Aromatherapy Safety

Contrary to the general belief, all essential oils are not useful similar to the fact that all herbs are not beneficial for us. Although anything that is obtained from nature (any natural and not artificial) generally has positive impact on our health; but it is not guaranteed. In fact, use of a number of essential oils may prove to be dangerous. Among the several hundred essential oils made and sold commercially, trained aroma-therapists usually use just around 100 very frequently. Precisely speaking, about 30 of these 100 essential oils can be considered reasonably safe within your means and available easily making it possible for you to use them at home for sure.

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All essential oils are actually extremely concentrated constituents of plants that possess strong therapeutic as well as cosmetic attributes. Some among them help in unwinding, are sedating, revitalizing; stimulate and also augmenting our memory. These essential oils possess several therapeutic attributes, including anti-spasmodic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. However, some of them also cause the skin to become irritated; are neurotoxic or phototoxic; cause cancers. In addition, there are some essential herbs that are abortive and these are not given to children or pregnant women. While using essential oils for aromatherapy for babies, it is necessary to water down the oils used for adults by 50 per cent or even more with a view to make them harmless for use by children.

The use of a number of essential oils is strictly prohibited during pregnancy. This is primarily owing to the fact that these essential oils have the aptitude to unwind the muscles, encourage contractions or even probably pass onto the still born baby. Some essential oils are believed to possess abortifacient properties; denoting that they may potentially result in abortions. Therefore, it is important that you be careful to stay away from employing these essential oils during pregnancy - they may prove to be unsafe.

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As essential oils are always available in extremely concentrated state and a few of them may also cause the skin to become irritated, it is advisable that you should use them in a diluted condition. This is definitely the safest way to use them. On the other hand, a number of essential oils such as tea tree and lavender, are friendly to our skin and, hence, you may use these two essential oils 'neat' or directly on the skin. They need not be diluted before use. Nevertheless, there are always exceptions and majority of the essential oils should be diluted before use.

It is worth mentioning here that the essential oils are not found in abundance in nature - they are basically very small, minuscule drops present inside the structure of plants in very tiny amounts and cannot be seen by our naked eyes. Hence, when you undertake any experiment to examine these gifts of nature, you need to begin by making use of essential oils that have been diluted extremely. The fact is that when you use essential oils in highly concentrated form, it may bring about a result that is just the opposite of what you desire. For instance, use of lavender essential oil which is known to have calming and relaxing effects, in excess amounts may possibly result in restiveness, sleeplessness and agitation.

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Hazardous - Not recommended for personal use

It is advisable that you stay away from the personal use of a number of essentials oils because they may prove to be detrimental for your wellbeing. These oils are believed to be toxic for your mouth, skin, liver and kidneys, besides causing cancer and being cautionary. There are a number of essential oils which the scientists are yet to experiment with and you will be better off if you keep away from using these oils. In fact, when you are using any essential oil for the first time, it should essentially be done under the direct supervision of a qualified and veteran healthcare provider.

Phototoxic essential oils

Some essential oils are known to cause photo-toxicity and their use augments the skin's reaction to sunburn and also tanning booths. Usually, these oils should not be used on people having a history of large moles, widespread dark freckles and/ or skin cancer.

Avoid during pregnancy

All essential oils in dangerous list, in addition to the following.

Irritant-prone essential oils

Irritant-prone essentials oils which can cause irritation to sensitive, irritated, or allergic skin types.

  • All absolutes and concretes
  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Benzoin
  • Camphor
  • Citronella
  • Fennel
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Peppermint (when used undiluted will cause skin irritation on all skin types)
  • Rosemary
  • Rose (in high concentrations)
  • Ylang ylang (in high concentrations)

Common sense safety points

Prior to using any essential oil, it is important that you exercise certain general precautionary measures. For instance, you need to stay away from using any essential oil that may possibly be unsafe and never use any of them orally. In addition, you need to store all the essential oils in such a place that is not accessible to children. Also keep them away from any source of heat and light.

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Always bear in mind that essential oils are strong medications as well as cosmetic agents. Therefore, you must be careful only to use real and reliable essential oils that are not adulterated and possess therapeutic properties. Also be careful not to use them close to your eyes or handle them in such a manner that they get into your eyes.

As mentioned earlier, always use the essential oils in diluted form. Avoid using most of them during pregnancy and if you have to use any during this period, ensure that you dilute them properly - to the extent of one percent or even less. Prior to using any essential oil, be sure that you are not allergic to it or have any type of sensitivity to it.

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It is advisable that you undergo a skin patch check to ascertain if you are susceptible to sensitivities owing to use of essential oils. Adopt additional precaution not to use essential oils on any part of your skin that may be cracked or damaged. Most importantly, be careful to stay away from essential oils that cause photo-toxicity and have a history of developing skin cancer.

Most commonly used essential oils

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