Essentials Oils have become very popular in the past few years as many people are beginning to realize their benefits. As part of my DIY section of this blog, I wanted to post about some great natural products I make for myself using essential oils. However, I didn’t want to post about any of my essential oil recipes without making sure to get a few posts up on how to use them safely. With all the misinformation out there in recent years, it is important to me to make sure the proper information is there beforehand. I am very passionate about and truly love using my Essential Oils and want to make sure you have a great experience with them.
My first experience with Essential Oils
I was determined to have my daughter drug free. Mostly because the thought of the epidural scared me. Those needles are huge! I hate needles. It was suggested, by an aromatherapist, to try using a Lavender blend for a calming effect to help me through labor. Did I make it through labor drug-free? NOPE! Worst pain ever! 10 hours later, with no end in sight, I begged for the epidural. However, the epidural worked so well that the lack of sleep was catching up with me and I could barely stay awake.
My doctor took my beloved epidural away from me. Cue the crying from the pain and
mean words expressing my feelings to the doctor. At one point I was so sleep deprived and in pain, I told him I didn’t have the energy for this whole labor thing anymore. I asked to come back another day to try again. I swear, being in labor makes you lose your mind. My mom grabbed the lavender blend the aromatherapist made for me from my bag. She held it up to my nose for me to smell. You know what? It started working to calm me down after a few minutes! Did it take away the pain? Nope. Sill hurt like H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. But it calmed me down enough to get my head clear and into the game. Shortly after, I had my baby girl in my arms.
The truth about Essential Oils
The past few years my facebook feed has been dominated by essential oil posts from friends and family. Since first use, I have spent a lot of time researching essential oils and the best ways to use them. And with their popularity on the rise the past few years, a lot of misinformation has begun to spread like wildfire. When people learn I love using Essential Oils, there are a few common reactions. Stories about how essential oils caused an adverse reaction. Or they were told it would cure a particular ailment and didn’t work, so they gave up on them.
So why did that adverse reaction happen? They were told how to use them incorrectly. Why didn’t the oil work to cure their ailment? Because essential oils are not a cure. I also saw a lot of advice on how to use them that made me cringe. So without further ado, here are some of the most common safety and proper use misconceptions explained. At the end of this post, I have listed a few of online resources as well as the links to their sites. They are an excellent place to start if you want to really learn more about Essential Oils and how they work within the body.
Please keep in mind…
One thing I ask of you, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition or are on medication, please consult with a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils. They have completed hundreds of hours of training to understand the chemistry involved with essential oils. They can guide you as to possible drug interactions or health problems that could possibly arise from using specific Essential Oils.
*Some posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase through this link, at no extra cost to you. I will never suggest something that I wouldn’t spend my own money on. Read the full disclosure here.*
It is Therapeutic Grade or Certified Therapeutic Grade, so therefore it is… (superior quality, safe to ingest, and so on)
Here’s the thing, there is no government entity or organization that certifies or guarantees that a bottle of essential oil is therapeutic grade. Nor is there even a grading system for essential oils. The term therapeutic grade doesn’t mean that it is, in fact, pure either. Putting therapeutic grade or certified therapeutic grade on the bottle is nothing more than a clever marketing tactic. For more information on the subject, you can start your research at Aromaweb.
Ingesting Essential Oils
Please do not ingest essential oils without being under the guidance and care of a certified aromatherapy practitioner. There are so many factors to be taken into consideration with essential oils as well as the fact that they are highly concentrated. First and foremost, water and oil do not mix. So you are not dispersing the oil by putting it in a glass of water. From the Tisserand Institue Safety Pages:
Do not ingest essential oils unless advised to do so by a practitioner who is qualified/licensed to prescribe essential oils in this way.
Taking essential oils orally engages many areas of risk that other modes do not. Do not take essential oils either undiluted or in water, as there is a risk of mouth/stomach irritation. This is similar to what happens in a bath except that mucous membrane tissue is more sensitive than skin, yet our gut only sends out pain signals when erosion has progressed quite far. Essential oils are widely used in food flavorings, and GRAS status for many essential oils applies to food flavoring use, but it specifically excludes medicinal use. One or two drops of most essential oil can be safely taken in a day, but more than this is not recommended.
