“Treat essential oils with the same care that you treat medicines. You don’t need to be afraid or avoid essential oils but care needs to be taken. They can be an amazing blessing within a holistic lifestyle. Do remember, however, that when working with essential oils, less is more.”
I originally posted this as a “note” on Facebook in February 2015 as a resource for friends who wanted to know more about using essentials oils safely.
As many of you know, I have become really interested in using Essential Oils. I had been reading a lot of blogs and a lot of information for several months. There is a lot of information out there about a lot of different uses. However, recently I have read more research and information directly from aromatherapists, instead of the companies who sell them (such as Young Living and DoTerra). Those companies promote a lot of unsafe practices. The main thing I learned is that you should get your information from a certified aromatherapist, not a sales rep. If you are reading research, do not read research from the company (DT has a “science” blog, but it is a DT blog still), find a third party. When you are reading ideas in blogs, double check the oils suggested, and the use suggested to be sure it is safe. Not every blogger is aware of safe practices!
I think oils can do amazing things! But they are medicinal and need to be treated as such! Just because they are “natural” doesn’t mean they can be used without careful research and consideration. Poison Ivy is natural. You won’t find me rubbing it on me!
Two of my favorite resources are:
Blog and Facebook group run by a super sweet lady who is a certified aromatherapist and also makes her own kid safe blends. She also sells Aromatics International oils.
Large Facebook group and blog dedicated to the safe use of oils. They can be a little intense. But there is really good info.
Essential Oils should never be ingested. Ever. Unless under the supervision of an aromatherapist. NO brand is “safe” for ingesting. 1 drop of peppermint equals 28 cups of peppermint tea. That’s a lot of tea. No one would ever think that was OK to drink at one time. Please don’t do it in any form.
Check ingredients on other items such as natural toothpaste. As an adult I can use it because I won’t swallow the toothpaste. But I will not use it with Eli until he is much older.
The Barefoot Dragonfly blog post reviewing the concerns has some great information.
“Therapeutic grade” oil is not really a thing. Anyone can use that claim. There are oils that are better than others. But there are MANY brands of high quality oils. This is a 3 series blog post about choosing a company. I have many DT oils and I am happy with them. However, I am very unhappy with DT and YL’s business practices as they promote unsafe practices. I am switching to buying my oils from a different company in the future. It is important to choose your brand based on what is important to you. In addition to wanting high quality oils and good prices, it is importnant to me to support a company that promotes safe and honest business practices.
This blog series gives great information for choosing a brand:
Another blog by the Hippie Homemaker about choosing a brand
Resource explaining how “Therpautic Grade: isn’t a standard term.
Oils and Kids
There are oils that are not recommended to be used on kids of specific ages. This post shares some of the information. Remember, oils are medicinal. If they are so powerful, we need to treat them with respect just like medicines
This is a easy to read graphic from Scentsable Health listing safe oils for children.
Age restriction list. If you use blends such as Thieves, Breathe, OnGuard, check the oils included in the blend. The Using Essential Oils Safely FB group has a great file that lists the ingredients and concerns of blends from the popular companies. Whether you are using the oils topically or diffusing, this list applies.
I really like the Scentsable Health kid safe blends. That is what I am choosing to do with blends that I am not making on my own. She uses hydrosols and EOs to make blends that are kid safe.
This blog post also contains good solutions for making your own child safe congestion and anti-germ (Thieves type) blends:
Pregnant and nursing woman have restricted lists too. The elderly should follow the guidelines of children in regards to dilution.
Essential Oils should always be diluted when applied topically. This is a super handy chart for following dilution guidelines. I like to use roller balls to mix my oils and carrier oil (coconut oil) so I know they are the right dilution. They should NEVER be used right from the bottle.
This includes the bath. Think about it….you drop oils in the bath. What does oil do with water? It will just sit on top and when you stick your body in, the oil will not be diluted when it touches your skin. You can read about diluting here.
Sensitization/How Long/How Much
Diffusing should be limited to 20-30 min on, 60 minutes off. Any oil that is used daily should be used for up to 2 weeks, with at least a week off. There’s many oils that serve the same purpose, so you can switch it out and use a different oil during your off weeks.
Why? Because of sensitization. Basically, it is a reaction that can happen with your skin or mucous membranes. It can happen the first time you are exposed to an oil or the 20th. Think about the “bucket effect”: each time you expose your body to it, it adds to the bucket. One time can tip the bucket. Because EOs are potent, we need to treat them with respect.
If you have a reaction, STOP using the oil. You can have an allergic reaction to oils just like anything else. Read more about sensitization here.
Is this really such a big deal?
Yes, it is. It is never easy to find out you should be doing something differently. But there’s the whole “Know More, Do Better” phrase. I did use oils in unsafe ways before I started to do my own research rather than listening to the recommendations of various reps. They are well meaning, but they are not certified aromatherapists. They are basing their recommendations off their uplines, in companies that are known for promoting unsafe practices. As soon as I started to delve deeper, I changed my habits. I am constantly learning and trying to do better and be safer. This is a good article about a mama with a similar story.
Oils should be kept in the refrigerator for longest shelf-life. Every oil is different and has a different shelf-life.
If you accidentally spill oil on yourself or a child, you need to wash with a carrier oil (or olive oil even!). Use oil to wash away oil. Wash with the oil over
and over. If you pour water on, it can make it soak in faster.
Do not put essential oils in humidifiers: they will ruin your humidifier and leech plastic into the air
You can view some of the worst cases in the essential oil injury report of 2014 here.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post! I am not an aromatherapist. Just a mom who is on quest to use a natural alternative with her family while also being safe and respecting how powerful they are!