Risks and Dangers of Essential Oils

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 8 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

Warning- risks of essential oild and how to use them safely
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Risks and Dangers of Essential Oils

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.

Important note to add: pets can be just as vulnerable.

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.

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.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


498 responses to “Risks and Dangers of Essential Oils”

  1. michelle Avatar

    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

    1. Sara Avatar

      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.

  2. Shauna Avatar

    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!


    1. Donna Avatar

      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!

      1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

        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.

  3. Trista Avatar

    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.

  4. Alex Avatar

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

  5. Jodi Avatar

    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?

    1. Shauna Avatar

      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 https://naha.org/index.php/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.

    2. Donna Avatar

      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!

  6. Roxanne Avatar

    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!

    1. Donna Avatar

      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…

  7. Susan Avatar

    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.

  8. Holly Avatar

    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.

  9. Holly Avatar

    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.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      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.

  10. Sarah Avatar

    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.

  11. Jes Avatar

    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.

  12. Donna Kerfoot Avatar
    Donna Kerfoot

    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!

    1. Donna Avatar

      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.

  13. Liz Avatar

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

    1. Ronda Avatar

      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.

  14. Zizi Ukestad Avatar
    Zizi Ukestad

    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!

  15. laura Avatar

    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

  16. Alana Woods Avatar
    Alana Woods

    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.

  17. Cynthia Avatar

    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


  18. Mariel Avatar

    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.

  19. Jodi Avatar

    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!

  20. Mary Avatar

    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.

    1. Shauna Avatar

      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.

      1. Randi Avatar

        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

    2. Donna Avatar

      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. 🙂

      1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

        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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *