The Issue of Essential Oil Safety | GrowingUpHerbal.com | With all the confusing info on essential oils online these days, I've written about my experience with them as well as how I'm learning to use them safely.

There’s a lot of debate surrounding essential oil use and safety on the web these days. So much so that it’s overwhelming and frustrating to try to decide where you stand on any given issue. From learning more about how to use essential oils to using them safely on different ages, much is debated and much is murky. It seems there are no clear cut answers.

My Beginnings With Essential Oils

Now I’m not new to essential oils. In fact, I’ve been using them for years. Unfortunately my use of essential oils has most-likely not always been the safest.

Until recently, I’ve used essential oils based on their recommended usage for things without really researching the chemistry behind them or knowing which species is best for what. I’ve used them not knowing whether they were safe for certain ages or safe for certain times in my life, without paying attention to proper dilution, and without consulting a certified aromatherapist.

As I’ve grown in this area, I’ve come to realize how unsafe this has probably been for myself.

Thankfully, it’s not really affected my kids too much as I always tend to chose herbs for them first because as I feel they’re a much better first step than essential oils anyway. No matter, I’m sure I’ve used the wrong oils for the wrong age on my kids here and there… like maybe using a eucalyptus vapor rub on them at too high of a dilution rate and at the wrong age.

My Search For Quality Information

So in my constant efforts to learn more and do a better job at taking care of myself and my family, I’ve been searching for more information on how to go about learning to use essential oils safely in my home. This includes using them in my household cleaning products, my homemade (and business) skincare products, in aromatic products as well as homemade natural remedies.

The point in doing all of this is to become healthier, to grow, to learn, to move forward.

If I use something in an unsafe way, then that doesn’t fit with that mindset at all. I have to stop listening to “everyone” out there or even to particular companies that I favor (because their essential oils will always be best) and start listening to various experts on this topic.

Now I must say that even these various experts disagree. You’ll see in the essential oil safety links below that there’s a difference among safety proticols.

No matter, in everything, whether it’s food and nutrition, herbs and oils, or buying a new high-tech gadget… you need to do your own research and that doesn’t include asking your friend who’s into essential oils what she thinks only. Same goes for me.

When I research anything about herbs, putting together a new formula, when learning how they work in the body, I always consult multiple herbalists and research information in order to see what everyone else thinks or says on the subject. I don’t go off of what one person says… or one herb company… or one blogger.

When To Do It Yourself vs. Seek Professional Help

When it comes to using natural remedies and alternative treatments for yourself and your family, there’s a lot of information you can take advantage of to learn how to do it correctly and safely on your own. You don’t always have to go see a professional for every little thing.

Of course there will be exceptions to this rule.

For example, you can’t read a few articles or take a 1 hour online course and learn to do acupuncture at home, now can you? Not safely at least. So instead, you go see a certified, licensed acupuncturist. Same with herbs. You can learn to use herbs on your own, in your home, on your family for a lot of different things, and the more you learn, research, and train in the particular field of herbalism, the further you can go in doing things on your own, but we all have our limits. If you are beyond your abilities, you go to see a certified, practicing herbalist.

Same thing with using essential oils. There’s a lot of good info out there… a lot of information that will make you feel confident and like you have it figured out, but so much of it, I’ve found, is very conflicting. When you’re constantly coming across different information within a particular field of study, it does make you doubt and fear. If you’re doubtful and fearful, that is not the time to be experimenting or using something you don’t fully understand. You need to be sure and confident… and well researched.

My Commitment To You

My purpose here with GrowingUpHerbal.com is to encourage you to take charge… to take responsibility of your children’s health.

That’s what I’m trying to do as well. I’m a nurse. I’m an herbalist. I’m a mom. I have a say in my and my families health, and I want to be responsible in that position. That’s what I want for you too.

Here at GrowingUpHerbal.com, my main goal is to help you see how I use herbs with my family. This is because I’m an herbalist, and that’s the area I’m more trained and confident in.

From time to time, I do talk about using essential oils. Essential oils are wonderful, effective, and herbal, but I’m not a certified aromatherapist. As of now, I’ve had no formal training in using essential oils from a certified school of aromatherapy (I’m currently taking a beginners course), and I’m not here to teach you how to use essential oils to heal your family of this or that.

I love sharing what I’m learning with you as well as where I’m getting my information. I ALWAYS try to source my information because I want you to see that I’m not just coming up with this stuff on my own or trying to look like an expert in this area when I’m not. I’m learning from other experts, not because I want to consult with you or treat other people here in my community, but because I’m interested in natural living and I want this lifestyle for my family.

