December 17, 2012

What To Do With Your Essential Oils

Using Your Essential Oils Safely  -- Nishaan Sandhu, Herbalist + Aromatherapist, 2012

A Few Quick Rules of Thumb
There are many ways that you can choose to use your essential oils. So much of it depends on your lifestyle, how much time you have, your body type, the season of year, and what specific of oils you use and how they interact with your personal physiology, or, current condition.

Though essential oils are highly therapeutic in many ways, they are volatile oils, and therefore, if used improperly, can be toxic. That said, it’s imperative that you use them safely, knowledgeable and respectfully. When used properly, essential oils act as gentle plant allies to balance, uplift, relax, and even inspire. They can create great shifts when used for clinical purposes, such as calming a cold or flu! And, in general, contrary to popular belief, “less IS more”!

General Safety of Essential Oils: Dilute Your Oils Before Topical Application. Do not apply pure essential oils topically without diluting them in carrier oil, or without consulting a reliable source. Some feel there are two exceptions to this; Lavender, and tea tree. Some oils when applied directly to the skin can cause damage to the skin as well as the internal organs over time. Besides, when you dilute your essential oils into a luscious carrier oil you save much magical goodness! Your pure, undiluted essential oil blend will last much longer!

That being said, a very knowledgeable teacher of mine has said in the past that many people worry too much about essential oil precautions. Yes, there are many that can cause terrible damage, and yes, many you do not want to ingest. The bottom line is, it is important to do your research with valuable resources. A safe place to start would be with the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

Carrier Oils: Some carrier oils include apricot, grapeseed, almond, jojoba, safflower, and even olive oil. Basically, any fatty non-essential oil can be used as a carrier oil.

Avoid the Sun with Particular Oils: Citrus essential oils, among others, can cause photosensitivity. It is wise to not use them if you plan to be in the sun or tanning bed within 24-48 hours of use. However, if you dilute 6 drops into 1 ounce of carrier oil,  that makes a 1% dilution, which, is generally seen as safe. However, I always advise to err on the side of caution. Everyone’s skin type differs. You can always apply the diluted oils to areas that do not receive any UV or sun exposure. Example of some oils that cause photosensitivity when skin is exposed to sun or UV rays:  Clove, Peppermint, Orange, Lime, Geranium, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Tangerine, Lime, (most citrus), Cumin, and Angelica.

Keep out of reach and away from children and animals. Though a few essential oils are safe for children in small dilutions, it is best to avoid application without consulting with a qualified professional. I’ve seen cases of skin issues and sensitivities in children where essential oils are commonly used in the house and home for cleaning, or diffusion. However, using particular oils in a candle lit diffuser that is far from reach may be an excellent option. One example may be for a sleepy time blend before bed. As for your pets, it is a wonderful idea to treat them naturally, but, their bodily systems differ greatly. Essential oils have proven to be toxic in some cases. This includes use during pregnancy, or, while trying to conceive.

Do not ingest or apply essential oils to any orifice of the body. Though, there are some practices of cooking with small amounts of essential oils, do not do so without consulting a professional. Many times, we it is just as easy and effective to use of your bulk herbs and spices while cooking instead of using your essential oils. Though, if this interests you, aromatherapist, Jade Shutes, has written some great articles on essential oil safety and internal uses.


You may also enjoy my post on Listening To and Journaling With Your Essential Oils...

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