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This can be a touchy subject, and I might hear from some essential oil brand enthusiasts/consultants, but please hear me out before you comment.
Essential oils are an amazing natural resource that are purported to help with almost any condition under the sun, supporting physical and mental health.
That said, they do need to be used with caution.
There are companies out there that swear to the complete safety of all of their oils for all ages and situations (pregnancy, nursing, etc), because of their purity, advocating unsafe practices (using undiluted-neat- and ingesting).
This is the big reason why I do not recommend the big brand name MLM companies (Young Living and doTerra).
An oil’s purity is something to be considered, but the purity of an oil cannot remove compounds that are part of the plant’s oils naturally.
For example, peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary contain cineol 1,8 and methol- compounds which can cause young children (under 10) to experience trouble breathing.
Another example would be using oils containing camphor while pregnant, as it can cross the placenta and become toxic to baby, other oils may interfere with natural hormone levels.
There are several oils that should not be used for either children (and it varies by age group) and women who are nursing or pregnant (see below resources for more information).
It also does not account for allergies (since oils are super concentrated, you may not even know you have an allergy until you use it).
Pets are another consideration. Many oils are not safe to use around dogs and cats.
As for purity, both doTerra and Young Living’s purity has been called into question by third party testing. So, just be sure to research and not simply take the company’s word for it.
The use of oils should be researched before embarking in their use.
Some brands advocate use of oils internally.
This stems from French aromatherapy, where you can visit a doctor who has been certified to oversee such things, who will take your medical history, medical conditions and medications into account and make a recommendation. The willy-nilly consumption of essential oils is dangerous and has lead to poisonings.
I am by no means a medical expert, or certified aromatherapist, and I do not have all of the answers. I am just learning a lot myself, but I oft see unsafe practices encouraged and no caution given. The following links are helpful resources, by experts.
It is a rather expensive book, but one I plan to invest in getting soon. Right now I have my library copy checked out.
The Hippy Homemaker has a wonderful series on Essential Oil Safety, with a lot more information, including lists of kid safe and pregnancy/nursing safe oils:
An Introduction to Essential Oil Safety
Learning About Essential Oil’s Safety Cheat Sheet
While the following link is from 2014, I still see many of these perpetuated today and she has links to great articles.
The Barefoot Dragonfly’s 10 Epic Essential Oil Myths & Dangerous Uses 2014
<a href=”http://www.weedemandreap.com/essential-oil-myths-dr-pappas/” rel=”no follow”>Weed ’em & Reap 10 Essential Oil Myths Tackled By Dr Pappas
Dr Robert Tisserand’s Myth Page
Dr Tisserand Interviewed on Ingestion, Dilution and Other Safety Issues
Do you use essential oils in your home? What is your favorite way to use them?