Essential oils are now available extensively in pharmacies and have become very popular. They are a wonderful addition to everyday life but they are highly concentrated and can be toxic if over-used. I thought it might be useful to give some basic safety guidelines to consider before using essential oils. If in any doubt at all, consult with a qualified aromatherapist or your medical practitioner.
Use of Essential Oils
- Not to be taken internally
- Keep out of reach of children – do not use with children under 7 years old.
- Keep away from the eyes
- If pregnant, do not use in first 12 weeks and seek medical advice before using essential oils at any stage.
- Do not use undiluted
- Do not put directly on the skin. Always put into a base or carrier – oil, cream or gel, even milk will do to dissolve the oil.
- Discontinue if there is an allergic reaction. Seek medical advice
Use a much smaller dose (normally 50%) for elderly and those with serious illness
- Check that the bottle says 100% natural essential oil. The botanical name written in Latin must be on the bottle
- Store in a cool dry place – once opened, use within 12 months .
- Adopt the approach – Less is more – The oils will be just as effective with a smaller dose. Do not be tempted to add a few extra drops.
The general rule is to use 2 drops to 5ml – (One teaspoon) of base or carrier oil*
- Bath 6-8 drops in a carrier oil, milk, aqueous cream or epsom salts
2 drops in a tissue
3-4 drops in a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation.
* carrier or base oil is a vegetable oil, nut oil or wax for e.g sweet almond, coconut, jojoba, apricot kernel, argan, rosehip etc.
There are many resources online to read up on essential oils. One site I like as a good resource is https://www.aromatics.com/. Oshadhi Essential Oils does a great newsletter with information on oils. I have previously mentioned Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute, School of Essential Oil Studies Any question on oils and how to use them please contact me or leave a comment below I would love to hear from you.