As an organic soap manufacturer we are asked about essential oils all of the time. Whether they are safe during pregnancy etc.
As a rough guide we have compiled this list for information. It isn't exhaustitive, however it should give you a little better understanding of how oils should be used.
Do not use essential oils if you are taking Homeopathic Remedies without consulting with your Homeopathic doctor first.
PREGNANCY: Avoid using essential oils in first trimester if there are concerns, or use only under the direction of a qualified aromatherapist. In the second trimester, the following oils should only be used in a 1% dilution when used on the body for massage: lavender, geranium, chamomile, cardamom, neroli and palmarosa. Other oils can be used in diffusers (i.e. spearmint for nausea).
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Avoid Cypress, Clove, Nutmeg, Pine, Rosemary, and Sage & Thyme.
LOW BLOOD PRESSURE: Avoid the use of Sweet Marjoram and Ylang Ylang.
EPILEPSY : Avoid Fennel, Hyssop, Peppermint and Sage.
INSOMNIA : Avoid peppermint, