Things to conisder before you use essential oils:
Babies and children: Care should be taken when using essential oils on babies and children. The following oils cannot be used on children: click here. Check the dilution chart for how how to dilute the oils for use on babies and children.
Elderly and infirm: Check first the overall health of the individual and check any contraindications for the specific oil. Then start with half the amount of the suggested recipe and if no adverse reactions can be increased as necessary up to the full recipe amounts.
Pets: This is a specialised field and not my area of expertise. Just as human doctors do not work with animals an aromatherapist should not work with animals without the proper education to do so so. If you are diffusing in your home, make sure the room is property ventilated if there is a pet in the room. Better still, try to diffuse on in rooms where your pets do not generally come. Cats are extremely sensitive to oils, especially tea-tree. Extreme care should be taken when diffusing oils around pets, especially with cats.
Health conditions / medication
Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy, extra care should be taken during the first and third trimesters. Click here for a list of oils to avoid during pregnancy.
Those with asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure, diabetes or with other health conditions, should always check the contraindications for each specific oil.
It is advisable to check with a qualified aromatherapist if you are pregnant or have an existing health condition. Book here a free 15 minute consultation to find out more about how you can safely introduce aromatherapy into your life.
Do not use undiluted on the skin. Essential oils are so concentrated that different skin types may have an adverse reaction and / or become irritated. Due to this high concentration it is better to dilute with a carrier oil because it spreads better when applied to the skin. That is better to overcome irritation and better for absorption into the bloodstream, and of course better for your pocket, as you use less!
Check the dilution chart for how you should dilute the oil depending on how it will be applied and who it is for.
Essential oils should only be taken internally or rare occassions and stricly only under the supervison and guidance of a qualified aromatherapist, or better still your doctor.
If you get some essential oils in the eye, immediately wash the eye with pure jojoba oil or any pure vegetable, seed, fruit or nut oil or full fat milk. If you have an adverse reaction on the skin, continue to further dilute the oil with more carrier oil.
Things to consider before you buy:
The plant’s Latin name should be on the label. If only the common name is listed (for example, "tea-tree essential oil") it is likely that while this product contains essential oil it is likely a hybrid of different species of the plant, which may be diluted with carrier oil.
If the label simply uses "tea tree oil" or "perfume oil" then it is likely to be a synthetic oil that contains little or no material from the plan, and will not have the same therapeutic properties as "lavender essential oil."
Did you know that essential oils aren’t oils at all. They are labelled as such because they don’t play well with water. And, as it turns out, this comes in handy for spotting any hidden nut, seed, or vegetable oils added to an essential oil. Place a single drop on white printer paper and let dry. If there’s an oily ring left behind, it’s not a pure essential oil. Of course as with any test there are exceptions:
Essential oils such as sandalwood, vetiver, German chamomile, and patchouli oils, which are naturally heavier in consistency and deeper in color.
Place a drop of a vegetable, nut, or seed oil on the pad of one index finger, and place a drop of the essential oil on the other. Rub the oils with your thumbs, noting the differences (or similarities) between the feel of each. True essential oils have a little slip, but for the most part, they shouldn’t feel thick or greasy. Heavy, richly colored essential oils, like sandalwood, vetiver, German chamomile, and patchouli, are exceptions.
All essentials must be stored in glass containers, because the oil’s strong chemical compounds break down and react with plastic. What’s more, glass should be dark blue or amber to protect the oil from degrading ultraviolet radiation Take note of the temperature, too. Bottles should be kept in a cool place, since heat messes with the oil’s chemical composition.
Be wary of both really cheap and really expensive essential oils. Depending on the plant it can sometimes take tonnes of plant material to produce one bottle of essential oil, so really cheap oils tend to be synthetic. That said be aware also of the higher price of an oil from the increasingly popular MLM companies, often the price difference is purely marketing costs.
Certification / accreditation
Unfortunately, at the moment there is no governing organisation, international or national, that certifies essential oil quality and production, nor is there a standardised grading system for essential oils.
The marketing campaigns behind some brands often make claims to create a picture of better quality. For example sellers who claim that their oils are 'certified pure therapeutic grade', are in fact certifying their own products, a very clever marketing ploy, creating an illusion of better quality.
Essential oils are either 100% pure and natural, or they are not. Differences can be noted as a result of the location, harvest conditions and the weather. If it is a pure essential oil, the only difference is the label on the bottle.