Essential Oil Crash Course Notes
The Most important things the novice should know about essential oils!
Never take essential oils internally. There are those that will tell you, if an oil is pure enough, you can take it internally. While that may be the case on some oils, I’d advise against taking the advice of a MLM sales person as opposed to an aromatherapy practitioner or integrative medicine specialist. While there are some oils that have been used in culinary field for ages like lemon or oregano, if you feel you must take them internally, don’t use an essential oil, source an oil from a gourmet shop as ones approved for human consumption, are FDA approved safe.
Currently, there is no governing body in the world that certifies the purity or quality of essential oils. While some companies may take it upon themselves to test for purity and provide a quality product, there is no grading system. If you see the term Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®, you’ll notice that phrase is always followed by a registered trademark symbol and that’s because it’s a marketing term used by doTerra. Any other company can use those terms, but not in that exact order. The terminology means nothing, so choose the best quality oil you can afford rather than a name that claims to be superior in a grading system that simply does not exist. If you want to make sure an oil is of a good quality, check to see if the company tests their oil for purity using gas chromatography or mass spectroscopy.
Essential OIL Notes
Essential Oils should be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy. Although fragrances can be off putting during the first few months of pregnancy and that’s nature’s version of self regulation, it is best that essential oils be avoided during the most formative time of the pregnancy. There are a number essential oils that should be avoided during the entirety of pregnancy, but things like lavender, rose, geranium and chamomile can be used in moderation after the first trimester.
Essential Oils should be diluted. There are a few oils that are safe to use straight and they are generally considered to be Lavender, Tea tree and Helichrysum because of their healing and antiseptic properties, however to avoid skin sensitization all other oils should be mixed with a carrier oil.
As a rule, essential oils should not be used on infants, but there are a few exceptions like lavender, chamomile and mandarin, When used on babies, the dilution should be 1 drop of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, which is about 1/300th.
For children over the age of 2-3, additional essential oils may be used, but again they must be diluted at doses far below that of adults. All oils used on children should be mixed to a dilution of 1% meaning 1 drop of essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil. It is also recommended that you do a patch test on the leg and waiting 24 hours, assuring the child has no reactions. You should never use any essential oils near the face and mucous membranes. Application to the soles of feet, and placing socks over them, is generally preferable to keep children from rubbing the application site and getting the oils near their eyes and noses.
Never use essential oils in the ears. If you are experiencing problems with inflammation or congestion in the ears, use a few drops of diluted oil massaged on the side of the neck behind the ear, but never place essential oils directly in your ear, or drip them in the ear canal where inflammation or damage might occur.
Never burn essential oils. When oils are heated their chemical composition change. For the safest use of essential oils, either use them in a cold mist diffuser or a plug in ball where the oil is placed on a cotton pad which is gently warmed by the ball, diffusing the oils safely though the home or office.
Not all oils can be used by all people. If you have an underlying condition like hemophilia, high blood pressure, epilepsy or are about to undergo surgery, then certain oils should be avoided. Oils that are stimulating and work on the circulatory system like rosemary, peppermint, hyssop, thyme, eucalyptus and sage should be avoided by those with high blood pressure. Those with epilepsy should avoid oils that may have an effect on the neurological system like rosemary, fennel, sage, eucalyptus, hyssop, camphor and spike lavender (not to be confused with lavender or lavendin). If you have hemophilia, are about to undergo surgery or are on prescribed blood thinners, then you should avoid the following: birch, garlic, oregano, tarragon and wintergreen)
Essential oils that work on people may be detrimental to animals. Although essential oils can improve your surroundings, they may not work for your pets, and should be avoided unless you have a great deal of education on the interaction and contraindications as size, weight and breed all influence how and if oils should be used. For example, cats lack the liver enzyme glucuronyl tranferase, so substances that are otherwise harmless can build up and cause toxicity in the liver. With birds, even essential oils diffused in the air should be avoided as it can interfere with their bronchial and metabolic systems. Essential oils should never be introduced into the aquatic systems of fish as the oils will not mix with water but may cling to the skin of a fish and cause major problems. Oils should also not be used in tanks with reptiles as in an enclosed space can prove toxic. I don’t suggest the novice employ the use of essential oils without instruction from a vet experienced in homeopathic or naturopathic treatments. The only exception I make is recommending the use of a 1% diffusion of lavender to calm dogs or cats, (1 drop lavender in 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil like grapeseed). While that can generally be diffused safely, please make sure you provide either outside access for your pet or the ability to escape to a room that is not scented should they find the fragrance disagreeable.
