Risks and Uses of Essential Oils

Warning- risks of essential oild and how to use them safely

Essential oils are all the rage lately, and with good reason. They are, in a sense, a pharmaceutical grade natural remedy with incredible power. But with great power comes great responsibility, and there are many essential oil resources online giving worrisome blanket advice about their use.

Don’t get me wrong. I love oils and I use them daily. Most often, I use them diluted in natural beauty or natural cleaning recipes, but I also use them aromatically and therapeutically at times.

Because of the strength of essential oils, I am cautious of over-using them and want to make sure that my family always uses them safely. Here are some important things to know about essential oils (and of course, check with a certified herbalist, aromatherapist or doctor) before using them.

Essential Oils are Highly Concentrated

Did you know that it takes:

  • 256 pounds of peppermint leaf to make one pound of peppermint essential oil
  • 150 pounds or more of lavender flowers to make one pound of lavender essential oil
  • Thousands of pounds of roses to make 1 pound of rose essential oil

Essential Oils contain very concentrated properties of the herb or plant they are derived from. A very small amount of EOs often has the qualities of many cups of herbal tea from the same plant. For instance, one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26-28 cups of peppermint tea. This isn’t to say essential oils should not be used, but they should be used carefully, with proper education and in safe amounts. If you wouldn’t ingest dozens of cups of an herbal tea, you should probably think twice before consuming the equivalent amount of essential oils.

Essential Oils on the Skin

I use essential oils in many of my beauty recipes like lotion bars and herbal face oil but in diluted amounts. The key word is “diluted.”

In most cases, essential oils should not be used undiluted on the skin. There are exceptions, of course, but most of the time, essential oils should only be used undiluted under the care and guidance of a trained medical or aromatherapy practitioner. Due to the small molecular size of essential oils, they can penetrate the skin easily and enter the bloodstream.

As a general rule, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil in a 3-5% solution. On  practical level this is 3-5 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of carrier oil (and much less if using on a baby or child).

Undiluted use on the skin can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in some people, and I’ve even read cases of someone getting a permanent sensitivity to a certain oil after using it undiluted on broken skin. Some oils, like lavender, rose and chamomile are typically considered safe for undiluted skin use, but I’d still personally dilute them (most of these are expensive oils and would be costly to use undiluted anyway).

I personally test any essential oil, diluted, on my arm before using on a larger part of my body. Some essential oils are considered ok to use undiluted on the skin if an individual isn’t sensitive to them, but again, always check with a qualified practitioner first.

From a personal perspective, I have first hand experience with the potential problems with undiluted skin exposure. I tried a new massage therapist in our small town since she had a special deal for “aromatherapy” massage. I assumed this meant that there would be essential oils in a diffuser during the massage. To my surprise, as the massage began I felt drops on my back. I realized a few seconds later that she was pouring essential oils on my back… a lot of them. I asked her what oils she was using and she assured me that they were safe, but I got a headache soon after.

In all, she probably poured 80+ drops of undiluted essential oils on my back. I had shivers and a headache for the rest of the day and a large red spot on my back (12 inches in diameter) that lasted several days. Certainly, I should have asked her to stop instead of just asking what the oils were, but what shocked me was that she did not ask if she could use essential oils on me, she did not ask if I was pregnant or had a health condition first and I found out after that she was not even a trained massage therapist or aromatherapist but that she had just “invented” the technique as a way to therapeutically use essential oils.

Again, I should have acted differently and probably asked to see her massage license first, but my experience with this amount of essential oils on the skin was not a positive one.

Bottom Line: Exercise caution and do your research before using essential oils on the skin, even undiluted.

Photosensitivity of Certain Oils

I always include a caution on my recipes that include citrus oils that they may make the skin more sensitive to the sun. These oils have certain constituents that can make the skin more sensitive to UV light and can lead to blistering, discoloration of the skin or burning more easily from minor sun exposure.

Though the risk of photosensitivity or phototoxicity varies based on the way the oil was distilled, oils generally considered photosensitive are: orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot.

Internal Use of Essential Oils

This will be a controversial point, but many essential oils are not safe for internal use and others should be used with extreme caution. Since essential oils are the equivalent of 10-50 cups of herbal tea (depending on the herb) or 20x the recommended dose of an herbal tincture of the same herb, they should only be taken internally in situations where they are absolutely needed and with extreme care (and under the guidance of a trained professional).

Here’s the thing- essential oils are extremely potent plant compounds that can have a very dramatic effect on the body. Many online sources tout their “antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal” properties. You know what is teeming with many types of bacteria? Your gut.

Research is emerging constantly about our extremely diverse gut microbiomes, but we do not fully understand them yet. We do know that gut health drastically affects other aspects of health and that imbalances in the gut can cause problems in the skin, brain and other parts of the body. The effects of essential oils on gut bacteria have not been well studied yet and the very real antibacterial properties of essential oils may kill many types of bacteria in the gut (including beneficial and necessary bacteria).

In fact, the studies conducted about the antibacterial properties of essential oils compare them to antibiotics and suggest that they may be an effective alternative to antibiotics (here’s one study).

Antibiotics can be life-saving and necessary in some cases (they saved my husband’s life several years ago) but they should not be used regularly, preventatively or without the oversight of a medical professional. If essential oils can act in the same way as antibiotics, we should exercise the same caution in using them internally.

In most cases, some of the same benefits of an essential oil (taken internally) can be obtained by using the herb itself (fresh or dried) or a tea or tincture of that herb.

Many essential oils are considered “GRAS” or Generally Recognized as Safe for food and cosmetic use. However, most essential oils have not been studied, especially in concentrated internal amounts. Things like vinegar, salt and baking soda also are given this status, but that doesn’t mean they should be consumed regularly or in large amounts. Always do your research first!

Essential Oils During Pregnancy or Nursing

Essential oils can affect hormones, gut bacteria and other aspects of health and extreme care should be used when taking them while pregnant or nursing.

There is evidence that essential oils can cross the placenta and get to the baby. The effects of essential oils can be compounded in utero and extreme care should be taken with essential oil use during pregnancy. Again, I’m not saying they should not be used during pregnancy, but that extreme care should be taken and research done first.

I personally would not take any essential oil internally during pregnancy (or even while nursing). At these times, I stick to aromatherapy and very diluted use of approved essential oils in skin care recipes and baths. I also always re-test an oil in a diluted skin test before using it during pregnancy.

Many oils are considered safe during pregnancy, especially after the first trimester (depending on the source), but again, I’d check with a professional and use caution with any herbs used during pregnancy. Even oils that are considered safe may be harmful to certain women and there is some speculation that the actions of some oils on hormones can cause dangerous hormone imbalances during pregnancy.

Oils Considered NOT Safe During Pregnancy

Aniseed, Angelica, Basil, Black pepper, Camphor, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Clary Sage (often used during labor by midwives safely), clove, fennel, fir, ginger, horseradish (should not be used by anyone), Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Mustard, Mugwart (should not be used by anyone), Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Wintergreen.

I would personally recommend checking with a doctor or midwife before taking an essential oils during pregnancy.

Peppermint essential oil may decrease milk supply while nursing, and as such, I avoid it topically while nursing.

Use on Babies and Children

This is one of the things that concerns me the most with a lot of the essential oil recommendations I see online. In my opinion, essential oils should never be given internally to children or used undiluted on the skin. They should be diluted  more than they are for adult application and care should be taken with any essential oils considered “hot” as they may cause damage to the skin.

In general, oils like lavender, chamomile, orange, lemon and frankincense are considered safe for diluted use on children, but I would personally still do a skin test and check with a doctor first.

Some oils have caused seizures in children and extreme caution should be used (this article from a naturopathic pediatrician explains more and gives some case studies– since people have commented, I want to mention that I do think her post is overly alarmist but she makes some good points as well). To clarify- these seizure reactions were rare and most were in people who were predisposed to seizures, but this still isn’t a risk I would take with small children.

Others, like peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and wintergreen should not be used around young children or babies. These herbs contain menthol and 1,8-cineole. These compounds can slow breathing (or even stop it completely) in very young children or those with respiratory problems. Of course, they should never be used internally or undiluted on the skin for children, but these particular oils warrant caution even for aromatic use. I would not personally ever use these oils on or around babies for this reason.

This article from the University of Minnesota cautions about the use of peppermint and similar oils in children under six, because: “Menthol-one of the major chemicals in peppermint oil-has caused breathing to stop in young children, and has caused severe jaundice in babies with G6PD deficiency (a common genetic enzyme deficiency) (Price & Price, 1999).”

Since the effects of essential oils are more concentrated on children, it is prudent to exercise extra caution when using essential oils on them. Personally, I stick to using safe essential oils in a diffuser or in very diluted amounts in beauty and cleaning products.

Essential Oils in Plastics

Another thing that is not often mentioned is that essential oils should never be stored in plastic containers, especially in concentrated forms. Many essential oils can eat through plastics when undiluted, and even when diluted, they can degrade plastics over time.

I make homemade cleaners with essential oils in glass bottles for this reason (even though they are very diluted) and store homemade beauty products in glass whenever possible.

This caution also extends to other surfaces in the house, which I found out the hard way. A bottle of wild orange oil was left on a piece of homemade furniture in our house and when I picked it up the next day, it had stuck to the piece, pulling off the finish and stain when I picked it up. Apparently, there was a little bit of the oil still on the bottom of the bottle (likely from my hand when pouring it). Be extremely careful about leaving any oils, especially citrus oils, on wood or other stained surfaces.

The Good News

Though there are a lot of warnings about safe use of essential oils, they are wonderful natural remedies when used correctly. I hope that this post doesn’t discourage anyone from using essential oils, but rather encourages proper research and safety first.

I use essential oils almost daily, but I make sure to research each oil and its proper use first. It can also be really helpful to find a trained aromatherapist, herbalist or naturopathic doctor to ask specific questions about essential oils. It is also important to make sure any essential oils you use are organic and very high quality.

Safe Ways to Use Essential Oils:

At the end of the day, essential oils can be a great and safe natural remedy, if used safely. The main ways I use essential oils are:

I reserve undiluted skin use and internal use for times of real need when the benefits outweigh the risk and I avoid using essential oils in this way on babies/children or when I am pregnant.

Sources & More Reading:

Bensouilah J, and Buck P. Aromadermatology. Abindon, UK: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.
Tisserand, R., and Balacs, T. (1995). Essential Oil Safety. New York: Churchill Livingstone.
Biological activities of Lavender essential oil
Essential oils as a cause of breakthrough seizure after temporal lobectomy
Epileptic seizure induced by fennel essential oil.
Book: Essential Oils and Aromatics: A Step-by-Step Guide for Use in Massage and Aromatherapy
Book: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals
Biological effects of essential oils – A review
Tiger Balm as a treatment of tension headache. A clinical trial in general practice.
Acute and subacute toxicity study of 1,8-cineole in mice
Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts
In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils against Streptococcus pyogenes
In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils
A near fatal case of high dose peppermint oil ingestion- Lessons learnt
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy Data Safety Sheet for Essential Oils during pregnancy
International Association of Professional Aromatherapists Pregnancy Data Sheet (PDF)
Robert Tisserand

What essential oils do you use? Have you ever had any negative effects from their use?

Vitamin C serum helps support skin health by boosting collagen production and the natural acids in Vitamin C can help tighten skin and make it smoother.

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Reader Comments

  1. Aromahead institute has a free essential oil course you can take online. It only took me 5 days to complete and you get wonderful information and essential oil cleaning recipes. Thank you for another great post!

    • Which course is it? The ones I saw were not free? Do you have a link you could share please?

      • Just took a look. They have a course called “Introduction to Essential Oils” which is free. 🙂

        • where do we find out this information for they FREE course?

      • Looks like their “Introduction to Essential Oils” class is free!

    • I think It’s not that harmful if we find the good one.
      They are made of thin amber glass, which is perfect for seeing the contents through the bottle. This way I can clearly tell how much liquid is inside so I don’t overfill, and so I can tell when to refill the bottle. Very convenient..You may visit the amazon store if you need it.

    • Thank you for this Information I am going to sign up right now!

  2. I use doTERRA essential oils and love them! I’ve never had a problem with any of the oils but I do my research and use them in a responsible manner. I think these particular oils can really compliment western treatments for a more natural approach.

    • The brand of oil isn’t what determines safe usage, it’s the chemistry of the oil itself.

      • Actually, the brand does matter some. Many problems are caused because wasn’t 100% pure or was synthetic. Of course, you should always exercise caution with oils, but making sure the brand has a seed to seal promise is one way of being cautious, Doterra is a good company. Personally, I use young living.

        • There is quite a bit of evidence suggesting that Gary Young and Young Living Essential Oils are not what they seem to be. If you are curious, it would be worth taking a look at Gary Young’s interesting, but very unsettling, past to get an impression of who he really is. If you also search Young Living and The FDA you will find an official letter clearly showing all of the inappropriate claims that are found on the Young Living website. I realize that the FDA has their own agenda when it comes to the regulation of essential oils, but putting that aside there are still some statements made on the site that are completely irresponsible. Take what you will from this information, I just thought it would be useful to have the whole story so that you can decide whether or not this company, and Gary Young, deserves your money and support.

          • Chelsea, For the benefit of those you would wish to scare away from Young Living, I will share the WHOLE truth. The FDA did not single out Young Living in their correspondence. Yes, the FDA seems to have their own agenda regarding regulation of essential oils, Therefore they sent the same letter to the other larger essential oil companies – not just Young Living.

            By the way, personal affronts aside, I came to the conclusion that Young Living deserves my money and support because, like thousands of others, I get RESULTS with their oils. And research also shows that they have more control over the quality of raw plant materials and their distillation than any other company.

            I wonder what motivated you do write such personally derogatory comments about another person on this site?

            Katie, as a huge fan who was referred to you by a Young Living distributor, and who has referred many people to your site, I am incredibly disappointed that you approved this personal attack on an individual (Gary Young) – against your commenting policy.
            One reason I have respected your advice is that you not only promote only products that you have tested and love, but you also stay away from trashing others. Here, you allowed someone to publicly trash an individual and their company. You have had a huge following in people who use Young Living essential oils. No, you didn’t SAY it, but you allowed it. Not cool.

          • Hi Kristie… I completely see where you are coming from and why you were offended by her comment. I actually researched the issue more because of her comment, and there is information online questioning Gary Young. Certainly, some of it may not be accurate, but the information is out there like she said. From the way I read her comment, she was calling attention to the information but not personally attacking him or anyone else. I think YL has good oils and I have many good friends who use them and promote them. I do not think that a CEOs actions necessarily discredit the company’s product, but I can see why others would be concerned. My hope is that there can be respectful dialogue on all of this to hopefully find some truth.

          • I think that was an unnecessary attack on Chelsea by Kristie, Thank You Katie for having the level head here and setting the record straight without the attack. Yes Everyone can do their own research on this matter and come to their own conclusions and how they wish to handle it. This is a site to learn and either accept the advice or not. There is good advice here but the attack mode turns me off from here. I hope in the future this will not happen again. Simple respect and doing your own research on what others say is good enough.

          • Henry Ford was a brilliant man who completely and forever changed the way we manufacture autos and everything else. He made sure that his vehicles were not only made quickly and effectively as possible but also cheap enough for the worker to afford. He even made a car completely constructed out of hemp and which ran on hemp fuel! He was environmentally conscious and thought we shouldn’t use too much oil or chop down all the forests. Whether Ford Motor Company is your choice of vehicle or not, no one can really deny the achievements of Henry Ford. And while it is true that his past wasn’t spotless, he wasn’t a perfect man and many have complaints about this or that, his achievements are still real, still true and still stand the test of time. And no amount of bad talking him will change his place in history or all the good that he did.
            I really gotta say that surely Gary Young easily falls into this same category! The 3rd party testing isn’t being done on gossip or on Gary’s personality – it’s being done on bottles of oil made in clean labs. Love him or hate him, it is a fact that he perfected distilling equipment that would take essential oils from perfume grade (and therefore not really safe for the skin) and upgraded them into some that is therapeutic grade, and that requires that we take another look at our opinions about oils… and the way we use them. He has uplifted and enriched essential oils so that they are so much much more than they were before – and just like herbs, you just have to know what you are doing. Therapeutic grade is not a trademarked term – it is a scientific term to designate this class of oils. Just like superfood isn’t just a headline or eye catching phrase, it is an actual scientific term with a valid definition. Same as therapeutic grade essential oils, which are awesome tools given by God and Nature for us to use… and I am very grateful for pure ones!!

            When researching essential oils, please don’t miss these very important sites!

            13751 published studies… so far.

            This one is quite informative and will clear many misconceptions up.

            And if you really care about certification, testing and making sure you are purchasing the purest, best oils possible, please consider supporting Airase, a non-profit, 3rd party organization dedicated to testing and certifying essential oils, because we all know the pharma companies aren’t going to do it and testing is quite expensive. So I say, let’s put our money where our mouths are, continue our educations and stop fighting about who and what is best… Let’s support this 501 so we can stop the blog wars and the misinformation once and for all, to the benefit of us all!

            PS. Over 1,000 people a day die from preventable medical errors. Don’t you feel that is a bigger worry that whether or not we should put EO’s on our feet? Let’s look at the big picture folks and please, please do not fall for the fear!

          • Chelsea, I am convinced the MLM companies have a cult like mentality. Money is a vicious thing. The only reliable source of testing right now is done by Dr. Robert Pappas. Essential Oil University, google it. Also a group on Facebook called Blue Tansy Analysis offers reliable testing of honest companies.

            A certain company in question here sells a Jasmine oil claiming to be pure, undiluted. Yet it is mostly containing di propylene glycol.
            Make of that what you will. As they say, knowledge is power. Consult a certified aromatherapist about your concerns. Check there diploma that it isn’t from a diploma factory, research the scool they graduated from, and if it is satisfactory, trust there advice. 🙂

          • It may not be nice but it is very true. Research the ceo, it’s not very pretty and was enough to make me say no thank you!

          • I have been instructed by a veterinarian in integrative medicine to use some Young Living essential oils topically (undiluted)? on one of my dogs to help in the prevention of seizures. Frankincense, Clary Sage, Lavender, one drop of each placed at the base of the skull and about 4 inches above the base of the tail, twice a day. I have been using them for about a week or so. Today, for the first time, he doesn’t seem to be feeling well. His appetite is off , and he seems very tired. Could he have been exposed to too much of this?

        • I agree. The reason that you –Wellness Mamma-may have had a reaction to the oils is that they MAY have been oils that had synthetic elements in them. So then you are not reacting to an actual pure essential oil but rather something else. Also, the oils can have a detoxing effect and they reason you had a headache (if the oils were pure) could have been that your body was eliminating toxins.

          • Hi there im new here. I need an ans to my ques. Cos its driving me nuts. I purchased the young living oils collection plus the diffuser. I do believe the goodness of the oils. But y do i always have a allergy reaction to all the oils. The min ute if i inhale the oils i will sneeze like mad. N there will be tears from my eyes n non stop sneezing till i pop a flu pill. They just make me so sick. But i dun wanna give up on these oils yet 🙁

          • THANK YOU for sharing so much great information about essential oil use. I was trained by Dr. Jane Buckle in a course for holistic nurse practitioners to use essential oils therapeutically with clients. The golden rules are: 1) only chemical-free, low temperature, low pressure essential oils from reputable suppliers, 2) always dilute, 3) never ingest except under a doctor’s orders – I’ve heard too many horror stories. Yes, gas chromatographs are a plus, and many suppliers offer them. I’ve found many great sources over the years and I purchase oils from numerous suppliers on a regular basis. I was part of an MLM company with oils for several years. I got out for all the reasons typically mentioned. What I know for sure is that you can get absolutely fabulous oil without paying MLM prices and telling people to ingest oil without a medical degree is irresponsible and downright dangerous.

          • my husband ingested pepperment and eucalyptus oil and he now has severe brain damage and is in a vegatative state and doctors say he going to die oils are extremly dangerous and this was pure

          • I agree with you Eliza.

    • I use only DoTerra oils. I study the safe use. I dilute in coconut oil but mostly I use in the difusser.

      • I too am a Doterra user. I do not go around bashing YL or any other company. It irritates the heck out of me and I dismiss anyone immediately who does. You don’t build yourself up by knocking someone else down. Politicians do that and I am not a politician. I love Doterra oils and I use them internally with caution, topically with coconut oil or in lotions I’ve made, or by diffusing at night time. I love cooking with them or making products with them.

        • To the person who said their husband is in a coma – what? You do realize that peppermint is GRAS, that is to say Generally Regarded As Safe, and that many foods and candies are flavored with it. I often use the smallest drop in a glass of water for indigestion and stomach upset, rather in the same way one’s Grandma would give you a peppermint candy for the same reason.
          And eucalyptus? While perfect for inhaling in times of colds or respiratory distress, what reason would one have to ingest it? And just how much of the oils did he drink? The whole bottle?? I am sorry if your husband is truly ill but your story is very very fishy and suspicious and simply doesn’t make sense at all…

  3. Hi Katie, I was told about using 7-10 drops of EO such as clove or tee tree ( peppermint burns my mouth) mixed with distilled water in an eye dropper for toothpaste. I use it often but since I dont know enough I dont use it all the time. I like the simplicity of this especially for traveling. I know you make a paste with other ingredients, what do you think of this?
    Thank you so much,

    • Essential oils are often acidic and acid is what causes tooth decay. The holistic dentist I see says brushing with clay is a better option.

      • I’m learning this lesson for myself. I’m 43 years old and have never had a cavity before the dentist found one today. The only thing I’ve been doing differently is drinking lemon or lime oil in my water often. My adult niece is having the same problem. Her multiple cavities are between her teeth. She has stopped drinking lemon oil on her water also.

        Coincidence? Maybe. I won’t be drinking oils in my water anymore.

        • You are very wise Ellen to discontinue ingesting these oils. Coincidence with your cavities, maybe or may not. My concern would be with your intestinal system and your liver which processes the oils. There are other ways of keeping on top of your dental health. A sulka brush, flossing and avoiding sugary stuff, especially drinks that contain a lot of sugar and we sip on them and the sugar sits on our teeth. As an aroma therapist I know the value and power of essential oils, the treatment explained in this post in the ‘rain drip technique’ and has been discredited and well documented as unsafe. This technique comes directly from YL and is promoted by their leader. A fact is a fact. There are many quality and trustworthy companies who do sell essential oils. Read NAHA’s posts on how to find one. If I do not feel comfortable with the owners or CEO’s ethics I certainly won’t be trusting their marketing or their products. YL pushes to discredit other companies all the time. I know this as I have read and seen it in action. To me this does not lend credibility to the sales reps, the product or the company.

          • I’m not sure where you’ve gotten your information but I am a representative with YL and we are actually told NOT to put another company down in any way but to let our products speak for themselves. Sure there are some YL representatives out there that are very passionate about our product and have researched other companies and have even tried other brands of essential oils and may talk badly about them but I assure you we are not encouraged to do so. 🙂

          • I do not represent any ML EO company, although I have some YL and DoT oils. Personally I found Do Terra folks more often than not put down YL. I don’t care since I don’t only want product, not a business. But it’s what I’ve noticed. Because Organic is important to my families health, I buy from a non ML CERTIFIED ORGANIC company in the Midwest – Veriditas. Reasonable pricing and excellent oils with integrity and no bashing. I also use Native American Nutritional/Rocky Mountail oils – mostly Organic or wild crafted but not certified. Best to keep an open mind and do your research.

        • I looked at the Veriditas but they are too expensive. It looks less expensive because they package in 2ml and 5ml bottles but a bottle of Frankincense would work out to be $93 for a 15ml bottle. I am a fan of either Better Essentials or Rocky Mountain. I don’t necessarily look for organic anymore. I prefer to see the oils are coming from their native regions. For Example – I want my lavender to come from high altitudes in France…just like they get at DoTerra.

    • I use this toothpaste made of clay, essential oils, and xylitol. It works beautifully and my teeth are whiter than when I used conventional toothpaste! It also has a nice minty flavor.

    • I use Earthpaste toothpaste, which is made of clay, essential oils, and xylitol. It works beautifully and my teeth are whiter than when I used conventional toothpaste! It also has a nice minty flavor. I bet you could make this at home!

      • I was looking for a good natural toothpaste to use- I will try the Earthpaste. How long have you been using it?

  4. Hi, thanks for this wonderful read! I was wondering why mugwort essential oil shouldn’t be used by anyone as I’ve never heard of it and all I can find on it through google are its “health benefits.” Thank you!

    • Rather sure that there is no such thing as a mass produced Mugwort essential oil…. It would extremely poisonous. I studied herbs for over 20 years and never was Mugwort ever called upon to cure anything…. it’s not that kind of herb.


  5. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! Awesome article of all of the stuff I wish I knew a year ago when I started using essential oils and what took me a year to learn. A lot of people deny all of this safety info but it is so important when using oils to use them appropriately. They are so great they just need to be used cautiously and people need to know what to look out for. Some can also interact with medications, thin the blood, or have a negative effect due to preexisting medical problems especially when ingested. Babies skin is also thinner and they absorb more oils so oils shouldn’t be used often on babies under 6 months especially.

  6. Thank you for the well put piece. I love essential oils, and I use them daily myself, but get frustrated at all the of blanket claims that are potentially dangerous swimming around out there.

  7. Great article. Thanks for sharing. Knew most of this but was nice to refresh my memory.

  8. As you likely do, I have been learning about and researching on the uses and safety of pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils for several years now. I was tracking along fine with your blog here until you posted the link to the ND’s article about essential oils, seizures and children. I must say on the outset here, that I have really appreciated (and trusted) your health/wellness articles for a while now. So – it was a big of a disappointment that you linked this article. The ND bases her (scare tactic, really) article on FOUR case studies — which involve a total of 3 children, two of whom were diagnosed epileptics to begin with. They were also never quoted as having taken the oils inappropriately, but rather having been exposed to sage oil accidentally. What manner of science/medical advising is this? This ND also maintains several times that her advice is based on hearsay (from colleagues) — and she later makes the comment that her advice is based on “sweeping generalizations.” This being said, I don’t feel it’s right for you to give credence (and web traffic) to this ND’s article. Your advice on essential oils is right-on! And your readers follow your research/advice carefully! But, you may have marred your advice here with a non-scientific, ill-written article. Would you consider removing that small paragraph and reference? That article just stands out as an awkward link in your wonderfully written blog.

    • You make an excellent point and I should have just talked about the case studies myself as her article was a little fear inducing.

      • I appreciate reading all opinions, case studies, etc. then judge according to what feels right to ME. I’m shocked at the number of people on Facebook EO threads that are suggesting any number of protocols and doses for babies, kids, animals, serious medical conditions, etc. to clueless new users of EO’s who have done NO research of their own or consult from a trained aroma-therapist. They’re accepting medical advice from marketers!! And don’t get me started on the use of non-Organic EO’s! Horrors! Thanks Katie for all the information you share!!

    • Thanks for that response from above her advice and research is flawed? Right on! I feel that, when used directly on the skin , internal etc. It is safe (gras) and you must know that its therapeutic grade 100% pure -oil not a claim for that title.
      I know first hand that,many,many of those 1000’s of claims are true. I’ve personally have seen many miracles I have used them on many children with no ill effects and pregnant women with wonder.

