How to Use Essential Oils Safely
Essential oils are a very valuable tool in natural living and natural health. Many people vouch for the positive impact that essential oils have had on their health and the health of their friends and family.
However, there is a lot of misinformation out there about how to safely and properly use essential oils.
Just because essential oils are natural, doesn't mean they come without risks. Indeed, essential oils require that you handle them with care.
Understanding Essential Oils
Essential oil use is not something that people should just jump into without prior knowledge. The practice of essential oil use, especially for medicinal purposes, requires that you learn a bit about them first.
Essential oils are highly potent chemical compounds. Because they are so potent, they can be harmful and sometimes even fatal if used incorrectly. That's why it's so important to learn how to use them properly and with the proper precautions.
You should never assume that any particular essential oil has the exact same medicinal properties as it's original plant form. Because essential oils are so concentrated, they can work very differently.
Essential Oil Safety Guidelines
When using oils, you should always follow the safety guidelines. Some packaging will give you instructions, while some packaging is plenty bare and does not include safety precautions. This does not mean that you shouldn't follow safety guidelines. Quite the contrary. It means you should be even more careful!
Follow these safety guidelines:
- Do not apply undiluted to skin: Essential oils are extremely concentrated and many of them can cause burns. You also stand the risk of absorbing too much through the skin, which can lead to an overdose.
- Do not take internally: Essential oils can be toxic and even fatal. Keep essential oils away from your mouth, nose, ears, or any other body opening. Read here for more info.
- Use as recommended only. Overuse can cause headaches and dizziness. If you will be making something with essential oils such as soap or lotion, do so in a well ventilated area and take frequent breaks for fresh air.
- Store carefully. Essential oils should be stored high and out of reach of children and pets.
- Keep away from heat. Essential oils are flammable. Keep them away from heat, flames, or ignition sources.
- Use extreme caution around babies, young children, or pets. Dosages are much different for these individuals and need to be used with extreme caution. Read here for more information about essential oil use around babies and young children.
- Consult with your physician, especially if you have any kind of medical condition such as sensitive skin, eplilepsy, heart or kidney problems. Overuse of essential oils can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, so people with certain conditions should not use them. They can also react with various medications.
Additionally, you should do a patch test before widespread use of new oils. Use a carrier oil that you know you don't react to and a small amount of essential oil. Patch test on your upper arm, neck, leg, or other area. If you have any kind of reaction, discontinue use immediately.
Know the effects and risks of each type of essential oil you use. Each essential oil is different. Some are not safe during pregnancy, some are irritating, and some can quickly become toxic or hazardous.
Essential Oil Emergencies
Essential oils should be used with great care and precaution because they can and do sometimes cause harm. But what do you do if an accident happens?
Here is what to do in an emergency:
- Essential oil gets into eyes or other body opening: Flush the area with cold milk to dilute the oil. If stinging, heat, or other sensations persist, seek immediate medical attention.
- Essential oil gets on hands: Wash with soap and water until removed. If oil remains, use vegetable or coconut oil to dilute and repeat washing.
- If ingested: Call the Poison Control Center immediately: 1-800-222-1222
- If ingested by pet: Call the Animal Poison Control Center ( 1-888-426-4435) or call your vet immediately.
For more information, visit this link from Mountain Rose Herbs.