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essential oils

I hope you respect these (essential oils) for what they are: highly concentrated plant constituents possessing potent medicinal and cosmetic qualities. Some relax, sedate, balance, rejuvenate, invigorate, and even enhance memory. --from Aromatherapy Valerie Gennari Cooksley

Common Sense For Using Essential Oils Safely

A substantial amount of scientific studies already exist that indicate the rationale for the safe benefits of the plant-derived oils. There is even a larger quantity of empirical evidence collected by aromatherapists of this century. And of course there is a long 5000-year history of traditional use and anecdotal lore. However, just as not all herbs are good for you, not all essential oils are as beneficial to health as you might expect.

There is evidence that essential oils do not create the dramatic side effects that many conventional over-the-counter medications can and do warn against. However, any substance can provoke an adverse reaction when used in very large quantities. In fact, high concentration of very beneficial essential oils can cause restlessness, agitation, and insomnia. If too much is used, the effect will be stimulating rather then relaxing.

Therefore, we all must learn to respect the inherent potency of essential oils, and use only as directed.

Always keep your EOs out of the reach of pets and children.

It is possible for any layperson to build a repertoire of recipes and ways to use essential oils through out the day in a way that is both safe and enlivening, and in which the possibility of causing any lasting damage is almost nonexistent. The likelihood of deriving great benefits from the oils is enormous.

I felt this positive influence in my own life and have cautiously experimented with hundreds of essential oils. So far the worst symptom I suffered was from putting too much Fennel in a bath and feeling a slight burning where the oil floated next to my skin. So I immediately showered off and the sensation was gone. All that remained was a slight reddening of the skin.

I may experience some unpleasant and usually brief side effects from certain oils but no permanent damage will come from mixing or using the wrong non-toxic essential oils. I have found that the use of essential oils is self-correcting. If I experience a negative effect such as a mild burning on the skin it disappears as soon as I wash it off, and I simply avoid using the oil in that way again. In other words, there is ample room to learn by trial and error.

There are several essential oils that are skin "friendly" including lavender, sandalwood, rose, chamomile and tea tree. These oils can almost always be used "straight" or "neat," which means you can put these directly on your skin without diluting them. One of the reasons this works is because your skin has a natural oil mantle. When you put a drop of essential oil on and rub it in, you are combining it with the natural oil that is already there, and in some sense your diluting it with your own oil.

However, because we all have different types of skin, some oilier than others, using essential oils neat (neat means undiluted) is an exception, not the rule. Because essential oils are highly concentrated, and some are known skin irritants, many aromatherapists believe the best the best way to use them is diluted with a vegetable oil. These carries all have individual effects on the various Skin Types and are probably better suited with certain EOs and for certain types of applications.

There isn't yet a solid evidence of how to apply a specific oil to get the greatest therapeutic effect, i.e. ingest, topical, or inhalation. But there seems to be some empirical evidence that would lead us to believe that various oils have a preferred or more effective delivery system. We are going to avoid all of this by just recommending you use them as you would your perfumes.

Anyone can suffer from an allergic reaction. For example, I have a friend who is allergic to almonds in any form, as an oil, in desserts, granola, etc. Her lips and tongue swells. This is the greatest danger if there is swelling of mucous membranes that could interfere with your breathing. We don't recommend you ingest any essential oils unless your licensed physician recommends it, and the first time you try it is in his or her office. Allergic reactions can be fatal. I personally have ingested many oils and have never suffered any negative effects.

All of this being said, we feel it always makes sense when you begin on your sensual journey of nature's essential gifts to always do a patch test. We recommend you test any oils you intend to use by applying a couple of drops to the inside of your forearm and cover with a band-aid. Check in an hour or so for any signs of redness, itching, or irritation. Or if over time, you notice lowered energy, allergic reactions, mood swings, or swelling of your lips, simply discontinue using those particular oils.

There is sufficient evidence that the following essential oils increases sunburn reaction of skin (including tanning booths) and are not recommended for regular use on individuals with history of skin cancer, large moles, or extensive dark freckles. We are only going to comment about oils we offer on this site.

Photo-Sensitive Oils
Angelica Root
All absolutes and concretes
Lemon (expressed)
Lemon verbena
Lime (expressed)
Orange (expressed)

It is best to avoid natural essences on the skin during pregnancy because they can possibly pass from the skin into the bloodstream and cross the placental barrier. Always consult your physician first and avoid the use of the following oils that we offer on this site.

Avoid During Pregnancy

Irritant-Prone Essential Oils

There is some evidence that these oils can cause irritation to sensitive, inflamed skin or allergic reactions.

Irritant-Prone EOs
All absolutes and concretes
Peppermint (when used undiluted can cause skin irritation on all skin types)
Lemon Verbena
Rose (in high concentrations)
Ylang ylang (in high concentrations)

Finally, any suggestions on this site are not meant to take the place of a medical or psychological diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical practitioner or experienced healer. How you decide to use essential oils is beyond our control and no expressed or implied guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given, nor liability taken. Essential oils are to be used at your own discretion.

My lawyer advised us to include this last paragraph even though he could not find any court cases of litigation involving essential oils, and he uses the oils I give him all the time.

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