Essential Oils Guide — What the industry isn’t telling you…
Essential oils are something I’ve always had some curiosity about, and for my birthday I received this very cool Bitcoin-emblem-bearing diffuser from Organic Aromas so it’s something I’ll be researching further. To that effect, ConsumerAdvocate.org wrote this article for Limitless Mindset summarizing some takeaways from a 600-hour investigation into and objective evaluation of 33 different essential oils — Jonathan Roseland
Essential oils have been around since ancient times, but it’s only recently that there’s been a lot of hype around these products. The practice of aromatherapy has certainly done a lot to popularize the use of essential oils for health and wellness, but it’s been social media marketing strategies that have propelled essential oils into the limelight.
While essential oils do have relaxing and even healing properties, they are meant to be used following specific guidelines to ensure the safety of the aromatherapy practitioner. After all, these are volatile chemical compounds that can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and interact with prescription medications.
Essential Oils Guide - What the industry isn't telling you...
Essential oils are something I've always had some curiosity about, and for my birthday I received this very cool…
I should also mention that there have been a lot of claims around the purported uses of essential oils on social media, many of which are misleading. Essential oils can’t cure autism or cancer, they shouldn’t be ingested unless otherwise recommended by a physician, and they could be extremely toxic to children and pets if used incorrectly.
ConsumersAdvocate.org, a consumer review website focused on customer education, recently published Best Essential Oils review addressing different safety concerns and little-known aspects of the essential oil industry. These are their findings…
Essential Oils are Photosensitive
Again, essential oils are volatile chemical compounds, and some can react to light (are photosensitive). Citrus oils, for example, can cause severe burns if used topically before sun exposure. One example mentioned in the Best Essential Oils review talks about a new mother who applied lemon oil to her c-section scar before going to the beach and got second-degree burns on her abdomen. Experts recommend that essential oil users dilute ALL oils in a carrier oil base before applying them directly on the skin. When using citrus oils, however, it’s best to only diffuse them into the air, as burns can occur even hours after the oil was applied to the skin.
2. Children Should Avoid Lavender Essential Oil
There isn’t a lot of evidence surrounding the use of essential oils on children. While diffusing lavender and mandarin oils into the air can help soothe children and even help with ADHD symptoms, one study concluded that lavender oil used in shampoo caused prepubescent children to develop breasts (gynecomastia). While further research is needed, it’s best to avoid the topical use of essential oils on children under the age of thirteen. In addition, about 80% of cases of poisoning due to essential oil ingestion have been children, so it’s best to keep these potent chemicals away from the reach of children.
4. Pregnant Women Should Steer Clear of Wintergreen Essential Oil
While many essential oils are generally safe to use during pregnancy, certain oils like wintergreen can be extremely toxic to children and adults, especially pregnant women. Undiluted, wintergreen can be more potent than aspirin, so special precaution is needed when using this oil on the skin. Expectant mothers should also avoid birch, camphor, basil, aniseed, hyssop, mugwort, parsley seed, parsley leaf, sage, pennyroyal, tansy, thuja, tarragon, and wormwood essential oils, especially during their first trimester.
5. Diffusing Essential Oils Indoors Can Harm Pets
While the best way to use essential oils is to diffuse them, be careful not to do this in an unventilated area. Pets are especially susceptible to smells and organizations like the ASPCA agree that most essential oils can be harmful to pets, especially if ingested or used directly on the skin. If you do want to diffuse essential oils at home, make sure you do so in a well-ventilated area AWAY from your pets.
But what if you do want to use essential oils on your skin? Well, there is a way to do it safely, but it involves reading and making sure you’re using the correct dilution rate for the oil of your choice. For more information on proper dilution rates, visit the Tisserand Institute to learn more about dilution rates by oil type.
Lastly, consider the environmental effect of using essential oils indiscriminately. For example, Earth Island Journal claims that one pound of essential oil requires incredibly large quantities of plant material, like 1,500 lemons or 250 pounds of lavender. While many companies claim to source these oils in an environmentally-responsible and sustainable way, some get their products from impoverished nations and growers who have little regard for endangered plant species.
Which essential oils’ brands are legit?
Before buying essential oils, do some reading, learn about the company you’re buying from, and — above all — read the safety precautions on the label before using these chemical compounds on your skin, your children, or your pets.