So enough explaining… below you’ll find links to some places around the web that talk about using essential oils safely. This includes safety information for babies, children, pregnancy, and beyond. I’ve tried to find sources that aren’t affiliated (that I know of) with any particular essential oil brands because I wanted to find unbiased sources.

Essential Oil Resources

Online Information:

Robert Tisserand’s blog on essential oils

Alliance of International Aromatherapists – This site discusses information on essential oils and safety as well as details the standards of practice for aromatherapists and lists educational resources you can look into to learn more.

AromaWeb.com – safety information

LearningAboutEOs.com – a great resource for learning about using essential oils safely

Books:

Below are a couple books that I see over and over again, being recommended as good sources of information on using essential oils safely and effectively. These books are written by well-known aromatherapists that have many hours of experience in this field and their experience has gone much further than just using oils on clients as they have done extensive research and teaching on the subject.

The Complete Book Of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils by Valerie Ann Worwood

Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand

Schools:

Aromahead Introduction to Essential Oils Course – FREE

Aromahead is a recognized, certified school of aromatherapy, and to me this course is perfect for learning about the basics of essential oils and how to use them safely. If you’re looking for a more advanced course on blending and using oils for your family, this Aromahead course, Aromatherapy for Natural Living, may be a better choice for you, and of course, they have even more extensive courses available as well.

Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oils for Babies and Children

There are many conflicting “lists” online for which oils are okay to use on babies and children and about what ages they’re appropriate for. From my understanding, these oils will vary based off of the species of the oil as well as the quality of the product.

Many aromatherapists think no essential oils should be used on a child under the age of 2, and many also believe that oils containing menthol (camphor, peppermint, wintergreen, eucalyptus) should never be used before the age of 10. I’ve also read from other aromatherapists that these oils can be used in younger children, but only if they’re diluted appropriately depending upon the age. You can find two more lists of appropriate essential oils for children from AbundantHealth4U.com and Esoteric Oils.

Essential Oils for Pregnancy

In trying to find a list of essential oils for pregnancy, I came across this list by Esoteric Oils that specifies oils that are NOT SAFE to use with pregnant mamas and this list on LearningAboutEOs.com that talks about unsafe and safe oils for pregnant and nursing mamas.

Again, I’ve seen oils on these lists vary among other sites, but these are the most thorough ones I could find to share with you. You can Google “essential oils for pregnancy” and get tons of info, but remember not all of it is good info. In fact, I did just that and came upon a good blog, in my opinion, that was giving recipes for essential oil remedies that were used for preggo mamas undiluted and internally. In my opinion, that’s no good, so just be aware of where you’re getting your information. Like I said earlier, I highly recommend the above sources.

Toxic Essential Oils – Not To Be Used

Esoteric Oils also has a list of essential oils that are toxic and should not be used. I’m not sure if this list is for topical and internal use only because I know a few of these oils are used for various things. How safely, I don’t know.

For example, wintergreen is used in toothpastes, camphor is used in diffusers and vaporizers for respiratory congestion, and pennyroyal has been used as a flea deterrent for pets. I’m sure this too will vary among aromatherapists.

So there you go… there’s seems to be no set in stone list which is why we all need to do our own thorough research when using oils on ourselves and our families.

Basically, Essential Oil Safety Comes Down To This

From my research, and by looking for these lists, it seems that essential oil safety, for the most part, comes down to dilution. There are many oils that are listed as not safe for children or pregnancy, but you’ll find that many people will say it all depends on the dilution rate used. Perhaps this is something that certified aromatherapists would know and it isn’t common knowledge among at-home users which is why it’s best to stay away from certain oils with certain people and consult an aromatherapist if need be.

AromaWeb.com and LearningAboutEOs.com both have good information on how to properly dilute essential oils so check those links out before using any oils.

Again, I encourage you to look into things yourself… do your own research. Don’t just take my word, don’t just take the word of the company you’re purchasing your oils from, don’t just take the word of one aromatherapist or one website. Use multiple sources and references so that you’re sure you have the best, most accurate information possible in order to use oils in your home and on your family in a safe, healthy manner.

I hope you’ve found this information helpful, and my plan would be to add to this and update it as I find more information on this topic in order for it to be a great reference to not only myself, but to you as well.

If you have any tips, resources, or suggestions that would be of help to me and any other Growing Up Herbal reader, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to add your resources to this list!