      • This comment really scares me…. What you are suggesting is dangerous if not done at proper dilutions.

    • I completely agree with this last statement….

    • If you do enough research there are quite a few cases of seizures in children that involve essential oils. The article might not be a great one but it might get you to do allot of research before using something that could potentially harm your child. Better be safe than sorry! some essential oils you have to be very careful with. i have burnt my skin with oregano and clove oil (on my face trying to get rid of my acne ) and ingesting oregano oil witch i do for a natural antibiotic gives me a stomach ache. it just pays to research and many different sources so you can compare.

  9. when you say it’s important to research oils before using them, what sources do you recommend? anytime I’ve done research online I’ve found hundreds/thousands of resources all with a different opinion/explanation for safe use. my midwife had me take oregano + tea tree oil in capsules internally when I was 38+ weeks pregnant for a possible yeast infection, and I went into labor the next morning. I’ve always wondered if I went into labor early because I took those or if they negatively affected my daughter (she’s had lots of issues, mostly with sleep + temperament). based on your research, do you think that could have done damage to my baby?

    • I do not know the answer to your question. However, you brought something to mind. Alcohol is another substance that crosses the placenta barrier and it is considered a teratogen (poison, harmful) to the fetus. Current research knows of no safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. Early birth, sleep and temperament issues are all possible outcomes of being exposed to alcohol while in the womb. The exact impact varies from person to person based on their genetics, mom’s genetics, when in pregnancy it was consumed and the amount (that is, more exposure would have the most obvious impact, but there can be subtle examples of alcohol’s interruption to in-utero brain and body development as well.) I write this comment with the mindset that knowledge is power, and perhaps it will help you or someone reading this. More info is available at http://www.nofas.org

      • Thank you so much for your help. My adopted son has FASD from his birth mother drinking while pregnant. I bought the doTerra EO to help him with his aggression, hyperactivity and other issues. I was convinced after attending a EO party (which I was actually told it was for something else). But after doing my own research and reading a lot of articles, including yours, I do not wish to risk my son or my families health. And I certainly don’t feel that Gary Young or many others deserve my money or my confidence! Also thank you for bringing attention to FASD and the dangers of drinking while pregnant. As someone who lives with the effects from it on a daily basis, I can assure you that no amount of alcohol is safe for a baby in the womb! No child or family should have to live with the preventable and permanent effects of alcohol exposure. Again, thank you so much! Robin McGregor, mother of 5 and FASD awareness advocate.

  10. I use tea tree almost ( small amounts ) daily undiluted as it zaps zits and heal cuts like incredibly. I use thieves oil in my cleaners and diffuse when people around me are sick. Diffuse lemongrass a lot mmmmm smells so good. Just inhale clary sage for anxiety or if I can’t sleep. Occasionally use lavender in the bath. Absolutely love my oils. My mom went to school for them so I do have guidance.

  11. Your post is simply fantastic, will share it so maybe some people start to think. Thank you so much for it:)

  12. I recently made an arthritis cream for a friend. It contained PanAway, peppermint, valor, and lavender diluted in coconut and Shea butter. Do you know, if someone has a liver disease (non alcoholic cirrhosis), is topical use harmful?

    • Nichole, in my experience and according to the EDOR’s, that blend should be just fine. All of those should help her pain and I am not aware of any reason why any of those oils would damage the liver. You did good! 😉

    • Hi Nichole, I’ve done some research on this, PanAway contains Wintergreen oil which is naturally high in Methyl Salicylate, which is metabolised into salicylates in the body, which is the same as the active ingredient in Asprin and NSAIDS. Salicylates are metabolised in the liver. So she would probably need to take the same precautions that she takes with the synthetic form ie. NSAIDS and avoid continued use.

  13. Hi! I use doTerra oils. I have a few friends who use different brands, (much cheaper, too,). So I’m wondering if you know any specific things to look for when selecting oils or about different brands? Thanks!

    • I sincerely hope you get the right information about Essential Oils before you share it with your audience.
      1) Only EO without chemicals and fillers are therapeutic grade.
      2) Only one company can legally claim TPG
      3) Only TPG can be taken internally
      4) Application of EO that are not TPG are dangerous to apply due to the chemicals and fillers in them
      5) The entire chemical make up changes if you dilute ES with anything other than fractionated coconut oil made just for that

      I teach on EO and have a free PDF if you would like it.

      There is much misunderstanding about EO.

      • I agree that there is a lot of misinformation about EOs, but from my research, the “therapeutic grade” label is a source of misunderstanding not an answer to it. I’ve been unable to find any kind of “therapeutic grade” labeling that was from a third party, independent and unbiased source that was not financially connected in any way to the product. If you have documentation of this, I’d love to see it, because every time I follow the labeling, it always traces back to an EO company. Also, just having a label of “TPG” does not make oils safe for internal consumption…

          • LOVE my Florihana oils from France and I discovered them while on the Tropical Traditions website that Katie referred to in another posting. The prices are amazing, and their Organic and other certifications for EO’s are on every bottle.

        • Hello Katie and thank you for writing this post. I have a question because recently I’ve been using essential oils to help congestion. Specifically peppermint and melaleuca oils. I fill a cup full of water, heat it up hot in the microwave, drop a couple drops in and breath it. It really helps with congestion but sometimes if I breath too hard I feel a pain way back in the back of my head. Like in my brain (I’m assuming). It’s really strong stuff.

          So my question for you is, should I not be breathing it like this? What is your suggestion? I look forward to your reply.

          • In a case like yours, I would talk to a functional medicine doctor. They can give you a better idea of what could be harmful and what possible alternatives could be 🙂

      • TPG is nothing more than a trademarked phrase. It literally means nothing except the company came up with the term and decided it sounded official so they registered it and said no one else can use it. The reason these companies can claim ingestion is safe is because they paid for the FDA approval, there are MANY other brands of EOs that are just as pure and safe (though one should NEVER ingest oil without the guidance of a QUALIFIED professional), but they are able to keep their cost (and the cost of their oils) down by not labeling for ingestion. The fact of the matter is, there are a LOT of 100% pure essential oils that are just as good as any of the MLM brands. It’s all about the marketing….

        • Paid for FDA approval?? lol… I’m sorry, but what on earth gives you that impression?

          • The FDA is funded in large part from the fees it collects directly from companies seeking the “FDA Approved” stamp on their product. Whether it’s a prescription or over-the-counter drug, food additive, dietary supplement, or cosmetic drug is of almost no consequence. It is claims anything other than a greater appearance of beauty or maintained natural healthy state, it is considered to be making drug claims and will be regulated as such.
            Using aromatherapy to relieve a headache is “a smell curing a state of pain or discomfort.”

            A lotion relieving a persistent itch or skin condition is “a topical ointment curing a medical skin disorder.” Both of these situations are legally considered by the FDA to be a drug designed to “treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure” a medical condition (nearly all of which now fall under the label of “disease”). An upset stomach now falls under “Acute Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” a new-age disease which requires a drug to have a legal impact.

            Most all EO items used and marketed for anything but general household cleaning and presentation will fall into one of those two categories — depending upon whether topical (cosmetic drug) or internal (dietary) use is intended.

            See the following official Gov’t pages for verification of this information:
            Official Fee Schedule –> https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/08/03/2015-18914/prescription-drug-user-fee-rates-for-fiscal-year-2016#h-16
            Personal Care Products –> http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm242716.htm
            Cosmetic, Drug, or Both –> http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceRegulation/LawsRegulations/ucm074201.htm
            OTC Drugs –> http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194951.htm

            Take note that according to FDA Policy, OTC drugs follow the same path to approval as prescription drugs, just using a special product profile and waiver system to avoid the Rx requirement. As such, their fees are normally the same.

            Now, the fact that fees for approval come directly from the company intending to profit from the drug is a major problem with the US Pharmaceutical industry right now, in that they can all but directly bribe their way into the market, collect billions form sales, be discovered as highly dangerous and often lethal, and only have to pay out $15-20 million in lawsuits. The FDA cannot refuse everybody or they’d never make ANY money, so they let things through that more often than not should be denied.

            At this point, the FDA is just another corporation trying to control an industry that has essentially regulated itself due to the financial power it possesses. The pharmaceutical firms can afford to payout any settlements they receive because upon getting the FDA to approve their drug, getting a 3-yr patent protection on their product is guaranteed. They now have a cornered and captive market to which they directly advertise (legally), doctors writing prescriptions for their drug who receive ‘bonuses’ for doing so (without legally violating any fiduciary responsibilities they have as a paid medical advisor), and a legal system getting a piece of the pie when the inevitable settlement against the drug occurs (which keeps them from wanting to stop the cycle before-hand).

            So if a company doesn’t intend to participate in this exact system doing the same things the others are doing (it’s the only way to compete after paying so much to get the approval), there is no reason to become part of the game. But once you enter it, you are in this cycle…. whether you wish to be or not.

      • Hello could you please send me the PDFs or info you can offer me. I’m very new to oils

      • “I sincerely hope you get the right information about Essential Oils before you share it with your audience.” —AGREE. you should apply this yourself.

        “1) Only EO without chemicals and fillers are therapeutic grade.” – you can take out the word “grade”
        “2) Only one company can legally claim TPG” – sure, if they trademarked it. but if you are saying that only one company sells therapeutic EOs, then you might be very badly brainwashed.
        “3) Only TPG can be taken internally” – no EOs should be taken internally without the guidance of a trained health professional
        “4) Application of EO that are not TPG are dangerous to apply due to the chemicals and fillers in them” – some companies who claim to have therapeutic EOs have been failed 3rd party testing. trademarks are not a guarantee of purity.
        “5) The entire chemical make up changes if you dilute ES with anything other than fractionated coconut oil made just for that” – FCO made just for one company’s EO????? sounds like a line to keep you from buying carrier oils from anybody else XD

        I suggest you study EOs thoroughly – apart from a network marketing company – before you try to teach others. EO networkers have propagated so many lies that endanger people’s health such as ingestion of EOs, etc.

  14. very good article, I use essential,oils for everything. I make all my own skin care products and all the products for my small children. They have helped us out a lot. We have not need a prescription medicine or and over the counter med in over a year. Saved us lots of ,oney in times of need.

    • I have a granddaughter (8 months old) that has baby eczema and I was wondering if you have ever made up something for that? I have tried coconut oil with lavender and coconut oil with roman camomile without success, anything you could recommend? thank you

      • In my experience, eczema is caused as much internally as externally. If you can, it might be a good idea to talk to her mom about their diet, as it may be something they’re eating that’s causing it. I personally had some that didn’t heal at all, even with the help of prescription corticosteroid cream, until I completely eliminated grains from my diet. Once I did that, it healed on its own, without the need for the cream.

        Other than that, Katie does have an eczema lotion recipe on here. Just type in eczema in the search box and it should pull up at least one, if not more, that you can try.

        • Thank you for your reply, she is on formula and my daughter has tried every kind out there including goats milk with no luck. I will look for the lotion recipe for her.

          • My 2.5 year old granddaughter has eczema due to a corn allergy. This took my daughter quite a long time to figure out what was causing her problem, because corn is in everything. Now for a year and a half we have kept milk goats so that she has milk from animals who are not fed any corn (they get oats for their grain). All types of formula, even supposed non allergenic ones, gave her eczema. Most dairy animals are given corn in their grain and corn allergic people can’t eat it.

            Your daughter might try connecting with the facebook corn board for more information. I don’t have the link, but she can probably find it by searching. I know that this isn’t about EO’s but I feel I must post this information anyway.

      • My grandson was born w/ eczema. There are several things we have done/used to help: 1- use soap as infrequently as possible when you bath her and be mindful what soap you are using when you do. 2- Avon Moisture Therapy lotion– the original white bottle w/ blue writing. 3- Bag Balm. It comes in a green metal square can; I find it at CVS Drug Store for app $10; or try amazon. It is very thick, and so rub your hands together to warm it, and then apply and massage it into her skin. Apply as many coats as her skin absorbs. Do it as many times a day as necessary. You can also use Avon Moisture Therapy with it, if ned. 4- keep cotton next to her body; NEVER let her wear or use acrylic clothes, sweaters, shirts, sleepers, or pjs w/ any acrylic. 50/50 cotton/polyester is acceptable but not optimal.

        • Thank you for your reply. We have tried the Avon Moisture Therapy lotion with no luck, but I will look at CVS or amazon for the Bag Balm so she can try that. She already has her in a cotton oneis under whatever she is wearing about 90% of the time. Again thank you for the help.

          • Try Dr. Bonners soap for babies, I use unscented for myself and i have psoriasis and it is comforting for me. There is a lot out there for eczema but these help me.

        • There’s an app called think dirty where it reviews product ingredients for harmful chemicals. You should check it out 🙂 Please search your Avon cream in it before you use it again.

          • Ewg.org! Look up the Avon cream!

      • Colleen. I saw your comment and had to reply, as I have a daughter of my own who suffered from really bad eczema. We tried eliminating so many things to find the cause of this. After a long time and things getting so bad we had to turn to a mild hydrocortisone we finally figured out she is badly allergic to eggs! After doing more research I saw that there are indeed quite a few studies that shows how this is often related to food allergies. Her skin is still quite sensitive and she will also get a terrible red and itchy rash if tomato, for instance, is exposed to her bare skin. (because of the high acid content). Eating tomatoes doesn’t seem to give her any reactions though, only skin contact (we wash her face and exposed areas quickly), citrus fruits on the other hand seem to give her a really bad diaper rash. Her skin is definitely sensitive in itself, but it was the eggs that caused the most trouble, even if I had tiny bits of it while nursing… and, it always lasts a long time, so while figuring out what is causing it keep that in mind, it takes my little ones skin probably a month to really clear up from an outbreak. And the major causes are usually gluten, milk and eggs, if I remember correctly. But do some searching and you will find quite a few scientific articles about food allergies related to eczema in children. Keeping the skin hydrated is good and important before you can cure it with the cause, I know it offered a lot of relief for my daughter when her skin turned dry and itchy! Hope you figure things out soon!

      • Try babo botanicals. Works AWESOME for soothing sensitive skin. It’s organic. It’s a little spendier than other soaps and lotions but has done wonders for my son. He is now 2 1/2 years old and we still use it.

      • My son had terrible eczema (the scratching and bleeding was terrible). I did take him to an allergist when he was almost two. The problems started at about one when he stopped nursing and was just on cow’s milk. He is allergic to cow’s milk and taking him off of all dairy helped a lot (along with the cream the doctor recommended). That being said… the best thing for him has been fish oil. We can forget the probiotics for a while and things will still be okay but if we miss the fish oil for a week he starts breaking out again even when he has had no dairy and continued using the cream. He just turned seven yesterday and as of now still has his allergy (and others) but we manage and still believe for God to heal him one day. The fish oil we use is Nordic Naturals. I am sure there are other good brands and maybe some better. Those are the ones we use/can afford and that work. The LDL blend (and a few other herbs) have also done wonders for my cholesterol. My doctor was quite surprised. I say that because I see results with this brand. Hope that helps.

  15. Hi Katie, what do you think about Slim and Sassy essential oil, from doTerra. Have you ever used it?

    • Any oil that is suggested to add to water and drink daily is no bueno. There is absolutely no reason it is necessary to ingest such highly concentrated oils on a daily basis. Just no.

  16. Thank you for this post! I’m by no means an expert, maybe an expert research junkie. A lot of info and recipes containing essential oils worry me for other’s safety. I love EO’s, they are lil drops of miracles! But not enough studies have been done and as with all things, moderation is key. Better safe than sorry. Thanks for being caring enough to remind/educate.

    I’m interested in taking a certified class in EO’s and/or herbs. Have you heard or know of a good online course to consider?

    • Aromahead offers great classes!

  17. Hi! Interesting article. I’m a 23 year old woman and I’ve been using essential oils for two years. I have always used them undiluted on the skin and have never had a negative reaction. Oils I use regularly are Lavender, Peppermint, Melaleuca and Wild Orange. Others I use but not as often are Oregano, Lemon, Frankincense, and various blends, all by DoTerra. I use their protective blend internally on a daily basis because I’m a student and I believe it has helped me greatly in not getting ill.

    I guess I’m just wondering if maybe the quality of the oils used would make a difference? It sounds like the “massage therapist” you saw may have really not known what she was using, and perhaps they were not high quality essential oils?

    If we do want to chat with a naturopathic doctor or some equivalent, do you know of anywhere online to do that? I live very remotely and there are no naturopaths around here at all.


    • No, the quality of the essential oils does not mitigate the safety precautions. Essential oils are not safe to take internally unless under the guidance of a trained Professional or Clinical Aromatherapist. Also, a naturopath is not necessarily trained to use essential oils, and would certainly not be trained for internal use unless said naturopath had obtained aromatherapy training independent of naturopathy.
      Find a trained Professional Aromatherapist you can communicate with from a reputable association such as NAHA or AIA.

      • EXACTLY!! Robert Tisserand wrote on his Facebook Group last week: “There is no such thing as a “safe” brand of essential oils. Essential oil safety has really got nothing to do with the brand of oils you use. Most poor quality oils are not especially hazardous, they simply don’t do much of anything, and there is no single brand of oils that has a monopoly on quality. There are many brands with great quality oils! Safety is about constituents – the ones that are naturally there. “Not everyone reacts in the same way to essential oils, but safety guidelines are there to protect you. And remember – not every risk is apparent – you don’t know that hepatotoxicity or carcinogenicity or teratogenicity are happening when they are happening – unfortunately, there’s no warning sign.” NO WARNING SIGN…so ignore the posts which say “I’ve been doing it and I’m fine”…because just like no one knows which cigarette will be the one that starts the first cancer cell to grow…you will not know you have started to go into liver failure, until you are.

        • I totally agree, Sue, that things can happen all of a sudden… I had the unfortunately experience of just that 3 days ago. I am a Clinical Aromatherapist with 15 years of private practice, over 1500 hours of training, including anatomy, physiology and pathology. I’ve trained with some of the best known essential oil experts we have in the world today, including Robert Tisserand whom you mentioned. And still… I took a bath with 6 drops of essential oils and forgot to emulsify them properly. Don’t get me wrong, I had the oils and the bath gel in the little cup, ready to go, I just didn’t mix them together! So, when I swished the oils and gel into the bath water, I didn’t notice the essential oils float to the top and sit there, waiting to burn me, but burn me they did! Whoa, not fun. It happens to the best of us, and all it takes is once.
          Essential oil safety is very important.

          • Hard to believe that 6 drops of oil would burn you…what oil was it?

          • Thank you so much for sharing this.

        • Yes, please tell us what kind of oil you used. What degree of a burn did you have? Did you go to the ER? How long did the burn last?

    • Danielle ~ You might try googling “Trained, certified Aroma-therapist” and see what pops up for you. I’ve been watching and listening to Holly Draper, a certified aroma-therapist in Utah, who is an expert on EO’s. Someone who has studied and trained on the usage of oils and their affects in our bodies could better answer your questions/ concerns. I’ve read Oregano Oil can be beneficial with infections but should not be taken more than 10 days and that it also kills the GOOD bacteria in our guts so a good probiotic is necessary afterwards.

      • Thank you Julie. I appreciate that very much. I will do that.

        I probably should have mentioned I don’t take any of the oils internally except OnGuard. But I do use Oregano topically for warts when they happen.

  18. Thank you for your informative and useful post!

    I’d only like to add that essential oils are also unsafe to use on pets. We may like to smell like spices, herbs and flowers but Fluffy and Mittens have different biology, as well as super sensitive noses.

    • Thank you for including the pets. Cats, especially, are susceptible to toxicity with eo’s. I am horrified when I read or hear that we can use oils on our pets.

  19. Well said…… Thank you! Your voice has been one I’ve been following for a just little while now. I haven’t followed your advice significantly *yet*, because, first, I’ve been trying to get a grip on how carefully you do your research and how liberally you might comment before making well informed decisions. Today you have earned a great deal of respect from me as a voice of reason in a world of chaos. Each. and. every. comment. you. have. made. today. echoes the concerns of the most carefully researched voice I was able to glean from in my past. Her advice never failed our family, but of late, she has had to move back to the state in which she was born and her family’s and her own needs take priority over her outreach opportunities on a day to day basis. Therefore, I’ve needed to either find a new voice, or dig in and do similar research myself. — Methinks, with your help, I can do a good bit of both: following along and benefiting from your research, and doing more research of my own. — Thank you again!

  20. Peppermint and Rosemary oils are used in store bought and homemade vapor rub, right? Would you recommend the homemade version to be used in toddlers? I have a 2 1/2 year old.

    • Ursula – I personally use dried leaves instead of essential oils for my vapor rub for my kids. Just 1/4 ounce each of peppermint and eucalyptus leaves added to coconut oil. Heat the oil on low on the stovetop and allow the leaves to infuse with the coconut oil. Strain the leaves and add beeswax (if using). Melt, stir and allow to cool.

  21. THANK YOU!!! I see so many people selling essential oils to their friends on Facebook claiming they are pharmaceutical grade and therefore safe it scares me! I trained with an internationally certified aromatherapist during a time where two very misinformed teenage girls tried to use an essential oil known to induce menstruation to end their pregnancies. Both died of organ failure, the oil they consumed would have been fatal even if they had only consumed a drop. Regardless of how anyone feels about their intentions it was tragedy. There is a reason many essential oils can’t be purchased OTC in many European countries. While I don’t think we need to relegate them to pharmacies I think that the way many of the multilevel marketing companies are portraying their EOs as being totally safe gives consumers a false sense of safety.

    • I totally agree with you! It’s frightening how many people are taking medical advice from MLM’s.

      • Please tell us the name of the fatal oil. Yes, EOs must be used responsibly and with common sense; just like many items in our households: OTCs, cleaners, beauty products, etc.

  22. Thanks for the article! It’s funny because I was just checking out another blog about essential oils to avoid. Below is the link. The writer based her list off of scientific studies (I believe she’s a chemist and she has a beauty line) so you might enjoy reading it and talking with her. You are both so informed. I’m letting her know about this post too. I’m not trying to promote either. I love new resouses so I assume others do too. She list’s essential oils nobody should ever use, the EO’s not to be used during pregnancy, and the EO’s not to be used internally during pregnancy and why. I like how you stressed the point about how careful you have to be with taking them internally! Also, I totally understand not using any oil believed to be bad during pregnancy, data or no data. Here’s the link: http://www.bubbleandbee.blogspot.com/2010/08/essential-oils-and-pregnancy.html

  23. Thank you, this is a very helpful post! Essential oils being so potent, I’m always confused about all those recommendations to ingest them. I’ve personally decided not to use them even in my homemade toothpaste.

    I think it’s also important to note that essential oils are not safe for cats. A cat’s liver does not digest EOs, which is why they build up in the liver and may with time cause serious health issues. That’s why I’m not using EOs for my homemade cleaning products. Cats also have a very sensitive smell, so being in a room with an EO diffuser is not only unhealthy, but also very uncomfortable for them. I know there are people using EOs for treating cats – I think the risk is not worth taking.

    • What about catnip and catnip oil? I can’t imagine it would be much different than peppermint. I believe they are in the same family.

  24. Very useful information thanks,but recently I’ve purchased oregano oil can you suggest how to use it and is it safe to take it internally?

    • Read the label, is it oregano oil – an infused herbal extract of oregano in an oil like olive oil; sold as a dietary supplement with a proper Nutrition Label? Or is it pure Oregano essential oil, which is distilled? They are two different products and are chemically different with different uses, benefits and different risks. It is not wise to ingest oregano essential oil unless you are under the care of a Qualified Aromatherapist or licensed medical professional.

  25. Great post and I applaud you for writing it. The risks certain companies are encouraging untrained people to take scares me. I’ve known so many people who have been injured using oils “neat” or internally (and yes these were the “good” oils from mlm’s)
    Always remember oils are oils, the constituents are there no matter what brand it is and it’s the constituents that cause the reactions.

  26. This is a great and much needed perspective on essential oils. I’ve been quite alarmed at the rise in use, especially on babies and young children, that I’ve seen on social media.

    I think taking your health into your own hands is great, but just because things are natural doesn’t mean they are nontoxic or always safe at any concentration. Few consider the issues you’ve mentioned here nor the environmental impact of using so much of these herbs to produce incredibly concentrated tiny bottles of oils.

    Something you didn’t mention here which also belongs in this conversation is that many of the oils people use can be just as potent in their plant form. My sister, an acupuncturist and herbalist, talks a lot about this point since they would be safer (from a toxicity perspective), cheaper and more environmentally conscious.

    Thank you again for putting this information out there!

  27. I appreciate this article so much. I am an eo user, and after many hours of study came to the same conclusions about safe usage of them. Our favorites are lavender and eucalyptus and lemon for cleaning.

  28. Katie- I was just going to ask you an essential oil question when I saw this post. Thanks so much for the information. I am learning. I was wondering if you could answer what brand of essential oils you use? I have some Doterra but was thinking of ordering from MountainRoseHerbs would you recommend their oils?
    Also if their is one book to buy about essential oils, their uses, and dangers what book would you recommend?
    Thanks so much, love your site, look at it almost daily, use recipes and share on FB.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing this! I recently just found Essential Oil University on Facebook, which echos your sentiments. I was concerned by the MLM companies pushing their brand and suggesting it was safe to drop it under the tongue, etc.

  30. Great post! I have a question. I’m 13 weeks pregnant, and am fighting two topical staph infections. I’ve wanted to avoid antibiotics and steroids while pregnant, so I’ve taken crushed garlic internally, and diluted tea tree oil topically twice daily. Most research I’ve seen said tea tree is generally considered safe while pregnant, but I’d love some input! My infections have all but cleared, so I’m happy to report that it has worked!

    • That is what my research has led me to, but since you are pregnant, I suggest also running it by a healthcare professional.

      • Thanks for getting back to me! I checked with my midwife, and she thought it was fine as long as I was diluting it. I hope to be done with it soon regardless!

      • I think it’s important to note that health care professionals have no idea about essential oils. And in my experience, most of them don’t believe they have any therapeutic value at all. So, sharing with your healthcare practitioner that you’re using essential oils won’t be very helpful. Always consult a trained Professional or Clinical Aromatherapist. Find them listed on the NAHA or AIA sites.

  31. Thank you! I’m so glad you posted this article! I’m very new to essential oils and have been trying to find good quality information about oils. Most of the information out there that I could find was from the individual companies selling the oils. Thank you for listing medical sources and sources for non-biased places! I love your site and visit it almost daily!

  32. Excellent post! Thank you for this information!

  33. Hi Katie,
    Can I safely use orange, lemon or lime organic oil in my soda stream seltzer? I usually use orange bc the lemon and lime are so strong. If I can use them, is diluting them into 8 oz of water enough of a carrier? Thank you for your blog. I’m from Texas and have 5 kids ages 10 to 2, so I feel esspecially in awe of you!!! I’ve learned so much from you and your commenters since May when I listened to the book, The Big Fat Surprise, and it turned my understanding of a healthy diet upside down. I heartily recommend that book to all your readers because she throroughly explains the adulterated science and politics behind the nutritional guidelines that have taken our country substantially (albeit mistakenly) off course from a healthy diet. I listened to it on AUDIBLE on my phone.

