General Safety

Therapeutic Essential Oils are highly effective in their actions and often exponentially more concentrated than the same amount of herb itself.  The plants, when freshly picked, will typically have less than 1% to 2% essential oil content.  Safe usage of the essential oils will also depend on:
  1. the essential oil used
  2. the person's body type
  3. the person's lifestyle.  

Because the Therapeutic Essential Oils are so powerful, Healers should be aware of the potential dangers of the oils.  Just like the numerous benefits of plants that are eaten every day, an essential oil can and often do contain toxins that can be harmful if taken to an extreme. Even too much water can be fatal. The good thing about essential oils is that with the normal usage of a couple drops, even with the most toxic oil variety, is typically well within the safety zone and far below the potential toxic effects.
 
Example: Wintergreen is poisonous when taken internally in large amounts, however, even the FDA approves small flavoring amounts for use in recipes.

Oils have been used for a long time and are natural but can be poisonous when misused, just the same as most consumer products.  Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children as they are notorious for putting everything in their mouth and they do not grasp the concept of moderation.  Essential oils can cause rashes to the more sensitive skin types and each body reacts differently.  An educated Healer should use wisdom and be knowledgeable about the safe internal and external use of the essential oils. 

  • With small children, you always want to be extra careful.  They have more sensitive skin and are smaller.  When starting out with any new essential oil, it is wise to use a very small amount  mixed with a carrier oil (see item on carrier oil below).  Even though you may understand how the oils work on you, it is important to know how the oils work on a child. 


  • When pregnant, always consult with your physician or midwife.  Also, take care to avoid hormonal balancing essential oils like clary sage.  Again, normal usage of only a couple drops, a couple times a day topically, is usually within the safety zone.  That being said, safety is first.  When pregnant, consulting with a health adviser that is knowledgeable about essential oils and knows your personal overall health factors is always wise.  

  • Some essential oils can be fatal if taken internally. so continue to look up the latest research from trusted sources.  Plant research is ongoing as there is still flora on the planet being discovered. It has already been reported that as little as 5 ml of Eucalyptus globules can be fatal for infants.    Poison Control is a great resource since it is a real-time service and dedicated to public access as a source regarding all consumer products.  We have found them to have a more exhaustive resources for currently known flora, research documentation and  first respondent records. Poison Control advice to keep bottles away from the access of children is wise to heed since normal essential oil usage would generally be only a couple drops in order to stay well within the safety limits for even the most internally toxic essential oil and a full bottle can contain hundreds of drops.

  • Take care on flow rates when dispensing an essential oil from the bottle.  Each oil has a different viscosity (thickness) and will be dispensed at different speeds.  For example, if you turn a bottle of Orange oil upside down you will probably get ten drops to pour out in a second or two, but if you turn a bottle of patchouli upside down, it may take twenty seconds to get one single drop from the bottle as it is a thicker oil.  

  • It is best to start essential oil usage with only two or three drops and to dilute it in a carrier oil.  (Purchasing  carrier oil for dilution, is recommended)  Use of essential oils in moderation until you know how your body is going to respond is wise.  If you experience an adverse reaction to the oils, slow down on your use of natural products and allow your body a chance to acclimate.  It may be wise to temporarily discontinue their use and start an internal cleansing program before resuming regular use.

  • Many essential oils, like Lemon and Tea Tree, will eat away low quality plastics and furniture lacquer.  It is highly advisable to use a glass spray bottle and always avoid spraying directly on any surface that has been lacquered.  

  • Keep the essential oil twelve inches away (as a good rule of thumb) from anything electrical including the compressor motor portion of those types of diffusers.  Electricity can scramble and interfere with the balance of the essential oils energy, so try to keep your atomizer cap and bottle of essential oil away from power outlets, appliances, computers, and so forth.  The best type of diffuser to use is an Air Carrier Diffuser.  These types of diffusers keep electricity and moving parts farthest away from the essential oil.  It normally takes about eight to twenty four hours for an essential oil to resettle once it has come in contact with electrical fields or similar interference. 
 

For Additional Safety Information please see, “The Benefits of Essential Oils".