First and foremost, it is not our aim to glorify natural remedies (which some are, in fact, toxic) at the expense of scientific progress. We simply wish to provide information about the oils themselves in their multi-faceted nature. A number of hazards do exist, and users of essential oils are more likely to do harm if uninformed of these hazards.
When purchasing essential oils, look for a reputable supplier who is knowledgeable about their product. Only 100% pure, natural and authentic essential oils should be used in Aromatherapy.
Chemical degradation is the process by which the quality of the essential oil is reduced over time. This usually occurs because of prolonged storage or poor storage procedures. Oxygen, heat and light are the primary culprits. To avoid degradation, ensure that oils are not stored in clear bottles. Reduce the amount of “head room” in bottles. Example, if you have one ounce of oil in an 8 oz bottle, transfer to a smaller bottle reducing the amount of air between oil and lid.
As most essential oils are sold undiluted, it is important that they carry the appropriate labels, with warnings and instructions. The label should include:
- Keep out of reach of children
- Do not ingest
- External use only
We offer an array of lid choices. The open bottle that is used with either a dropper or a glass wand presents the greatest risk of accidental ingestion. Therefore, we offer the option of an orifice reducer, which dispenses a drop at a time. These bottles reduce the amount of oil that a child could ingest accidentally. However, if you are trying to count drops, it is difficult to be accurate. If you have open neck bottles and children are present, please keep out of reach to avoid the possibility of poisoning.
If poisoning does occur, get to a hospital immediately. Call Poison control. Do not induce vomiting. Give a glass of water.
Poison Control 1-800-222-1222
When using a new oil, it is always necessary to research and reference. Do a patch test by applying one drop of the new oil to 5 drops of a carrier. Apply to the forearm and cover. If no irritation develops, it is likely a safe assumption that there will be no negative reaction to a lower dilution. One drop of an Essential Oil to 5 drops of carrier is a 20% dilution and the recommended dilution is 3-5%.
We recommend starting a collection of good books and reference materials to guide your use of essential oils and Aromatherapy. Please check under the heading of Aromatherapy on this website for a list of authors that we support and encourage experienced users and beginners alike.
Also referred to as poisoning. This could be by ingestion or skin applications.
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND NOR ENCOURAGE THE INGESTION OF ANY ESSENTIAL OIL.
Skin reactions are the most common hazards in aromatherapy and are classified as:
Irritation is a reaction to a substance resulting in local inflammation, affecting the skin or mucous membranes. Irritation is difficult to predict and is often dose-dependent.
When using a new oil we highly encourage the use of a patch test.
- Asian skins tend to be more sensitive than Caucasians
- Seasonal changes increase sensitivity, when summer changes to fall and from winter into spring
- Men are 2.5 times more sensitive than women
- Illness and Stress increases sensitivity
Sensitization is an allergic reaction to a substance that causes rash, blotchy redness, often accompanied by irritation or slight blistering. Even diluted oils can cause sensitization and repeated applications increases this risk.
Photosensitization is a skin reaction that occurs in the presence of ultra violet light. The following oils are considered to be phototoxic: Bergamot, cold pressed Lime, cold pressed Bitter Orange, cold pressed Grapefruit, Lemon, Sweet Orange, Tangerine and Mandarin. It is highly suggested that after the application of any of these oils, even diluted, should not be exposed to sunlight or UV lamps for at least 12 hours.
Idiosyncratic Sensitization is an allergic reaction to a substance that the cause is not known. Similar to a food allergy, it is a phenomenon which can appear and disappear with little or no apparent logic.
Among all of the information available, there is contradictory information regarding the use of essential oils by pregnant women. A book we highly recommend for expectant mothers, Valeria Worwood’s book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.
These oils should not be used by women pregnant or nursing:
- Clary Sage
The following safety precautions must be observed when treating children:
- Do not take essential oils internally.
- Do not apply undiluted oil to the skin. The only exception to this rule is when a tiny amount of lavender or tea tree essential oil could be used on a sting, burn or tiny wound.
- Instead of the standard 3% dilution use a 1%-2%
- Give inhalation treatments for only a few seconds to one minute. If this is tolerated, increase to 2 minutes.
Follow rules 1 & 2 as listed for children, in addition:
- Essential oils should not be used directly on the eyes, if this does occur, flush with cool clean water for 5 minutes. If the burning does not diminish after 15 minutes, seek medical attention.
- Essential Oils should always be used in the correct dosages. If used in excess, they can often lead to skin irritations, headaches, nausea and a feeling of unease.
- Asthma often responds well to aromatherapy. However, inhaling the steam from a basin of water with essential oils is a contraindication, as it could have the reverse effect.
These oils should not be used at all:
- Bitter Almond
- Boldo leaf
These oils should not be used by people prone to epilepsy:
These oils should not be used by people with High Blood Pressure:
These oils should be used with caution on the skin:
- Highly diluted
- Clove Bud
- Lemon Verbena