    • Mixing essential oils into water does not dilute them; all they do is sit as little drops on the surface of the water, so when you drink the water, the undiluted drops stick to your mucous membranes. This can cause as much damage and discomfort as taking the essential oils neat on the tongue. Some suggestions for emulsifiers are full fat milk or half and half, honey or any vegetable oil. The only one that might work with water is honey…
      And for the Soda Stream, are you putting he essential oils into the carbonated water after its done, or into the machine itself? The essential oils are caustic and might well damage the mechanism.

      • I’m sorry but the comments about drinking citrus oils in water are incorrect. I drink citrus oils on a daily basis! It doesn’t sit on the top water and burn my mouth and insides… it just tastes good and is good for my liver and kidneys and everything else. I put a drop of Peppermint on my tongue if I have an upset stomach or to just freshen my breath after lunch. PURE solvent FREE oils are GRAS… and please remember the government is who allows the GRAS rating… not that companies!

        I am very shocked and saddened by all the fear mongering and misinformation being given here…

        • Please provide legitimate sources to back up any safety claims, as your own experience is not proof of safety. I’m glad you have had good results with your oil use, but that doesn’t make them safe to ingest.

  34. Thanks for this info – I just started using essential oils and I’m trying to be cautious with my use. This is very helpful!

  35. Generally, I agree with everything you wrote. However, I still think you’re a little careless in your treatment of EOs with babies. EOs should not be used topically on infants at all, as their organs just aren’t ready to process them yet. In EO land, there’s a big difference between a baby and a child and I think they need to be addressed separately.

    • This is incorrect information: “I’ve even read cases of someone getting a permanent skin reaction to a certain oil after using it undiluted on broken skin.” Sensitization is not a permanent skin reaction, it is a systemic immune system reaction. You don’t just get a rash when you get sensitized, you can go into shock and stop breathing. And it can happen from using ANY essential oil undiluted, including lavender and tea tree. There are no essential oils which should be used undiluted unless the patient is under the care of a Qualified Aromatherapist because there is always a risk to any undiluted use, and they should be fully informed of this so they can evaluate whether the risk of a lifetime sensitized, is worth any potential benefit of using the EO undiluted. Usually, the risk outweighs the benefit.

      I agree your safety information regarding children is inaccurate. Most professionals recommend not to use any essential oils on a baby under age two without professional supervision, and under age six and under, only certain child safe oils…not just anything an adult would use but diluted. I encourage you to visit the professional resource on this web site and amend your article accordingly. http://aeota.org/safety/consumer-safety/

  36. I always wondered if the caution against using “internally” included toothpaste or oil pulling use. Thanks for clearing that up!

  37. Such an informative post! Thank you so much for your research. I appreciate all the valuable information I have read on your blog.

  38. I love using essential oils but have been growing more and more concerned and worried as I have three kids under the age of three. I mainly use them in my cleaning supplies and in a diffuser. I love Thieves, but it does contain Eucalyptus which has menthol. I’ve always been told that Thieves is great to spray (diluted) on children’s feet but now I’m not sure. Do you use Thieves on your kids?

  39. I have had 12 years of headaches, starting with a constant, daily headache my first year in high school. Come to find out, peppermint essential oil can take the pain away and reverse my headaches. I use it on my jaw, base of the skull, forehead, and neck when I get a headache, and then I take a steam shower and put a few drops on the shower itself to be able to breathe it in. This allows me to cope without having to take Advil! Love it! It also helps take the bite out of cramps. (P.S.- I’ve now discovered long-term gut and hormone issues that seem to be the missing link. The peppermint EO is a great short-term solution, though!).

  40. Thank you for posting this! I think many people think that because something is natural and plant based then it is safe and gentle compared to conventional products. I had one reader ask me one time why there was a warning label on her essential oil bottle when she thought they were supposed to help not harm. I would like to link back to this post in one of mine, if that’s ok with you.

  41. What about using DigestZen for infant reflux? It contains peppermint but I know I have heard of using this as a remedy…

    • NO! Would you pour a handful of aspirin into your hand and give it to a baby because someone on the internet (who was of course, selling aspirin) said it was safe? NO.

    • Betsy, I’ve had luck diluting the oil 4 drops carrier oil to 1 drop Digestzen and only apply to the bottom of the child’s feet. Rub the oil in your hands first then on the babies feet…never drop essential oils directly on a child.

  42. This is a very informative article, thank you. It is a great resource for essential oils.

  43. Katie: I am in desperate need of a solution to dry mouth!!! Especially at night!!! I broke my hip last October and have been in pain pills but am down to only one a day and still experience horrible dry mouth at night!! Any ideas??

  44. Hello wellness mama, first i want to start off by saying thank you very much for this article and posting the links to where you got your info. Really when it comes down to brass tax every thing we eat (example gmos) to products we use are just as toxic (see ewg.org) finding what is safe and works can be a challenge. I have grown up around essential oil use as my mother is a lmt and reflexologist and has been for 20yrs. We are huge believers in essential oils and there benefits. But appreciate when people are informed about there use. Unfortunatly where we live anything natural is highly frowned upon so there is not a doctor to ask so most people need information like this. Every person is different with what the body can handle and not handle. Research from the pharmaceutical side will always show the risks of an essential oil while hiding those same risks from the medication they prescribe. In the long run i would rather take my chances from a natural side then from putting a chemical in my body. Anyways thank you for the informed article.

  45. Thank you for the great article. I have recently been researching a lot on eo because I have been using them way too freely in the past. Do you know off hand from your research if frankincense and tea tree oil are safe to use when pregnant or trying to conceive? I will do research now of course but wondered if you knew off hand. It would great if you wrote an article on which beauty products are safe to use when pregnant. That is one thing that I find hard to come by are beauty products that are truly safe when pregnant and nursing. Thank you for all the great info!

  46. This post is very informative and very helpful as I begin to delve into learning about EO’s! What are your thoughts on Eucalyptus Oil for children? Is there a reputable site that discusses what is okay and not okay to use on children? My daughter (9 months old) had bronchitis and we used it to help her cough and clear her nose by putting it on her feet and sometimes chest. I used a teaspoon of coconut oil with 2 drops. I guess I’m now questioning whether that was safe and if she were to get sick again, if it’s okay to continue to use.

    • I answered my own question! I just found some interesting articles about not using Eucalyptus on children under 10 years old…Yikes! I’m glad nothing serious happened but I will be sure to be more careful. The lady I spoke with recommended it and I just trusted her. That won’t happen again! Thank you again for this article. It has really made me more aware of how important it is to research before using EO’s because they are very potent.

      • On the feet or in a diffuser only for babies!

        Eucalyptus and Menthol – what does everything think is in VapoRub or BenGay??? Except those products are petrochemical in basis and NOT all natural in any way at all! But no one thinks twice about using those since we all grew up with them… And to my way of thinking, there is NO way a product made from crude petroleum sludge is better than a pure EO. I mean, think about it – which would you really want on your body? And if applying EO’s neat to the skin is against the American model of Aromatherapy because they will soak into the skin and harm the person, WHY would you want a product made from crude oil on your skin? Does that not soak into your cells as well?? Think about it!

        Eucalyptus (IF pure and undulated!!!) is fine for a diffuser or a bit mixed with coconut oil for older kids.

  47. Thank you SO MUCH for this article!! There is so much misinformation out there about EO’s since the MLM’s have gotten so ubiquitous!

  48. Thank you! I would have never known this if you hadn’t posted it!

  49. Thanks for the great info! I’ve been using some EOs lately on myself and my 11YO daughter. I only uses one or two drops in each teaspoon of olive oil. They seem to be helping both of us concentrate and focus during the day.

  50. Thank you for this. There is an extremely helpful Facebook group called “using essential oils safely” that I would encourage anyone to join who is looking for answers on this topic. They are very conservative and there are several certified aromatherapists that chime in on what is recommended and what isn’t. I personally have 2 small children and need unbiased information on what is safe (not from the company who is selling it!)

  51. Great article!!
    I had learn a lot from it
    But now I have a question, which EO I should use for Diy body butter for my 4yr old daughter?

  52. Wow! Are you a certified aromatherapist? You should do some more homework on that peppermint and seizures topic.

    You can’t write a lengthy article on a topic you have so little info about.

    • I’m sorry but I have to agree with Kate on this. This article – to my way of thinking – is misinformation and fear and little else. I am disappointed by it to say the least…

  53. I’m interested in EO. Where do you recommend purchasing?

  54. Katie, Katie, Katie. THANK YOU. Seriously, thank you. I’m a LMT and doula and am on my journey (slow journey) to becoming a clinical aromatherapist. I was totally appalled this week when I saw a blog about how to treat pink eye naturally. They actually recommended rubbing undiluted lavender around the child’s eyes! My little aromatherapist heart almost exploded. How dangerous! I’m very unhappy with how people are abusing essential oils. I’m so sorry that you had a bad experience with massage. That was a crazy amount of oils. Luckily for my clients…they get a drop on a tissue to inhale and everything else is diluted with organic jojoba oil. Thank you so much for writing this! You made my day. Keep doing what you’re doing. We all really appreciate you.

  55. Hi Katie,

    I enjoy reading your articles because they are evidenced-based, but I’m sad to see that this one falls short of your normal standard. Your blog instills fear in your readers and much of it simply isn’t based off of peer-reviewed sources.

    A perfect example is the arbitrary list of oils that are NOT safe for use during pregnancy. This is not the case whatsoever.

    Also, your recommendation to have your readers ask their doctor about oils is quite misleading. MD’s, DO’s and even DC’s receive little to no training whatsoever on the safety and efficacy of therapeutic-grade essential oils.

    There are many, many more points, but I want to be respectful because I have so enjoyed your work over the years.

    Please consider working with a professional researcher to help clean up this article.


    • I have to disagree Eric. I have searched (and asked doctors, midwives, and aromatherapists) and there are simply not studies about the safety of many oils during pregnancy. In many cases, there are not peer reviewed studies about essential oil use as plant compounds like this cannot be patented and the cost of these studies is prohibitive. I realize that many doctors do not receive formal training about EOs and I definitely think everyone should check with an herbalist or aromatherapist as well for that reason. Even the term “therapeutic grade” is largely unregulated and often used by MLM as a way to market their products (many of which are not actually certified organic). If you have peer reviewed studies that show the safety of oils, especially during pregnancy, I would love to see them and you have my email. I appreciate how respectfully you commented and am open to reading any studies you send. Warmly- Katie

      • Hey Katie,

        You make a good point, clinical trials are limited. However, that doesn’t give us license to arbitrarily advise against certain oils and compounds like many aromatherapists and midwives are in the habit of doing. I deeply respect aromatherapists and midwives; their training is usually quite thorough and they are very passionate about what they do.

        But, and this is a BIG but, their training determines their oil usage and recommendations and are greatly influenced by the country that live in. U.S. aromatherapy schools, for instance, are traditionally quite reserved when it comes to oral consumption of essential oils, whereas their European counterparts take a very different approach. Unfortunately, this bias has caused many people to be misled against the internal usage of essential oils, which has been a regular practice by folk medicine for literally millennium.

        Per your request, here’s some research for you:

        Because they are two of the most common herbs that people put on the chopping block, let take ginger and peppermint use in pregnant women. First off, my wife used both herbs and essential oils quite extensively during her three pregnancies and home births, and sings their praises. On the other hand, could someone experience an adverse reaction? Sure! Any one could be allergic or sensitive to anything, but that’s anecdotal and not true evidence.

        A 2004 article published in the Complementary Therapies in Nursing Midwifery sums it up best,

        “The safety and efficacy of each of these herbal remedies is discussed here. Only ginger has been subjected to clinical trials among pregnant women, though all three herbs were clinically effective against nausea and vomiting in other contexts, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and post-operative nausea. While safety concerns exist in the literature for all three herbs with regards to their use by pregnant women, clinical evidence of harm is lacking.”

        Bottom line: proof that peppermint and ginger cause harm in pregnant women does not exist.

        Like anything, you can find articles that support whatever viewpoint you’re trying to promote. But’s that a two-edged sword. Personally, I don’t know of any chemical in peppermint or ginger that could cause deleterious effects in pregnant women or their babies. Subsequently, I am not surprised when I read studies that support them for pruritus (itching), nausea & vomiting, for instance.

        Just some thoughts.

        Thanks for the dialogue.



        • I agree- and I’m not giving blanket advice to anyone not to take or use essential oils. I have seen many cases recently of reckless advice being given about essential oil use and the purpose of this post was to encourage people to research and use caution, especially if pregnant or on babies and children. As you know, EOs are extremely potent and can have a very strong impact (good or bad) on the body. I see advice on blogs and Pinterest all the time encouraging people to give their children EOs internally or use them undiluted on babies… these kinds of things worry me a lot.

          In regards to the pregnancy stuff… None of the studies you provided showed the safety of internal use of any of these substances and one of them just referred to the herbs themselves, which could mean tea or tincture and not EOs. That same study, for what it is worth, said that no harm was found from use of cannibis either- I’m curious if you would encourage a pregnant women to use cannabis as well or if your own wife did. The one study that talked about EO use specifically referred to peppermint oil on the skin (diluted in a carrier oil), which I talked about in this post as a safe way to use it. Peppermint is known to be a uterine stimulant and I know many knowledgeable midwives who caution against it, especially in the first trimester. It can decrease milk supply, so it is often avoided while nursing.

          Again- I understand where you are coming from and my purpose is not to dissuade people from using essential oils, just to encourage more research, dialogue and safe use. Yes, midwives are not trained specifically in essential oil use, though they do receive training in herbs and their uses during pregnancy (which would extend to use of their EOs also) but aromatherapists are specifically trained in EO use and risks. I would argue, however, that both midwives and aromatherapists are much more highly trained and accurately trained than the small army of self-educated essential oil enthusiasts with no formal training whatsoever who are encouraging people to give essential oils internally to children or rub eucalyptus undiluted on the feet of a baby.

          I know that you have a personal interest in people using essential oils and that you promote them, and again, I’m not trying to keep anyone from using them. I just think the blanket recommendations about their use can get dangerous.

          • Hi Katie,

            Forgive me if I misunderstood your article, but when I read your list of Thou Shall Not Use These Oils for pregnant women, I didn’t see anything about internal use. Everything I wrote was in regards to non-internal use of the plants and oils that are supposedly counterindicated for Mamas, because you made it quite clear that internal usage was a “no-no.”

            The internal oil debate is another beast all together, and so is cannabis oil. Maybe we can grab a cup of herbal tea (without essential oils) and chat off-line. 😉

            Lastly, your comment about peppermint being an uterine stimulant is simply not founded on science. In fact, just the opposite:

            “The spasmolytic effect of jasmine absolute was most likely to be mediated through cAMP, and not through cGMP. The mode of action in vitro resembled that of geranium, lavender and peppermint oils.”


            Same thing with your comment about decreased milk supply. I’m telling you, I’ve search far & wide to find anything about it in the literature and it just doesn’t exist. It’s an old wives tale. My wife bagged over 1000 ounces of milk in her first month of nursing, and she regularly used peppermint oil and drank peppermint tea. BUT this isn’t “proof.” I cannot recommend that women use peppermint oil to boost their supply because of my wife’s experience.

            Likewise, I will not deny that its impossible for a mom to experience an adverse effect to peppermint and produce less milk. I’m just saying that #1 it’s not proven clinically, #2 I have never heard of it personally in our midwifery/home birth circles and #3 I don’t think it’s right to instill hesitancy in women because of hear se.

            You can’t believe everything on the Internet. As one of the most influential wellness bloggers today, you have a a loyal following of people who listen to you and I suggest taking this approach:

            “Research supporting the negative effects of these oils are limited or nonexistent. Nonetheless, there are various sources that claim women should not use them during pregnancy or while nursing.”

            Making this type of comment would leave it more open to the reader to truly do their own homework.

            Regarding personal interests, you affiliate with Mountain Rose, so touche!

            Again, great work on your website. I just hope you’d consider cleaning up this piece a little. If you’d like some help, shoot me an email and I can give you a hand. 🙂


        • This has been an interesting and friendly discussion that I find intriguing. You both make valid points. I would like to see the two of you team up in the future if possible. I feel it would be helpful to your readers as a means of clarification. I have to admit, it can be a little confusing after you read some of the comments from others-not Dr. Z. Thanks.

          • Very nice discussion, and as an EO user who is trying to be an educated and thoughtful consumer, I appreciate this level of respectful and research-based dialogue. And I agree with Cindy! Please consider more posts where you two possibly team up!

          • I agree that this was a nice and respectful dialogue and I appreciate that.

            But criticizing From an objective argument standpoint:
            Eric, you seem to rely heavily on your wife’s experience and that does a lot to discredit what you’re writing. If you had strong research as the main body of your argument and then a “p.s. My wife had this experience” that may be different. Wellness mama does a much better job of keeping her content mainly intellectual and scientific with small bits of anecdotal evidence. I trust her opinion a great deal more.

          • Hi Katie,
            I was wondering as well where exactly your list of eo’s to avoid in pregnancy came from. I use eo’s and feel I do good research before use. I’m currently pregnant and have had severe hyperemesis throughout the first trimester. Ginger and peppermint (especially peppermint) have been extremely beneficial to me. I was very surprised to see them in your list. I didn’t check every source listed at the end of the article, but I did read the last 2 posted (the pregnancy safety data sheets) and neither mention either of these oils as unsafe. Just curious where this list came from.

        • I know a certified midwife (Stephanie Fritz) who is very experienced and uses essential oils extensively with her patients (and even recommends taking EO’s internally during pregnancy). She wrote the book “Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth and Babies.” When I become pregnant, that will be the resource I turn to with regards to essential oil usage during pregnancy.

          • Please research other sources as well Malori. I cannot endorse Stephanie Fritz’s protocols and actually shudder at the thought of someone following her advice. Keep in mind she is very high up in the MLM chain so she absolutely has something to gain by advising you to use massive quantities of essential oil. Request the handout from her website and ask any non-MLM trained aromatherapist their thoughts…

  56. THANK YOU for this! Many really do need to realize that although natural, essential oils also have safety considerations. I hope that some of the people who do not believe what they are told in concern for their safety follow you and your blogs! Just because something is pure and natural does mean it is safe for everybody.

  57. On a side note off topic….I would have questioned a ‘massage therapist’ that didn’t ask about pregnancy or other medical issues before the massage started.

  58. I have alot of questions about essential oils I’m. Hoping you can help me with. My sister is in a persistent vegetative state due to lack of oxygen to the brain. We order our essential. Oils from frontier. And use the aura cacia oils but I have no clue about essential oils how to mix them the best ones ect. My neighbor. Just started buying the young living brand an I saw they have an oil called brain power an after googling it I came across some success. Stories about it being used on coma patients an they put it on the roof of their mouth. It’s like 80 on younglivings site and 60 on amazon my neighbor was saying that amazons oils vs younglivings oils on their website look the same on the outside but the oil on the inside are different. My question is is younglivings oils better then aura cacia? Aurua cacia is alot cheaper they don’t have the brain power blend nut I know the oils it’s made from and could I make the brain power with the aurua cacia oils?

    • I would say that Young Living Essential Oils are better than Aura Cacia oils because YL has a seed to seal commitment that guarantees that the oils have not been adulterated in any way. I have watched a video on youtube produced by Aura Cacia where they show very unclean methods of extracting their oils. As to buying as a wholesale member of Young Living or buying on amazon, there is no guarantee on the seed to seal commitment when you buy from amazon, and it has been reported several times that the bottles bought on amazon have been tampered with. I have seen articles that it is not safe to buy health products of any kind on amazon because the tampering is prevalent. I commend you for doing research for your sister’s health!

    • I would want to talk to someone qualified and knowledgeable about EO’s before treating your sister. Make sure to read the whole article and comments to also help. I learned it is not wise to use straight EO’s on the skin and taking something internally can have serious risk and only a professional could help you make the right choice. Plus there is not enough scientific data to prove EO’s are even safe internally (this is how I took it). As an above person stated : Find a “Professional Aromatherapist you can communicate with from a reputable association such as NAHA or AIA.”

    • Check out nativeamericannutritionals.com – they have customer reviews galore and a chart comparing their blends to Young Living and DoTerra…but cost less as they aren’t an MLM company and you are buying direct. Cheap shipping too.

    • I use Brain Power and LOVE IT!!! But NO Aura Cassia is not a pure brand and I would avoid it at ALL costs! Same goes for NOW brand oils… NOT PURE and NOT GOOD! I know of a few people who have been harmed by those brands. Please do not use them. YL is tested and they can prove that all the oils are solvent free. This is not true the the vast majority of other brands available in health food stores. By law they are ALLOWED to lie and say it is 100% pure when it truth it can be up to 95% solvents!!! I personally would not trust anything from a health food store… but that is just me. Money matters little when it is HEALTH that you want… and they are still cheaper than a doctor or hospital visit!

  59. Hi, I’m currently pregnant and starting to make my own handsoap, shampoo, toothpaste and such. Everything I’ve made I’ve gotten the recipe from Wellness Mama (love everything on here). In this post it was mentioned that pregnant women shouldn’t ingest Peppermint, I used peppermint in the homemade toothpaste, is that too much to be ingesting, or should I be fine. I would ask my OB but she doesn’t seem the type to know about anything natural and would probably just try to talk me out of making my own products.

    • I personally feel ok with using it in toothpastes in that dilution during pregnancy but definitely do your own research and make sure you are comfortable with any use.

      • Will do, thank you so much. You website is so helpful!!!!

  60. Katie, in a previous article you mention that you diffuse peppermint oil often, but here you say that you would not do so around young children for safety reasons. I know you have almost always had young children 🙂 and we will be in the same boat. Can you clarify for me? Do you diffuse it in the open areas of your house but just not in the children’s rooms or closed spaces? Just wanting to understand! Thank you!

    • Yes. I diffuse in small amounts in open areas and not when I have a baby under 6 months…

      • Okay, perfect! That’s what I thought and what I do too. Thank you!
        Is that how you use the pumpkin spice room spray as well? I have read that some of the oils in that are better not used with younger babies/children. But I was thinking of diffusing it in an open space with very little of each oil.

      • This was my big thing! I have a 2 year old and wasn’t sure about diffusing. So is it still not good to use something for a cold on his skin if using coconut oil to dilute? Well in your opinion because this is the first site I’m trusting so far, I am researching tonight the things to buy!
        Thanks for asking Mary!

        Thank you

  61. Hi, thank you for writing this. I was completely unaware of this. I don’t take EO internally often but I have at times when I’ve been sick – mostly DoTerra OnGuard.

    I’m a little concerned now about peppermint oil. You mentioned not to use it all at during pregnancy, I’ve been using some homemade Chapstick (your recipe) which I did put some drops of peppermint oil in the batch. I’m pregnant and wondering if I should not use the Chapstick then?

    Also, you wrote that peppermint should not be used for babies or young children. What about in homemade toothpaste? I was just about to make some and was planning on putting peppermint oil in it. But my pregnant self would be using it plus my 21 month old. Is that a bad idea to use it in the toothpaste then?

    I would really love your thoughts. Thank you!

    • I will clarify that in the post. I do use it in extremely diluted amounts in small quantities like lip balm and in toothpaste (though just diluted).

  62. I made my own toothpaste (powder) using your recipe with bentonite clay, that’s got some EO in it and I’ve also made my own mouth wash since I was having issues with bad breath a few months back. For the mouthwash I mixed about 1.5 cups filtered water with Himalayan red salt and added 4 EO at about 10 drops each, they were peppermint, clove, cinnamon and tea tree. The mouthwash works extremely well and I gargle 3 times then spit and rinse and gargle with water. I am worried I may be ingesting too much EO even though I spit. Also, I did this during first trimester pregnancy which worries me even more since I miscarried. I just want to know if the EO in the toothpaste or mouthwash is safe considering i don’t actually eat them, just brush and rinse with them. Thanks Katie for the informative post, as usual!

    • I really haven’t been able to find anything definitive on this. I’ve felt relatively safe using it in ways like toothpaste that would be spit out, but there isn’t really any research on this to know for sure.

    • Hi Sofia,
      As an RN I would like to comment that the areas inside of your mouth are quite sensitive to substances of any kind (similar to the mucous membranes found inside the nose, eyes, etc.) There are times during emergencies where pharmaceutical medications are given either under the tongue or chewed in the month due to the ability to enter the bloodstream more quickly than they would if swallowed. ( No one should ever do this with any medication without the supervision of their doctor or medical provider!) I am using this example of practice (in the hospital where I worked) to illustrate my opinion that, if pharmaceutical medications can enter the body more quickly through areas of the mouth–I would be cautious of any substance that is put in your mouth, whether or not it is swished then spit out or ingested completely. As many intelligent people have commented here, it is much better to proceed with caution and better to be safe than sorry!

  63. A friend facebooked your article to me and I say THANK YOU! I do not use essential oils because I have a lot of allergies. Because of this I become very fearful when I see them come out of someone’s kitchen cabinet. It make total sense to me that these are a concentrated item. It has taken me many years to figure out many of my allergies, so that I can avoid whatever it is. Example: vanilla – candles, scent sticks, etc. For years I would get a headache when I visited other people’s homes where they were burning a candle. Then one day I ran into a store to pick-up something, you know on a mission, get in, get out – as I passed the entry someone was making cotton candy and then the smell hit me. I shook my head and continued on then back to the front to check out. As I was writing my check I felt like I was about to pass out. I literally ran out of the store to get some fresh air. I sat in my car with my windows down for about an hour, until I felt it was safe for me to drive. As I got to feeling better I started examining in my mind what had just happened. It came back to the cotton candy, so I investigated “how to make cotton candy”. It’s basically white sugar and a little vanilla. That puzzled me, I use vanilla in baking with no problem. Then six months later talking to a friend, I found out the individual making the cotton candy had made a trip to Mexico just to get fresh vanilla for this event. Most of my allergies are aromatic causing severe headaches, people that enjoy these scents do not understand it, they just want to have a pleasant smelling home. I see nothing wrong with using essential oils, but I too would warn people to just start with one and then not to introduce a new one for at least a month. Spacing out the time of introducing new oils gives your body time to adjust and you time to see how it effect you and your family. Thanks again. Judy B

  64. Thanks for this post! I had a really bad experience with tea tree oil on my face before. I used it undiluted and literally half of my face broke out into a big red rash! It was terrible and it lasted over a week. I ended up going to the dermatologist because I thought I got chemical burns. I should have been more cautious 🙁

    • I just did this same thing. I am experiencing a weeping oozing rash on my face from applying tea tree oil undiluted. Did you develop an allergy to tea tree oil from this experience? I am wondering if I will need to stop adding the tea tree drops to my laundry now. If anyone else has any advice on this please chime in. Also, is anyone aware of another essential oil that is as effective for the laundry (ie. disinfecting, killing mold, etc.) Maybe I can just switch to something else. Hopefully, I won’t have to rewash all my laundry.

  65. When you say do not use certain EOs during pregnancy, does that include personal care products with those essential oils in them? Like your soaps?