Store safely to insure freshness. Surprisingly the biggest problems with essential oils is people don’t store them correctly and using oils that have degraded can cause skin irritations. Citrus oils are fragile and should be used within about 6 months but most other oils will remain viable for about 18 months (oils like frankinscense, sandalwood and patchouli significantly longer). Make sure all essential oils are in an amber or cobalt bottle. Store them in a cool dark place, not in an environment that experiences changes in temperatures and humidity, like a kitchen or bathroom medicine cabinet. To keep oils at their freshest, avoid purchasing large quantities as unless you are a practitioner, you’ll probably use only a small number of oils and purchasing those oils in 10 ml bottles will ensure your oils don’t languish in a box or case somewhere but are used regularly and at their freshest, to heal, calm and bestow emotional and spiritual balance to your environment and your life.
This information is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to prescribe, treat, prevent, or diagnose any disease or condition. Essential oils are renowned for many beneficial qualities including those that may assist in the strengthening the immune system and restoring emotional balance. When used in accordance with professional education, and with a boatload of respect, aromatherapy can be incorporated in your regime for good health.
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor, and Spike Lavender, Lavandula latifolia, should not be used with anyone who is pregnant, or who is vulnerable to epileptic seizures.
All essential oils should be used very respectfully and some should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Special consideration should be given to the first trimester and for women who are prone to vulnerable or high-risk pregnancies. Again, any use of Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor, and Spike Lavender, Lavandula latifolia should be avoided during pregnancy. Use essential oils with pregnant women only under guidance of an Aromatherapist and/or medical professional knowledgeable about essential oils and pregnancy.
A good rule of thumb for the public is to always dilute essential oils in carrier oils before applying them to the skin or a bath. Use a total of 1-18 drops of essential oil in 1oz of carrier. If undiluted essential oils are used on your skin, you may experience tingling, a rash, mild to severe irritation, or burning sensations. Immediately apply carrier oil to the affected area and wipe off. Do not use water as it will spread the essential oil.
You may want to alternate the essential oils you use. Daily use of the same blend of oils all over your body for more than a few weeks is not recommended.
A safe guideline for young children, unhealthy elders, and those with serious health conditions is that essential oils should only be diluted to a maximum of 1%, (a total of 5-6 drops of essential oil to 1oz of carrier oil).
The following oils are photosensitizing: Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Lemon (Citrus limon) Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) and Opoponax (Commiphora guidotti). Sunlight or sunbed rays must be avoided for at least 12-24 hours after application. This will vary depending on the individual person’s skin. These oils applied to the skin at any dilution will likely increase the chance of severe burns from ultraviolet light and may cause permanent uneven pigmentation of the skin.
Do not put pure essential oils in or around the eyes or near other orifices. If essential oil does contact these areas, immediately flush with carrier oil and wipe off excess. If irritation persists, seek medical advice immediately.
All essential oils should be tightly sealed when not in use, stored in a dark place, away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations.
Essential oils should never be ingested without medical guidance.
Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children; they can be poisonous if swallowed.
Persons who have allergies to perfumes and chemicals should proceed cautiously with oils.
Even if a specific essential oil is not reputed to cause irritation, certain individual may have a reaction. It is best to do a patch test before using any essential oil blend on a large area of the body.
Essential oils are flammable. Please keep them out of the way of fire hazards.