Are Essential Oils Safe for Everyone to Use?

The essential oil industry is booming and VERY lucrative, but is the use of essential oils safe for everyone? Who should you trust to give you educated and honest answers? These are just a few of the many questions you will want to consider before you purchase or use any essential oils.

Side Note: I do not sell essential oils, I am interested in teaching the safe and effective use of essential oils.

The largest distributors of essential oils are Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies. There are also many small companies that have reps who sell oils with zero to little knowledge of the product they are selling. You may ask, how do I know this. I have first-hand knowledge. My first experience was with an MLM company that I thought was the best place to purchase oils, after all, they were one of the biggest. I, therefore, believed they must be the best. I VERY quickly discovered their main function was selling, not promoting safety. It is impossible to safely use essential oils after just viewing a CD provided to “educate” an individual in aromatherapy. The company even provided a certificate showing I had been trained after viewing a very short video. This was a complete turn off to me.  I realized this was not something I could be a part of. I wanted to help my own family use essential oils safely and the thought of providing oils to others for their benefit was very appealing. I discontinued my association with this company.  I was referred to a second company which was not an MLM company. Their oils were touted to be of the highest quality with reasonable prices and I believed in them. It was about the same time I decided I wanted to become professionally trained in aromatherapy to learn how to use essential oils safely. It wasn’t long into my studies that I discovered I was hoodwinked again, this was getting old, who could I trust? The more I studied, I realized there were massive amounts of confusing and dangerous information in the essential oil community and on the Internet. My studies taught me how to look for reputable essential oil distributors who back their oils with scientific research as to the chemistry and purity of their oils by providing test results to the consumer. This test is referred to as a GC/MS report. If a company will not or cannot provide this report to you, I personally would not purchase any oils from them. (More on this a bit later)

How to Use Essential Oils Safely

Finding an individual who is professionally trained in aromatherapy is a step in the right direction. Is the person you are entrusting your safety to certified, registered, or a clinical aromatherapist? There are MANY individuals who sell essential oils without actual training at any significant level.  There needs to be education to back their rhetoric. The education should be from an accredited school and should teach why essential oils work. This involves learning about the individual oils, their chemical make-up, what the chemistry of the oil means, human anatomy and physiology, Latin names as well as common names, why a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) report is of great value and necessary for every oil and every individual batch of oil, safety issues, contraindications of specific oils, and much more. The study of essential oils is not an overnight learning experience. I currently have over 500 educational hours and know my learning experience is nowhere near where I want to be. The learning never stops.

Safety Report

Currently, there is a new Safety Report available to the public. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of injuries reported are from Multi-Level Marketing companies. There would most likely be many more reported if the public was aware of where to report these incidents. You can find the information on my blog, Did You Know There is an Essential Oil Injury Report? The reports are from individuals who were personally affected. I feel this report is a real eye-opener.

Unsafe Use of Essential Oils

The unsafe use of essential oils can be extremely dangerous and it gives the essential oil industry a bad rap. When essential oils are used correctly, they can do amazing things. Here are a few things to AVOID:

  • Internal use – This should ONLY be done under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist with the level of expertise to assess the situation. From the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) – “AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).” – In France, aromatherapists who are not doctors are not allowed to direct this type of usage. This shows how dangerous it can be.
  • Undiluted oils on the skin – this is known as neat application. A carrier oil should be used with a dilution of the essential oils at the proper dilution rate (there are a few exceptions but the oils should not be used without proper knowledge)
  • Raindrop Technique (RDT), Aromatouch, or a similar practice – this is a method of application that is very unsafe. Members of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA), The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), and the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) are prohibited from using this method.
  • Using essential oils without knowing contraindications with certain medications and medical diagnosis
  • Stating essential oils can cure
  • Making a diagnosis – this is NOT in the scope of practice of an aromatherapist – must refer to a medical or qualified health practitioner

Natural Does Not Mean Safe – Common Myths Used to Sell Essential Oils

They:

  • Don’t expire
  • Can be ingested without worry
  • Can be used undiluted (Neat Application)
  • Are safe for everyone
  • Can be mixed in water
  • Can be used undiluted directly in your bath
  • Are natural so they are completely safe

(A quick note, there is a true story on my blog, Severe Danger Using Essential Oils, about a severe burn received by a young lady who was given advise to use essential oils undiluted in her bath)

Factors to Consider When Using Essential Oils

To safely use essential oils, many significant factors need to be considered:

  • Medications
  • Diagnosis
  • Allergies
  • Age
  • Health Level
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer Therapy
  • Aromas (Good/Bad)
  • Medical History
  • And More…

Essential oils can do wonderful things when used safely. Many hospitals are now implementing integrative health modalities, including essential oils, into their programs with great success. The important thing to remember is to make sure you use the oils responsibly. They are natural chemicals, but that does not mean they do not have safety concerns. Consult a professionally trained, certified, registered, or clinical aromatherapist for your safety.

If you have any questions, send me an email and I will be happy to reply.

Should You Use Essential Oils Internally?

Should You Use Essential Oils Internally?