    • I typically will still use most oils that are highly diluted in soaps and lotions but not use them therapeutically during pregnancy.

  66. I can appreciate all that you have said on this topic. A couple of people that I know treat EO’s as medicine, meaning that they are very potent and should be used with caution. I have not diluted my oils when using them on myself but I always dilute when applying to my children.
    I remember seeing a few posts you had that involved doTERRA oils, that you really liked them, and (I think?) became a seller. What caused you to stop using them?
    Anyway, you might already know about this FB page, but I thought it was worth a share. He debunks myths that are out there about EO’s: https://www.facebook.com/EssentialOilUniversity I also liked what Dr. Z said, that there are differences in uses depending on the country it is being used in.
    Thanks for all the info you research on and share!

  67. Katie,
    I do enjoy some of your home-made recipes. however as a health care provider, I think that when it comes to anything medical and/or science related you simply are not qualified to post a blog. As Dr. Eric commented above much of your information is simply not accurate. While you may do your own “research”, I believe your research/choice of articles is biased based on your own personal beliefs/experiences. Posts like this make me lose all respect for you as you do have a following and I believe you are misleading a lot of your readers with your posts. Please, respectfully, consider posting only about topics that that you are qualified to write about. Some of your posts cause more harm and alarm than good.

    • I don’t really see how you think I’m doing harm by simply suggesting that people do their own research and sharing the other side of the essential oil question (that is often not presented or talked about by the many untrained reps suggesting people consume these). As Dr. Eric mentioned above, most health care professionals do not receive any training in essential oils and would also not be qualified to speak about them. In fact, the only people that receive formal training about essential oils are aromatherapists and I recommend talking to them in this post. I don’t post as a doctor or health care professional. I make it very clear that I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. What I am is a concerned mom with friends who are giving their children EOs internally and this worries me, as a mom and a friend. Also, everyone writes from their own lens and experience. That being said, Dr. Eric writes from a bias as well, as he is a rep for an essential oil company, so his opinions would also be tainted by personal experience and beliefs. From looking at your comment history, every comment you have ever left was negative or critical. I have to wonder why you keep wasting so much time on a website that you don’t feel aligns with your beliefs. There are plenty of vegetarian friendly and essential oils supporting blogs and perhaps you would prefer to read those.

      • Love your reply, Katie!

  68. Im diabetic and Burning oils always drops my blood sugar it’s great! I wonder why and whether this can help in a cure

  69. I’m too tired to go to much length here but I must say that I am quite disappointed in this article. First, let me direct you to your very own recipe for bug spray which includes 30-50 drops of essential oil in a small bottle … FAR MORE drops of EO than I would use (but then, I do go for the pure stuff). Rosemary and peppermint just a couple ingredients (better watch out for decreased breathing and you give no warnings in that article about using on pregnant women or small children, btw.


    And then I’d like to point out that there are many doctors (people with higher education) who actually USE and ENCOURAGE the use of EOs in their practice. I’ve talked to our pediatrician who chooses a more natural approach, though she is an MD, and she showed zero concern over our use of EO and actually encouraged it.

    And my last point … The US is the grand central station of lawsuits and some of these MLM you are cautioning about have been around for many years. Don’t you think that they would have been involved in some hefty settlements and public sanctions by now? I actually have a book that, in black and white, states safety guidelines of the various oils including undiluted and internal use. Don’t you think these publishers would hand been put out of business? It would be all over the news! Instead, what I did see in the news is that Vanderbilt University Medical Center diffuses doterrA essential oils I their ER and has discovered reduces stress and illness among the ER staff.

    Clearly, this article was written just to get clicks to your blog. I’m VERY disappointed in the lack of integrity you display here.

    • This article was definitely NOT written to get clicks or for any other self serving reason. In fact, I probably could have made money by including affiliate links to essential oils in this post… and I didn’t. There are a variety of other keywords and ways to write this that would have gotten MORE clicks and maybe even made money… that was not my point with this post.

      I’ve been putting off writing it for a long time because I knew there would be many who disagree… which is fine, but I think it is important to hear both sides. Again, I encourage people to consult a doctor or aromatherapist. If yours suggests using them and you have researched and feel comfortable with it…. go for it. I’m just trying to offer an alternative view from all of the distributors for oil companies who suddenly become “experts” in EOs. I typically use bug spray on clothing and do plan to update that recipe and several others. My point with this post was not to discourage people from using EOs but just to encourage more research and caution. Ironically, I’m yet to find one person who is commenting accusing me of being biased or having a “lack of integrity” whose email address, IP address or facebook profile doesn’t have a link to their EO distributor website with one of the two big companies. I really would love to understand how you think I lack integrity for encouraging people to do their own research and check with a reputable source before using something.

  70. Do you plan on changing some of your recipes to follow these guidelines? I have noticed that you have not always followed these rules, especially in your vapor rub recipe for example. I am glad to are you posting on this finally. People follow your blog closely and eo safety should be a priority. I would love to see existing recipes include warnings.

  71. I do love essential oils and have used them for many years. HOWEVER–I have learned to be much more cautious with them!
    One of my early essential oil experiences was using tea tree oil undiluted on toe nail fungus. After using for about a month my toe started itching madly with little red bumps all over it. The itching was insane, even keeping me awake at night.
    I have to say I was pretty ignorant about EOs–Sooooo, years later I got a slight yeast infection and my friend had a health food store and suggested tea tree suppositories–did I mention I was ignorant! OMGosh. TORTURE! The itching and swelling were so bad I could not pee (sorry) and it lasted for a week. I won’t go into any more detail other than to say it has left a definite impression on me–forever!
    Moral of the story–essential oils are great but please test first and do NOT use undiluted!

  72. Thank you so much for this post. I get so frustrated when people just act by listening to word of mouth, instead of doing actual research. I also love essential oils, but caution and understanding is so important when using them. I have seen co workers using and suggesting essential oils neat, and using them internally on a daily basis. It saddens me that “reputable” companies will hand out this kind of dangerous and misled advice. I have a very young child, and since she was born, I only keep Lavender, Sweet Orange, and Clove essential oils on hand. I feel that they are safe/effective and it gives me peace of mind. Thank you so much for being such a fantastic resource, and for all that you do!!

    • Also, just to clarify. I only diffuse the above essential oils, the only exception would be the clove. I sometimes use it with coconut oil for tooth pain, ulcers, and ingrown nails. I love that you wrote about herbal teas Katie 🙂 I have found that herbal teas are the most amazing medicine!!

      • My EO cautious friend, clove for teething is another dangerous one. (Just so you know) Clove on littles is dangerous and diffusing is still risky. :/ I had to learn this myself.

        • Thank you so much for syaing that 🙂 You are so right. I would never use clove essential oil for teething! I was referring to adult tooth pain, and even then I only use 1 drop to 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil. Also, I only diffuse clove when we leave the house. I will turn on the diffuser as we are leaving to give the house an immune system cleaning/boost. I diffuse sweet orange and lavender on a fairly daily basis and love/trust them!

    • Excellent article. Thank you for sharing. That is what I like about reading the comments…there is much to offer/share and much to glean from others.

  73. I am so grateful for this article. You couldn’t have said it better that EO are the new rage and touted as a cure all. I also use them but I get really frustrated by all the people now who are in to self disgnosing and think they cure everything. And I find that most of the people that think that way also sell the oils…I will be kind and not mention brands. But it is extremely disheartening to me to have someone go to a “selling/marketing” conference and come back talking like they are a Dr. I am very fortunate that over the course of my life I have been relatively healthy and have not required Dr. care very often. I try to keep stress at a minimum, I exercise regularly and I eat well. That helps me to stay healthy. I also have a sensitivity to some EO…found that out the hard way. Once agin, thank you for your article and for your research. I really appreciate it.

  74. I have been using On Guard on my kids, ages 4, 3 and 1. I rub a little with coconut oil on the bottoms of their feet at night. Is this not safe? And what is the safest way to use it?

    • I would dilute On Guard: 1 drop to 1-2 TBS carrier oil.

    • Not safe. And esp not safe for kids under 6/10. Daily use of any oil past two weeks is not safe either. Diffuse things like tea tree and sweet orange if you are concerned for illness. Diffuse diffuse diffuse. That is Tue safest way to use eo’s around children, and watch out for On Guard and Thieves type blends. They usually contain things unsafe for young kids.

  75. Wellness mama, I was curious if you use Oregano oil for you or your children for illness or other purpose? Thanks

  76. I LOVE my EO’s!!!! I use Plant Therapy and they are wonderful, they even make a kids specific section that is formulated just for children (takes the guess work out!!!) I never take EO’s internally and always use them diluted. Thanks for the information, love reading your blog!

  77. Hi Katie! I love your blog and have followed you for several years. Yours was one of the first I read that helped me get started on a whole-foods, natural lifestyle. On this topic, however, I tend to disagree, and wanted to specifically address the issue you bring up of essential oils being anti-bacterial and thus potentially harming our gut flora. A friend of mine shared this study, which states:

    “The antimicrobial activity of essential oils/compounds was measured by determining the inhibition of bacterial growth. Among 66 essential oils/compounds that exhibited ?80% inhibition towards Salmonellatyphimurium DT104 and Escherichia coli O157:H7, nine were further studied. Most of the oils/compounds demonstrated high efficacy against S. typhimurium DT104, E. coliO157:H7, and E. coli with K88 pili with little inhibition towards lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.”

    Here is the link to the study:


    I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for all your work in the natural blogging world and helping us mamas keep our families healthier!


  78. I recently began visits to a new, young doctor, but I didn’t know EO’s were a part of the treatments available. I then tried EO’s and was impressed by how quickly a few drops seemed to bring improvement, but so quickly that I’m skeptical and cautious. There were no written instruction or cautions with the oils I purchased. There was, however, a free lending library in the office covering many aspects of this doctor’s philosophy of healing. The doctor’s instructions for EO’s were a bit hazy.
    Specifically, I have yet to read how to diffuse EO’s to use topically. There was mention of some special sort of coconut oil, but the info. wasn’t clear. Can I dilute it in cooking oil and rub it on? Where can I find a formula for using tea tree oil on my toe nail fungus? I’ve been applying it full strength at night, but after reading all the above info. I’ll stop until I learn more.

  79. Once again, I really appreciate this article from you. I love essential oils but kept receiving conflicting viewpoints on their safety And usage. I would agree with you to err on the side of caution since there is not a lot of research out. Your connection to gut health was very eye-opening to me. I have been using EO’s more and more the past year and especially for natural antibacterial properties during flu season. With a 2 year old and 8 month old I am now concerned.

    Your article couldn’t have come at a better time because just last night I started diffusing eucalyptus oil in our bedroom to help my kids with congestion. There are many recommendations for that online, from reputable sources. And it really helped them sleep. But I take your caution seriously and you were very adamant about not using that around babies. Could you please send me to your references for that? I’m just trying to learn more. Thanks.

    And thanks again for this article. Many health-minded ppl have acted like EO’s are like water and many conventional medicine ppl have acted like they are poison. I was leaning more towards the viewpoint of “they are really excellent when used properly” and I feel as though you helped clear up some misconceptions about how to use them properly. I really appreciate you doing that.

  80. I didn’t get a chance to read through all the posts, but wanted to mention that a friend of mine selling essential oils recommended I give my son (4yrs old) lemon oil in water. I only did a drop to start and he didn’t like it, she told me to increase it to 10 drops (these were doTERRA oils that can be taken internally). He only took a few sips, but didn’t like it so I didn’t push it. He ended up breaking out in hives ALL over his body and I had to take him to the Dr. At first I couldn’t figure out what had done it, but as I thought it through and narrowed things down I realized it was the lemon oil. When I told the lady she insisted it was not an allergic reaction and that it is impossible to be allergic to oils. All I would say is definitely use caution with the oils for children – especially internally.

    • doTerra essential oils are no different from any other pure essential oil, and purity does not equal safety. In fact, for many oils, it’s actually the *reverse* (sassafras is a good example of this, as it was basically internal use of the essential oil that got sassafras removed from root beer, because the concentrated saffarole is acutely toxic and possibly carcinogenic…but it takes the equivalent of gallons upon gallons of root beer daily for decades to reach either threshold due to the purity/dilution differences).

      I highly recommend using caution with all of the MLM companies, and anyone who says that ingesting essential oils are inherently safe, especially if they say they’re safe because they’re natural. Some oils may be safe, but 1 drop is sufficient for a large amount of water or other recipe. 10 drops in what’s likely a small amount of water is far, far too much (to compare, 10-20 drops is about what I use in body lotion/butter and other cosmetic recipes, where the end user uses a tiny amount of the final product at a time, and the full batch makes enough for several people).

      It is very much possible to be allergic to plant oils. In fact, the oil is what a person is *most* likely to react to when touching a plant (see also: poison ivy, oak, and sumac).

      The idea that they don’t interact is also ludicrous. St. John’s Wort is a prime example. It’s great for treating mild depression, but it has well-known side effects and interactions with medications. Likewise, the active ingredient in aspirin (salicylic acid) is found in a number of plants, and those plants (especially in concentrated forms, like EOs) should not be used by people with issues regarding aspirin.

      If you want to use essential oils on your son or yourself, dilute it in a carrier oil and use it on the skin or diffused into the air. You’ll get the same effects for far less risk, and your oils will go a lot farther.

      • I was curious if you knew of other reputable areas to research? I have a 2 year old that I want to help calm during the day and help ward off sickness and help while sick but I have a lot of health issues and am on many meds and you stated it can have interactions with meds. I need to check that because I am on quite a bit! I have just started my EO research and am a bit lost!

        Thank you

    • I would suggest that maybe the hives was her liver detoxing all the poisons we are exposed to in our lifetimes. I have seen this happen and if one can push through for a day or two, it will usually stop. But since she had such a severe reaction, she should try some other way to cleanse the liver before trying the EO again… and then ONLY a pure one and only a drop or two in a gallon is fine. Until then, she might try water with real lemon slices and/or cucumber and maybe a sprig of mint or cilantro… This will help flush out the toxins that cause these sorts of rashes and reactions.
      No, I’m not a doctor – just have about 15 years experience with EO’s and 25 years experience with herbs. 🙂

      • Hives can be a reaction to detoxification, but when they occur that acutely they can likely be part of an allergic reaction. It is absolutely possible to be allergic to an essential oil, especially when ingested and especially in children. I’m not a doctor either, but as a concerned mom, I would not suggest giving essential oils to children internally (without a doctor or qualified practitioners advice), especially if they’ve had a reaction of some kind.

  81. thank you for this thoughtful article. i started a small company of topically applied blends to put the body in balance and i completely agree with your points on pregnancy and nursing. the only thing i would add is that i think in the process of balancing the body, the oils sometimes throw the body into detox which is not ideal while pregnant or nursing. Thank you again for this thoughtful and honest article!

  82. Every massage I’ve ever had has included being totally doused in essential oils. And come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve always gotten headaches afterwards. You make me question if there was a direct correlation! Next time I receive a massage, I’m definitely going to resist the use of essential oils.

  83. I just wanted to add my two cents as I also have learned the hard way about some oils. Early on I had been putting a drop of lemon oil in my glass of water because of an article, obviously not well researched, I read about the uses of lemon EO. Only later to find out about the photosensitivity. Thankfully I had not gone in the sun but due to medications that I take plus the fact that I have lupis I am ALREADY photosensitive and I would have been very badly burned. When you’re photosensitive your skin doesn’t react the same way to the sun. Basically the melatonin in your skin doesn’t naturally go to work in protecting your skin and instead of becoming burnt in the traditional way – on the outside, of your skin – in fact you get burnt through your skin right down to the bone. I accidentally fell asleep with part of my leg in the sun and it actually turned a dark purple – like a very, very bad bruise and it was extremely painful!! Further it doesn’t matter if you take it internally or if it is put on your skin, say in lip balm or perfume, it goes from your skin directly into your blood stream and so now am very careful what I put in such things as perfume and chapstick – as wouldn’t orange or lemon be great in chapstick? Sure but you can’t do it safely if you plan on leaving your house within 24 hrs. HA!

    There have been a few studies on Rosemary, diluted,, to help with concentration which it does considerably and would be good to apply or inhale before a test. But they found on testing the subjects breath and skin that the oil’s chemicals and even smell transferred from the subjects’ skin into their blood and breath as well – a good breath freshener and odd way to apply it hmm? You can put a drop diluted on the bottom of your foot and you’ll experience better breath (of rosemary EO which is kinda funny but it just goes to show how strong it is – that is a dilution of about like Katie had mentioned – about 5 %.). But perfume generally is used in a 30% dilution to perfumer’s alcohol so have to be VERY careful in what you put in it and how much. That means extensively researching every oil you put in it. And if you want to make a complex perfume that can be an amount of oils well and above 5 or even 10.

    In any case I am very careful now in how I use oils. I find that frankincense is pretty harmless, diluted – say if you want to use it as an air-freshener, perfume or on your carpet or in your vacuum bag as is geranium (or rose but you’d never use rose in carpet deoderizer lol as it is about $50 for 1/10 oz of the cheapest rose). But that is just my experience – obviously you should do your own research. I plan on using some cajeput in henna and have tested it on my skin already and had no reaction thankfully since I shelled out the money for it – $12 and that’s a cheap one in that I’m not using it for medical purposes but as hair dye and frankly I’m a little scared to use it as you leave the stuff on your entire head for more than 12 hrs. Soooo…..wish me luck!! I plan on using it in an about 10 drops per 1 cup of water which is about 250% dilution and still am jittery about it lol.

    Oh and just a note on my personal experience – I would recommend again you not trust my personal experience but research it yourself – I find that if I put a drop of peppermint in a glass of water swish it around so that it somewhat coats the cup – that is in a full glass of water – then throwing the water out and filling the glass up again that it helps tremendously in the case of a small instance of food poisoning. That is if you think you ate something slightly off and are nauseous but not throwing up or having any other very serious symptoms like diarrhea (nice subject huh?) It does indeed very well kill the bacteria in your gut including the good and I follow it up with some kombucha (which also helps with just a plain ole tummy ache). I find that peppermint and lavender and tea tree are essential for a natural first aid kit and that tea tree can be used neat on your skin for a cut but CANNOT be ingested!! and lavender for a minor burn. EOs work and work well when you know how to use them and practice extreme caution (DO NOT EVER BUY TANSY FOR ANY REASON – IT IS DOWNRIGHT POISONOUS – FOUND THIS OUT THE HARD WAY TOO – BEGAN DIFFUSING IT WHILE I SAT DOWN TO READ ABOUT IT AND HAD TURNED OFF THE DIFFUSER DUE TO BAD HEADACHE BEFORE I EVEN GOT TO THE PART ON HOW IT IS POISONOUS BUT RATHER EXPERIENCED IT FIRST HAND!! immediately threw it out and was put out that I spent money on it!! Why do they sell the stuff when you’d have to use a face mask in order to use it, for what purpose I have no idea! certainly not medical.) So yeah – be careful!!

    Thank you Katie for the article


  84. Kudos for writing this article. I loved reading all the comments, too. I am certified as a Clinical Aromatherapist, from an excellent school, “Scents of Comfort” in Canada. And had a practice in Washington State, outside Seattle. In my school we had a lot of anaatomy/physiology learning.
    The main thing I am grateful for, in your article, is that your information on contradications. is just right on, in my understanding!!
    I never recommend ingesting essential oils, but to use them diluted on the skin,The bottom of the feet is one good place. The digestive system has to metabolize them, and most people do not have an iron stomach!The only time I use oils “neat”(directly) is in burns. Lavendar neat will heal a burn fast.(personal experience).
    Also, diluting the oils in a carrier oil makes them go further and they won’t evaporate as fast.
    I have written a small booklet”:Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, a Simple Guide” from questions people have asked me.I wrote one chapter on “Read all skin products”in the market.giving toxic substances one should not put on skin.

  85. you have more influence than i do is it possible for you to look into the newest sales pitch from doterra here is the link to a promo from them
    i find it upsetting they are showing the oils used directly from the bottom on chidren
    are these oils diluted because they are still up there in price

  86. Katie what are your thoughts on ingesting Thieves Oil? Our whole family takes a “00” size capsule daily. I make the Theives Oil myself.
    Ingredients: cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove, lemon and rosemary

    Our family has not been sick for over 3 years with any flues, or colds and we take it with your Homemade Ginger Ale recipe…of which I LOVE and adore!!!!! I have a healthy ginger bug always brewing!!!!! I have shared with friends and they all love it too!

  87. I’m looking for a comprehensive book for essential oils. (uses, safety, etc) Can someone suggest one?

    • Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand

    • Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails by Dr. Scott A. Johnson who has a doctorate in naturopathy and is a board certified Alternative Medical Practitioner. He has conducted medical research including the safety of essential oils. There are many pages in the book on safety and guidelines, protocols (which have worked wonders for my family), and over a dozen pages of references/research studies.

  88. Thank you for your article. Like the other comments posted, I too have been alarmed at the articles about e/o on social media and advising un diluted and internal use. The only oil that is safe to use undiluted is tea tree oil. I have used e/o for 20 plus years and I have never used e/o other than tea tree undiluted. I would recommend anyone interested in learning more about e/o to buy and read anything by Valerie Ann Worwood she has many books on everyday use as well as one for use with children, she is a leader in the field. Great article!

    • The ONLY safe oil is tea tree?? I’m sorry but that statement is just simply untrue. If you buy your tea tree oil at a store or OTC, I can guarantee you that it is diluted with chemical solvents. Adulterated tea tree oil harms so many people every year – it angers me that the law allows companies to label things pure when they are not! Oils that are un-pure are the reasons that people have bad reactions or think they don’t work or are scared of them. One should not be scared of essential oils, just use them properly, know EXACTLY what is in that bottle, do your homework and do what is best for yourself.

      I personally have learned to giggle instead of saying Ouch if I get a burn, like the one I got on the oven last week. Why you ask? Because Nothing in the whole world is more fun that putting Lavender EO on a burn and watching the blister disappear in front of your eyes!!! Don’t try this with a cheap, health food store brand though or you will make it worse. But with therapeutic grade oil, the burn just melts away and the pain stops instantly. Period. Same for scraped knees and small cuts… fresh skin by morning! These are my own personal experience but the research on Lavender backs me up! And that is only one of the many EO’s I diffuse or apply topically on a regular basis… and yes, sometimes I ingest some of them too! Bottom line is this: If you want to use EO’s for health and beauty reasons, make sure you have a pure, undiluted, unadulterated therapeutic grade EO and NOT a perfume grade or food flavoring grade… those are guaranteed to contain alcohol and other additives and you will not get the desired effect. Quality and source DO matter. Get those right, read up a bit and go for it. But do not be afraid of essential oils.

  89. Hi Katie, ill start by saying i LOVE ur blog and follow everything u do. Thankyou so much for teaching and inspiring me about everything from food to natural cleaning and beauty, my family thanks you for it.
    I have a few questions regarding EOs.
    1. Is clove oil diluted 1 to 2 drops in 1 tbls coconut oil considered safe for rubbing on teething babies gums?
    2. U mentioned eucalyptus oil us unsafe for children under 6 but i want to know if the eucalyptus radiadus is also unsafe as this is marketed as being safe for children and i make a very diluted chest rub with it for my kids when they r sick.
    3. How long after using a citrus EO do u have increased photosensitivity? I use a facewash made of lemon EO, castile soap, water and a touch of olive oil. If i use this in the morning before heading out, could i be putting myself at risk?
    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  90. http://aromaticscience.com/education/#/education/05/06/01
    This is aromatic science’s research on internal use. Education on using oils is necessary. I always use carrier oils to bring them closer to their natural strength and first time users should definitely dilute with a carrier.

  91. Katie thank you for the great article and helping me to realize I need to be cautious with eo usage, as I have not been. Could you clarify for me please, are essential oils safe to use daily in your beauty regime, diluted of course as you stated? I read that you had said not to use any eo for more than two weeks. So does this apply to using them in a beauty regime? For example I have been using frankincense (boswellia serrate), with a few drops of jojoba oil nightly. At first I was using it straight until I read your article and since have been diluting it. Is this ok to do indefinitely or does the two week maximum apply? And if so what is a suitable amount of time to take off and restart when using a particular oil? Also is it safe to use eo in your beauty routine if pregnant or nursing? I know you said you stay away from them yourself personally, does this apply to the beauty recipes you have on your site? I plan to get a book and do further research as well. Thank you for all your information you share, I know research is so time consuming.

    • I personally feel safe using them in the amounts I have in beauty recipes since they are so diluted, but definitely do your own research and make sure you are comfortable with it too.

  92. Anyone have any insight on Jadebloom.com essential oils?
    Also as far as what eo not to use during pregnancy I am finding that there is contradicting information as well. I went to the link Katie posted and also another one I personally found. There were major differences, the one I found personally had a lot more no no’s in pregnancy. I wish all this eo info was more straight forward and there wasn’t so much contradicting information out there.

  93. Seems like the only folks that say it’s “safe” to use EO neat , are do Terra and YL users . They are doing a lot of harm with their claims. And I too use EO daily: diffused and in products.

  94. I’m a lil concerned now, my daughter frequently suffers from respiratory distress and is on a daily inhaler to stop her wheezing, we were told to put some eucalyptus drops on her pillow (I put them on the back side of her pillow) to help with her breathing at night. In the last two weeks, she hasn’t been coughing at night and she hasn’t woken up once – unlike the previous 4 months where she would wake up every single hour wheezing and coughing.

    You’ve specifically mentioned not using eucalyptus oil around children… do you think in the manner we’re using it, it would be okay since it’s not touching her skin? Even the bottle itself recommends it for bronchitis and respiratory troubles??

    Thank you for your help!

    • Growing up, my mother would put a drop of Eucalyptus oil on the collar of our pj’s if we had a cold and maybe some in a coffee can of water set over the heat vent, her version of a home made humidifier/diffuser. Once upon a time, every pharmacy and store carried it… along with clove and iodine and witch hazel. Now you have to ask them to be stocked or they won’t be there! And that is a shame…

  95. I suffer from tension headaches that frequently go into migraines. I have headaches about 5 out of 7 days with a migraine about once a month. They have been diagnosed by a doctor as tension and was given muscle relaxers and pain pills. These don’t get rid of the headaches but make them bearable.
    Wanting some thing that might work better, I tried peppermint essential oil. I have tried diffusing it, applying it to the base of my skull and rubbing it on the tention spots on my neck. This was having VERY little effect on my headaches. A friend told me she likes to put 1 drop of peppermint oil in her glass of ice water. I did this and the next day my headache was gone and stayed gone for a month.
    After reading your article, and finding out how concentrated peppermint oil I wonder if this is safe. Any advice/comments?

    • Peppermint has a high menthol content (the menthol is what gives it that tingly feeling), which has an LD50 estimate as low as 196mg/kg, and the NAHA states that more than 1g/kg of peppermint oil is deadly (http://www.naha.org/naha-blog/peppermint-safety-info). Peppermint oil has a tendency to irritate mucus membranes, as well.

      Menthol is also a muscle relaxant, so there’s that, too. That means just about anything it comes in contact with will not contract as much as it normally should. This is awesome for tense muscles, but not so great for sphincters and the various valves in your GI tract.

