Obviously as producers of high quality essential oils, we love them and use them for a myriad of different purposes. However there are a few things that you have to remember when using essential oils to ensure that you get the fantastic results that most oils can deliver.
Undiluted (neat) essential oils
It is a general rule that most essential oils should not be applied directly to skin unless they have been diluted into a carrier oil such as olive, coconut or sweet almond. However there are some oils that can be applied directly to the skin to treat minor cuts, burns or insect bites. These include lavender essential oil, tea tree essential oil or roman chamomile oil. However it is not recommended to apply any oils to open wounds or deep cuts as they can cause irritation. Although, in the case of lavender essential oil, this irritation will wear off and is not dangerous or harmful.
There is quite a lot of contradictory information about the use of essential oils in pregnancy. Some sources say that they are fine to use in small amounts after the first trimester (first 3 months) and then at only half of their normal strength (about 1%). Some sources say that only certain oils are safe to use during pregnancy, such as roman chamomile, geranium, ginger, neroli, patchouli, rosewood, rose and sandalwood. Whereas other oils such as wormwood, rue, oak moss, camphor, parsley seed, sage, and hyssop should be avoided completely during pregnancy. In our opinion unless you have been specifically directed to use essential oils during pregnancy by a qualified aromatherapist, doctor or midwife then steer clear – until there has been more research into the subject we recommend that it is better to be safe than sorry.
Internal consumption of essential oils
Again this is a subject about which there is a level of controversy; some say that you can ingest essential oils in small amounts without any risk of toxicity and some say that you can’t. On the one hand there are entire cookbooks dedicated to using essential oils to flavour your cooking and reams of internet blog posts extoling the virtues of taking essential oils internally for medicinal purposes. However we do not recommend ever ingesting essential oils, again there is not yet enough information to prove their safety. Essential oils are potent and should always be treated with the respect that they deserve.
Some essential oils are phototoxic and as such can cause sensitivity or irritation if used prior to, or during, sun exposure. These include Angelica root, Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Cumin, Lemon, Lime and Tagette.
If you would like further clarification on the safe use of essential oils, we recommend that you should consult a qualified aromatherapist. There are also a number of good books on the market, such as ‘Aromatherapy’ by Christine Westwood.