Can assist with the following:
- Elimination of toxins
- Boosts digestion
- Eases discomforts of the stomach and bowel
- Enhances appetite
- Clears the respiratory tract
- Soothes aches
- Reduces inflammation
Application: massage, in a bath, vaporiser, cloth or tissue, hot or cold compress, diffuser, nebuliser
Undiluted oils are too strong to use straight. You will need to dilute them, usually with vegetable oils or creams or bath gels, to a solution that only has a little bit — 1% to 5% — of the essential oil. Exactly how much can vary. The higher the percentage, the more likely you are to have a reaction, so it’s important to mix them correctly
- Less is more. You can always add another drop, so start slow, whether you’re using your oils topically, aromatically or internally.
- Due to potency, some oils may be irritating to the skin. If irritation occurs, immediately apply pure vegetable oil to the affected area to dilute.
- Do not put essential oils in eyes, ears, nose or other areas with sensitive skin.
- Just because it’s from a plant doesn’t mean it’s safe to rub on your skin, or breathe, or eat, even if it’s “pure”. Natural substances can be irritating, toxic or cause allergic reactions. Like anything else you put on your skin, it’s best to test a little bit on a small area and see how your skin responds.
- In general, don’t keep them more than 3 years. Older oils are more likely to be spoiled because of exposure to oxygen. They may not work as well and could irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. If you see a big change in the way an oil looks, feels, or smells you should throw it out, because it has probably spoiled.
- Injured or inflamed skin will absorb more oil and may cause unwanted skin reactions. Undiluted oils, which you shouldn’t use at all, can be downright dangerous on damaged skin.
- Young children and the elderly may be more sensitive to essential oils. So you may need to dilute them more.
- And you should totally avoid some oils, like birch and wintergreen. In even small amounts, those may cause serious problems in children 6 years of age or younger, because they contain a chemical called methyl salicylate.
- Don’t use essential oils on a baby unless your paediatrician says it’s OK.
- They can be very concentrated and may cause serious health problems, especially if used at the wrong dose or in the wrong way. Just like anything else that little hands shouldn’t be able to reach, don’t make your essential oils too handy. If you have young children, keep all essential oils locked away out of their sight and reach.
- Your skin might love essential oils. But if it doesn’t — and you notice a rash, little bumps, boils or just itchy skin — take a break. More of the same oil can make it worse. Whether you mixed it yourself or it’s an ingredient in a ready-made cream, oil or aromatherapy product, gently wash it off with water.
- More of a good thing is not always good. Even when diluted, an essential oil can cause a bad reaction if you use too much or use it too often. That’s true even if you’re not allergic or unusually sensitive to them.
- Used the right way, they can help you feel better with few side effects. For example, you may feel less nauseated from chemotherapy cancer treatment if you breathe in ginger vapours. You may be able to fight certain bacterial or fungal infections, including the dangerous MRSA bacteria, with tea tree oil. In one study, tea tree oil was as effective as a prescription antifungal cream in easing symptoms of a fungal foot infection.
- Some essential massage oils may make their way into the placenta, an organ in your uterus that grows along with your baby and helps to nourish it. It’s not clear if this causes any problems, unless you take toxic amounts, but to be safe, it’s best to avoid certain oils if you’re pregnant. Those include wormwood, rue, oak moss, Lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage and hyssop. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure.
- Heartburn, diarrhoea, stomach discomfort
- Heavier menstrual periods
- Skin irritation (if applied to skin)