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Safe Use of Essential Oils:

Aromatherapy uses essential oils either singularly or in combination to create scents that have a positive effect on the mind, spirit and body. Aromatherapy has been practiced for thousands of years.

Essential Oils are highly concentrated, volatile natural aromatic essences of plants. They are usually either steam distilled or expressed (cold pressed) from plant material: leaves, stems, wood, bark, flowers, fruit or seeds. Essential oils are the botanical gems of nature - the quintessential life force of aromatic plants - sometimes called the "soul " of the plant. Each drop is a precious jewel to be savored, protected, and used with caution.
Store your essential oils away from heat, air and light to preserve their aroma, freshness and potency. The use of tightly capped amber or cobalt bottles is recommended. Do not store essential oils in dropper top bottles as the oil will erode the rubber over time.
The shelf life of most essential oils is popularly thought to be up to three years. Citrus oils expressed from the peel have a shorter shelf life because they contain unstable components. Some oils such as frankincense, patchouly, vetiver, agarwood, sandalwood, rose and jasmine will actually improve with age and last up to a decade, even beyond, with careful storage.

Always observe these general precautions when using any essential oil:

Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
Never apply a pure essential oil to your skin. Dilute in a carrier oil before application.
Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
Do not take essential oils internally.
Essential oils may interfere with prescription medication or homeopathic remedies.
Consult with a health care professional before using essential oils with babies and children.
Consult with a health care professional before using essential oils during pregnancy.
Consult with a health care professional before using essential oils if you suffer from allergies, asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure, kidney disease or seizures.
Essential oils may stain clothing and furniture.

Specific precautions to be observed when using essential oils are shown in the table below:

Specific Precaution  Essential Oils
Chronic Toxicity: Do not use for more than a few days at a time; use in low concentration. Star Anise, Bay Laurel, West Indian Bay, Benzoin, Cinnamon Bark, Hyssop, Nutmeg, Red Thyme, Turmeric, Indian Valarian 
Photosensitivity: Do not use prior to tanning or prolonged exposure to sunlight. Angelica Root, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Sweet Orange, St. Johnswort, Tangerine 
Skin Irritation: Use caution on sensitive or damaged skin; use caution if allergic skin condition or cosmetics sensitivity. Star Anise, Holy Basil, Bay Laurel, West Indian Bay, Cajeput, Virginia Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Nutmeg, Oakmoss, Peppermint, Pine Needle, Ravensara, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Red Thyme 
Severe Skin Irritation: May cause severe burning if applied undiluted; avoid use in bath or for massage. Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clovebud, Black Pepper 

Under certain medical conditions, specific essential oils are to be avoided:

  Essential Oil(s) to Avoid
Epilepsy  White Camphor, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Hyssop, Rosemary 
High Blood Pressure  Atlas Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Hyssop, Rosemary 
Hypoglycemia  Geranium 
Kidney Problems  Coriander Seed, Juniper Berry, Sandalwood 
Pregnancy  Agarwood/Aloeswood, Star Anise, Holy Basil, Bay Laurel, Benzoin, White Camphor, Carrot Seed, Atlas Cedarwood, Himalaya Cedarwood, Virginia Cedarwood, Blue Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Citronella, Clary Sage, Clovebud, Cypress, Dillweed, Fennel, Geranium, Hyssop, Jasmine Absolute, Juniper Berry, Labdanum, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Peppermint, Rose Absolute, Rosemary, Spikenard, Red Thyme, Vanilla  

Disclaimer: This page is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Consult with a health care professional, especially during pregnancy, before using essential oils.

Aromatic Herbs A-Z: Herbs A-Ce  Herbs Ch-E  Herbs F-G  Herbs H-L  Herbs M-O  Herbs P-Sa  Herbs Sk-Z

More Herb Links: Dittany-of-Crete  Herb Bibliography  Anita's Incense   

Essential Oils A-Z: Essential Oils A-C  Essential Oils D-M  Essential Oils N-Z 

More Essential Oils Links: Essential Oil Bibliography  Essential Oil Recipes  Essential Oil Safety

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