AS PROMISED… 3 Things You Need to Know to Use Essential Oils Safely
- Never, never, never use essential oils “neat” or UNDILUTED. Essential oils are more potent than most people think they are. Let’s talk about that. Essential oils are actually very complex mixtures of chemicals that serve specific purposes for the plant they are found in:
- Attract pollinators
- Repel competition
- Protection from insects and other “predators”
- Provide immunity / defense against pathogens (microbes – fungi, bacteria, etc.)
It takes A LOT of plant material to produce just one bottle of essential oil. For example, you would need 500 pounds of lavender flowers to make 30-40 ounces of oil!! When you have that much concentrated power in liquid form, it needs to be diluted to use it safely. You can certainly use the aromas undiluted (you can smell straight from the bottle or get a personal inhalation device) but only in limited amounts. Be careful of “overdoing” it and causing headaches or nausea. Even running a diffuser for too long can cause problems, or do the opposite of what you’re trying to do.
A friend of mine was gracious enough to let me show this picture of a skin burn that happened after using undiluted oregano oil on her daughter’s skin. She read that it would help a sore throat. Obviously, she then had a sore throat and a sore neck! SAFETY IS IMPORTANT!!
- Quality matters!! A significant number of essential oil manufacturers & retailers dilute their oils with cheaper but similar oils or, even worse, synthetic compounds. Sometimes they say it helps with consistency of a desired scent but, ultimately, it’s just for generating more profit. Essential oils are not perfumes and may not always smell pleasant! It’s really better to think of them as medications rather than scents. To make sure you’re using pure oils, look for:
- companies that publish research in scientific journals
- verification of purity with outside laboratories / testing facilities
- merchants who have a relationship with the growers and manufacturers of the essential oils they sell
- Essential oils can interact with medications or cause an allergic reaction. There’s quite a long list of oils that can affect the action of blood thinners (even aspirin), blood pressure medications, diabetic medications, antibiotics, and many more. Consult an aromatherapist or other knowledgeable practitioner regarding essential oils and medications and/or allergies.
If you have a question or comment, let me know!