Essential oils safety is important to consider when using and purchasing essential oils. So please DO follow the instructions.
I have been using therapeutic grade essential oils for over ten years now and have not had one single problem. And I prescribe to the French Model of Aromatherapy.
What are Aromatherapy Models?
There are three models or schools of thought for Aromatherapy: German, British and French. They differ in how the oils are applied to the body and used (application methods). And essential oils safety is definitely approached very differently.
The German aromatherapy model emphasizes the inhalation of essential oils. Studies have shown that just inhaling the oils. And this model alone is very effective.
The British aromatherapy model is very conservative and they support a high level of dilution. Essential oils safety seems to be overemphasized in my opinion; however, they also do not emphasize the use of therapeutic grade oils.
Therefore based on that point alone, I can understand being on the cautious side of things, especially with the amount of fraud that goes on in the essential oil department.
The French aromatherapy model is very proactive and they support applying essential oils NEAT (undiluted) to the body. They also support using the oils internally.
The essential oils safety is not compromised and certainly the ones that absolutely require dilution are diluted and the ones that are not for internal use are NOT used in that manner.
But, the French do rely on strong scientific studies an emphasize the use of therapeutic grade essential oils. This is important because once again there really is not a safety concern when using the correct oil that is of therapeutic quality.
The United States doesn’t really adhere to one method and we really haven’t led the charge when it comes to Aromatherapy, so there isn’t a “US school of thought” for the moment.
Why do we Need to Know about Any of this Anyway?
I am telling you about these different models because many of you may read books that are written by British Aromatherapists and they will tell you not to use certain essential oils that are written about on my website. You may also find the approach is more conservative. And that is fine. I have learned a lot from those books and I will keep them on my book shelf.
But I want to make it clear that many of the oils that the British model considers dangerous, or should be used with extreme caution, I use every single day to support healthy function in the body. And that also includes millions of other people; so you will have to make your own choice.
And again oils that are adulterated with solvents, are perfume quality, or used incorrectly will compromise essential oils safety. So its about the quality of the oil as I have said so many times, not whether to use the oil or not.
For the fun of it, here is a list of some of the oils that are not allowed in the British school of thought.
- Cinnamon Essential Oil (Cinnamonum verum)
- Basil Essential Oil (Ocimum basilicum)
- Oregano Essential Oil (Origanum compactum or vulgare)
- Clove Essential Oil (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Fennel Essential Oil (Foeniculum vulgare)
- Idaho Tansy Essential Oil (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Wintergreen Essential Oil (Gaultheria procumbens)
- Western Red Cedar Essential Oil (Thuja plicata)
Pregnancy and Oils
I believe that during pregnancy it is important to be cautious with oils and consult with your health professional.
What other Essential Oils Safety should I take into Account?
There are basically two other areas of Safety to consider. They are:
- Storing Essential Oils, and
- Essential Oil Use
How Should My Oil be Stored?
- Keep the bottles of oils tightly sealed. Store them in a cool location and out of direct sunlight. Refrigeration is not necessary.
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and animals. Careful because the horses will pick the bottles up and put them in their mouth, especially if it’s Peace & Calming or Peppermint…they go right for it!
- Do not store essential oils around flammable materials. Keep away from flames, sparks or electricity. Oils such as fir, orange, pine and peppermint are flammable!
Does Essential Oils Safety include a Shelf Life?
If your essential oils are contained in dark glass and you follow the storing recommendations then you shouldn’t need to worry about shelf life. However, exposing it to the air can oxidize the oil and the quality can degrade so that is why it is important to keep the lid on tight.
How Should I Use my Oil?
- Read through the essential oil uses section for essential oils safety on how to test your skin if you are concerned about skin irritation. Always keep a bottle of V-6 or other pure vegetable oil blend with you in case you need to dilute oil if you experience any discomfort.
- Read through the individual essential oil page that has a section for essential oils safety. This will tell you the cautions of the oil. Also it will tell you whether children can use the oil or not.
- Remember that certain oils are photosensitive and can cause dark pigmentation or irritation if exposed to sunlight. Again, the individual essential oil page has a section for essential oils safety. So be certain to read through that section.
- Keep essential oils out of the eyes. And if you do get it in your eye use vegetable oil not water to rinse it!
- People with any medical condition, including epileptics and those that have high blood pressure should consult their health care professional. Please do not self medicate. Oils are for supporting healthy function of a healthy body.
- Pregnant women should consult their health care professional. And read the essential oils safety sections. Do not use fennel, hyssop and sage essential oils. There are others that should be used with caution.
- Essential oils for infants, babies and children should be used very cautiously. Follow the essential oils safety sections. Dilute oils at least 1-2 drops of pure essential oil with ½ to 1 tsp of pure vegetable oil if the recommendation is to use it NEAT. More for those oils that need dilution to begin with!
- Do not add essential oils directly to bath water. Add them to Epsom salts, a gel base or other dispersing agent first. Especially with babies and children!
- Essential oils for cats or small dogs should be used cautiously. Dilute oils as you would an infant or toddler. Up to 90% dilution is appropriate. Or place a drop or two of oil in your hand and pet from head to toe. Cats metabolize things very differently and can not tolerate certain oils, so be very cautious and read the section on essential oils for cats.
- Essential oils for larger animals can be used similarly to humans. The best way is to think of it by weight. A medium dog can be 20-40 pounds while a large dog could be 40-110 pounds! Horses are 1000-2000 pounds and therefore much more can be used!
These are just some of the essential oils safety considerations.