If an EO is pure and from a reputable company they have no expiration date and will last forever.
All oils will begin to oxidize and lose their therapeutic benefits as well as their pleasant smell. Heat, sunlight, and air are your enemy when it comes to storing your essential oils and getting them to last the longest. Some oils will oxidize faster than others. For more information on this, I will direct you, once again, to Robert Tisserand. At the bottom of his Q&A post in regards to a question about oxidation, he has a link to a chart you can print and keep handy.
Essentials Oils are completely safe to use on children:
OK, so while this is true, it is with limitations. Not all oils are safe for use with children, and what is safe to use with them will depend on their age. For instance, topical use of oils on kids under 2 isn’t recommended. For more detailed information on using essential oils with children, check out Blossoms + Blends Aromatherapy: The Safe Use of Essential Oils in Children. Amy’s blog has so much helpful information!
Essential Oils work best when you apply them neat (undiluted):
From the Tisserand Institutes Safety Page
“Do not apply undiluted essential oils to your skin. It’s that simple. The most common adverse reaction, experienced by hundreds, possibly thousands of people every year, is a skin reaction, and the most common cause is using an undiluted essential oil. Generally, the reasons for doing this are either (1) ignorance: no-one told you this wasn’t a good idea, or (2) someone told you that it was a good idea and that it was safe.”
And in regards to dilution, keep in mind that dilution ratios will depend on the end use of the oil as well as age. The lower dilution ratios will tend to apply to children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, seniors over the age of 65 and people with sensitive skin. Some essential oils need to be diluted more than others to be safe. The carrier oil you choose will also depend on your intended use and what therapeutic benefits you hope to gain from it. That will be a whole other post coming soon!
Since Essential Oils come from nature, you can’t be allergic to them or have an adverse reaction.
Ok, so I could go on and on about why this isn’t true. I could bring science into it and more. But I am only going to point out one thing and leave it at that. Poison Ivy also comes from nature.
Only (insert brand here) is 100% pure and safe:
There are several companies that sell pure, unadulterated essential oils. And there are several companies that sell not so pure essential oils. There are things you can look for to help you determine what brand, or brands, you can trust. You don’t have to buy all your essential oils from just one company! I have 2 companies that I personally buy from and trust wholeheartedly that the quality is there.
A few things to look for are…
- GC/MS reports on the website or willingness to send them when requested.
- Latin names on the bottles.
- For the website to list the origin of the oil as well as the extraction method.
Great Resources For Learning More!
Did I entice you to learn more about Essentials Oils? I hope so! They really can be wonderful when used properly. Below are some resources for you to check out to learn about essential oils. They will get you started on your journey using them safely. Some of the websites even offer free mini-courses! So grab a notebook and be ready to take notes!
The Tisserand Institute. Robert Tisserand is often referred to as the godfather of essential oils. He consults on the science and benefits of essential oils, as well as using them safely and effectively. He has been doing this for over 40 years and is considered to be an expert in the industry. I would highly encourage you to read through the Safety Pages to learn more about how to use EOs safely and effectively.
Aromahead Institute is one of the schools where people can obtain their aromatherapist certification. However, they also offer a free Introduction to Essential Oils class as well as a few webinars! Click here to be taken to their free training page!
Aromaweb is a treasure trove of information! From Guides & articles to recipes, and more! In fact, I have their Essential Oils Profiles bookmarked on my browser so I can easily go and look up an essential oil if I have questions about it.
Thank you for sticking with me until the end!
Whew! You made it with me to the end! I hope this post has encouraged you to learn about essential oils, their benefits, and using them safely. I’m planning more specific posts in the future about carrier oils and blending, as well as essential oil use with kids. And of course some super easy DIYs with essential oils. Is there anything you’d like to see a post about? What’s been your experience with using essential oils? Let me know in the comments below!