Essential oils are a great way to relax, and a growing body of research has found that they might have health benefits for your body and mind.
Like anything else, however, essential oils can cause problems if used the wrong way. That doesn't mean that you should let the dangers of misused essential oils put you off trying them.
Instead, let this article be your guide on how to avoid the most common essential oil mistakes.
1.) Use Essential Oils For The Purpose They Were Sold For
One of the most common mistakes that people make with essential oils is using essential oils for the wrong purpose. Essential oils are concentrated enough that they may not have all of the same properties that you associate with the plant that they came from. Also, essential oils from different parts of the same plant can have different effects.
Further, the body's many different organs can process different things and in different ways. For these reasons, it is not always safe to assume that you can ingest essential oils that you bought for topical uses or put drops of essential oils that you bought for aroma therapy into your bathtub.
2.) Dilute Your Essential Oils
Another common mistake with essential oils is using them at improper concentrations. The great thing about essential oils is how concentrated they are, but they still need to be diluted for best use. Some essential oils can cause irritation if they aren't diluted properly.
The essential oil bottles or the directions for diffusers will usually include directions on how to dilute the essential oils to avoid complications. Essential oils for ingestion or massage should also have dilution instructions.
3.) Keep Out Of Reach Of Children
Like any potentially dangerous substance, essential oils should be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Not only are children and pets the most likely to misuse essential oils, they can also be more sensitive to the oils, especially when the oils are undiluted.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy has also composed special recommendations for using essential oils around children.
4.) Be Aware Of Any Pre-existing Conditions
It is possible to be allergic to essential oils, and there is reason to think that aroma therapy, especially with certain essential oils, may trigger symptoms in people with asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma Immunology.
If you are allergic to a plant that an essential oil is made from, however, the essential oils may not trigger an allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor before using an essential oil from a plant that you are allergic to -- or from a plant that is related to a plant that you are allergic to – for ingestion, aroma therapy.
Before using an essential oil topically, such as for a massage or in the bath, consider testing the diluted essential oil on a small area of skin before using it on a larger area.
5.) Try To Buy Quality Products
Impurities in low-quality essential oils may make it more likely that they will cause complications for you. Buying essential oils from a reputable company can be an important way to avoid these issues.
Finding a reputable company can be difficult, however, as essential oils do not need to be approved by government agencies like medications do. If a product causes enough problems, however, agencies may put out announcements to warn consumers.
Googling a company before you buy their products can help you to find out whether its products have drawn attention from watch-dog groups. If there's a dedicated health and wellness shop around you that sells essential oils, their staff might be able to direct you towards the best options.
Essential oils aren't accepted widely enough in medicine for every doctor to know off-hand which brands are best, but it can't hurt to ask your health care provider whether they have any recommendations. Doing a good amount of research online and in books before you buy essential oils can be a good start too.
6.) Read The Box Or Bottle
Whatever you buy essential oils for or what company made them, it should come with a label with directions on how to use it, as well as other warnings and suggestions to help you to avoid misusing it. The same goes for devices to help you to use essential oils, like diffusers. While this article covers a lot of generic guides for essential oil use, the only place where you're likely to find exact instructions.