BlogScience and Essential Oils

Are You Using Essential Oils Safely?

Essential Oils & Safety

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”  – Proverbs 4:7 (NLT).

In recent years, the aromatherapy world has exploded with the help of social media. Spreading the news about the treasures of essential oils that God created can be beneficial to many. However, we need to be careful about the accuracy of the information to prevent potential harm to both children and adults. As indicated in Proverbs 4:7, let’s get wisdom and good judgement when discerning what is true and what is false.

Test out your essential oil knowledge with this little quiz with information from my clinical aromatherapy training at the Aromahead Institute,  the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the Aromatherapy Trade Council.  If you would like to find out the answers immediately, scroll down to the next section which provides the explanations for the answers.

True or False –

  1. Ingestion of essential oils.

__________ Adding a couple of drops of essential oil (i.e. peppermint or lemon) to 8 oz of water is beneficial for anyone to promote overall health.

  1. Undiluted application of pure essential oils.

_________ When having a cold, flu or other ailment, it’s best to apply the essential oil/s directly on your skin. Diluting the oil will make the application less effective.

  1. Children, elderly, and people with health conditions.

_________Essential oils should be diluted to a maximum of 1% (5-6 drops in 1 oz of carrier oil or 3 drops per tablespoon) for children ages 5-12, elderly, pregnant women, and people with health conditions.

  1. Phototoxic Essential oils.

_______After applying the following essential oils, sunlight or tanning bed rays should be avoided for at least 12-18 hours in order to avoid phototoxicity (burns on the skin).  Bergamot, Lemon, Cold Pressed Lime, Grapefruit, Bitter Orange, Mandarin, Cumin, Angelica Root, Laurel Leaf Absolute, Rue and Taget

  1. Essential Oils and Epilepsy

_______The following essential oils should not be taken with anyone vulnerable to epileptic seizures: Rosemary, Wintergreen, Birch, Yarrow, Spike Lavender, Tansy, Sage, Ho Leaf, Mugwort, Pennyroyal.

  1. Cancer Treatment

_______ Because of possible and unpredictable effects on immune mechanisms, it is recommended that essential oils be avoided from one week before through one month following a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

  1. Children

_______Keep all essential oils out of reach of children. They can be poisonous if swallowed.

  1. Animals

_______Essential oils are a great way to promote overall health for your pets (cats and dogs)

  1. Pregnancy and Essential Oils

_______Essential oils should be avoided during the entire 9 month pregnancy.

  1. Essential Oil Expiration Dates

_______Essential oils do not expire if you keep them stored in a cool, dark place.

 


ANSWERS (With Explanations)

  1. Ingestion of essential oils.

__FALSE__Adding a couple of drops of essential oil (i.e. peppermint or lemon) to 8 oz of water is beneficial for anyone to promote overall health.

  1. Undiluted application of pure essential oils.

__FALSE__ When having a cold, flu or other ailment, it’s best to apply the essential oil/s directly on your skin. Diluting the oil will make the application less effective.

According to the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, and the Aromatherapy Trade Council, it is not recommended to use essential oils without diluting them first. They are concentrated substances. Add essential oils to a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, almond, or others, before using. Diluting them in this way provides a measure of protection from skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even sensitization.

Dilution Guidelines (from Alliance of International Aromatherapists)

  • 1% dilution for children (ages 6 years and older*); pregnant women; elderly adults; those with compromised immune systems, sensitive skin, or other serious health issues. (1% Dilution = 5-6 drops in 1 oz of carrier oil, or 3 drops per tablespoon)

*Note – The Aromahead Institute Clinical Aromatherapy Training notes indicate ages 5-12.

  • 2% dilution is acceptable for the average adult with no health issues. (2% Dilution = 10-12 drops in 1 oz of carrier oil, or 6 drops per tablespoon)

Higher dilutions can be used, depending on the situation and the health of the person they will be applied on. It is recommended that you use the lowest dilution possible that provides effective results.

  1. Children, elderly, and people with health conditions.

__TRUE__Essential oils should be diluted to a maximum of 1% (5-6 drops in 1 oz of carrier oil or 3 drops per tablespoon) for children ages 5-12, elderly, pregnant women, and people with health conditions.

