Essential oils are free from the adverse side effects when used properly. That is only when it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions on a specific essential oil. However, with any substance you introduced in your body, it is important that you use them intelligently. As a precautionary measure, it is best not to ingest (eat or drink) essential oils.
Essential oils are highly concentrated. This isn’t your ordinary herbal medicine as it takes around hundreds of leaves of the plant to make one bottle. As a reference, one pound of peppermint essential oil is around 256 pounds of peppermint leaf. It would also take thousands of pounds of roses to make one pound of essential oil.
This is the reason essential oil contain highly concentrated properties of the oil they are derived from. It isn’t to say that these essential oils are dangerous. With proper education and with the right safe amounts essential oils are very beneficial to one’s health.
Sometimes essential oils are altered by using synthetic chemicals or other similar smelling oil. The purity and quality of essential oils affects its therapeutic value. However, the higher the quality of the distillation of the oil, the higher the price of the oil. Essential oils have particular characteristics that command for the higher price. The purity of the essential oils will determine it’s effectiveness. It is not a bad thing if essential oils are diluted. This is done to lower the cost of most expensive essential oils. An undiluted rose essential oil for example will cost around $100 per teaspoon.
Dose is one of the most important factor in essential oil safety. In animal and laboratory studies, an extremely high dose or too high concentration can contribute to tumor development and other harmful changes in the body. Some essential oils can also be too damaging to the skin, liver, or other organs if used improperly.
How it is used
Some essential oils can be applied to the skin undiluted, others are too strong that it needs to be diluted first. Some are considered safe when inhaled, others are too toxic to be inhaled. Ensure that you clarify the recommended application method and concentration for the essential oil and its intended use. Don’t ingest essential oils unless a professional instructed you so.
Toxicity of Essential Oils
Toxicity of essential oils rarely occurs even with improper use of it. Oftentimes, essential oils become toxic through accidental ingestion or misuse of it.
Aromatherapy can be a great benefit during pregnancy as it minimizes some of the discomfort and aches. However, there are some compounds in essential oils that have hormone-like behavior that can affect pregnancy. Some essential oils are listed as abortifacient oils and should not be used at all times.
Babies and Children
It is not advisable to use essential oils on babies less than 3 months of age. This is because their skin is not mature enough to be permeable and sensitive to essential oil. Newborns are also not capable a dealing with the adverse reactions of essential oils until they reach at least 3 months. This is a general guideline, but great care should be taken in the use of these essential oils.
The maximum number of essential oils to be used topically should not exceed 2% of the recipe or about 20 drops of essential oils per ounce of carrier oil. Some essential oils cannot be used with children younger than 6 years. Peppermint oil is a good example of that as peppermint oil can cause breathing to stop for young children.
Diluting Essential Oils
When using essential oils, it is recommended to have it diluted first. This reduces the potency of the oil and makes it safer to use. Also, essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin without diluting it.
Essential oils are a godsend. It can heal most types of diseases and can improve one’s health. But these benefits can also be prone to problems if not used properly. Treat essential oils like a drug and remember that too much of it can adversely affect you. When using essential oils on children, be advised of the limitations and adjust dosages accordingly.