Use Essential Oils Safely

Be aware of essential oil safety for maximum benefits.

Aromatherapy use can provide almost anyone with wonderful health, beauty, and relaxation benefits. In general, essential oils, if used correctly are safe. However, because they are highly concentrated, they must always be used with care. Whenever in doubt about the potential suitability of using an essential oil, seek the professional advice of a qualified aromatherapist before use.

Following are some essential oil safety tips. These are important whether you are just adding a single drop of oil, or creating an essential oil blend.

  • never take essential oils internally, unless professionally prescribed.

  • keep essential oils away from your eyes, open flames and treasured surfaces or clothes.

  • only buy essential oils in bottles with labels that state the producing plants' Latin name in full. The English name is not enough.

  • use essential oils diluted. Do not exceed the recommended rates: up to 3-6 drops essential oil to 10 ml/2 tsp carrier oil; just 5 drops in a bath or for a steam inhalation.

  • do not use the same oils for more than one or two weeks at any one time. When mixing your own blends, do not use more than three oils in any one treatment as the synergistic effects are less predictable.

  • it is never necessary to use large amounts of an essential oil in order to achieve a particular effect or response - in fact it's always better to work on a 'less is more' basis since some will bring about the opposite effect if used at high concentrations.

  • store your essential oils in a cool dark place, because they don't have any preservatives in them. If stored improperly, the oils can become rancid in a short time.

  • do not use essential oils in pregnancy without getting professional advice. Avoid the following oils when pregnant: bay, basil, celery seed, cedarwood, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, clove, comfrey, fennel, hyssop, jasmine , juniper, marjoram, melissa, myrrh, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Use only half recommended dosages for other oils.

  • if you have skin problems, dilute the oils even more and, if any skin irritation occurs, stop using them immediately.

  • a few essential oils, such as bergamot, make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, so should be used with caution in hot, sunny weather.

  • be extra careful with anyone who has asthma or epilepsy, and if they experience a reaction, stop using the oil. If epileptic avoid: fennel, hyssop, rosemary, and sage.

  • anyone with high blood pressure should avoid: hyssop, rosemary, sage and thyme.

  • keep essential oils where children can't reach them and if ingested, treat as a poison and seek medical help immediately. Many essential oils can be life-threatening if a child were to drink them.

By using common sense, and reviewing these tips regularly to remind yourself of the basic essential oil safety guidelines, you'll enjoy a lifetime of healthy rewards with your aromatherapy use.