreen etc. Check your oil first to ensure it is suitable to be applied to the skin and also check for your own individual sensitivity.
You can check for skin sensitivity by diluting an oil to a roughly 5% solution and testing on a safe place of your skin eg inside your forearm. To do this, dilute 1-2 drops of an oil with 4-6 drops of a carrier oil (unfractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil) to test.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Aside from skin sensitivity, please remember that pure essential oils are highly concentrated.
For example, it takes:
3 pounds of lavender flowers makes 15 ml of lavender oil
242,000 pounds of rose petals makes 5 ml of rose oil
50 lemons go into each 15 ml bottle of pure lemon oil
Not only does this, in my opinion, make pure essential oils very precious, but I hope it illustrates just how concentrated and potent they are and why we need to go gently with them.
Less is more, as excessive use might too overload your system and become a burden on your body to release the excess. Also, of course always refer to a dilution chart and be super careful when using oils with babies and small children.
When using the oils treat them with the reverence and respect they deserve. Here are the key guidelines.
Do not get the oils in your eyes. Be careful around the eye area with oils and also with touching your eyes once you have oils on your hands. Be especially wary of oils like peppermint, eucalyptus or anything with a high menthol content.
Personally I prefer not to work intensively with one single oil for a prolonged time – say more than 10-12 days in a row.
Avoid internal use even where oils are therapeutic grade. This is a matter of personal choice but I rarely use oils internally except in pre-prepared forms eg peppermint beadlets, Immune support beadlets and essential oil vitamins, or a drop of oil in hot water, smoothies or hot chocolate (eg peppermint oil, black pepper, cinnamon etc.). It is my recommendation to proceed with great caution unless you have consulted a qualified aromatherapist.
If pregnant or nursing - use the oils with great caution and go very lightly if you choose to use them at all. Again, I would encourage you to seek the advice of a trained expert. Some oils must be completely avoided in pregnancy. Be sure to identify these and steer clear.
Keep oils out of plastic or synthetic containers as essential oils will leach toxins out of bottles. Store in glass. I use plastic spray bottles for cleaning, but I empty the contents out when I am finished. If adding oils to filtered drinking water (eg lime, lemon, grapefruit), use an insulated glass carry bottle only.