There is a lot of bad advice going around about using essential oils on this site and elsewhere online. This is probably based on a misunderstanding of how oils work, and I will attempt to remedy that in this post. The following precautions can be used if using oils to make soaps, bath salts, etc., anointing oils that will come in contact with skin, and actualaromatherapy blends.

1. Just because essential oils are natural doesn't mean they are safe! There are many ways that using essential oils can go very wrong. So, read carefully before using any oil all the precautions and possible adverse affects that go along with that oil. While there aren't as many as prescription drugs, there are still important things for you to know before working with any oil topically.
2. Do not use oils on animals. Dogs will process the oils about the same as a human, so most blends are ok, but consult your vet first. No oils should ever be used on cats or other animals.
3. Unless you are working with lavender or tea tree oil, dilute your oils for contact with skin. Most oils will be fine with a fairly weak dilution, but hot oils (cinnamon especially) must be diluted about 75% to be safe. Some will cause mild irritation, others will cause burns.
4. Be careful to never use too much of one oil topically. Peppermint and lavender are notorious for causing blinding headaches after an oil overdose.
5. Most blends you'll find are proportioned for adults and should be severely weakened for children. Some will say specifically the weight of the person they're intended for. If not, assume it's for a 150 lbs. adult. Weaken accordingly.
6. Never use oils topically if you're pregnant. Ginger is the ONLY oil that is regarded as safe through inhalation for pregnant women. DO NOT use oils in any way if you are breast feeding.
7. If buying a pre-made, pre-diluted blend, make sure you know the carrier oil if you have nut or other allergies. Some people still use almond oil.
8. If buying EOs, make sure they are pure, undiluted. Otherwise you cannot know the proportions of the blend to make your own or adjust for people of varying weights.
9. Added by Sherry: When burning EOs in a candle burner, dilute the oil in water; a couple of drops of oil to a 1/3c. water is what my burner uses. Also burning some oils can cause lung and upper respiratory problems (i.e. burning eyes, nose, and coughing and irritation of mucus membranes.
10. When using an oil for anointing, dilute it also either with water or carrier oil. You never know when you will develop an allergy or become sensitive to something. You can use an ingredient one day and become sensitive or allergic to it the next.
11. If accidentally swallowed, DO NOT induce vomiting - drink at least 1 pint of water, seek medical advice. Show bottle and amount.
11. Sea salts, fat, or alcohol can function as emulsifiers. Vodka, witch hazel, aloe vera gel, cornstarch, and vinegar can also be used. Sea salts are especially good for bath products. Add oils to the salts first and let sit. Then, add salts to bath. Whole milk can also be used as an emulsifier (not skim, it's the FAT that is needed for the oil to mix with). Fractionated sweet almond oil is a good emulsifier.



Those are the overall warnings I have. Now onto the most common oils and their precautions:
-Peppermint: will counteract many homeopathic treatments, too much will cause a blinding headache
-Rosemary: do not use large amounts topically if you have high blood pressure, do not use if you have liver problems
-Eucalyptus: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Ginger: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Thyme: should not be used with leukemia, mucous membrane irritant (dilute when burning or diffusing)
-Black Pepper: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Ylang Ylang: use caution if you have low blood pressure, large doses can cause nausea and headaches
-Geranium/Rose Geranium: can cause insomnia if used too late in the day
-Clary Sage: DO NOT drink with this oil. It will cause vivid nightmares and increase the effects of the alcohol, can be contradicted with some antipsychotic medications
-Jasmine: safe in accordance with above precautions (Although one precaution is that jasmine is an expensive oil; if you find it for $7, it's not real.)
-Sandalwood: can cause allergic reactions
-Patchouli: safe in accordance with above precautions (This scent will linger on clothing even after washing, though, and many people dislike it.)
-Cypress: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Bergamot: photo sensitizer, can cause irritation in baths if you use more than 6 drops
-Lemon: photo sensitizer, can cause irritation in baths if you use more than 6 drops
-Orange: photo sensitizer, can cause irritation in baths if you use more than 6 drops
Grapefruit: photo sensitizer, can cause irritation in baths if you use more than 6 drops
-Lavender: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Rose: safe in accordance with above precautions (One precaution is that Rose is an extremely expensive EO. If you find it for $7, it's definitely not real. If you find an absolute for $7, it's still not real. Look for it to cost at least $40 for an absolute. Rose EO is about $1000.)
-Roman Chamomile: use caution when using topically if you have low blood pressure
-Marjoram: use caution when using large amounts topically if you have low blood pressure
-Clove Bud: safe in accordance with above precautions, mucous membrane irritant (dilute when burning or diffusing)
-Eucalyptus: not for use with children or infants unless heavily diluted, safe in accordance with above precautions
-Tea Tree: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Cinnamon: should not be used if receiving anticoagulent therapy, not fur use with children
-Oregano: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Ravensara: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Spikenard: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Juniper: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Lemongrass: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Fragonia: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Cedar: possible contradiction with sedative medication like phenobarbitol, use caution when using on children: dilute heavily
-Vetiver: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Myrrh: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Frankincense: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Wintergreen: keep away from children
-Palmarosa: safe in accordance with above precautions
-Basil: can make skin tingle in a bath, safe in accordance with above precautions
-Amber: safe in accordance with above precautions

If anyone has any need of further assistance, feel free to ask.

For more information on aromatherapy, see my other post on how to use EOs: http://realpagan.net/profiles/blogs/using-essential-oils

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Tags: EO, aromatherapy, essential, oil

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