      I’m not sure that 1 drop would be enough to cause lasting, permanent harm, but I’d definitely stick to it as a last resort thing and weigh it against the other options available to you. Even if essential oils turn out to be your best bet, I’d still recommend trying to use them externally by either rubbing them on you via a carrier oil, or diffusing them. There are a number of oils that are great for relieving tension and migraines (I just bought a bottle of Spikenard for that very purpose), and I’d say try them before taking peppermint internally again.

      Also, you might want to look up cluster headaches and dietary treatments for recurring headaches/migraines. I used to suffer from daily headaches, too, until I changed my diet to Paleo and dramatically reduced my starch and sugar intake.

    • One drop and your headache stayed gone? That sounds Wonderful!! Think of how much liver damage Tylenol and similar drugs do – but you got the job done with ONE drop of pure oil!! Keep at it, you are doing good!

  96. Do you not use the OraWellness HealThy Mouth blend during pregnancy then since it has cinnamon and peppermint?

  97. Thank you Katie! I’ve seen a couple other posts like this one recently, and I’m grateful for the information. You see so much about essential oils online, but up until now, there weren’t often any warnings about them. I had bought a couple to try. It was after seeing these posts that I found out the oil blend I had been using for colds and congestion was not suitable for children. (It has both eucalyptus and peppermint in it, plus a few others.) We haven’t run into any problems with it, but I did stop using it around my 6 year old son.
    I just think it’s good to see these posts because there is a lot of information out there and because so many people were touting its benefits, it didn’t even occur to me to treat it like medicine that needs to be used wisely. I’m trying to learn more, but until then I’m being more prudent in their use.

  98. Love this post, Katie!

    I found a similar article that goes into detail not only about the risks of ingesting essential oils, but also notes that some of the official-sounding things are actually marketing ploys by some of the larger MLM EO companies. This marketing ploy is actually why you’ll often find something like “we’re the only company that offers Certified Therapeutic Grade oils” or some other official sounding thing. Of course they’re the only ones, it’s their phrase and they have it trademarked, so they’re the only ones that can use that phrase!


    • Actually, therapeutic grade is a newer industry grading level. Before therapeutic grade was available, the best one could get is perfume grade oils which are adulterated with alcohol and other solvents and possibly artificial fragrances as well. Yes, Gary Young invented the improved distilleries that will produce therapeutic grade oil but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. It is recognized by the perfume industry, the essential oil industry, the aromatherapy industry and oils must be tested to be if they are in this higher level before they can be labeled as such. There are organizations who regulate such things and the phrase therapeutic grade is one of those things. (YL is the ONLY US company to hold certificates from these regulatory organizations though – the rest don’t qualify.) It is not just a marketing ploy, far from it. That is the way you can tell whether an oil is going to be safe to use in some way or not. And while there are a few small companies with integrity who make small batches of just a few oils that are pure and made in the proper manner, the vast majority of companies out there are resorting to diluting with chemicals, distilling using solvents, etc… YL not only has 100’s of pure oils, they have other products as well, all made with the same high level of quality. I see no way to argue against quality!

      I stick with YL because of the large variety I mentioned above, because they have been doing this a long, long, long time (longer than anyone else!) and because there ARE plenty of studies about their helpful benefits, done by YL and by outside groups and universities, hospitals, etc… The studies DO exist!! Check pubmed – there are at least 100 studies – peer reviewed and published – on just Frankincense alone! The studies do exist and if it seems like YL folk are the only ones who know about them it could be that they are the ones studying the longest and hardest. YL has been around longer than any other EO company and have a very high standard of production with the oils and their other products – bottom line is they are a great company with great products. I have been at this 15 years (and tried many many things before finding EO’s) and have experienced myself and witnessed so many good things happen for others that I feel it would be simply selfish to NOT share that with others. So don’t immediately discount someone just because they are with YL. Being with YL doesn’t mean they “sudden became experts”… usually it means they care and have tons of education and experience on the topic, as I do. So don’t just judge blindly because of all this controversy – you might miss out on something really good!

      • Unfortunately, there is no independent certification for “therapeutic grade” and no governing agency that regulates that term (not that I am for any more government regulation, by any means). I have looked and looked, and though you say “There are organizations who regulate such things and the phrase therapeutic grade is one of those things,” every agency and regulatory body for this is owned or affiliated with an EO company in some way. I have no doubt that many have noticed health benefits from essential oils and that many/most people who promote them do it out of a desire to help others. I do not doubt your sincerity or that of others who recommend essential oils, I just recommend caution and reading actual research from independent sources that do not have a financial interest in the sale of essential oils.

  99. Hi Katie, just on the topic of essential oils. You mentioned to keep peppermint and eucalyptus away from children. Before reading this article I had been defusing Breath by DoTerra in my toddlers room because she was getting a cold. I was also rubbing a diluted portion on her feet at night and alternating with Onguard also diluted hoping it would help her get over it. From what you’re saying here, non of those products are actually safe to use diluted or defused around a child her age? Can you please confirm as both these products include the ingredients you mentioned. Please help clarify this for me. Additionally I am still breastfeeding her and I also had a sinus cold and rubbed breath on my sinus area and temples. I’m hoping that I haven’t done something terrible. Please let me know

    • Hi Michelle, Yes, those oils can be dangerous to children. If the babes are okay, I would just discontinue use of those particular oil blends. (just because nothing happened this time, doesn’t mean that something can’t happen next time) Eucalyptus contains 1,8 cineole and peppermint contains menthol, both known to slow CNS response and slow the cold receptors in the lungs of little ones. Check out Robert Tisserand Essential Training on Facebook. There is much safety information to be found. What I tell most people is “Once we know better, we DO better!” When I started using essential oils in my home, I made the same mistake, (thankfully, my child wasn’t harmed) so please be kind to yourself.

  100. I haven’t read the article yet but I will after I post this question. On my bottle of Marjoram Essential oil there is a warning label: concentrated not for internal use. Keep out of reach of children. What I understand from that is, as it is concentrated you should not ingest it but if you dilute it and use caution it’s okay, even though that’s not specified in the warning. Essential oils are potent and I understand that but there are people out there that throw caution to the wind. I am not one of those persons. Do you think it’s safe as along as dilute it? Say one drop in 4 ounces of rice milk or something?

  101. I recently used Oregano oil on skin, small amount, undiluted, followed instructions from natural website (not this website).. only used a few times, it’s caused an infection in the area where I used it, any ideas of what to use to help prevent scarring and heal.

  102. Where can I buy glass spray bottles for cleaning? Do you have a recipe for all purpose and bathroom cleaning? Thanks for such great information and not making it overly dramatic, but easy to understand the importance of exercising caution where needed.

  103. katie, thank you for this much needed article! i am allergic to some essential oils like peppermint and even a carrier oil, sesame oil, so i am quite cautious and do lots of research before using any EO myself. unfortunately, as i read various blogs for homemade beauty/cleaning recipes i do see people recommending EOs for uses that are not usually considered safe. fortunately, someone usually comments and adds the needed info like about not using citrus oils in face/skincare products due to photosensitivity. not everyone has the time nor inclination to do so much research though so i’m glad you have posted some of the cautions. i really enjoy using EOs but realize they need to be used safely. personally, i would never take an EO internally unless under the advice of a professionally-trained aromatherapist, if even then. sadly, i have seen some selling EOs, from MLM companies, giving very unsafe and inaccurate advice about EOs generally. it is no coincidence you are getting pushback from some MLM distributers on this post.

    when i was trying to decide which company to buy EOs from i came across a couple of bloggers who did comparisons of numerous brands, some even with pictures, and the EOs from the big MLM companies were quite expensive but did not rate better across-the-board than less expensive brands. they may have been better for one or two specific oils iirc. i ended up buying a starter set from a smaller company i found on amazon which i later read is well-respected. there really is no need for anyone to spend a lot buying EOs and it is very important to be well-informed on the safety recommendations.

    i found this article How to Buy Essential Oils really helpful: http://aromaweb.com/articles/howtobuyessentialoils.asp

  104. I have been diffusing peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender for my 2 year olds’ asthma. After reading this I’m scared to continue. What do you suggest for wheezingcoughing? Thanks!

  105. Hi Katie,
    I’m wondering if you have any tips regarding fighting athletes foot?

    I have been applying twice a day 25% oil of oregano followed by diatomaceous earth powder.
    It has been about two weeks of this, with no real signs of relief.

    Any ideas or remedies you might have would be amazing!

    Thanks so much!

    • Coconut oil is great! It’s naturally antifungal and is very helpful.

  106. Your comments are for ingestion of essential oils or topical use in lotions or carrier oils. What about using essential oils in a home made version of poo-pourri. You spray it in your toilet before you go so there is no nasty smell. Would there be a chance of the essential oils in it ‘splashing’ up and getting enough on you to do harm to anyone? There would be less than 1/4 to 1/3 of a drop total in the toilet per use.

    • First of all… great idea! Second, I think that any oil you would get of you would be pretty diluted, so it would probably be ok.

    • I would be way more worried about the microspray of toilet water that splashes all the way across the room before I would be worried that a few drops of air/room spray “might” accidentally get on my body. I mean, just think about it for a minute… It doesn’t make a lot of sense and the truth is essential oils can assist with killing germs and nasty things so if some did get on you while in the washroom, that could be a good thing!

  107. thanks for this article, there is someone on the web that is promoting using the essential oils straight from the bottle and i try to comment on some of her posting but she will give essential oils a bad rap. she just wants to sell and make money but no concern for proper use.

  108. Laura – there are some blends that we recommend using out of the bottle in a specific protocol. i think the important thing is that you educate yourself on the product and how to use it appropriately. I love that wellness mama is doing that.

  109. I would just like to start out by saying that I completely see the heart with which this blog was written. The heart to help people, and encourage people to research personal usage with essential oils and not just blindly begin using these powerful little drops. That being said, I respectfully would like to say that I have been extremely blessed by using them internally. I am a Neurological Lyme patient. I have been sick for 2 1/2 years. At my worst I was in a wheel chair with no short term memory, severe tics and tremors, daily fevers, tachycardia, and that is just a few of my symptoms. I was so blessed to find an amazing doctor. Because all of my illness was located in my brain, the only way to access it was through IV antibiotics. 2 years of shots, PICC lines, a ports, and hundreds of oral medication. The treatment worked. I almost had reached remission when my gallbladder began to fail, my liver became distressed, and my gut couldn’t even digest my food because it was so decimated from the horrific candida growth. I had no options. I couldn’t continue my treatment – but I couldn’t go without some kind of therapy. My doctor told me point blank that he has never seen anyone with neurological lyme (much less with a severe case like mine) go into remission with anything other than antibiotics, but he cautiously supported my choice to begin an essential oil protocol. By the time I began the the oils I had been off treatment for 2 months. I was again using a walker and beginning to slip away. Now- 6 months later, I am again, nearing remission. I went for a (very) short run last week. I can think, and I can be a mom to my kids and a wife to my husband. I do not say this to discredit this article. I have no research to support what I am saying so I can’t recommend this path to you. I merely would like to state that I am so thankful for the essential oils that gave me my life back. I lived to 2 years battling this disease- and just as fiercely battling the side effects from all the drug therapies I was on – and the drugs did damage that I will live with for the rest of m life. For me- there was no other option. And compared to what I went through before essential oils, these are a godsend and blessing to me and my family.

    • That is so wonderful, Annie! EOs have been a blessing to my family too! I would much rather use them (with education and caution) than risk side effects and long-term adverse effects of pharmaceuticals. Don’t get me wrong, I will use medications and give them to my family when needed, but avoid them whenever possible. Thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you so much for sharing Annie!! I too have resolved very serious, supposedly “incurable” dis-eases myself, after the doctors gave up on me and told me to go away. Well, I went home and got my first modem and enrolled in an herbal college and started doing TONS of research. Many things helped a bit now and then but nothing changed my life the way essential oils have and I only wish I had found them sooner. I will never be without them or EO infused supplements ever again!

        It really is sad that the author of this site, who is so well known and “respected”, and yet she has chosen to cause absolute hysteria about EO’s rather than read the new science and actually learn something meaningful she could pass on to her readers. I mean, folks worrying about back-splash from poo-pourri?? Scared of eucalyptus and peppermint? Those are old time remedies and they work even better now with a more medical grade of oil. Lemon is unsafe to drink? Really? No one ever puts a lemon in thier tea then? Because you would be consuming EO’s if you did. I mean, Come on folks – the shampoo you just used contains at least a dozen carcinogens, and that doesn’t even take into account the chlorine in the water you bathed in!! Essential oils are the answer to the problems you won’t even admit you have. You are scared of the wrong things people!! Wellness Mama, please stop the harmful fear mongering!

        • Hi Donna, thanks for reading and for the comment. I am so glad that you’ve recovered your own health and are doing so well. If you read the post, I’m not at all anti-essential oils, I am just trying to spread the word that there ARE some cautions with using them. As you know, they are very powerful and can do amazing things, but anything that powerful absolutely has the potential for damage. In the span of a week, I had friends mentioned that they had done things like put oregano oil in their baby’s mouth and use peppermint directly on a newborn’s skin. Both of those would not be recommended uses of EOs, even though those oils can certainly be beneficial. With the dozens of blogs specifically dedicated to essential oils, I felt it was important to present the other side. Again, I’m not against EOs and use them myself, but they can be overused or used incorrectly. My mother in law had a burn on her retina from using oregano oil incorrectly. I actually have cited the “science” in this post, as there are studies where essential oils are used to help kill certain mutagens or bacteria, but that does not mean that the general population should be ingesting large amounts of these if they don’t have those specific problems. Putting lemon in tea is drastically different from putting lemon essential oil in tea. Adding a wedge of lemon to water in a Styrofoam cup won’t harm it. Adding a drop of lemon essential oil will burn through the cup and cut it off at the water line. Most people here aren’t using shampoo with carcinogens and most filter their water, so those aren’t issues (though incidentally, if one did use those things and use EOs, it would actually increase the likelihood of absorbing those chemicals since EOs enter the body so quickly). To repeat- I’m not opposed to essential oils or trying to be “fear mongering” about them, but just want to encourage safe and healthy use (a goal I would hope we share) 🙂
          I also find it telling that you have only ever commented on this post and only about essential oils (I’m guessing you are a YL rep or at least a fan based on your comments). I find it interesting that those most attacking this post are the ones that have a financial interest in selling essential oils. I’m certainly not opposed to someone promoting essential oils and having a home based business, in fact, many of my closest friends do just this, but being a rep for an EO company does not in itself make a person qualified to dispense medical advice, nor does have a financial interest in an oil company make them safe. I’m happy to have you here to contribute to the discussion, as I think it is very important, but please refrain from giving any medical advice related to EOs as I am responsible for these comments since they are published on my site.

          • Hi Katie,
            Wow. I must admit I’m a little hesitant to post again. I would hope to be able to share what’s on my heart and mind. I understand your firmness in your responses (I’m an admin on a closed group for Lyme Disease and essential oils and the weight of that responsibility sometimes weighs heavy on my shoulders. As the group grows, more and more advise is thrown out there by people with good intentions, but at the end of the day I am responsible.) So, I must first of all state that I have not been an active oil distributor. Up until recently I’ve not been an active anything 🙂 I was just sick and fighting to get better. For 2 1/2 years. I bring this up because I pray I can respectfully state a thought I’ve been mulling over since I read yours and others’ blog. The day I found this blog I had actually sat down to research about EO controversy. I had met someone, and was a little shocked when she rolled her eyes and spoke about the unfortunate MLM EO business and those just in it for the money. I was little stunned. I had been getting to know her at my daughters birthday party and amazingly, we were both on the gaps diet, both had infrared saunas, both had chronic diseases… But when I mentioned my current EO usage she went OFF. See, my experience has been one of dealing with selfless individuals. People who prayed for me for 2 years. People who supported my decision to embrace a pharmaceutical based protocol even though I suspect they grieved for the damage they knew I would endure from it. These people never even suggested that I look at EO’s as an alternative. These were the people that I called when I was torn and my body was broken- when I had reached the end of what the doctors could give me. These people had done countless hours of research developing EO supports based on scientific research and doctor’s recommendations. My experience? My people may “sell” essential oils, but they have a heart of ministry and serventhood. So when my new acquaintance railed against those in it for the money, and when I read your continued inferences that those who are involved in a MLM are almost automatically not qualified, I must respectfully say that was the opposite of my experience. I would also like to bring up (again, I hope I’m able to communicate my heart here) the issue of personal freedom of health. I suppose this issue goes deep for me. I have a disease that first, the CDC, said didn’t exist. Now they admit it exists but now they say there is no treatment and any doctor that treats it will lose his medical licesne. So- Lyme doctors don’t accept insurance. Which means this disease is an almost automatic financial and physical ruination of a family. Because a government branch has regulated it to be so. I don’t at all mind good information being out there on the EO safety. Katie, I actually just went back and reread your blog so I could be sure and remeber your heart. I agree with so much of what you said. I shudder at oregano in the eye, and other dangerous uses you cited. I also appreciated that you recognized there may be a time for internal usage- when the benefit outweighs the risk. I also appreciated that you constantly urged people to do there own research. I suppose, what I felt disheartened about, were some of the comments I read, as well as other articles I read when researching this controversy. I want to be able to manage my own health and take ownership for my health. That means I am assuming a tremendous responsibility that means I must do my research, know my body, and know when to seek help. The discouragement to me is that I see what I feel to be equally as harmful boundaries set into place by those on the opposite side- if you will- of the EO debate. I didn’t see you do much of that, Katie. I have seen others write similar arguments where they cite research, and then provide the outline stringent EO usage guidelines. It isn’t my EO pride that feels injured by that, it is my freedom as a patient. I read an article that cited the death of an individual after and internal consumption of 60ML of Eucalypus (!!!!) and then proceeded to state that no oils should be used internally in addition to about 6 other regulations he believed should be mandated. I guess my point is that “education” can be a slippery slope to regulation, and then where will the hope be for those of us who have been told there is no hope left?

          • Annie, thank you so much for the heartfelt and well-thought out reply. My apologies for anything I said that came across harshly and I can absolutely see where you are coming from. I’m glad to know that there are those, like you, who have benefitted from careful use of EOs and who have a genuine heart to help others. I also agree wholeheartedly that this can be a slippery slope to regulation and with very rare exception, I do support regulation or additional rules regarding health treatments. These definitely should be the choice of the patient. At the same time, I felt that I needed to speak up just to show the other side here since there is an overwhelming amount of information about EOs online and some of it is very dangerous. Hope that makes sense and thank you again for taking the time to explain your story. I’m glad that you are doing much better and I wish you continued healing and vibrance! 🙂

  110. Katie,

    I’ve been so confused as to what brand of essential oils to use. What brand do you use? Thank you!

  111. Good to know to tread with caution re EOs. I had no idea! But a bummer to read all the “dire warnings” re Peppermint Oil (though I realize the main concern is re little children & pregnant Moms).

    Just about a month ago I had read that PEPPERMINT OIL EO acts as a preventative to “…cell death via DNA damage due to Radiation.” (See Dr. Josh Axe, chiropractor’s website/article re the “25 Best Uses for Peppermint Oil.” The line re Radiation was at the bottom in #25, I think).

    And at the same site there was an article re FRANKENCENSE OIL, studies that it can help cure cancers. (Whether Dr. Axe is connected to an EO company I do not know.)

    So, after learning that, specifically re the Radiation, I got out the one & only bottle of EO I had EVER bought (10 years ago!), Now Brand Peppermint Oil, & began sprinkling it straight from the bottle onto my chest & abdomen almost daily for the past month (I noticed it helps “wake up my brain” as well!)

    The reason for “jumping on” that “Radiation Preventative” asap was/still is due to the Power-Grid-Turned-Smart-Grid (in my location as of 10-months ago) which is emitting all kinds of unnatural, anti-human-body Frequencies (aka Radiation), not to mention celltowers, smartphones, wifi & all other wireless-radiation gadgets in our neighborhoods these days.

    So I guess I merely need to DILUTE the Peppermint Oil & carry on that way.

    As for deadly radiation frequencies, that would be a good subject for young-Moms-yet-unaware, ESPECIALLY for the little kids’ & infants’ sake (their bodies can’t take it for sure). Many sites online about all this but people may not run across them without specifically searching for the subject.

    Some search words to use:
    –EMFs (ElectroMagnetic Frequencies),
    –EMR (ElectroMagnetic Radiation),
    –MWR (MicroWave Radiation > not just in your oven!),
    –Pulsed-MicroWave Radiation (extra deadly),
    –RF (Radio Frequencies),
    –Dirty Electricity (DE),
    –Stray Current aka Stray Voltage aka Ground Current,
    –Smart Grid, Smart Meters (which are causing all of the above to proliferate),
    –Radiation Sickness,
    –Symptoms of Radiation Poisoning,

    Some PEOPLE & Experts’ sites/videos to look for, as a start (PhDs, MDs, & regular folks, etc.):
    –Dr. Magda Havas
    –Dr. Dedra Davis
    –Dr. Klinghardt
    –Dr. Sam Milham
    –Dr. Martin Blank
    –Barrie Trower, MWR Expert from his military years,
    –Curtis Bennett, Thermal Radiation Expert & Electrician (“ThermoGuy” site),
    –Lloyd Burrell, “ElectricSense” site,
    –Sandra Chianfani aka Sandaura’s “Smart Meter News Updates” & Testimonials site,
    –& many more!

    Most people are “sitting ducks,” unaware of the danger lurking in the wings, because they cannot yet FEEL it in their bodies, nor HEAR it (the ear absorbs 94% of radiation, more than any other part of body, per the owner of the WaveShield site).

    (Powerlines being saturated with “Smart Grid” technology are emitting an obnoxious radioactive Low-Rumbling to High-Fast-Drumming Frequency noise. Not everyone can hear/feel LFs, at least not yet!)

    Radiation is cumulative. When the human body reaches its maximum radiation-threshold, people WILL begin feeling it & hearing it, & it’s NOT fun. Curtis Bennett (who also acts as an expert witness in lawsuits re Smart Grid), describes it as “Subtle Electrocution,” &/or “Being Tazed on your own property 24/7.” Perfect succinct descriptions! & so true!

    If anybody you (&/or anyone) ever knows, friends, family, workmates, says one day, “I hear a Hum, do you?” but you do not hear it, don’t assume they are loco. And/or if they say, “It feels like the floor is vibrating,” &/or “It feels like the bed or chair is vibrating,” &/or “It feels like my insides are vibrating” (chest cavity, stomach, etc.), they are also not looney.

    What they are feeling/hearing is the “new” Power Grid. Their body has reached its Maximum Radiation Threshhold which is why they can feel/hear it but you don’t.

    (And contrary to the EPA’s propaganda, it is not just “old people” who are experiencing this but also people in their 20’s & 30’s. It just depends on one’s lifelong Radiation Exposure Levels. Due to the proliferation of Radiation across the planet in the last 20 years, the age of sufferers will get younger & younger, since the younger ones are being exposed full-time these days whereas we “Boomers” were not heavily exposed during our first 20-30-40 years.)

    Not trying to be an alarmist but I got the “rude awakening” (bodily & audibly) 10-months ago, & had to scurry to “catch up,” education-wise, on this subject. So better to “start early” & learn/prepare now if not yet already aware of this “Smart Grid Monster Hiding in Plain Sight.” It could be the “extra Radiation dose” that pushes a loved one’s body beyond their Maximum Radiation Threshhold.

    HTH & Thank you!

    (Now where’s my Peppermint Oil… 😉

    • You might want to try another brand… I think we can all agree that NOW is the worst of the worst and I certainly wouldn’t be putting dozens of drops of that on me day after day! Please, I implore you to look for a better brand.

  112. I was researching the potential risks of essential oils and came across your blog, thank you for this wonderful post! I read in another blog (http://oilsforskin.com/are-essential-oils-edible/) that there hasn’t been a lot of research done in regards to the use of essential oils by pregnant woman (and what they do to the fetus), I think this is an important area of research that needs to be more broadly examined.

    Also, when I learned about the FDA’s inquiry into the Young Living brand (I think they also warned that company called “doterra” too), I wasn’t surprised.

  113. Hi Katie. Thank you for everything you share. I’ve been using one of your homemade toothpaste recipes for my toddler and myself for some time now, and I’m starting to worry because of the peppermint oil…she tends to suck the paste right off. Furthermore, we give her chamomila almost every night, which might be contraindicated, too? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your time!

    • That was something that concerned me too, especially when they are that little. I’ve been experimenting with adding ground up peppermint leaf to the toothpaste instead. That being said, my kids have used toothpaste with a small amount of peppermint essential oil and we’ve never had an issue, I just worry more as I keep researching it.

  114. So glad I read this. No oils for my family. They sound really dangerous.

  115. I am very new to EO’s. I went to a Young Living Seminar to get info on safe usage. They promoted un-diluted use in a lot of cases. A friend (who has been using oils for 15 years) gave me a bottle of their “Gentle Baby” blend. I used it on my 2 year old before bed to promote calming. As directed, I rubbed one drop (un-diluted) on the bottom of each foot. I used it 4 nights. 2 of the 4 nights she had a night terror. She’s never had one before. It could be a coincidence, my other children have had night terrors before, but I will be doing more research before I continue using any more oils at all.

  116. I almost cried when I read your article! I have been reading numerous articles that express caution, education and using trained professionals for EO’s. I think they are valid and worth investigating but all of the articles from professionals say the same thing you did – rarely use undiluted, not recommended internally, avoid repetitive use, and extreme caution with children and pregnancy. You put all this information together beautifully and cited your sources. Thank you!!! Too many people buy a kit and just start experimenting. Thanks for the reasonable guidelines.

  117. Hi Katie, love your site…. one of the lines under oils not to use when pregnant has me confused.. WHICH oils are not to be used by anyone? It seems like you are saying all these are not to be taken but I know you use some of these in your recipes? #Confused.
    (should not be used by anyone), Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Mustard, Mugwart (should not be used by anyone), Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Wintergreen.

    • Only the ones with “(should not be used by anyone)” after them are unsafe for anyone.

  118. Regarding the use of 100% pure Essential Oils and them being declared “Therapeutic Grade” is not the issue. It is essential that MOST be diluted, as they are highly concentrated. Most people normally think using more is good, but in the case, it is not. Using less is better because of the concentration level. Using “blends” are great, especially when you are sick, but again, you have to know what you are doing and know which oils blend well together and which don’t. If you are interested in knowing more, contact me and I will tell you some good books to read. I have done a lot of reading on aromatherapy and EO use, am a nurse who focuses on holistic and alternative therapy, and am in the middle of getting my Certificate in Herbalism.

    I can say for a fact that I do not know of any EO out there that has a true certification of “Therapeutic Grade” and really…there is no such thing that I am aware of. Companies may say there is, but what does it truly mean? Absolutely nothing. In reference to a comment made earlier to only TG essential oils being ingestible, that is completely false! You simply cannot ingest the majority of EO’s out there. Yes, some are possible, but if a company is advertising that they’re oils are the only ‘true’ ingestible oils, then I would question their credibility and their chemistry make-up.