  • Skin application and direct inhalation should be avoided for children younger than 5 years old. Instructors of Aromahead Institute recommend hydrosols, carrier oils, and butters instead. The occasional use of lavender for first aid on children 2 and over is fine.
  • Ambient inhalation is generally safe (oils that have been diffused in the air). (www.aromahead.com/online-course/advancedgraduateprogram notes, Accessed 9/2/14).
  • Birch or Wintergreen should not be used on or given to children in any amount due to risk of developing Reye’s Syndrome. (Tisserand & Young, p 656).
  1. Phototoxic Essential oils.

___TRUE__ After applying the following essential oils, sunlight or tanning bed rays should be avoided for at least 12-18 hours in order to avoid burns on the skin: Bergamot (0.4%), Lemon (2%), cold pressed Lime (0.7%), Grapefruit (4%), Bitter Orange (1.25%), Mandarin Leaf (0.17%), Cumin (0.4%), Angelica Root (0.8%), Laurel Leaf Absolute (2%), Rue (0.15%) and Taget (0.01%). (Tisserand and Young p. 659)

  1. Essential Oils and Epilepsy

__TRUE__ The following essential oils should not be taken with anyone vulnerable to epileptic seizures: Rosemary, Wintergreen, Birch, Yarrow, Spike Lavender, Tansy, Sage, Ho Leaf, Mugwort, Pennyroyal. (Tisserand and Young, p. 134, table 10.2).

Personal Note: When I presented the above information at a workshop, one of the participants had a eureka moment regarding her friend who has epilepsy. At the workshop, she made the connection between the healthy dinners with lots of rosemary and her friend having seizures afterwards. Medical professionals never informed her friend to avoid rosemary. Gratefully, dinners changed course after the workshop.

  1. Cancer Treatment

__TRUE__ Because of possible and unpredictable effects on immune mechanisms, it is recommended that essential oils be avoided from one week before through one month following a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy (Tisserand and Young, p. 656).

  1. Children

__TRUE__Keep all essential oils out of reach of children. They can be poisonous if swallowed.

  1. Animals

__FALSE__Essential oils are a great way to promote overall health for your pets (cats and dogs)

For information on aromatherapy safety with your animals, download Aromatherapy for Animals

  1. Pregnancy and Essential Oils

__FALSE__ Essential oils should be avoided during the entire 9 month pregnancy.

Although there are differing professional opinions about the use of essential oils during the first three months of pregnancy, most agree that it is safe to apply many essential oils at a maximum of 4-5 drops blended in 1 oz of carrier oil. For the list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy and other information go to www.naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety#pregnancy.

  1. Essential Oil Expiration Dates

__FALSE__Essential oils do not expire if you keep them stored in a cool, dark place.

  • The shelf life of essential oils can vary tremendously from one botanical to the next. Over time, they can gradually lose their therapeutic value, aromatic quality, and potentially cause skin irritation. For more information, see guidelines written by essential oil expert Robert Tisserand, author of Essential Oil Safety.

How did you do on the quiz? It’s my hope that you learned more about how to safely use essential oils. For more information on safety guidelines, online resources are available at Alliance of International Aromatherapists , Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC) , and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). A must have reference book for anyone who uses essential oils regularly is  Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed), by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

If you have a desire to learn more about essential oils to help others or to start a new career, National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) has a list of NAHA approved schools.

Essential oils are one of God’s gifts to bless our health…let’s use wisdom as we incorporate these incredible treasures into our lives.


NOTE: OILS OF SHAKAN PRODUCTS

All of the Oils of Shakan products are already safely diluted for ages 5 and above except for the 100% pure essential oils for sale (frankincense, myrrh and spikenard).   Use the above guidelines included question #2 for diluting these three pure essential oils.

To read this Fragrant Wednesday Wisdom Blog “Are You Using Essential Oils Safely”, go to: https://www.oilsofshakan.com/using-essential-oils-safely/


References

Tisserand, R, Young, R Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed. London: Elsevier (2014).

Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fragrant Wednesday Wisdom Essential Oils Christian Aromatherapy Blog
Fragrant Wednesday Wisdom is our blog or vlog (video blog) that covers inspirational and educational messages about the benefits of essential oils and other gifts from God’s creation from a biblical and scientific perspective.

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