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By Anita Hales, Chartered Herbalist
How To Safely Use Essential
Essential oils are made by distillation.
It takes about 256 pounds of peppermint leaf to create one
pound of peppermint essential oil.
150 pounds of lavender flowers will make about a pound of
lavender essential oil.
And you wonder why rose essential oil is so expensive? It takes
over 1000 pounds of roses to make 1 pound of rose essential
What you end up with is a pharmaceutical grade herbal.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils Are Extremely Concentrated
› One drop of peppermint oil is essentially equivalent to almost
30 cups of peppermint tea.
› More isn’t always better.
› People have been known to poison themselves to death by
ingesting too much water.
› Using herbs for healing does not require large amounts.
› Frequency is better than quantity.
› Too frequent use of some herbs can result in allergic reactions.
› Carrier oils
› Never ingested
Essential Oils Should Always Be Diluted
› There are some exceptions
but a novice should always
dilute the oil in a carrier oil
or water or other food.
› Lotions, creams, salves and
massage oils can contain
small amounts of Essential
› Essential oils can be
administered in the
› Many Essential Oils,
particularly citrus, can burn
› Many Essential Oils are
powerful anti-microbials and
can destroy even beneficial
› Essential Oils enter the blood
stream extremely rapidly even
when administered externally
so internal administration is
not necessary in most cases.
Why You Should Never Ingest Essential Oils
› Most people that use Essential
Oils are not trained
› People are not prepared for
any adverse reactions that
› True “food grade” essential
oils must be diluted to be
considered food grade.
› Before Using an Essential Oil, make sure you have researched
it for its benefits and possible bad side effects.
› Spot test a tiny amount of the diluted oil on your skin before
applying any place liberally.
› Many Essential Oils can cause photosensitivity. These include
most citrus and bergamot.
› Most Essential Oils are considered GRAS or Generally
Regarded As Safe for EXTERNAL use.
› To use an herb for internal use, use the fresh or dried herb
rather than EO.
Do Your Research and Spot Test
› NEVER use an essential oil during pregnancy without first checking
with your midwife or doctor. (Pharmacists can also give you some
› An essential oil as innocuous as peppermint or sage can decrease
milk supply during nursing even when used externally.
› Never use these EO during pregnancy: Aniseed, Angelica, Basil,
Black pepper, Camphor, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Clary Sage (often
used during labor by midwives safely), clove, fennel, fir, ginger,),
Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Mustard, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano,
Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Wintergreen.
› Never use Horseradish or Mugwort essential oils at any time.
Essential Oils Use During Pregnancy
› Too many purveyors of Essential Oils blithely recommend them as safe for children.
› NEVER give EO to a child internally – EVER.
› They should be diluted more than for an adult.
› Some EO can cause seizures in susceptible children.
› Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and wintergreen which contain 1,8-cineole, should
not be used around young children or babies. These herbs contain menthol and 1,8-
cineole. These compounds can slow breathing in very young children or those with
› A study from the University of Minnesota said that the menthol content of peppermint
oil caused breathing to stop in young children and has caused jaundice in babies with
› Using a diffuser would be the preferred method for application in most cases.
› Check with your pediatrician first.
Are Essential Oils Safe For Children?
› Essential Oils are a powerful source of healing.
› Essential Oils should be used intelligently.
› Using Essential Oils correctly will keep them from being regulated out
of the hands of people who need them. Many extremely useful herbs
have been banned because people have used them wrong.
› Essential Oils should be used diluted for external use only.
› Essential Oils can also be used safely in a diffuser.
› Always check with a physician before using during pregnancy or
nursing and for children.
› Do your research.
› Some people use EO on tampons or in colon flushes.
› Don’t do that. Really. Don’t do that.
Other weird things