People everywhere are looking for a more natural way to keep themselves, their homes, and their families healthy and happy. To do so, many are readily stocking up and using essential oils. Like any other product that becomes popular, essential oils tend to be accompanied by a lot of misinformation. So, let’s look at how we can use essential oils safely so we can reap the benefits and avoid any negative side effects.
One of the biggest problems is that many consider essential oils to be natural, so they must be safe, right? Wrong! Essential oils, while derived from plants, are created by using complex distillation processes that concentrate these volatile organic compounds into the essential oils you know and love. They are amazing and fragrant, and for many provide great benefits, but they’re not completely safe in all ways just because they’re derived from a plant. Arsenic is a natural substance, still something you wouldn’t want to ingest, right? Just because something is natural – or is marketed as natural – doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe to use in any way.
Have you seen any of your MLM friends marketing their lemon essential oil as a great alternative to fresh lemon in your water? Do not walk…RUN AWAY. You should never, and I do mean NEVER ingest essential oils without the direction of a doctor. Part of this evolves from the fact that not all essential oils are created equal where quality and purity are concerned. The other part is that even the purest oils can cause serious harm to your mouth, esophagus, stomach, and liver. There are a few, and I mean very FEW than can actually be ingested. With that in mind dosing, concentration, and the duration should be left up to the professionals just as any medication is.
We all know that oil and water don’t mix right? Which means you should never try to dilute your essential oils in water. It just doesn’t work. The only way to dilute an essential oil is through a carrier oil or other fat-based product. A few of the best carrier oils include avocado oil, fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil. You can also try shea butter, cocoa butter, and other body creams and butters that have that fat base to them. Also, when mixing make sure you’re mixing the right ratios. There are safe dilutions to use to ensure you’re not overexposing your body to these compounds.
While you hear a lot of benefits touted around essential oils, because there are many, one thing you rarely hear about is that many oils can trigger estrogen responses, particularly those who are hormone sensitive, such as prepubescent males and those with estrogen-responsive cancer risks. This doesn’t mean you can’t diffuse them at all, it just means you want to be mindful of exactly which oils you’re using, and how often you diffuse them.
Many people have allergic reactions to essential oils and it’s important to be mindful when you begin using them and pay attention to your body. Look out for rashes, hives, itching, shortness of breath, and other signs of even mild allergic reaction. Also, try to be mindful of the amount you use, especially if you work in close quarters with others. Just covering yourself with essential oils doesn’t make you a wellness guru. If you have the right brand essential oil you shouldn’t have to drown yourself in it to get the benefit. Use the suggested dilutions and ratios for what you’re using it for, and you shouldn’t trigger your co-worker’s asthma.
While it’s amazing we can treat certain issues with natural remedies, be mindful of the word natural. While these oils are referred to as “natural”, they go through an intensely unnatural process. It’s like calling moonshine natural corn. Research well before you purchase your essential oils and check out the company’s stats and the purity of their product. It’s something you’re introducing into your household, body, and life. Shouldn’t you know where it came from? Essential oils are awesome, but only when used safely.