Essential oils are renowned for their immune strengthening and emotionally balancing qualities. When used respectfully, aromatherapy is a simple and delightful way to support health.
The following are general safety guidelines to follow. Of course, if you have any questions, it is important to consult a qualified Certified or Clinical Aromatherapist or a medical professional who has experience with essential oils.
When using an oil for the first time, do a skin patch on a small area of skin. You can do a patch test with essential oil in the crook of the arm or on the wrist. 24 hours is plenty of time for a reaction to occur. If redness or itching develops, you may want to try a less potent dilution or avoid using that specific oil. Place a small amount of the diluted essential oil (I do not suggest using essential oils undiluted on the skin) on the inside of your elbow and apply a band aid. Wait 24 hours to see if there is any form of reaction. Even if a specific essential oil is not reputed to cause irritation, each individual's reaction to essential oils is different. Even if an oil does not irritate your skin, it still can irritate someone else's skin.
There are many essential oils that have been listed as dangerous to use during pregnancy. According to Robert Tisserand, essential oils that do not have any known safety concerns can be used at 1% dilution during pregnancy and externally. Rhiannon Harris suggests that no essential oils should be used during the first trimester, so it is best to keep use to a bare minimum during this period. Pregnancy is a very delicate time for both mother and fetus, so I believe that essential oils should be used cautiously during pregnancy and breastfeeding under the guidance of a Certified or Clinical Aromatherapist or your doctor.
The following essential oils should not be used with anyone suspected of being vulnerable to epileptic seizures: Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Hyssop (Hyssop officinalis), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavandin (Lavendula x intermedia), White Sage (Saliva apiana), True Sage (Salvia offincinalis), Clary Sage (Saliva sclarea), Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia), Thuja (Thuja oddidentalis), Mugwort (Artemisia herba alba), and Wild Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare).
Some essential oils are stimulating and may increase circulation. Some of these essential oils are Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), Hyssop (Hyssop officinalis), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia). Although, there is no evidence that these particular essential oils raise blood pressure.
Phototoxicity is a toxic reaction provoked by light. The following essential oils can cause a phototoxic reaction on the skin. All cold pressed citruses; Grapefruit (Citrus paradise), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Lemon (Citrus limon), with the exception of Sweet and Blood Orange (Citrus sinesis), Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia), Angelica Root (Archangel angelica), Lemon Verbena ( Lippia citriodora), Tagetes (Tagetus minuta), and possibly Oppopanax (Commiphora guidotti) are photo toxic, therefore exposure to natural sunlight or tanning beds must be avoided for at least 12 hours after application. These essential oils applied at any dilution will likely increase the chance of severe burns from ultraviolet light. Note: any cold pressed citrus oil can be photosensitizing, but steamed distilled citruses are not.
When essential oils are used "neat" this refers to essential oils used undiluted on the skin. Essential oils can be used neat for specific situations, but if essential oils are to be used daily and long term, they should be diluted to the appropriate concentration. Use essential oils neat under the guidance and direction of a Certified or Clinical Aromatherapist, or your physician.
Essential oils should only be taken internally after receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a trained and qualified Aromatherapist practitioner.
Children, Elders, and those with Serious Health Concerns
Essential oils should be diluted to a maximum of 1% (5-6 drops per 1oz. of carrier oil or crème). Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children; they can be poisonous if swallowed.
For Babies and children less than 5 years of age essential oils should be diluted to a maximum of 1% (5-6 drops per 1oz. of carrier oil or crème).
Never, ever use essential oils on the fur or skin of animals. To use essential oils on animals, you must be directed by a veterinarian who has training in aromatherapy.
Keep essential oils away from eyes and mucous membranes, and any other orifice of your body. If essential oils do make contact with these areas, flush out immediately with a carrier oil. NOT WATER.
Allergies and Sensitivity People who have allergies to perfumes should proceed cautiously with essential oils.
Essential oils must be stored in a dark, airtight, glass bottle because exposure to light, oxygen, and heat causes chemical changes in the oil over time. All oils need to be kept cold. The ideal temperature is 65 degree F, although between 45 degrees and 65 degrees is adequate.
Essential oils are flammable. Please keep them out of the way of fire hazards.
If stored correctly, essential oils last basically forever. Most essential oils contain so many anti-oxidants they are perfectly good for a long, long time 30-40-50 years. The exception to this rule is Citrus oils and the conifer oils; Citrus oils can go rancid in 2-4 years. Patchouli oil and Vetiver oils get better with age. 1-year old Patchouli is generally a lousy quality-the older the age the better for Patchouli oil. Most oils are steamed distilled but citrus oils are cold pressed.
Disclaimer: The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the therapeutic suggestions and statements about essential oils offered by Inshanti. The products being sold by Inshanti are not intended to prescribe, treat, prevent, or diagnose any disease or condition. Essential oils are not a substitute for professional medical care. This information is simply the educational opinion of The Essence of Inshanti.