There is a lot of buzz about using essential oils internally. Frankly it scares me. Essential oils are very powerful. Without proper usage they can have major consequences. The answer is mostly a no with specific and very important caveats. This method should ONLY be used when advised by a professional trained at an appropriate clinical level. This does not mean, someone who sells oils who’s knowledge is from hearsay or their up-lines. This is VERY serious business.

Should You Use Essential Oils Internally?

The benefits of using essential oils properly is HUGE. I use them on a very regular basis and find they have done great things for my family. I hope that you will be open to learning the proper way to use essential oils. Remember not everything on the Internet is true.

The well-respected, Robert Tisserand, who is the author of the second edition of Essential Oil Safety, says using essential oils can be a case of concern. “With oral administration there is greater risk of overdose, of gastric irritation, and of interactions with medications. Therefore only practitioners who are qualified to diagnose, trained to weigh risks against benefits, and have a knowledge of essential oil pharmacology should prescribe essential oils for oral administration.”

I have been doing some real soul searching about the way essential oils are sold. There seems to be a new company popping up every day. They all claim to have the best of the best but that doesn’t mean they really have a product you can trust. There are no industry standards for who can sell essential oils. It is therefore difficult to find properly trained essential oil sales people. I think most of the people who are involved in selling essential oils have their hearts in the right place.  I don’t believe enough salespeople understand how essential oils can impact the health of an individual when not used properly. Consideration must be taken to use them properly. Anything used on your body can be affected by several factors including allergies, health conditions, and age.

One essential oil, Tea Tree or a/k/a Melaleuca is often qualified as an essential oil that can be used orally. The Mayo Clinic states, “Avoid taking by mouth in people of all ages, due to possible nervous system toxicity, skin allergic reactions, decrease in white blood cells, and stomach and intestine complaints”. They do say that applied to the skin in a recommended dosage is likely safe. Using essential oil topically and diluted at the proper dilution rates or using the essential oils aromatically via an inhaler or a diffuser will be a much safer way to get great results.

Should You Use Essential Oils Internally?Using essential oils internally can lead to potential problems over the long term. The potency of an essential oil is far greater than the use of herbs. As an example, in an article written by Joseph Alton, M.D. and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. for Backwoods Home Magazine, it states that it takes five pounds of peppermint leaves to make one ounce of peppermint essential oil. It further states that the FDA only requires ten percent essential oil in a bottle to be marketed as a pure essential oil. This shows two things, the incredible potency of a drop of a truly pure essential oil and also a big red flag. If companies can market their essential oil as “pure” with as little as ten percent true purity, what exactly are you purchasing? I am not comfortable with this. This is a great example of why you should request seeing a GC/MS report on every essential oil you purchase. A GC/MS report (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) gives the chemical components in a specific batch of essential oils and shows whether they are pure or if they have added synthetic chemicals or other additives in them.

In addition to this, using essential oils internally is a practice that is widespread in the sales of essential oils. Stop and think about who you are buying your oils from. Are they qualified to recommend you ingest such a potent substance? When I first started using essential oils, I read and listened to information from various sources. Typically, sales people are well-intentioned; they don’t realize the repercussions of internal use.

In the beginning of my journey into the essential oil world, I purchased gel and vegetable capsules to start using the essential oils internally but something in my gut just made be stop and ponder whether this really made any sense. I never managed to convince myself it was a good idea. You may have been using the essential oils this way and may not have experienced any problems to date. Long term use may become a different story. Smokers were told cigarettes would not harm them, even the doctors smoked. It wasn’t until years later that widespread problems arose and many deaths resulted. I am not comfortable with taking this kind of risk.

So What Should You Do?

  • Do not rely on information from sales people with fancy titles, Health Advocates, Associates, etc.
  • Do not trust that every company who advertises their products are “pure” are truly pure; remember they only need 10% of the essential oil to say it is PURE
  • Beware of companies that will not give you easy access to batch specific GC/MS reports
  • If you choose to use essential oils internally, only do so under the guidance of a practitioner with your state’s approval to prescribe them. They would be the only ones who have the knowledge to weigh the benefits against the risks. You are dealing with incredible and potent substances and they should be used appropriately.

I am an avid user of essential oils and have seen how they can offer benefits quickly and effectively without the use of toxic chemicals. I have taken a path to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the proper way to use them.  I have chosen to be a certified aromatherapist. I know this is not for everyone and it is not a fast program but it is a very worthwhile endeavor. I chose to receive my education from the Aromahead Institute which is approved by the NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) and the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists). I have enjoyed my education received from Aromahead’s Aromatherapy Certification Program. I will use this knowledge to to help others.

I know this article may upset some people, but, I cannot apologize for telling it like it is. Essential oils can deliver their incredible benefits in other ways. They can be used topically when DILUTED, inhaled in an easy to carry inhaler, in a bath properly dispersed with Epson salt, magnesium flakes, milk, etc. and in diffusers.  Note – Not every essential oil can be used in the same fashion as there are many factors to consider; age, health, essential oils properties, etc. Make sure you know how to safely use the essential oils.

I hope you will give some thought on how you are using your essential oils. Essential oils have much to offer when used appropriately with safety in mind.

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