Essential Oil Basics
People have been using essential oils for centuries to help heal sickness and improve health. There are many articles and books written on this subject, as it is well known to the public, there are benefits to using essential oils. Let’s discuss how essential oils may be absorbed into the body, how to find quality oil, and safety of essential oils.
There are two basic routes for absorption of essential oils: Inhalation and Skin
Inhalation: Breathing essential oils may help with colds, flu, sore throat and allergies. Using a diffuser (5 drops) or inhaler.
Skin: When applying essential oils onto skin, it is carried through the skin by a carrier oil, such as, grapeseed, almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil or sesame oil. When using this method there is a dilution rate:
Dilution Rate Guideline
1 ounce of carrier oil
1 % - 5 drops
2% - 10 drops
3% - 15 drops
There are three concerns for skin: Irritation, sensitization and phototoxic.
Irritation - is localized when area applied and is the most common form of reaction to the skin. Redness, itchy or blistering is what you want to avoid.
Sensitization -Some oils can cause reaction to the skin, as one may be sensitive (allergic) to certain oils on their skin. It is important to test a small area to make sure there is not a reaction. What might happen is a rash with inflammation, bumpy or itchy skin, on an area where there was not essential oil with carrier was applied. Avoid oxidized oils on all skin.
Phototoxic – Some essential oils are phototoxic which means it can react to sunlight exposure and cause burning, blistering or discoloration of the skin. A couple of examples would be bergamot or bitter orange.
Essential oils do not have regulations on labels, so companies can market by saying their essential oil is therapeutic grade or 100% pure. However, the best way to determine whether the oil is not adulterate or synthetic is by a GC/MS test, this will assure the essential oil is therapeutic or pure. This test identifies all the components in the essential oil. Once you become familiar with essential oils, you may notice a difference from a quality oil vs not a quality oil. All oils which are used here at Solstice Aromatics are GC/MS tested from around the globe.
It is also important to know the latin name, genus, species, country of origin and climate an essential oil comes from. This may help determine the therapeutic components of essential oils. Books are written, and classes are taught about this subject, as well. So, I will not elaborate too much, other than, if you are looking for a specific therapeutic component in an essential oil, knowing where the oil(s) is from and species might help with healing a specific cause or issue. Consulting with a Certified or Clinical Aromatherapist might be an option too.
To ensure safety use of essential oils there are precautions to take with certain health conditions or the chemical make-up of the essential oil.
Phototoxic - Some oils are phototoxic which means when the oil is applied with a carrier the sun rays may burn the skin. One example would be Bergamot or Bitter Orange.
Children and elders or those with serious health problems should use caution when using any essential oils. Children under 5 years of age should be avoided for direct inhalation or skin application of essential oils. Possibly hydrosol would be a better choice.
Pregnancy – Use of essential oils during pregnancy should be followed with guidance from a medical or clinical professional. Most essential oils are restricted during pregnancy and lactation.
Keep essential oils out of reach from children. They may be poisonous if swallowed.
Cancer – Using essential oils should be avoided one month before and after chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Allergy or asthma – proceed with caution with essential oils with a person who has asthma or allergies as it may trigger a reaction.
Do not use essential oils on animals. Animals are very sensitive, therefore, do not apply on skin or fur unless recommended by a professional.
These are some of the safety issues with essential oils.
If you are unsure of what certain essential oils you need for an issue it is recommended you consult with a Certified or Clinical Aromatherapist.
What is in the media today may not always be the best resource to follow when using essential oils. It is important to know who the author is, and what guidelines they are following to support the written material regarding essential oils.
Here at Solstice Aromatics we follow guidelines from professional aromatherapy affiliates.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These statements or products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Essential oils and products are for external use only.