Three Tips for Using Essential Oils Safely
Used for thousands of years, essential oils have not always been called by this simple and straightforward name. Whether they were distillations, essences, aromatics or simply oils, they have been viewed in many different ways. Medicinal, even magical, they are made by distilling or extracting oils from peels, roots, leaves, flowers, bark and even resins of many different plants or trees.
Though they have a very long history of use by human beings, they have not always been used safely or even effectively. For example, there are currently many stories of those who used pennyroyal as a way of killing of an infestation of fleas on a house pet. However, as this oil is harmful to an animal's liver and/or kidneys, and can lead to serious medical issues.
So, it is important to know how to use essential oils safely, no matter what reason you have decided to include them in your daily life. Here, we give the three best ways of using essential oils safely, and how to go about them.
- Bathing - You can add drops of oil to your bath, but it is wiser and safer to use them with some sort of emulsifier or salt. For example, you can blend your oil in a 50/50 ratio with sesame oil or milk. Alternately, you can do the same with salts, blending 10 drops of oil into 1 cup of salt, before adding it to your bath.
Why is this necessary? Without first emulsifying the oil, it is going to simply float on the surface of the bath water. This will allow it come into direct and undiluted contact with skin, and this can lead to dermotoxicity.
Which oils work best? The safest and mildest are clary sage, geranium, lavender, rose, sandalwood, eucalyptus, cedar, spruce, juniper and frankincense oils.
- Diffusion - This is a method that has become wildly popular and includes the use of candles that heat a blend of water and oil to force it to evaporate into the air; electric diffusers that use heated vessels with oil soaked pads that also evaporate the oil into the air, and cool air nebulizers. This last method uses a small compressor to convert the oil into a vapor and then release it into the air.
There are pros and cons to each approach. The candles do not produce a very potent effect, making them good for mood rather than therapeutic purposes. The electric diffusers are acceptable for aromatherapy, but the heat can often reduce the effectiveness of some compounds. The cool air nebulizers are excellent for therapeutic use, but are a bit high maintenance.
- Massage - To safely use essential oils for massage means diluting them. The safest percentages of dilution are from 2 to 10%. The younger the person being massaged, the higher the dilution. A dilution should use one ounce of carrier oil and then the appropriate number of drops of essential for the dilution desired. A 2% solution has 12 drops per ounce, while a 5% solution features 30.
The oils best for massage include marula, vanilla, rose, jasmine and neroli, but blends of any kind can be created for the individual being massaged.
You can safely use essential oils in the three methods above and enjoy their healing properties and amazing aromas.