What are Essential Oils
Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant or tree and have several healing properties. The oils in the plants are made up of very small molecules that can penetrate your cells, and some can even penetrate the blood-brain barrier. These oils are highly concentrated and have a strong aroma and can be used in aromatherapy and their benefits range from mental to physical healing.
Are Essential Oils Safe
Essential oils are generally safe to use and have very few negative side effect or risks associated with their use especially when used as directed. If you are trying to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle, they make for great alternatives to over-the-counter medications for both physical and mental health. Overall, there is good evidence that essential oils are both safe and can be a powerful healing tool in natural medicine.
Generally Safe Essential Oils
Essential oils are generally safe to use internally and externally, but each essential oil comes with its own precautions when using them. Here is a list of essential oils that are generally safe to use internally and externally and some safety recommendations for them.
- Bergamot — May cause skin sensitivity. Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after external application. May affect blood sugar control.
- Cassia — May reduce milk supply in lactating women and should only be used in small doses.
- Cinnamon Bark — May cause skin sensitivity/irritation and should always be tested first by people with sensitive skin.
- Clove — Can cause skin irritation and/or have a numbing effect. May irritate the sinuses and eyes in some people, so use with caution. When using internally take a probiotic supplement twice daily to restore beneficial flora.
- Coriander — May cause skin sensitivity.
- Cumin — Should not be used during pregnancy since it can stimulate blood flow in the uterus. Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after external application.
- Fennel — Do not use during pregnancy or if you are prone to seizures or have epilepsy.
- Frankincense — Has blood-thinning effects, so people with problems related to blood clotting should not use this oil before consulting with their healthcare provider. Can be diffused, breathe in directly or rubbed topically on the skin. May also be used as a suppository (under the supervision of a health practitioner).
- Fir Needle
- Geranium — May cause skin sensitivity. Avoid using it during the first trimester of pregnancy, and use only in topical dilutions thereafter. During pregnancy use with caution since it may influence hormone secretions, especially estrogen.
- Ginger — May cause skin sensitivity.
- Grapefruit — Has been shown to interfere with certain medications, so always ask your doctor. Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after external application since it can increase sensitivity to sunlight.
- Holy basil — Should be used with caution by anyone with impaired liver function or a clotting disorder.
- Hyssop — Avoid use while pregnant. D0 not exceed 30 drops of hyssop in a day.
- Jasmine — Avoid use during pregnancy.
- Lemon — Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after topical application.
- Lime - May cause skin sensitivity. Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after topical application.
- Manuka — Avoid use during pregnancy.
- Marjoram — Should not be used during pregnancy since it acts as an emmenagogue.
- Melissa — May cause skin sensitivity. Avoid use during pregnancy.
- Myrrh — Must be avoided during pregnancy since it’s a fetotoxic (poisonous to a fetus). May lower blood sugar levels and interfere with blood sugar conditions. Discontinue use if it causes upset stomach or diarrhea.
- Orange — May cause skin sensitivity. Avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after external application to avoid burns or redness.
- Oregano — Avoid use during pregnancy. Not to be used by infants and small children. May cause skin irritation. Should not used for more than 10 days.
- Patchouli —May inhibit blood clotting and pose a drug interaction risk.
- Peppermint — May be taken directly (about 1–2 drops) for digestive support. Some medications may adversely interact with peppermint oil, so consult a physician to discuss any drug interactions.
- Roman Chamomile — Not recommended for use during pregnancy. Should only be used internally for up to two weeks.
- Rosemary — Do not use if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or if you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy.
- Sandalwood — May cause skin sensitivity.
- Spikenard — Should not be used during pregnancy since it may stimulate the uterus.
- Thyme — Avoid use during pregnancy or if you have high blood pressure or epilepsy.
- Turmeric — Can stain clothes, fabric and skin so use caution when applying or around fabrics.
- Vetiver — May cause skin sensitivity.
- Ylang Ylang
Essential Oils and Dilution
Although it is a good idea to dilute all essential oils before application, the following essential oils MUST be diluted to avoid burns or skin irritations.
- • Basil — Not appropriate for pregnant women or those with epilepsy.
- • Birch — Avoid use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Use the minimal amounts to decrease sensitivity. Avoid if using blood thinners, are about to have surgery, have bleeding disorders, have salicylate deficiency or have been diagnosed with a seizure disorder or ADD/ADHD. Do not use on sensitive skin, infants, children or the elderly.
- • Black Pepper — May be irritating when used in high doses.
- • Cardamom — Can be used internally, gargled, inhaled or rubbed on the skin. Dilution is recommended. May cause allergic reactions for those with sensitive skin. Do not apply on or near the face of infants or young children.
- Cinnamon Bark
- Cinamon Bark
- • Citronella — May cause irritation when inhaled or skin sensitivity.
- Fir Needle
- Wintergreen — Can be toxic if used in high amounts. Do not use on sensitive skin, infants, children or the elderly.
Essential Oils NOT to Be Taken Internally
The following essential oils should NOT be taken internally
- Black Pepper
- Clary Sage — Not safe for use during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester or when using it on the abdomen.
- Cyprus — Do not use during pregnancy.
- Eucalyptus- Children and people with sensitive skin should use precaution. The oil should be diluted before topical use. Do not apply near the face of young children.
- Tea Tree (Malaleuca) — If using in the mouth always spit out the oil afterwards to prevent potential side effects, such as digestive issues, hives or dizziness.
- Rose — Avoid use during pregnancy.
Essential Oils That Can Cause Skin Irritants
Essential Oils That are More Likely to Cause Skin Irritation
- Cinnamon Bark
Essential Oils for Pregnant Women
There are certain essential oils that are generally safe to use when you are pregnant. Then there are essential oils that can cause severe harm to you and your unborn child. It is important to know which ones are safe to use and which ones to avoid. But being pregnant shouldn't stop you from using the power of essential oils. You just have to be more cautious of the ones you choose.
Learn more about Essential Oils for Pregnant Women
Summing It Up
As you can see, there are some precautions when taking essential oils. Even though there are essential oils in some of the foods we eat, they aren't as concentrated as the essential oils you get in the bottle. Be sure to read and follow the labels and directions closely for each essential oil to avoid harm and always preform a patch test before using an essential oil (or products with essential oils) for the first time.
More on Essential Oils
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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. Neither Self Verve nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Be sure to contact your physician before trying any of the items stated in the above article.