    Most EO you must dilute with either a carrier oil or distilled water ( for a spray type use). Lavender is one EO you can safely use without diluting by putting it directly on your skin by using a cotton ball. It wonderful to take the pain instantly away from a bee sting plus many, many other uses. It has a wonderful sedative effect, as, well. I once had a customer stop by my craft booth with severe knee pain. I make Refresher Sprays with various pure essential oils. He wasn’t convinced that they worked, so I offered to give him a free bottle and sprayed it on his knee prior to him leaving my booth. He came back 30 minutes later and bought 2 bottle from me saying his pain was completely gone.! That EO is definitely safe to use without diluting it with a carrier oil or distilled water ( if you want to use it for a spray, for example). You just have to do your homework prior to using any EO’s. They do wonders for those that use them correctly!!

    By reading some of this, so many people are misleading others simply by giving out wrong information. If you don’t know, then don’t say it. Simple as that. True 100% pure essential oils can do you a world of good, if used correctly. Just don’t go out and buy some; however, and start using them anyway you think you should. You have to read up on them and how they are used. Each one is different. There are different types and each go through a rigid distillation process. There is a “solvent extraction” process which is how we get most of our citrus EO’s. This literally squeezes the oil from the fruit peel. You will find the citrus EO’s to be less expensive. There is also a “solvent extraction” which makes absolutes, which are highly concentrated EO’s. Ever heard of Rose Absolute? Smells absolutely wonderful and I have made a liquid soap using it once; however, it is extremely pricy because of the method used to make it.

    In addition, EO’s must be stored in a cool place, not in your medicine chest and the area their stored in should be no warmer than 55 degrees. They have to be kept out of direct sunlight in a dark bottle or you will lose your aroma. They must be kept separate from other things and tightly closed. I store mine in clear small storage bins. I purchased all my plastic storage bins at the local dollar store and just put these bins in the refrigerator in my garage. Each time I open an oil, I put a little sticker on it with a date so I know when it was opened. Each type of EO expires differently. Depending on the type, it can be 6 months or one year, once opened. Some can last up to two years once opened. It all depends if you store them properly.

    EO’s are wonderful to use for medicinal purposes, if you know how. They are not something to mess around with; however. You must know what you are doing if you want to use them in that sense or you can seriously do more harm than good. I am willing to recommend some good reading material on herbal and aromatherapy use should anyone be interested ( I am in no way connected to the authors to gain anything). Just trying to be helpful to those that may be interested in improving their knowledge on this subject. Good luck to everyone and I hope so information I said helps clear some things up on essential oils. I have done a lot of reading on aromatherapy, essential oils as well as herbs and find it interesting how much misleading information is out there. No wonder there is so much confusion!


  119. I do not have the time to read all the comments (but I read MANY) and I’m confused about the advice to diffuse vs topical/internal uses. From my understanding, diffusing is the fastest and most effective way to get oils into your bloodstream. If an oil was dangerous or I had qualms about using it around small children, the last thing I would have them do is breathe it in through their lungs. I also second the recommendation to look up aromaticscience.com as a great unbiased, third party resource. Pubmed is also great. Lastly, I totally get what you are saying Katie about mlm distributors throwing out blanket advice. I do think it is everyone’s responsibility to do their own due diligence and research and come to their own conclusions. However, your comments about every email address from a negative comment on this post being linked to an eo distributor to invalidate their comment, does not sit right with me. I am a distributor, but started out as a very satisfied customer. I had such huge health benefits that I felt moved to share with those around me. You also make money from sharing products you have found valuable. So we could say the same about you- that your promoting of products is a conflict of interest if you get paid for it. I’m sure there are oil “salesman” out there that take advantage to make a buck (there are always some bad apples), but every single person I have met so far in the company I represent has a story and a passion for sharing that story for the benefit of others. Science based evidence is a great resource, but experiential evidence is also valid. Thousands and thousands of people are benefiting from the use of quality essential oils (and yes, of course quality matters just like the quality of our food and water matter)! That has to count for something.

    • Holli, I could not have said it better myself. There is a I am extremely offended at the stereotyping of anyone associated with mlm. And I agree that we don’t benefit from sharing our experience with the oils any more that Katie does from her blog. I am associated with a group of women that share these oils with people WE LOVE because they have helped us and many others that we personally know…the same way I share a new shampoo that I love, or a recipe. And the same way I formerly shared this blog site with people I love.

    • Holli, Kristie, saying that every commenter who is negative or thinks that this article lacks integrity is associated with a mlm company is not a convertible statement. To illustrate, here is an example: “Mice like cheese. I like cheese. Therefore, I am a mouse.” That last statement does not follow. It does not mean that the first 2 are not true, and the first 2 statements being true does not make the last one true.

      To be more clear: I don’t believe that everyone involved in a mlm company is mercenary. I just find it interesting that the only naysayers of the “restraint, education, and caution” approach are people who benefit financially from people not exercising restraint, which not the same as saying that *all* people who benefit financially from oil sales *don’t* exercise restraint and caution.

  120. I can’t speak for all eo companies, but one of the many reasons I use the particular brand of oils that I do is because every liter is tested by a 3rd party source for quality and purity. In fact, they use Dr Robert Pappas who is a PhD chemist and is a trusted independent analyst of essential oils by a long list of clients. Since most people are not chemists or aromatherapists, 3rd party testing by authorities in the eo field is a great way to know if the product you are considering is pure. And I agree that one must respect and be responsible with pure eos. They are highly concentrated. That being said, when used with prudence and wisdom, I have found them to be both safe and effective.

  121. Hi Katie,
    I am curious about the use of peppermint oil around children, as I have used it in a spider repellent spray in our home. We have major spider issues in late spring/early summer and they even crawl into our beds at night (creepy, I know). My youngest and I are particularly appealing to them, as we will wake in the morning with multiple spider bites. In the past, I have made a spray using peppermint essential oil significantly diluted in water and sprayed it around the baseboards of her room and the legs of her bed to discourage them, and it has worked well. Do you have any advice on whether or not this is a safe way to use peppermint? Thanks so much!

    • I would think that would be ok since it isn’t on her skin but I’d check with an aromatherapist if you aren’t sure…

  122. Hi Katie,
    I loved your article and I’ve read some of the comments trying to educate myself and get the most recent accounts on EOs, but just as many, I’m a little overwhelmed with all the controversy. I don’t want to lose hope and as expensive as doTerra is (which is the company who intrigues me the most because of their understanding that each natural source has a natural habitat and region of the world that it flourishes in instead of using for lack of better words hydroponics to synthesize the natural habitat to create a capitalist production of profit) I hear good and bad but so much of it is “he said, she said” with what could be placebo effects and then there are the skeptics who question and question and never take the leap and have their minds made up that these EOs are dangerous and nothing more than a fad. However, I still have hope that these are a solution to OTC medicine, cleaning products, laundry soap and so many other endless uses and call me silly but I want to believe all of the positive responses, but there is just that bug in the back of my head that is telling me I need more. I’ve been researching EOs for almost a year now and it all started with me wanting to make my own laundry soap. When I read further into it I discovered EOs were one of the key ingredients and that lead to the big question, “which company?”, which then lead to “Wait. Are these even safe and are they worth the risk of my family’s health if I’m wrong?” I have no doubt I would educate myself about the proper use of each oil before I used it, but I guess where I’m at is, “Is there any way that these are placebo and could they do more harm than good even if used properly?”

    • I think most should be safe if used correctly, just definitely do your research 🙂

  123. My mother just gave me a diffuser as a gift and so far, I love it! My husband is concerned about how it could affect our cats. In my online searches, it seems like all of the oils I really want to use, especially citrus oils, are said to be dangerous to cats. I have a large house and a small diffuser that is set out of their reach. How concerned should I be about using oils around the pets?

  124. I’ve posted on a few sites about Doterra’s DDR prime and people jumped all over me with their comments like they lived through it and not me. DDR prime burned my esophagus after taking it at night before I went to bed. It woke me up with severe reflux and I’ve had the problem every day for over a year I had an endoscopy done and now and have to be on two prescriptions. I was 28 and still have to be on a limited diet and sleep on an incline and will probably need surgery to fix my esophagus sphincter. All I wanted to do was tell people to be careful what they ingest.

    • I was using lemon/lavender/peppermint in a capsule for allergies and have burned my esophagus too. These were Young Living oils which are not safe for ingestion, I don’t care what “grade” they are. I am on prescriptions and it’s been two months. I do not advocate internal usage at all and think that people need to do more research. I would love to hear more from you Leslie, as I’ve seen your comments on many sites. Please respond and let me know if you’ve had any progress. Thanks

    • Hi Leslie, I have also burned my esophagus ingesting YL capsules filled with lemon/peppermint/lavender. I have seen you post this on other forums but would love to get a follow up on how you’re doing now and what prescriptions you’re taking. I’m on a PPI and will be getting an endoscopy next week. This is horible and I have changed my entire life from it, as you have. I have had to cancel trips and really am getting depressed. Any more info you have would be great. Please, do not ingest oils, regardless of what these people say. It’s not safe.

  125. I use your homemade toothpaste regularly and I make it with peppermint like it calls for. But I am 20 weeks pregnant… So should I stop using this batch for now? And if so what other essential oil would you suggest to replace it?

  126. I use it also and even add the ONGUARD from doterra. I also use the peppermint and lemon in the toothpaste. is this a good combo? I’m breastfeeding a toddler.

  127. What about the breathe blend ive been looking at
    It says its good for repiratory use but it also has peppermint
    Is peppermint a no no for babies and young children even in a blend-and used in a diffuser?
    Does that mean theres less peppermint if its in a blend?
    Also how “young” is considered in “young children?”
    Thank you!!
    I refer to this post several times!!

  128. Hi,
    I know this post is from awhile ago and maybe this question was asked already but I don’t have time to read all of the comments. I have used an eo blend called breathe ease with eucalyptus, rosemary, and a few others in it on my children (1 & 4) when they have colds or coughs. I have not noticed any adverse reactions and of course it is diluted, but now I am concerned… should I stop doing this? Would just using vicks be better? I’ve heard that is not good either… any suggestions for what else to use that is safe on small children and babies for congestion? Would it be ok in a diffuser?

  129. Thank you so much Kate! As a naturopathic doctor, I’m always counseling my patients on the risks of essential oils and when taken internally, how they can cause liver damage. So many people have no idea about the risks and if there is a need for internal use they should always be under the supervision of a physician.

    There’s so many amazing uses for essential oils but the consumer should be advised about the dangers and NOT listen to essential oil companies trying to treat, diagnose, or prescribe these oils.

    Thanks again for putting this great information out there 🙂

  130. HI Katie,
    I am an Aromatherapist and use many types of Essential Oils as well as many Brands such as doTerra and Young Living. I have taken a course on how to SAFELY use EO’s for internal use.(I did mine through Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute, look her up). I try to always follow NAHA’s Guidelines(National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) as well as AIA(Alliance of International Aromatherapists). To date I have never incurred a problem in using EO’s on myself, wife, children or clients. I have always been cautious in my use of EO’s as well as well as pro-active and mindful of my health and well-being in general. While we have no reason to “fear” using EO’s as a useful tool in taking better control of our health for ourselves and families. We need also to be informed as you have stated and be cautious in just taking “someones” or “anyone’s” word when it comes to our health and wellness. I want to commend you on this post and give you props to your blog as well. It totally rocks! As a Health & Wellness advocate, Mentor, and Coach I appreciate what you and others like you are doing for the betterment of families and mankind. Keep up the good work and keep stirring the discussion.

    BeHappy, BeHealthy & BeWell – AllenB

  131. Hi there! So I’m new to essential oils and was told by my oil “go to person” that peppermint oil was harmless to use in my children’s room. They share a small room and are only 10 months and 3.5 years. It was a drop of peppermint, a drop of lavender, and a drop of lemon. We’ve been diffusing it like that for almost 2 weeks now! Today I met a guy who also works with EO and warned me about the toxicity of peppermint oil and how it should NEVER be used around children. When I came home I went online everything confirmed this. But the one thing I can’t find is if it has caused permanent damage to my infant especially. I mean she seems totally fine, and I will never use it again, but are the risks only there as I’m using it, or is there some damage done. Can you help me out with this. I feel so stupid for not doing my own research, and scared that I did something bad, and also angry that I wasn’t warned. I will def be using EO with much more caution next time. Thanks!

  132. Hi Katie,

    Was wondering whether essential oils in toothpaste are safe in pregnancy? I am using a fluride free, SLS free toothpaste from trader joe’s that has fennel, myrrh, and propolis in it. The toothpaste tastes quite like licorice. I know fennel and myrrh are on the avoid list, but are they safe in terms of brushing twice a day?? I’ve also seen peppermint oil extract listed on other natural toothpastes. Is the small amount used for brushing safe? I want to be extra careful.

    The only other one I’ve seen is Tom’s of Maine Botantically Bright but that has sweetleaf (stevia) in it…

    Also, I am not interested in the Earthpaste due lead.

    Besides brushing with just baking soda, I don’t know what else to do!


  133. I’m worried about safety with essential oils and my cats. Would it work to infuse a carrier oil with herbs/flowers then run it in a diffuser? Right now I’m just only running my diffuser for 15-30 minute increments and trying to let my beauty “concoctions” soak in before I mess with the cats. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  134. Just wondering about the EO that are in children’s cough chest rub? Safe? I’ve seen a lot of them with those oils you mentioned. Reccomended for 3 monthes and up! Can you clarify….? Great article btw

    • In diluted amounts, they are often considered safe, but you could diffuse to be safe.

  135. I use coconut oil diluted with water as moisturiser. It works great on my face to reduce pinples . it is necessary to use diluted oil for oily skin. Dry skin people can use it directly.

    Cheers 🙂

  136. Essential Oils should not be used in the workplace or in classrooms. Myself and my child have allergy sensitivities and get allergic reactions such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, slowed breathing. I understand if a person wants it for personal use in their home but the oils should not encroach upon others by being used in a diffuser. I also heard you can not use them on airplanes because fellow passengers could have reactions.
    I think there is such a hype to self medicate through any means that a lot of people are not doing their research. I have a hard time even sitting next to someone who is lathered in the oils and definitely can not visit friends who use these oils in their homes.

  137. This is a thoughtful post…but why don’t more people talk about the cancer causing or cancer promoting constituents of EOs period? Carcinogens naturally occur in many of the EOs that we use. A reputable EO manufacturer has the responsibility to produce a product with an unadulterated chemical composition…well if the original chemical composition already contains carcinogens…..????

    Sure, your praised companies do a great job at producing all natural products….but shouldn’t we require more from the industry? We should require definitive research that tells us what constituents are carcinogens and in what species they can be found. Moreover, we should demand lab characterization results listing every constituent in that EO! It may be overboard, but measures like this will only help to ensure our children’s health and safety.

  138. Enjoyed your post. I agree with what misty has said. I too had a friend who sat next to an EO fan who used a diffuser in office for her essential oils but it troubled my asthmatic friend a lot. Thankfully, she stopped once she was made aware of the problem.

  139. I am completely new to using essential oils. I am planning on using them in homemade body butters and such.
    Does anyone have a good, reliable site/brand that I can buy essential oils from? I want the oils to be pure and organic (and all that lovely natural goodness!).

    Also, which oils would work best for me? I tried doing some research, but I didn’t get very far.
    I don’t want anything that will irritate my skin or clog my pores — I am prone to acne so this is especially important to me.

    Thank you!

  140. I have never had any issues whatsoever , nor has my family when ingestion any doTerra essential Oil…but that’s just my experience. I trust Dr. Hill and doTerra 99.99%…only because I only trust myself and God 100%. Just sayin’…but everyone still needs to be safe and make sure you get educated in what you are doing when it comes to essentials oils…side note…doTerra has great education and information that I trust—so far…and so far, no reason have i found that I can’t trust them or their oils. That’s my 2 cents worth.

  141. Hello,

    I found this site after going to through my home and trashing almost every chemical item I have. Laundry detergent, dish soap and dishwasher detergent left. Until I can get all the items needed to make my own.

    I woke up one day and thought to myself “Why do I have all these chemicals in my home?” Without a further thought I grabbed a box and tossed it all. My husband looked at me quizzically. My response “I do not see the benefit of living in a chemical lab.”

    In the last few weeks I have completely overhauled our once “Monsanto” chemical ridden existence. I have turned to canning, dehydrating and basically making EVERYTHING myself. I have always planted a garden and haven’t purchased potatoes in years. Good thing after what I learned. I live on 14 acres and refuse to pesticide, herbicide, Monsantocide, killicide, genocide, my outdoor living space. Well why not home too!

    In spilling my short span complete turn around I just wanted to say:
    THANK YOU for this site!!

    Going to make toothpaste STAT! My first non food homemade project.

    I would also suggest people start researching GMO’s. Off topic but Canada and the U.S need to come together and mandate regulatory labeling.

  142. Very useful article, thank you!
    I have been researching for some time now about essential oils and pregnancy… Does the concern about certain oils (rosemary, peppermint, sage…) refer only to ingesting and skin appliance, or does it also refer to inhaling and using handmade soap made with these essential oils (because it is a wash off product)?
    If I’m pregnant, can I still make rosemary deodorant for my husband; I wont be using it, but can I still make it, using a face mask?
    I would appreciate any advice, and would be very thankful for it!

  143. Third time’s charm? I’ve tried to post twice and it goes to the acne page. 🙂
    I’ve been fighting health problems for over 10 years and circumstances let me try essential oils from my cousins wife.
    Needless to say, I’m studying more (I’m a genetic mess), but hopefully before too long I will know enough to help others.

  144. Hi. I feel awful! Somebody suggested tea tree oil for my sick 5 month old in a diffuser. I bought one and some oils and have been using them heavily for about a month. I put lots of drops in of whatever scents I chose…lavender, lemon, peppermint, sweet orange, eucalyptus, and tea tree. My children sleep in my room with me while their dad is deployed (6 months to 7 years old) and I have had the diffuser going almost every night. I just learned today that their are dosages and should be used sparingly with infants and children!! Should I be worried or do I need to take them to the pediatrician?

    • If you are concerned, you should definitely see a doctor. You may also want to find someone who is familiar with the medical uses of essential oils… Maybe a functional medical doctor or aromatherapist.

    • Hi Kris and Wellness Mama,
      I want to respond to Kris’ post about diffusing with children in her room. 1st of all, Wellness Mama is absolutely right about if you have any concerns about what you did or do concerning EO’s to visit your doctor or contact a Certified Aromatherapist. There are indeed protocols that need to be followed when using Essential Oils to either help prevent or assist in “fixing” any health problems. That being said, all in all Essentials Oils are a wonderful natural way to help your family with Health & Wellness.

  145. I’m new to essential oils, but I’m having a blast. I often look at your site to learn something new. Thanks!

  146. I have been using my own homemade facial oil for over 2 years, and am so in love with how bright and smooth it makes my skin! but for the past 7 months or so i have randomly been getting what looks a slight rash around my eyes. At first I thought it was from my eyes watering at night, but now I’m not so sure. Sight red bumps around the outer corner of my eyes and going down to the tops of my cheekbones, slightly sore, sightly dry. In my facial oil I use 66ml jojoba oil, 33ml rosehip seed oil, about 10 drops lavender, 10 drops pathchoulli, 4-5 drops carrot seed, 5-7 drops lemongrass, 5-7 drop peppermint. Do you think that I use too much essential oil? Could this be my problem?

  147. Hi, this article is very informative. I found another article online that really helps with better understanding how and when to use essential oils in combination of yours

  148. Hi Katie – I love this post, and I am wondering if I can link to it permanently in my new blog with aromatherapy information? (https://findingsage.wordpress.com/) I am not an expert about essential oils by any means, but I am an information professional (previous hospital and health sciences librarian) who is very concerned about “bad” and misleading information on the web. I would like to create a good safety list and wish to include this post there 🙂

    • Hi Jessica… You are absolutely welcome to link to this post. I don’t allow reprinting of my posts but linking or quotes (less than 10% of the total post) are completely fine. Thanks for asking first 🙂

  149. After making Oil Pulling and finding it both hard to keep from swallowing yet refreshing I thought it would be great to use the same recipe but use it as sort of a breath mint which could be swallowed, small pieces of course.
    1/2 cup coconut oil and 20-30 drops of essential oil such as cinnamon or peppermint.
    What are your thoughts about this?

  150. Hi! I live your website, just found this articles searching for EO safety while TTC.
    I have also a stubborn ASYMPTOMATIC ENTEROCOCCUS UTI that antibiotics only made worse (from 50k to 100 k colony).
    I tried every herb, now I am trying antibacterial EOs , which ones do you recommend?
    Any herbs you may recommend?

  151. Hi! I love your deodorant recipe but I’ve recently stopped making it since I found out I was pregnant because of the oils. I just can’t take the store bought stuff anymore though. Would a few drops of lemon, sweet orange, and grapefruit oil be safe to use in a deodorant while pregnant??

  152. Please Help! I shouldn’t have but I did! I used essential oil undiluted on my face!
    and now HELP!
    It’s burning!!! I’m in so much pain! I can’t do anything! I can’t even sleep..
    My skin is itching like crazy… and absolutely can NOT resist scratching and rubbing it..

    PLEASE HELP! What can I do now?

    I’m applying aloe vera – the gel from the leaf– it doesn’t help- still itches..
    tried applying crushed cilantro – didn’t help- no relief
    coconut oil, apricot oil, jojoba made it feel even worse…
    constant showers – just immediate relief..
    the only thing that helped was applying frozen aloe vera leaf but that only helps for a minute or so until it defrosts and then the pain and itch is back!

    Please let me know what I can put now on my skin to take away the pain, the burning sensation, heat, and insane ITCH!

    (I love EO and use them a LOT. I use them almost daily and many times undiluted on my skin even on my face and have had no reactions but this time– OH WOW! The sting and itch is unbearable!
    It is possible the reaction is due to combination of oils which possibly don’t work well together, or because my skin was broken have been out in the heat and sun..
    I applied 3 drops of geranium and don’t remember which other oils I used but could’ve been possibly a combination of a few of these–
    patchouli,neroli diluted in grapeseed oil, — (maybe maybe some leftover EO of lime, lavender, tea tree, clary sage remained on my hand as I was dealing with those bottles )

    I thank you for your suggestions and hopefully they are remedies! Looking forward to report back that Thank God I’m feeling better and it worked! I’m alive! and can think straight! and be comfortable in my skin!!!

    • Update — It’s day 3 since the burn on my face from EO having it applied undiluted to broken skin from sun burn.

      Still hurts so so much. still very red overall, with blotches, still itches, and burns, and very hot!
      but now it is so so puffy! It is so apparent the swelling that I look like a different person.

      Please Help!

      I’m trying again moisturizing oils – apricot.

      • Thank G-d! Who performs wonders every moment and recreates the world – and everything in it-each and every moment!
        Behold I will sing G-d’s praise. I’ve experienced – Wonders of Wonders!

        In a few days my skin healed and it is nice and beautiful! May G-d please bless us all to look and feel good always, enjoy best of health and happiness, and may we always be energized and radiant!

        MAIN Solution: ALOE VERA is a most wonderful gift– it cools off the skin – disinfects – and assists greatly in skin regeneration. I’ve applied it constantly to my face – non stop. I’ve put 1 inch piece of aloe vera leaf in freezer and those really helped.

        Other solutions – I constantly washed my face with cool WATER. Water does dry out the skin– but I needed it. I needed to take out the oil and burn..and cool off my skin.
        Also Water helps that skin should grow back quicker

        I’ve also used oatmeal paste – that cooled off somewhat as well..

        Also recommended- apply compress of green/black tea bags to face

        INTERNAL Solutions:
        -HYDRATION – it is of utmost importance. I drank lots of lots of herbal teas green and black.
        -Apple Cider Vinegar – included that in my teas – a few tablespoons each time.
        -Vitamin C – a must for skin health – I included lots of lemons – in my diet – in tea and just cut up- with the peal.
        -RAW cool organic Goat Yogurt
        – Lots of organic GREENS – particularly BASIL and cilantro – cool off and soothe sunburns.
        – organic berries
        – organic cucumbers

        What NOT to do:
        If the skin is still HOT and burning – do not apply any oils
        no coconut oil, apricot, jojoba etc. It is not the time for moisturizing and softening the skin.
        At the initial stage of a burn, inflammation – the priority is to cool off the skin and take away the heat. Oils will just retain the heat.

        I’m not sure exactly what was the cause but it seems to be a combination of undiluted EO , sunburn, and possibly an allergic reaction to environmental toxins – there was an extreme polluted dust cloud the past few days.
        Once the outer layer of skin is broken – ones skin becomes a lot more sensitive to any additional stress and might not be able to handle it. Even though I am usually ok with undiluted EO such as 1 -2 drops of geranium on my face – this time it might have aggravated my skin.

        Best of Health to Everyone! and may we all enjoy and be uplifted with EO always!

  153. Hi Katy the Wellness mother,

    I have a brain injury and I have recently read up on essential oils and how great they are for the body especially Frankincense essential oil being extra good for brain disorders BUT you must use a 100% therapeutic grade oil.

    I mail ordered some, I made sure it was 100% therapeutic grade and I am taking care, not putting it directly onto the skin. All I am interested in really is inhaling it straight from the bottle so far. I know I could buy a cold air diffuser but I am not so interested in doing so.

    What I would like to know is can you over-inhale essential oils? In other words “Can you get high from them?” Haha. I usually inhale one deep breath in the morning and one before I go to bed. Is that enough or should I inhale more?



  154. I just wanted to share a story that is similar to Rachel’s (above poster). A close friend was up (way too) late one night and decided to try out a Pinterest-inspired facial. Well, it was extremely abrasive and she ended up over-exfoliating her skin which resulted in an extremely chapped and irritated face. So the next day, she went to a group event for kids and someone there told her to apply peppermint EO undiluted to the chapped skin. They had it on-hand and gave it to her. Yes, it was a quality oil brand, just FYI. She, quite literally, fell to the ground in burning, searing pain. It took a long time for both the EO-induced burn and the facial sloughing incident to heal.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share her story. One drop of peppermint EO is supposedly equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea. The point is, EOs are very, very concentrated and powerful tools. Personally, I use a dilution when applying them to my skin, and I always do a test spot (I have eczema….flare-ups are NOT cool). Not only is it frugal to dilute, I have found that it is a perfectly therapeutic dosage for me when only using a 1-3% dilution ration for EOs like lavender or tea tree. Why use it neat if there is no need? Just my two cents.

  155. Thank you for your thorough explanation and citation of sources. I called a “health food” store recently and asked if essential oils were safe to use in teas (I am new essential oils and some “herbal life” things but tea is something my family has long been familiar with for treating various maladies.) I thought to use the oil as part of the component of a tea to make my husband who has pneumonia (he is under a physicians care) to help ease his cough at night – a supplement to the meds he is taking. The lady at the store assured me she had several customers that use “a several drops of peppermint or lemon oil in her tea with good results. I thought I’d check a few other sources before buying. I’m glad I did. I found your article to be the most helpful, honest, and straight forward of any I could find. Thank you again,

  156. Hi Katie, thank you for this information. Question about diffusing oils: I was diffusing eucalyptus oil when my 1 year old was sick to help with congestion without knowing this could be harmful to her. Luckily we didn’t have any problems, but can you recommend which oils would be safe to use with children to held ease congestion?

