Essential oils are potent. Did you know it takes 256 pounds of peppermint leaf to make one pound of peppermint essential oil? One DROP of peppermint essential oil is the equivalent of drinking about 26 cups of peppermint tea.
Because of the potency of essential oils, they need to be used with some care. After all, you probably wouldn’t drink 26 cups of peppermint tea in one day!
And there are actually times you shouldn’t use essential oils.
When you shouldn’t use essential oils
Essential oils can be a wonderful resource when they are used properly. But they still have to be used with care and caution. While it’s common to see people adding undiluted oil to their water, dousing themselves liberally everyday, and generally using unsafe practices when it comes to essential oils, there is a better, safer way to use your oils.
Along with this liberal, overuse of essential oils, there are also plenty outrageous claims online about the many benefits of essential oils, they aren’t actually a miracle cure for every ailment.
Let’s take a look at some of the times you don’t want to reach for that stash of essential oils:
Essential oils shouldn’t replace your medication
Essential oils are not a replacement for your medications. If you are currently taking any medications, don’t replace them with essential oils!
Instead of replacing your current medications, consult with a certified aromatherapist to discuss ways that essential oils can support your current health needs.
And did you know that some essential oils shouldn’t be used if you are taking certain medications? It’s true - some essential oils can have an affect on specific medications.
Your best option? If you are using prescription medications consult with a certified aromatherapist before including essential oils in your daily routine.
Essential oils don’t cure diseases
Essential oils are also not meant to be used to cure every disease. No, essential oils won’t cure diabetes or high blood pressure or whatever other issue you’re dealing with.
They CAN be used to support the health of various body functions and can be helpful when dealing with symptoms but they can’t actually cure a disease.
In a world where we often hear ‘There’s an oil for that!’ sometimes there isn’t. Essential oils should not be your go-to solution for every problem.
Essential oils shouldn’t be used as a preventative
Some believe that you should use essential oils liberally every day as some kind of preventative.
No, you shouldn’t use essential oils like this.
Remember, they are potent substances and those potent substances need to be used carefully. Overusing essential oils can have adverse effects - it can lead to a sensitivity to a particular essential oil or you could end up with a rash, hives, or a burn.
Use them for specific reasons, try aromatic methods first, and always dilute if you are applying the oils to your skin.
Essential oils shouldn’t be applied undiluted
Because of their potency, essential oils should not be applied to skin undiluted (that means without a carrier oil). You are at risk of developing a sensitivity or even burning your skin if you don’t exercise caution when applying essential oils topically.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils without applying them undiluted. Use them in a diffuser, add a drop to a bracelet, keep an inhaler in your purse, add a few drops to a bowl of cedar chips. Essential oils can be a part of your daily life without actually applying them to your skin.
Essential oils should be used carefully with children and babies… and the elderly… and pregnant women
You need to exercise even more caution when using essential oils with children and babies. Some essential oils aren’t recommended for children under 10 (like eucalyptus or wintergreen) but, even if a gentle oil is safe, it needs to be heavily diluted.
Care also needs to be taken if you are elderly or if you’re pregnant. Do your research and use trusted information from reliable sources.
When to use Essential Oils
Now that you understand what essential oils aren’t meant for, there are plenty of ways you can use them!
For emotional support
For supporting healthy body functions
For minor aches and pains
Basic first aid treatments
In skin care products
In other personal care products
In home care products
Essential oils are perfectly safe in small doses. In any given day you could run a diffuser for a few minutes to clear germs from the air, use a (safely diluted) homemade skin serum, grab an inhaler if you feel a headache coming on, mop the floors with a homemade cleaner that includes essential oils, or wear a drop on a diffuser necklace. All of these methods are perfectly safe in everyday situations. But you need to be aware of the fact that essential oils are potent and need to be used with care.
If you want to read more on this topic:
Why Safety is Important at The Tisserand Institute
Risks and Dangers of Essential Oils at Wellness Mama
Dangerous Essential Oil Myths at Natural Living Ideas