Essential oils are powerful and versatile healing modalities. However, they are not with out side effects and danger. This information is necessary and timely because a popular essential oil pyramid company which sells monthly kits to their members throws caution and knowledge to the wind and has created expensive essential oil frenzy. I myself have previously fallen prey to dangerous essential oil practice. Several years ago, after having purchased pennyroyal to rub on myself and my children, I found out later that pennyroyal damages the liver and is listed as an extremely toxic essential oil. Clearly, this issue of aromatherapy needs to be further explored.
I have seen in my own practice, what I refer to as, essential oil overdose. Mothers ingesting, rubbing, and inhaling massive amounts of essential oils on themselves and their children, it has become more frequent in recent years. This may sound familiar, as I have mentioned in my book “Beyond Natural Cures” about the “Walmart” like natural health mindset and the excessive and unrestrained use of homeopathics. Well, both of these issues coincide and offer proof that the American mentality of quantity versus quality still reigns supreme in our psyche and is damaging our health, in every scope of our lives.
When one begins to use aromatherapy, such as mixing and diluting essential oils, they must take care to follow some basic rules of safety and efficiency. The first is to always keep records of how it was made, how much was used and the date. Secondly, because of high concentration and potency, a working knowledge of how to use them is important. As one or two drops are equal to an entire cup of tea, one must take caution that the nervous system, skin, liver and kidneys are not damaged from misuse and over dose. As damage may take years to show up and then even appear to be unreleated, the truth is the liver works hard to clear essential oils from the body (Keville, 2009). This is especially true in modern times as many livers are taxed because of our highly toxic living conditions.
The safe use guidelines for essential oils (Eos) are as follows:
· Do not use undiluted oils, use only pure, organic and not synthetic
· Watch for skin sensitivities which could signal a possible allergy,
· Watch for photosensitivity from the sun,
· Rotate essential oils to help your liver and kidneys adjust
· Avoid use while pregnant, very few are considered safe and it is a subject of controversy. Many essential oils contain volatile components that could have a negative effect on the fetus. For instance, certain oils contain phytohormones and act as endocrine disrupters. These can in turn lock into estrogen receptors and could cause potential problems in the sex of the child.
· Keep from young children, if you must use-the safest for children are roman chamomile, neroli, frankincense, mandarin, tangerine and petitgrain.
· Use caution on pets-very little is needed, for instance ¼ drop on a five lb cat!
· Do not take orally for therapeutic purposes and avoid over exposure either through the skin or through inhalation. There are very few exceptions to this such as enteric coated peppermint and oregano. Some essential oils maybe used to flavor foods, in tiny amounts such as rose, mandarin, rosemary and certain hydrosols.
So, You Would Still Like to Purchase E.O.s…
A quick word about the purchasing essential oils for use, keep in mind several important things. They should sell in dark bottles, Latin name should be provided, an expiration date should be visible, a dropper top for dispensing and the pricing should be according to contents. For example clove is one of the cheapest oils and rose is one of the most expensive. Furthermore, the word “essential oil” and aromatherapy can mean many things in the United States and is not regulated, meaning that a chemical lab compound can be legally sold under the same label (Worwood, 2003).
Save Money and Heal Yourself!
In times of economic uncertainty and healthcare concern, essential oils can be an expensive and unnecessary financial burden. Herb infused oils are an excellent choice to bring the benefits of plants and herbs to the skin and into the body, when safety is a concern or if one is interested in adding a few drops of essential oil to the herb oil as a base. Herb oils are easy to make and are cost efficient. Below is a list of some popular herb-infused oils and the directions on how to make them.
Calendula oil- Healing to the skin; antimicrobial which makes it suitable for infections and burns. Becareful not to confuse with marigold.
Neem oil-An Indian herb it is a preservative, antiviral, antibacterial and astringent. It is used to treat dandruff, scalp sebum, brittle nails, nail fungus, and gum infections.
St. John’s wort oil- Contains the healing constituent hypericin. Used for bruising, inflammation and nerve damage. It can reduce pain and also heal injured skin.
Culinary Oils- to consume such as basil, oregano or garlic.
How to Prepare Herb-Infused Oils
You will need:
1 wide-mouth jar, glass preferably
1 Cup of dried organic herbs
1 fine strainer, cheesecloth, muslin or thin dishcloth
2-3 cups of a thin oil such as organic cold-pressed almond (use enough to cover the herbs), or if making a culinary oil use olive oil instead.
1 blender to finely crush or coarsely grind the herb
Crush or grind 1 cup of herbs in a blender. Place herbs in the wide-mouth jar and add oil to cover. Keep oil-herb jar in a warm dark place preferably 70-90 degrees. Shake herbs daily. Check mixture in two days if the oil has been fully absorbed by the herbs-add more. Macerate (steep) for 1-2 weeks.
Strain oil through a fine kitchen strainer or the cloth.
Press the rest of the oils out of the herbs. Compost the herbs and refrigerate your oil.
Again, keep a good record such as ingredients, proportions and dates.
What about Preservation….?
Preservation needs to be discussed, especially because of the misinformation that the public has been fed regarding a product called grapefruit seed extract or GSE. There is a lot of controversy surrounding grapefruit seed extract. Many now, globally, refer to it as a scam. It has been found in scientific tests that the only antimicrobial action it carried was in its chemical preservatives not in its essence. France, in 2007, was imposing fines on the product for mislabeling. For preserving oils it is best to use hygiene when preparing them, make small batches and refrigerate them. Refrain from dipping fingers (Keville, 2009).
Adding ten percent jojoba oil, which is actually a wax, to your oil will increase shelf life should you choose to not refrigerate some of it, use all oils within six months. I hope you feel confident enough to either choose or loose your essential oils! For more information read my book “Beyond Natural Skincare & Weightloss” available through this website and lulu.com..check out all the review on Goodreads!.
Keville, K., & Green, M. (2009). Aromatherapy: a complete
guide to the healing art. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press.
Adamkiewicz, A (2009). Beyond natural cures.
Howell, MI: Lulu.com.
Worwood, S., & Worwood, V.A. (2003). Essential
aromatherapy: a pocketguide to essential oils. Novato, CA:
New World Library.
Contact Dr. Aurore with Questions or Schedule an Appointment On-Line or In Person