  157. Hello!

    Great and informed post. I love your site and use quite a few of your recipes.

    Question-I’m about to give birth and use a natural DIY toothpaste (baking soda, xylitol, peppermint EO, coconut oil), as well as a natural store bought deodorant with a bit of rosemary EO. Are these safe to use while breast feeding? Or could they effect baby/milk supply?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

    • Mint of any kind can affect milk supply, but it affects different people to greater or lesser degrees. I would talk to your doctor about it.

  158. I’m hoping to get some honest thoughts.
    When my son was a newborn, I had bronchitis and pleurisy, and he managed to get whooping cough. He is now 8 months old and doing great …. but has always had snuffly congested breathing particularly while feeding.

    When he was about a week old, I put several drops of a blend with eucalyptus/lemon/peppermint/rosemary, on a tissue about 6-8 inches from his face on the edge of his bassinet. I was so congested I couldn’t tell how strong it was. And I was so sleep deprived and hormonal to recollect how long. It may have been overnight. All very embarrassing.

    I wonder if I unknowingly destroyed my poor tyke’s sinuses, mucous membranes etc. I thought I was being safe. My doula cringed and looked at me like I was the devil. The pediatricians seem dismissive and say he just has small passage ways and needs to grow. I know what’s done is done but wanted to see if anyone else has similar experience.

    • I wouldn’t beat yourself up over that. If he had whooping cough, he could just still be recovering. I’m very careful with oils at that age, but I don’t think it is likely that you destroyed his sinuses with one use like that and he very well may grow out of it (I did- I had horrible sinus issues as a baby and got better as i grew).

  159. Thank you for such a great, comprehensive article about the risks of essential oils! Too often these days we’re seeing people promoting the undiluted or internal uses of essential oils which can have irreversible effects! This is exactly the article I’ve been looking for! Thank you so much!

  160. Hi, I am confused….many articles say not to use Eucalyptus oil on kids or to diffuse yet your recipe for the natural vicks rub along with the link to the organic one already made & vicks itself contains eucalyptus oil??

  161. Hi,
    thanks for a great article! I’m new to essential oils so any information is helpful.
    My almost 4 month old baby had a bit of a stuffy nose last night and from some research that I did, I know that Rosemary essential oil is really good for sinus infections/stuffy nose, etc. I didn’t really do any research on essential oil use on babies, but thought it would be safe enough to put 1-2 drops of Rosemary essential oil on the 2 corners of his crib, so he could inhale it while sleeping….was that a mistake?? Would you say that was ok or should I have not even put the 1-2 drops in the corners of his crib??
    Also, I always have really bad postpartum hair loss, and also through some research found out that Rosemary is really good for hair loss. Just dilute with a carrier oil and massage on scalp or put a few drops into your shampoo…using it this way while I’m nursing, is it safe or not? You also mentioned Rosemary as one of the essential oils that should not be used while nursing, but it wasn’t quite clear to me if you meant not to take it orally or also on skin…would appreciate clarification.
    Thanks so much for the information! 🙂

  162. Hello,

    I just came in contact with undiluded essential oil, which was my fault. It was a suggested way of using it on a friend’s blog. I thought the person knew what they were talking about but obviously not. I’m very concerned because now I have a red rash on my face that I am freaking out over! What did you do for your rash? Did it burn my skin? I’m not sure how to treat. Help!

    Concerned Mama

    • It should go away with time. I took a shower and used bentonite clay as a scrub or sorts to help get the residual oils off and then used natural lotion to help further dilute it… good luck!

  163. Thank you so much for all this info. I love essential oils and personally I make my own mouthwash as mentioned above. I use a mix of peppermint, colloidal silver, xylitol, Real salt and baking soda. I have not had a cavity for so long. I love it so much I wanted to share this. I use peppermint oil, Xyloburst xylitol, and Sovereign Silver…try it. You will love it. BTW–I use Earthpaste toothpaste with xylitol as well. Thank you so much for your blog with all this info and I love the comments.

  164. Dang! I wish I had read this sooner. I am 11wks pregnant tomorrow and have been using Tea Tree Oil on this horrid pregnancy acne I’ve obtained AND have used Peppermint Oil under my nose whenever I feel like I’m coming down with a headache. Cue the panic mode for the remainder of 30wks. 🙁 I thought it was better than using benzyl peroxide & taking Tylenol. Someone lift my spirits and tell me I didn’t do something to harm my baby.

    • Of course, I’m not your doctor and can’t give you definitive information…but with that said, it sounds like you weren’t overusing the oils or using them inappropriately. I know women who have used essential oils MUCH more extensively than you have during their pregnancies and their babies have been completely fine.

      • Thanks so much!

  165. Dear Wellness Mama,
    Please tell out or point to me where you tell out what you use during pregnancy for toothpaste!
    And also for shampoo!

    I cannot seem to find much that does not have either chemical junk or essential oils!
    I made a homemade but…its awful.
    Thank you!
    a first trimester pregnant reader

  166. I’ve been searching the internet with regards on using essential oils safely and I came across this post about it (which is ironic since I recently started following your blog anyway!) There is lots of talk about diluting the EO in a carrier oil. I understand the ratios to use to dilute with, but I’m wondering if I dilute an EO in 1 ounce of carrier oil – how much do I actually apply topically once it’s diluted? Is there a “right” amount? Also – once it’s diluted, and say I only use 1/10 of an ounce…what do I do with the other 9/10? Can I save it for use within a certain time period? Or does it need to be thrown out? It seems like a lot of carrier oil to be thrown away…I’m having a hard time wording this – hopefully someone will understand what I’m trying to ask! 🙂 Thanks!

  167. It’s sad to know that the recent public perception on essential oils has been negative. To tell you the truth, essential oils provide more benefits than other medicines in my opinion. As long as you use the right one and apply moderate amounts, you’ll have nothing to worry about. I’ve been using essential oils for years and never had any problems.

  168. I absolutely loved this post. Very very informative. Thanks so much for your time and effort to make this information available for us all. my most kind regards, Mark Stacey.

  169. Just wanted to hop on the bandwagon and say thank you for this post!

    I suffer from clinical chronic anxiety and depression. As part of my holistic therapy, my prescribing doctor (an MD) along with my talk therapist recommended a local Certified Aroma therapist. Armed with my medical history, lab write ups, prescriptions, and supplements, I began working with her to obtain some EO products that could be used as part of my therapeutic (mental) regimen. She is so full of knowledge as far as EO interactions with medicines, supplements, and the like. She is also great about explaining the carriers she uses as well as correct methods of inhalation and topical application. She has never suggested taking EOs internally. She also suggested certain times of the day I could use and apply my oils based on when the kids slept/etc. So that their exposure would be minimal.

    Just wanted to validate what all you wrote about by saying **do your research regarding oils!!!** A great Certified Aromatherapist will have your best interests at heart, and not their pocketbook. They will work with you as an individual based on your personal needs and history, not based on anecdotal results of others.

    On a side note, really REALLY good prescribing doctors (those with an MD attached to their name) may not be the ones with all of the EO expertise, but they just may point you in the direction of a safe and well educated Aroma therapist ?

  170. Hi Katie,
    I’m still nursing my 2 year old, not a lot, just before bedtimes usually. I have a large fibroid that developed during pregnancy and has not reduced in size at all. After some research, it looks like Frankensence, Clary Sage, and Thyme can be effective in reducing fibroids some reading I’ve done says it’s safe while nursing and other places say it’s not. Do you have any thoughts on this? Or know of any effective natural remedies for fibroids? Thank you!

  171. Hello! I am a bit confused by your list of oils NOT to use during pregnancy. I referenced this article (https://www.naha.org/assets/uploads/PregnancyGuidelines-Oct11.pdf) even before I stumbled on this post, but noticed that many of the oils deemed SAFE to use during pregnancy in this article are listed on your “Do NOT use” list. Did you reference another source that had alternate information? Just trying to get the facts straight, as I am exploring EOs and trying to reconcile all the information that is floating around out there. Any clarifying info you have would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you for all your posts, I appreciate it!

    • I researched each oil individually and if I found counter-indications during pregnancy, I included it on the “do not use” list. That being said, some oils are considered safe for aromatherapy during pregnancy but not on the skin and definitely not internally. I wanted to air on the side of caution and list all oils that I found evidence may have a harmful effect during pregnancy so women would not read about oils that were safe for aromatherapy and assume they were safe for topical use too.

  172. Found this site by accident, and as a Practicing Aromatherapist I find nothing wrong or ‘controversial’ with what you’ve written. All sound advice in my opinion.

    What I do find troubling, is the proliferation that doTerra and Young Living are considered the ‘best’ oils out there, and being called “therapeutic grade” gives them some special high authority.

    “Therapeutic Grade” is a MARKETING TERM dreamt up by YL.

    ALL 100% PURE essential oils can be considered “therapeutic grade” – not just dt’s and YL’s.

    dT and YL are so incredibly expensive because you are paying multiple layers of people who are all taking a cut from the sale. There is NOTHING inherently “better” about either supplier.

    In fact, what a lot people probably don’t even know, is that doTerra was started by a couple of YoungLiving higher-ups that were “suddenly unhappy” with the “quality” of YL oils. (?) There is no way this company, in such a short time, can claim they have 100% ownership over every facet of their oils from the owning the land where the actual growth of the plant takes place, to owning the facilities and equpiment where the distillation/extraction and bottling production takes place. It is Just. Not. Possible.

    They buy their oils from the same growers/producers that some other suppliers do.

    There is also a veterinarian that proclaims she has the all miracle cures for your critters using essential oils. She was an ardent vocalist that YL was THE ONLY BRAND WORTH USING . . . until she came up with her own line – (again claiming 100% ownership from growth to bottling) then began bad mouthing YL as “not recommended”.
    I’m guessing YL, now in direct competition for her profit margin, is the sole reason after such the demand that YL was the BEST, is now suddenly not.
    Also, reading her work gives me chills – undiluted wintergreen oil “dropped” on cats ? oh. hell. no.

    One question I always ask, and have yet to get not only a coherent answer, but just an answer period, from their ‘distributors’ is:
    If YL/doTerra are THE ABSOLUTE BEST OILS AVAILABLE, why has NOT ONE of any the experts in the field of aromatherapy (Shirley and Len Price, Julia Lawless, Robert Tisserand, Kurt Schnaubelt, even Rosemary Gladstar) either recommend their usage, or cite them in ANY of the myriad of publications produced in this field?

    For all those inquiring where to learn more about the properties and safe use of essential oils – you need to look no further than the writings of the above named.

    Another point, nearly all of the unsafe usages I have come across regarding essential oils, nearly ALL of them came from those associated with either Young Living or doTerra.

    Wellness Mama, I appreciate your site and your cautioning folks on the CORRECT way to use oils.
    What I have found tho, is there really is no convincing the YL/dT oil users out there that there are in fact, not only less expensive, but better quality alternatives to their cult-like supply.

  173. Thanks so much for this article! I had recently bought lime, lemon, and peppermint EO to add to my water to encourage me to drink (I’m terrible at drinking plain, unflavored water). I hadn’t known that the EO was so concentrated, nor did I know that they really shouldn’t be used internally for everyday use.

    My co-workers had very recently gotten into using auromatherapy and some had started adding it to their water as flavorings. Thinking this was safe for flavoring water, I followed suit. Now I know why I always feel a little funny after drinking a lot of my EO water…too much of a good thing gives me bad side effects!

    Do you have any tips for adding flavoring to water that doesn’t also add sugar/sweetner and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? (I’d love to just add fresh fruit, but it’s expensive and I’d rather eat the whole fruit to get the health benefits…but that leaves me with nothing to use as a water flavoring!

    • Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to try it! I did try just putting orange peel in my water and it wasn’t bad…it flavored a lot more than I thought it would!

  174. The most important thing to consider when choosing essential oils is very simple: ARE THEY CERTIFIED ORGANIC?
    DoTerra oils are NOT organic. Young Living oils are NOT organic. Just as it is incredibly important to purchase organic food, it is just as vital to buy organic oils. In fact, because essential oils are such a highly concentrated form of the plant, if the oil is not organic, then the pesticides and chemicals used on the plant are highly concentrated into the oil as well. So you’re actually putting extremely high doses of toxic chemicals onto or in your body with an oil that is not certified organic.

    It’s crucial to take some classes and learn from a certified aromatherapist so you can have the knowledge to make healthy choices in your essential oils. I searched high and low before I finally found certified organic, medicinal grade oils from a certified aromatherapist, not a MLM company trying to deceive everyone through their clever marketing. Words like “therapeutic” and “beyond organic” are just deceptive ploys to cover up the fact that they are not organic. They are either certified organic or they’re not. If it doesn’t say organic on the label, then they’re not organic. Period. Companies who truly have organic oils go through a lot to obtain that certification and they certainly are not going to “forget” to put it on the label. The only two companies I’ve found that have organic, high quality, medicinal grade essential oils are Purify Skin Therapy and Mountain Rose Herbs. I personally use Purify Skin Therapy.

    Do your research everyone….thoroughly. Don’t just use something because someone else recommends it or they have fancy marketing and materials. This isn’t about bashing other companies, it’s about being wise and informed in our choices. That’s what is wonderful about Wellness Mama. She gives a lot of great information and research, but it’s up to each one of us to further investigate and decide what’s right for our families. I’m thankful for this blog and the collaborative voices we all have to help one another learn and grow in our journey to have healthier families. We need to support each other, not attack each other. I think we all have similar goals and that’s a refreshing thing to see, especially in the world we live in today!

    • I’m sorry maybe I misunderstood what organic means but from what I’ve been informed young living eo’s are grown without the use of artificial chemicals. I have a friend whom I trust very much who has actually been to one of the YL farms and has seen how they treat their plants with their very own eo’s….not chemicals and has seen how they have farmers who harvest them with their very hands and she even got to participate in harvesting. She has seen the very distillation process first hand. She has seen how they do NOT add any solvents to their plants when distilling. So is this not considered organic???

      • Halana, I understand that it can be quite confusing, especially with the massive amount of misinformation and marketing hype out there from the MLM essential oil companies.

        When an essential oil is USDA Certified Organic or Wildcrafted, it says so right on the label. It verifies that the plants were grown without any pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. It also verifies that during the entire process – from growing the plants, to distillation, to bottling – the oil has not been diluted, altered, or synthetically modified. It is crucial to use only USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC or WILDCRAFTED essential oils. Why? Because essential oils contain highly concentrated amounts of that plant and anything that was sprayed or applied to it as well. So a non-organic oil contains HIGHLY concentrated amounts of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.

        Participating in a company’s harvesting and distillation doesn’t mean much. That’s not going to tell you if the plants were grown organically or not….that’s where it all starts! You’re just harvesting the plants and distilling them. The plants that Young Living and DoTerra use are NOT grown organically. They are NOT USDA Certified Organic. You have no idea what pesticides, herbicides and chemicals those plants have been sprayed with while they were growing and what’s in the soil they were grown in. All your friend saw was the harvesting and distilling process. They may not add anything during that process – who knows – but it doesn’t matter because if you’re using a non-organic plant to create the oil, then you CAN NOT ensure that the oil is truly pure and free from pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.

        No matter what fancy marketing words are used (therapeutic, pure, beyond organic, etc), they are NOT organic unless it says USDA Certified Organic on the label. And there is NO such thing as “beyond organic”. These fake, fluffy terms are just laughable – they are incredibly deceptive and they’re playing on people’s naivety and ignorance. Being USDA Certified Organic is a VERY important and costly designation for a company to acquire, so if the oil is truly organic, the company will absolutely say so on the label. If it’s not organic, then the company will try to deceive people into thinking it is by using clever marketing words and terms that people will just ASSUME means organic. It’s deceptive and wrong. Don’t just assume anything!

        It’s very black and white – it’s either USDA Certified Organic or it’s not. Just like when you go to buy food, it’s either USDA Certified Organic or it’s not, and we all know what organic food ensures. It’s the same thing with essential oils. Having that USDA Certified Organic distinction ensures and verifies that the plants used in that essential oil were grown within the strict USDA Organic guidelines. These labels are there for a reason, to inform and protect us consumers from deceptive companies. Look for the USDA Certified Organic label! There is no substitute for it, period.

        Furthermore, many companies with non-organic oils add diluents, extenders, and adulterants to stretch the oil for economic reasons. Some of these adulterants are toxic, such as, SD40 alcohol, propylene glycol, diethylenephalate and other synthetic chemicals. I’m sure that’s not what you want to be absorbing into your skin, inhaling, and ingesting. It’s VERY clear if the oil is organic or not, just look at the ingredients on the label. There should be no confusion.

        Once you’ve narrowed down a list of the truly USDA Certified Organic oil companies, request a GCMS analysis paper (gas chromatograph mass spectrometer) from them. A reputable organic essential oil company will be able to provide you a gas chromatograph on all of the essential oils it sells. A gas chromatograph identifies and analyzes the presence and relative quantities of chemical constituents within an essential oil. It is a technique that separates the components of an essential oil according to the differences in molecular volume. It provides a fingerprint of the oil, and shows the relative concentration of chemical compounds according to retention time.

        Here are some other questions to ask essential oil companies:

        1. Were the oils steam distilled or extracted with alcohol or carbon dioxide?
        2. Were the oils distilled at low temperature and low pressure over a period of time or were they distilled quickly (high temperature can fracture the essential oil molecule resulting in an inferior aroma and taste).
        3. Were the oils developed by a Certified Aromatherapist?
        4. Do they have specialized oils formulated specifically for children and babies?
        5. Are the oils labeled by batch, lot and gas chromatograph report?
        6. Are the oils produced in small quantities to ensure freshness – not sitting for months in a warehouse?
        7. Are the oils stored in blue cobalt glass bottles to maintain and protect the quality of the oil?

        One final tip….Always purchase essential oils by their Latin name, and always check the label for the correct botanical name. Plants can have similar common names (Lavender, for example), but there are several different kinds of lavender plants – they are not created equal and can produce very different results.

        I know it can be confusing to navigate the tricky and deceiving marketing from the MLM essential oil companies. Hopefully this information will help arm you with the knowledge you need to find USDA Certified Organic, clean, pure, potent, medicinal grade oils. When you use a higher grade of organic essential oils you can use less and get even better results for your money. Plus, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting on and in your body and your precious family as well. : ) God bless!


      Licensed aromatherapists object to COMPANY NAME REMOVED because they paid a lot of money to learn the AMERICAN model of aromatherapy and it is all about job security for them. They only know what they were taught – and they weren’t taught the whole story unfortunately.

      Please stop bashing essential oils on this blog! You have people frightened that a little Lavender room spray might get on their skin and hurt them which is insane. You have mothers freaking out because they let their little ones smell some eucalyptus oil for a cold – something I grew up with and I can guarantee those oils weren’t pure – but that is a WONDERFUL way to combat a cold and help breathing when you don’t feel well. Please please stop scaring people… and then turn around and post your OWN recipes calling for use of EO’s on the skin. That just makes no sense at all…

      • Hi David, I removed part of your comment because it was specifically about one company, bashed another and did not provide documentation to back up claims. Disagreement is fine, marketing for a specific company is not. I am not “bashing” essential oils, merely suggesting that people use them cautiously and correctly. This should not in any way seem threatening to someone promoting the proper use of EOs.

        • It looks as if you removed the majority of my comment. And none of the comment were health claims in anyway, in fact, they were the opposite. I am confused about something though – aren’t these the exact same companies that YOU disparage daily on your site? You post non-stop about these companies yet we can not reply or speak any rebuttals? My comments about ALL the companies I mentioned are true and are easily confirmed.

          As for the other parts of the comment that you removed, why? Because they contradict other posts on your blog or were they just too close to home? Or just too critical of the things you have said? You consistently say you should never use EO’s on the skin yet you have a recipe posted combining honey and Lavender for burns and skin ailments. So which is it Kate?

          Why the heavy censoring of this site? I guess you do not truly desire an open, truthful conversation on this topic…. or maybe you will lose money from your sponsors if you allow that.

          You post so many things that are helpful yet Iose more respect for you everyday. Please quit misleading and scaring people about the use of essential oils.

          • Wow. Sensitive much? The comment policy specifically prohibits promotional comments about a specific company, especially if a person may have a financial interest in promoting that company (like being a rep) that is not disclosed. Your comment promoted one company and bashed another without contributing to the conversation in a meaningful way in the process. That is why it was changed. Your tone was also disrespectful in places (as it is in this comment). I have no problem with disagreement, just keep it respectful.

            To clarify- I have never said that essential oils should not ever be used on the skin, only that caution should be used and dilution ratios should be observed and that some oils (like lavender) are considered generally safe for skin unless there is an allergy.

            Also to clarify (as explained in my disclosure and policies). I do not have sponsors or advertisers (perhaps you noticed I don’t even have a sidebar in which to place ads?). I don’t lose any money from anyone by moderating comments- I’m just trying to keep the environment respectful. In fact, I could probably (and know many bloggers who do) make an insane amount of money from promoting essential oils (especially one of the companies you mentioned) on this blog. In fact, I know bloggers who make 5-6 figures a month by doing so. I just can’t in good conscience promote these oils knowing the way they are often recommended for use by other (well intentioned) sales reps and have made the decision not to for this reason… so your accusations about money are unfounded.

            If you would like to continue this discussion, please do so in a kind, civil and respectful way and I will extend you the same courtesy. Whether you respect me or not is entirely your decision, of course, but I would disagree that I am “misleading and scaring people about the use of essential oils” by simply encouraging people to exercise caution and check with a qualified specialist before doing so. Also, based on your comment, I would suspect that you might be a rep or in some way make money from promoting a certain essential oil company (which, per my policies and disclosure laws, you should disclose in any online place where you promote them). I can’t confirm this and that is your business, but if you do in fact make money from promoting essential oils, perhaps you could consider your own bias in this matter and that you have more of a financial reason to encourage people to use essential oils than I do in encouraging them to use caution.

  175. I use EO Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, and Tangerine oil in my water all the time with no Adverse effects.. You should only be using therapeutic oils.. And because they are concentrated you only need a drop or two.-
    Everybody’s tolerance is different, just use sparingly at first.
    Excellent article thank you.

    • Cindy, you should only be using ORGANIC oils, not “therapeutic” oils….ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE INGESTING THEM! It is NOT safe to ingest oils that are not organic. The definition of therapeutic is: “of or relating to the healing of disease.” Lots of things are therapeutic, but it has NOTHING to do with being organic.

      If you ingest oils that are not organic, you are ingesting a HIGHLY concentrated amount of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers from those plants as well. It is perfectly safe to ingest ORGANIC essential oils (only if you are really educated by a certified aromatherapist about which oils are safe, when and why to use them, how much to use, who is ingesting them, and if there are interactions with other medicine you may be taking).

      Please do your research and look at your essential oil bottles. If they don’t say organic, then they’re NOT organic. This is crucial for your health and your family’s health. You should not be putting non-organic oils on your skin, inhaling them, or ingesting them.

      Skin is our largest organ and what we put on it is absorbed right into our blood stream. The molecules then pass through the blood-brain barrier to the limbic system in the brain, where they can influence the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. Essential oils are absorbed into your body just like the ingredients in common pharmaceuticals, such as hormone replacement cream and nicotine patches.

      When we inhale essential oils through the nose or mouth, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain. They are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system. Therefore, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways.

      When we ingest essential oils, obviously they are distributed throughout the entire body. It’s imperative that we’re only absorbing, inhaling and ingesting the benefits of the essential oil, not highly concentrated amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

  176. This has really sparked some interest in me so I looked on the FDA website where the “organic” label is regulated. This is what I found concerning eo’s: Sometimes people think that if an “essential oil” or other ingredient comes from a plant, it must be safe. But many plants contain materials that are toxic, irritating, or likely to cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin.
    For example, cumin oil is safe in food, but can cause the skin to blister. Certain citrus oils used safely in food can also be harmful in cosmetics, particularly when applied to skin exposed to the sun. FDA doesn’t have regulations defining “natural” or “organic” for cosmetics. All cosmetic products and ingredients must meet the same safety requirement, regardless of their source. To learn more, see “’Organic’ Cosmetics” and “FDA’s Poisonous Plant Database.”
    Check it out here: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm127054.htm
    But what I found on their site about therapeutic grade oils was this:
    product is intended for a therapeutic use, such as treating or preventing disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug. For example, claims that a product will relieve colic, ease pain, relax muscles, treat depression or anxiety, or help you sleep are drug claims. Such claims are sometimes made for products such as soaps, lotions, and massage oils containing “essential oils” and marketed as “aromatherapy.” The fact that a fragrance material or other ingredient comes from a plant doesn’t keep it from being regulated as a drug.
    Under the law, drugs must meet requirements such as FDA approval for safety and effectiveness before they go on the market. To find out if a product marketed with drug claims is FDA-approved, contact FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).
    I find this all very interesting. One thing I’m sure of is this…before, I used an “organic” oil which made me extremely sick and a friend of mine asked me if I still had the YL eo’s she had given me and to try those instead. I did and felt some better the next day and completely better two days later. I was hooked from that day forward. I searched the site over on the so called organic oils that I had used prior and found after hours of searching that yes they did actually add solvents to their product to “extract” as much as possible from the plant. I have used YL eo’s to treat allergies, athletes’ foot, upset stomach, back pain, etc. Am I a doctor?…no. I am not a medical professional in any way and I understand that when I self medicate I am doing just that and it may not work but so far I haven’t had any bad reactions to YL eo’s and I HAVE had a bad reaction to a so-called “organic” oil that I will not bash the brand of. Do I suggest my child ingest them? Absolutely not. He’s a child and I barely give him Tylenol. We are not an advocate for over the counter or prescription meds. We try to do everything we can naturally but when needed, yes we go to the doctor. But since I have been using YL eo’s, we haven’t been to the doctor once, other than a checkup. We can go on and on and on about whose eo’s are the best, most natural, etc. I trust YL eo’s and someone else trusts another brand but for anyone to make claims saying this is better than another…truth is unless you are there from before the seed is harvested until after its distilled and bottled…..you really don’t know for sure. I can only trust what I know for sure and that is that YL eo’s have worked for me and my family. I use them daily and have been for quite some time and have a friend who has used them daily for 20 years and has researched oils much more extensively than I have and she IS a medical professional. The FDA puts regulations on any claims that can be made with eo’s and they don’t have regulations defining “organic” or “natural” cosmetics and that’s what they consider eo’s….cosmetics. They say if it’s applied topically it’s a cosmetic. It can’t be a cosmetic and a drug or dietary supplement.

