Essential Oil Safety and Usage Guidelines

History of Medicine
History of Medicine

Essential oils have always been important to mankind.  Ancient hieroglyphics and manuscripts document how priests and physicians utilized these potent life forces distilled from plants.  There are 188 references to essential oils in the Bible!  Today, more and more people are continuing to understand the power and place of essential oils in holistic wellness care.

essential oil safety and usage guidelines

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Because of their potency, it is necessary to use only the most pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils.  The information on this page only applies to Young Living Oils because they ARE, therapeutic-quality oils for over 20 years because of their unmatched Seed-t0-Seal Process with farms around the world.  I do not use anything else and cannot vouch for anything less that may not provide desired results and/or be extremely toxic.

Ways to Utilize Essential Oils

Aromatically – Essential oil aromas can be inhaled (directly from the bottle, on a cotton ball, wick, after application on the hands, etc) or by breathing in the vapors of an oil that has been diffused or sprayed into the air.

Topically – Essential oils can be applied directly to the surface of the body through massage, bath, lotions, direct application, etc.  Although many oils could be applied “neat” (without dilution), others are best diluted with Young Living’s V-6 Oil or other carrier oils (like coconut oil) before application.  This is especially true of young or sensitive skin.  A warm compress can help drive an oil into the body quicker.

Internally – Since not all essential oils are created equally, many Young Living oils are LABELED as adietary supplement.  This could be done by adding the oil to food or drink, dropping under the tongue, or by filling capsules.  Always refer to the bottle of individual oils to ensure safety of internal consumption.  Please remember that most other brands of EOs specifically say “not for internal use” because they are not pure/natural/other commonly thrown-around words.  Never take lesser-quality brands internally.  Also remember, EOs are very concentrated and usually even less than a drop is necessary when adding to recipes (dip a toothpick into oils and swirl into food).

Essential Oils Safety Usage Tips

Important Safety Information

Do not drop directly into the eyes – EOs can be used around the eye diluted with a carrier oil.  If oils get in the eye, drop V-6/carrier oil directly in to provide instant relief.

Do not drop directly into the ear canal – They can be used diluted all around the ear though, or placed on a cotton ball that is placed just inside the ear.

Oil-soluble, NOT water-solubleShould oils get into the eyes or irritate the skin a little, do not try to remove the oils with water which will only drive them in deeper.  Diluting with extra carrier oil is best since EOs are oil-soluble rather than water-soluble.

Dilute oils for infants and children – Pure EOs are highly potent and should be diluted properly (1-2 drops of pure essential oil to 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of appropriate carrier oil).  Personally, I err on the extra super-duper cautious side (if at all) with babies, and follow [From The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils] or definitely purchase (Amazon affiliate link) Gentle Babies Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children by Debra Rayburn first:

  • Babies 0-12 months – use only 1 drop of lavender, rose, or chamomile (Roman or German) essential oil, diluted in 1 tsp. carrier oil for massage or bathing. Or Gentle Baby blend.
  • Infants/Toddlers 1-5 years – use only 2-3 drops of the ‘safe list’ oils (non-toxic and non-irritant) diluted in 1 tsp. carrier oil for massage or bathing.
  • Children 6-12 years – use for adults but in half the stated concentration.
  • Children over 12 years – use as directed for adults.

Caution should be used during pregnancy – Some oils are best avoided completely during pregnancy.  Others with hormone-like properties (like clary sage, fennel, and sage) require caution.  Consult your midwife, doula, OB, or other resources before usage and always do your own research.  (Again, I personally err on the extremely cautious side with pregnancy and would consider half the usual amounts of some oils and refer you to the Gentle Babies book above again)

Photosensitivity – Some oils are photosensitive which means they cause skin pigmentation and skin burning if exposed to direct UV sunlight.  Use caution with citrus oils, lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, angelica, etc.  It is best to check safety data for oils before use and either appropriately dilute, test on a small area, or avoid their use in the sun all together.

Understand individual oils before use – Some oils are stronger than others.  Some are considered “cool” oils and can be applied “neat” (straight from the bottle without dilution).  Other oils are “hot” (like clove, cinnamon bark, and oregano, lemongrass, thyme) and should always be applied with well-diluted care.  Read each bottle’s label for recommendations.

If discomfort occurs with an oil application, be sure to dilute.  Another cause of discomfort is possibly due to a balancing reaction.  Essential oils help pull “yuck” from our body.  If so, perhaps slow down on use, dilute further, or stop applying for a short period until your systems can process this balance.

Storing Essential Oils – Oils can maintain their full potency for many years if kept protected from heat (less than 90 degrees F) and light (use amber or cobalt bottles if you transfer.  If you find essential oils in the store in a clear bottle, they are NOT good quality).

*AVOID PLASTICS* – Essential oils pull out the petrochemicals from plastics.  Use a glass cup and containers if adding oils, and be careful placing oil bottles on painted surfaces.  The paint may dissolve away.

Which essential oils should you order?  Here’s my suggestion!

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