  177. Oh and one more thing….for those who say that essential oils should NEVER be ingested….check this out:
    And I understand a lot of you on here like myself may not drink Coca Cola but if essential oils are so harmful why is the FDA allowing it into soft drinks all across America? I know a lot of people will still disagree because they will say soft drinks are bad for you….so are a ton of other things the FDA and USDA allows onto our shelves. Some will also disagree with the fact that YL oils are safe because they don’t have an organic seal….I’m sorry but (my opinion) it doesn’t mean much. YL has a seed to seal approval that means more to me than an organic seal and for those who say that YL doesn’t have outside testing done as well…..I’m sorry but you are wrong on that as well. Glad to have been a part of this discussion but it’s very apparent that a lot of us on here are very passionate about what we believe and don’t believe and we will all have to agree to disagree but when you want to start pointing fingers and saying you’ve done your research and act like an expert on eo’s….please remember there is always something ALL of us can learn….yes I put myself in that as well. This is an ever changing world with new products being sold all the time. When you find something that is harmful just stop using it and try to share….simple as that. Some will disagree and that’s ok. As for me….I will stick with what I know works. ?

    • @ Halana: Thank for your insightful post. Yes, everybody always has something to learn. For example: I just learned from you that there are essentials oils in coca-cola (a lot of them, too). Though I won’t touch coca-cola with a ten-foot pole, that’s good to know!

  178. i very much appreciate this conversation. i started a small essential oil company and advised that all blends except for one that controls sugar cravings be topically applied. after reading this article and the comments, i will advise that all oils be topically applied. i believe they are wonderful healing tools and much benefit can be garnered from topical and olfactory application. it is not necessary to ingest them. thank you for your wonderful research Katie! I really appreciate this article! I know you are expecting again and wonder if you might take on the topic of essential oils and pregnancy next. That is another hot topic that i would love to hear you address!

  179. This may have been answered but I didn’t see it – the Onguard blend seems to have rosemary in it but that was listed under the oils that are not safe for babies that you mentioned above, So how do you use this around your young family?

  180. So, how about the EOs sold at WalMart by Natures Bounty?

  181. I just found this wonderful web site. I would like to know if it is considered safe to inhale essential oils using a nasal inhaler. This type:


    The reason I am asking is that I am a very nervous flying, and I am considering using clary sage and nutmeg essential oils (may mixed together, perhaps with adding bergamot and frankincense), in order to reduce my fear of flying. I realize that ingesting essential oils is controversial and I’d rather not do that. I’d rather avoid anti-anxiety drugs, which might be habit-forming, even used occasionally when you have to travel.

  182. Do you think it is healthy to diffuse lavendar essential oils around an infant?

  183. I’ve been treating myself for underactive thyroid/anemia for 2 years with EO herbal teas,tinctures and many supplements. I am not a clinician but have worked in healthcare for 25 years and both parents are physicians…have learned a lot along the way and read a tremendous amount on TCM,Ayurveda and myriad alternative therapies.

    About a year ago? i came across a blog where the individual tested many of the big name EO companies for purity,efficacy etc ( based on protocols,references cited and oversight by industry leaders pappas?) I recall feeling it was legit and passed my bs detector. Aura Cacia and Now fared respectably in every category.

    I use the above, simplers botanicals, uncle harry’s, and others. An earlier post said “we can all agree” now products as well as aura cacia are “the worst” or something very close. The amount of $ that i spend (even while not working) is staggering on all of these things…not to mention organic food, bla,bla,bla.

    Does anyone have anything to add to support the claims that now and ac are substandard? Dont know how i could possibly buy Yl or Doterra for EVERY OIL i use……uggghhhh researching all this has become much harder, and i just dont have the time presently…..thank you for any edification/clarification.

    kari w.

  184. Thank you for this article! I received an EO diffuser as a gift. Everyone in my house had sniffles/cough at the time, so I followed instructions on diffuser and added a “few drops” of Eucalyptus to the small reservoir. (What’s a few? 3?5?12????) So I put in 7-8 drops and let the thing run for hours. With my then 2mo old and 3 yr old playing near it.all.day. It wasn’t until I started looking up benefits of other oils that I realized eucalyptus isn’t safe around kids. I WAS MAD!!!! Nowhere on the EO bottle or diffuser did it say unsafe for small children. How many other moms out there are doing this and have no idea it is unsafe!?

    I was also told to soak a cotton swab with peppermint EO to keep mice away. I left the soaked swabs everywhere and my house smelled of peppermint for weeks… I used no precaution to my then 2 year old and I was pregnant at the time. Since I wasn’t using it therapeutically, I didn’t even think of doing my research! I just thought it was so much better than inhumanely catching mice!

    So, thank you! I will continue to spread awareness on this topic and set my EOs aside until my littles aren’t so little.

  185. Hi, so I was thinking of making a hair oil blend for a five year old who is sufferin from hair loss in certain spots due to too much braiding; I was thinking of adding a couple drops of rosemary extract; is this not a good idea?

  186. What is your opinion of inhaling essential oils?

  187. I so appreciate this site! I am new at using eos and just bought a diffuser. I am so distressed hearing that using the diffuser at night where my cats also sleep might be harmful to them. Is this true ? Will using the diffuser harm them? What about using cleaners and insect repellant eo based products? Thank you for your help!

    • In most amounts, they are safe to diffuse and use in the air in recommended amounts and it is more concentrated uses like internally and topically that tend to have more potential for harm. I’d check with a vet and an aromatherapist to make sure any specific oils you are using are safe for your pets, but I generally feel safe diffusing gentle oils around my pets and kids in diluted amounts.

  188. As I learn more about EOs, I am realizing that a blend that an EO rep suggested I use on my then 2 year old (she is now 4) contained oils that shouldn’t be used for that age(rosemary, clove). She had extensive eczema and I was desperate for anything to help. We used it daily, diluted in coconut oil for months before I finally gave up. I haven’t used any oils on her since and now I am worried about longterm damage (liver, kidney, etc). Should I be concerned? I am a worried momma 🙁

  189. Hi Katie – I am making your squeezable toothpaste recipe and am wondering about adding the oils you recommended. I am pregnant/nursing. This article on safety of oils seems to contradict the toothpaste recipe as far as cinnamon and peppermint oil, at least while pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Do you have a different recipe you use when nursing or pregnant? Or do you just leave the oils out? Is it still effective? Thanks.

    • I just omit the oils. it is still effective without it 🙂

  190. Does anyone know anything about the essential oils from the brand Itworks?

  191. Is there any problem with ingesting oregano caplets, after all they are made to swallow? Inly on a short term basis of course?

    • I have seen oregano used in gut protocols for a short time with the purpose of killing pathogenic bacteria, but I wouldn’t use it without the oversight of a trained practitioner.

  192. Wow, quite the hoopla. I’m in Canada and my favourite brand is Divine Essence. They are organic and Extra Grade, which is the highest grade of organic oils in Canada, I believe. I find the smell of their oils superior to many others, and the Lemon EO is fantastic. I don’t work for them, sell them, related to them in anyway.

  193. I always have an allergic reaction when i add lavender (only one I’ve tried) in diy beauty products. But im ok adding to my temples or bath. It has to be the lavender as im not allergic to coconut oil, jojoba, shae or castor. Any thoughts?

    • That is really strange…. so you react to the in combination, but not on their own? I haven’t heard of that, but definitely leave out the lavender if you think it is causing the reaction!

  194. I am fairly new to using oils and I am noticing that when I have used peppermint oil for a headache or arnica on a sore knee that I actually taste the oil in my mouth. Am I imagining this?

  195. Hi. I am a female suffering from hormonal acne. I use BON Natural oils. I believe as from your posts it’s not good to use as it’s packaged in a plastic spray container or can I still use it and I also make a toner of AVC that is naturally fermented diluted with about 5-7 drops of BON esstenial oils, 5-7 drops of lemon and the same quantity of distilled water as the ACV. I put this mixture in a spray plastic bottle as I need to spray my back also. Is it also fine or should I not be using the plastic bottle and if not what spray bottle can should I use? Thanks

  196. Hi Namadhira,

    No, you shouldn’t be using plastic. Here’s a link to a glass spray bottle that has UV protection for the oils: http://amzn.to/1VYnRhc

    Also, you should be using only Certified Organic essential oils, such as the ones found here:


    or here:


    Here’s a link to a great recipe from Wellness Mama that may help your acne as well:


    Remember that healthy skin comes from the inside out, so it’s more important to focus on what you eat and drink every day. Wellness Mama’s site is full of wonderful information on proper nutrition to give your body what it needs to stay healthy and have beautiful skin! : )

    Take care and God bless you!

  197. I have to say I’m very confused & kind of terrified to use essential oils now! I love your site & find it very informative but am a little frustrated that you’d would write something like this & then not bother to answer many of the questions posed in the comments section-since you have become a trusted source of information on this topic. I have found it almost impossible to find accurate or untainted information out there when attempting to do research on EO brands & effects. Even approaching a doctor or aromatherapist isn’t always accurate or unbiased. Many doctors don’t believe in natural remedies & even if they do, they’re not often trained in the field. Any info I find is either biased or contradictory to the next lot of information I read! Apparently, according to one comment even clinical trials can’t be trusted to be accurate, which is highly disturbing! I find that some of this information is contradictory to some of the recipes I find on this site. It’s impossible! I tend to trust you more so than others as you are a mother like me, with no bias or affiliations to any companies or brands. Could you possibly list some trusted but affordable brands, distributors etc? Also, are companies allowed to claim “organic”, “100% pure”, “therapeutic grade” etc if they are not? In Australia there are often strict guidelines on this type of thing (though I don’t know the guidelines for EO’s) but it’s expensive to buy oils in Australia. Is it safe to buy oils from sites like Etsy or can any fool bottle some smelly liquid & call it “pure, organic essential oil”? This topic seems to be a minefield of inaccurate information with a complete lack of trustworthy, responsible people in charge of guidelines & research! Any advice on where to safely buy affordable oils & brands you have used would be greatly appreciated, along with any info on what people/companies are allowed to claim in regards to purity etc. I’m new to all of this & have a hard time knowing what to believe now! Cheers.

    • You are right, there is so much conflicting information out there and so much mis-information. From what I understand there is no regulatory safety agency that monitors terms like “therapeutic grade” or “pure” or “natural,” though “organic” is regulated like it would be in other products. Most of these companies that claim this have actually just made up these terms and trademarked them, which is what they are referring to when they say “registered” therapeutic grade. I’m not familiar with any companies in Australia. I’ve personally purchased organic oils from Mountain Rose Herbs and from Rocky Mountain Oils, as well as from Plant Therapy. I would just look for organic brands (that are not part of an MLM) that you can verify sourcing of. Good luck! Essential oils can be amazing and helpful and I certainly don’t mean to scare you away from using them, I just hope you’ll do your own research as well and use them carefully!

  198. Hi, I came to this page because I’m pregnant and was trying to find what essential oils I need to avoid to find a bug mosquito and tick repellent spray. All my natural brands have citronella in them which j heard j should stay away from. I’ve used burts bees and the honest company in the past. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  199. Thank you for this well rounded, fair article. It is very informative. I was trying to find out if lime EO is acidic because I have been putting it in my drinks and it turns out I have “dry mouth”. I need to stay away from acidi drinks.

    As far as what appears to be an argument on this thread, I will say that googling someone is not always the answer because it isn’t always accurate. I have no idea if what some are saying is true or not, and to be honest, they probably don’t know it as a fact either. I believe they do believe it fine true.

    What is a fact is YL and DoTERRA reps (maybe pushed by the companies) are at odds. Because of this, I don’t know who to believe and will take any articles I read with a grain of salt. I know 4-5 people selling DoTERRA and 4-5 (mostly teachers) selling YL.

    I personally use DoTERRA, only because that is the brand I was first introduced to and I have good experiences with the oils. I also use that brand because it is family members I am supporting when I buy it. I have nothing against YL. My friends really believe in it, so I’m assuming it is high quality.

    Just my two cents. Thanks again for the article.

  200. Hey guys! New to the Blog Site – so sorry if this may be a repeat question of if it seems I didn’t read everything in detail (I have to admit, I did skin but only to get a general idea). So I have a question or 2 as it relates to the essential oils… I LOVE peppermint, but from what I may have read is that this is NOT safe during pregnancy. However, is this safe when used with a diffuser? I get really bad headaches and the peppermint helps so much. I currently use lavender lotions and oils and scents for aches and pains and to help with relaxation, but just wondering what other options and alternatives there may be for the respiratory senses and as a pick-me-up scent aside from peppermint. Does this also mean I can’t have my peppermint beverages? ??? another issue I have is the thinning hair, and a friend of mine recommended the Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Coconut Conditioner… Had to press pause when I read OIL and figured I’d do a little research and ask questions first before I either went to the store or ordered these items online.

  201. I can’t believe what happened to you at your massage! That many drops straight on the skin must have been so uncomfortable 🙁 It’s really sad that EOs have become something that people think can just be slapped on without thinking. I’m glad that more people know about them, but the “education” people are getting nowadays is alarming!

  202. Regarding pregnancy and morning sickness, please don’t let the opinions of this blogger deter you from looking into using peppermint EO. I had horrible morning sickness for both of my pregnancies and my midwife encouraged me to use diluted peppermint EO topically on my tummy. It was the only natural remedy that took the edge off and really helped me get through those awful times. I was able to naturally give birth to two healthy little ones. I have known plenty of women who’ve done the same thing. While I appreciate that Wellness Mama wishes to encourage caution, which is so very important with EO’s, the list she provides of essential oils that are OK/dangerous for pregnancy is highly disputed and very fluid.

    • Why do you say the list is “fluid”?

      • i think she uses the world fluid as its always changing pending on study or by person.

        Pepermint oil was the only thing to help me as well while i’ve been preg.It was that as anatural assistant or take controled substances/TON of tylonal, (could take 3 K mg of it and still be hurting, which was my max for the day) for migrains that could drop me

    • Thank you so much for making this point about peppermint oil during pregnancy. I too suffered from bad morning sickness and so did my sister. It was the ONLY thing that worked for us, only NATURAL remedy that made any difference. Lucky for all those women who don’t have to deal with awful morning sickness and can quickly dismiss peppermint as being “dangerous” without much to back it up.

  203. Because it isn’t a set list that is agreed upon across the board by professionals. It is fluid in that it changes depending on who you’re talking to or whose blog you’re reading.

  204. Honey I would look a little further into lavender oil applied topically to the skin before mentioning in use with children. It can damage the skin. I’m not an expert, just something I hope you look into. And if someone knows better than me i hope they share with me because to me knowledge is more precious than diamonds and gold 🙂 I reference your articles almost daily and appreciate your work. It is far reaching. Thank you for what all of you at wellness mama do 🙂

  205. so much more research for me…these safety issues on ingesting and undiluted oils….I have lots to learn. I got hooked up with one of the MLM companies and a friend told me to google the CEO, wow, not a great past. I’m not fond of MLMs either….I love making DIY home-made products without toxins, but perhaps I should not ingest the supplements from this company with oils in them … ???? Thank you for all this research and helpful resources to continue my own research.

    I did heard a great podcast on “safety” Sylla Sheppard-Hanger and Nyssa Hanger — eye-opening!

    I remember when I started taking some herbal supplements that I heard were so good for you — started having some strange feelings, like out-of-body feelings — Dr. sent me for tests and told me to stop taking the herbs, take vitamins w/o herbs. Maybe I should stop taking the Green Supplement I just started taking with the oils????

    So much to learn.

    appreciatively, Nancy

  206. Love how you acknowledge the potency of essential oils and how topical use may cause irritation, especially on infants.

  207. preg… due next week 6/26/16 (well hoping for next monday lol)
    I’ve used peppermint oil on cotton balls at work cause of mice n’ spiders… I have had a perfect preg, so the lady all worried about her doing it (unless you soaked soaked u’r balls and touched them) you should be okay…
    No matter preg or not, u should be careful with getting the full dose on yourself

    Also have had migraines like crazy )was assaulted and punched in head 8-10 times… Peppermint was/is the only thing that helped… no one has said anything about it before (two docs and my friends on fb that typically use oils and have kids and are smart like that – one was gonna buy a kit to make her own oils)… I would heat up the bathroom shower water, fling oil on the walls (kinda like holy water towards demons, lol)
    I clean with it, gallon of water to 8-10 or so drops … (Or at work, make hot water in mop bucket and put drops in there cause it’s also good for disinfecting and keeping those damn spiders at bay)

    Actually gonna make a peppermint spray for when i give birth for an aromatherapy feel… Cause now peppermint smell helps my migraines and other pains, it relaxes me

    but my question is… why is lavender bad when everything is lavender??? it helps soothes the baby and helps sleepy time at night…
    I just got diffuse for the babys room so i can use some smells to help sooth her/if she gets a cold/ really bad smelling diapers

  208. Thank you so much for such an informative post.

  209. Hello, about a month ago I attempted to use Bergamot oil topically on my armpits as a deodorant alternative. It is suggested for that specific use in the Young Living handbook with no warnings. Anyway, I’ve had a rather unsightly skin discoloration on my armpits ever since and it hasn’t faded at all after a month. I am wondering if you have any advice on how to treat it? Maybe Aloe Vera? Thanks in advance!

    I only did it twice and stopped immediately after noticing the reaction.

  210. Katie- can you comment on what oils are safe to diffuse around my 9 month old in my home for all of us to enjoy? Is there anything I can diffuse in her room directly?

  211. Wow. After reading your excellent post, Katie, and then scrolling through hundreds of replies and reading scores of them, here’s my takeaway: essential oils are very dangerous and should be removed from our homes as soon as possible. If you want to use “natural” remedies and treatments, try some infusions, salves, and tinctures that you can make yourself with herbs available in your vicinity or local health food store or online source. To “appropriately” use essential oils takes a great deal of education, knowledge, skill, self-control, and hands-on training, and, even then, there are no guarantees you won’t have a severe reaction or disrupt your immune function. To make your own essential oils is impossible given the gargantuan amounts of plant material required to make even a very small amount of oil, not to mention the fact that you would need a distillation system. Finally, the last person I’ll be listening to as to how to use these oils is someone whose livelihood depends on my buying them.

    So I agree with almost everything in your post except the suggestion that there is an appropriate use for these oils. Obviously they are unreasonably dangerous in normal use to me, to children, to pets, to pregnant women, and to everyone else.

    • I wouldn’t go so far as to say they should never be used, just that caution should be taken (like many things), and they are not a cure-all as many MLM companies try to assert…

  212. Way too many comments to read, so this mite have been said, but the therapist was prob doing Raindrop Therapy, not massage. She used too much EO but you just feather it along the spine, not a real massage.
    If it was a cheap brand you could react to it if youre sensitive.

  213. I love Mountain Rose Herbs’ essential oils. They are local to the PNW, where I live, and they have wonderful ethics, and practices. Honestly they are the only essential oil company I completely trust. They also sell all sorts of awesome teas, herbs, seeds and more. Most of their stuff is organic and they always strive for sustainability. I don’t work for them, but I am always happy to share them with other people, because I trust them completely and know that my money is well spent.

    As for the dangers of essential oils, it’s always a good reminder to read.
    I feel like lavender is the best, safe, and multi-purpose essential oil in my household… I’m never without it!

  214. Sorry, but I think these oils are extremely dangerous and I will tell you why. My daughter-in-law is heavily into the Young Living oils and sells them. A few weeks ago, she tried to treat my grandson’s “constipation” with her magic oils. Only problem was, he had a burst appendix. When he started having hallucinations she finally took him to the doctor, where he was correctly diagnosed and treated (surgery). I am scared to death she is going to kill one of the kids with her insistence on these “natural treatments”. She will not listen to anyone. Its a cult.

    • A cult? Really?? The owner of this blog uses essential oils and has many recipes using them posted everywhere. They are not going to kill anyone.

      Rubbing some oil on his belly to try to help him is a perfectly fine thing to do. As far as the child having problems with his appendix – do YOU know the symptoms of that? I don’t. Most of us don’t. She did take the child to the doctor when the issue persisted and he was treated. So what was that you were saying about her killing the children or insisting on only natural cures? Is there something wrong with trying something natural? If so, this blog would not exist. Or were you paid to post this comment?


      • No, I wasn’t paid to post this comment and I’m not talking about “recipes”. You think it is perfectly okay to treat a child with oils when he has been curled up in his bed, in pain and vomiting for days? Sorry, but there is something wrong with you, if you do not see a problem with this. And she did not take him until he progressed to hallucinations and stoke like symptoms. As I have been reading this blog I have noticed many cautions about doing the very thing this child’s mother has been doing to him, such as ingesting a lot of these oils and infusing them into the air. She also claims this child is allergic to virtually every food (determined by placing his hand on a machine). He is on an extremely restricted diet and has lost weight and is very, very thin. She doesn’t believe in “modern” medicine anymore. There is no accountability as he is home schooled. If you don’t believe Young Living is a cult, then you have not done your research on the company or its founder. A cult encourages you to break ties with your family members if they question you and that is what has happened. As concerned grandparents, we have been kicked to the curb for having the nerve to question what she is doing. The blog writer has expressed concerns about the use of some of these oils and their use on children. So yes, I believe it is possible that her “treatments” could result in serious injury or death.

        • Wow! You believe that Young Living encourages people to turn from their families? Where on earth do you get that idea? It is so absurd as to be totally laughable and I surely hope none of the readers here will buy into that. If you have any proof whatsoever that this 25 year old established and successful company is encouraging people to leave their families, homes or jobs and follow them blindly, we would all love to see it. However no such thing exists so let’s just let that go, shall we?

          As far as the lady you are referring to, I don’t know what to say. We have no way of knowing how much you are exaggerating or are misunderstanding so how could anyone reply to your comments? You could be making the whole story up for all we know. But if not, it does sound as if she should seek more education and also use other modes of medicine when necessary. But then again, you also need education on the benefits of holistic medicine, something this site shares a lot of information about. I recommend that you do some reading.

          Furthermore, you did not originally state that he had been vomiting for days – only that he had an upset stomach and constipation so either you purposely omitted facts in your first post or you are embellishing them now. I myself have had a family member experience hallucinations and had NO idea this was happening to them… how could I have known? You are not giving us all the details and are only sharing one side of the story and it is completely slanted to your point of view.

          Please know that SOME oils are safe to ingest in small amounts and since the entire field of aromatherapy is basing on smelling and inhaling the oils, your complaint about her using them in that way is completely unfounded as that is exactly how the majority of the world uses them and exactly what the American model of aromatherapy teaches and advises.

          I think the problem here is that you simply don’t understand essential oils – or any alternative medicine – at all. It is obvious that you don’t believe in holistic and natural medicine and she does – that alone seems to be reason enough for you to feel free in being hypercritical of everything she does… and also good reason for her to distance herself from your constant criticism. You also are disparaging of homeschooling. Why is that? It is obvious that you do not care for your daughter in law and honestly, I do that even if she was mother of the year that you would be satisfied. Do you not allow other people to make decisions for themselves and to live according to their own beliefs? Not everyone is a follower like you. People are allowed to make choices for their own families without an in-law’s permission. And that does not mean she is involved with a “cult”, no not at all. Whatever mistakes she has made are on her head but it does sound like you nag at her about ALL of her choices and if she has “kicked you to the curb” for that, well, that is her right to do so.

  215. I am wondering, if I can use peppermint essential oil to make peppermint extract (mixed with alcohol and water)? Tincture takes 2-3 months, and we do have essential oil. I wonder how many drops I would need to make a 2 ounce bottle?

    • No. Please do not do this!

  216. Why should she not do this? Peppermint IS edible, as is peppermint essential oil especially if it is an unadulterated brand and which should have a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) notice on the label as well as a “serving size” recommendation.

    Candy and tea and many other products are flavored with peppermint essential oil (even tobacco!) so I really do not see your objections to her idea. It would be highly diluted after all, as it would be mixed with the alcohol and water AND when used, only a small amount would be used.

    So I will answer the question – Essential oils are very strong and much more potent than the actual herbs so you would not need much at all, a few drops of a quality, solvent free oil should do the trick. But if you are planning to use the extract to flavor foods, teas or candies there really is no need to make one at all. Just add one drop of quality oil and taste. If you desire a stronger flavor, add one more drop. If you are afraid it will be too strong (for beverages for example), dip a toothpick in the oil and stir the hot tea or iced water with it. Once you get the flavor you are looking for, enjoy!!

    Ever make Lemon Chicken for your family? After plating and just before serving, add just ONE drop of lemon essential oil to the dish for the BEST Lemon Chicken you ever tasted! The aroma will be delightful, the flavor will be enhanced and will have everyone asking for more.

    I hope this is helpful. 😉

    • I would never ingest essential oils and I have worked hard to get them out of my household. I know two people involved in the soap making and EO promoting business which brings them into close dealings with essential oils. One has a mysterious illness suspected to be an auto-immune disorder which has worsened as her involvement with EOs has increased. She and the other person have not been able to carry pregnancies to term after several tries. My brother used to work making scented candles and became quite ill during that time, and his illness subsided after he quit that job. It is my understanding that these oils are so strong as to attack the mitochondria. Put some on a piece of finished wood furniture and see what happens.

      I am not attacking any particular brand. But I do not believe that products of this nature should be sold by the multi-level marketing method, which encourages hype about a product that, when cornered, all its proponents finally say you have to be very careful and very knowledgeable about. Nor should EOs be included in all our household products without appropriate warnings. The entire EO industry is plagued by problems, questions, inquiries and investigations, which you will see if you consult the FDA website. This is a clue that they are unsafe in normal use.

      If you want to make a tincture, obtain the fresh plant and put it in vodka for six weeks. Mint is just not that hard to find. And then you have what you are looking for. EO in vodka or other alcohol is not a tincture. It is a drop of EO, which I consider unsafe, and which is made of gargantually more plant material than you could possibly fit into any jar in your house, and is not the whole plant but an isolated and distilled part mixed with vodka. I wonder if anyone can tell us just what the constituents of that mixture would be?.

      • Well, I remembered, that I had peppermint softgels, so I used one in the smoothie and it was way too strong. So I took 10 of those softgels, cut them and squeezed out into about 1 ounce of alcohol/water mixture. Now I take 3 drops of that, and it is good.
        Actually I read an idea about making our own essential oil by making tincture with alcohol, and then freezing it. Oil part will freeze, but not he alcohol, and we can separate them. I never tried this, so not sure it works. In either case, it is not worth probably since it would take lots of tincture to make tiny amount of the oil. We can also make peppermint oil instead of tincture by simply steeping herb in the oil instead of alcohol.

        • Essential oils cannot be made at home. I am relieved to know that you are aware of how to steep a whole herb in oil instead. That method produces an herbal oil which is far different from an essential oil. I am not familiar with “softgels”. If they are made of essential oils one needs to know that before making a choice to ingest. The freezing method with the tincture I don’t understand because I can’t tell where your oil is coming from in that example. I believe that many subscribers and commentators on this blog post don’t know what an essential oil is nor how one is made nor why they are even feeling compelled to ingest them. When it comes to something as powerful as an essential oil, it pays to know what you are eating. In fact doesn’t it always matter very much what you are eating, where it came from and how it was prepared? It is usually much safer to use something that can be prepared at home (even if you don’t do it yourself) than something that has to come from a factory with fancy and expensive distilling equipment and huge amounts of raw material such as essential oils are.

          • Softgels are MEANT to be ingested, they are made to help people with digestive issues. I know perfectly well, that herbs steeped in oil are not essential oil, however they can be quite strong as well as the oil in my softgels was. And the oil taken from the tincture, if it really separates from alcohol part during freezing would be quite close to the essential oil since no other oil would be added from the outside source. Same things can be made in variety of different ways.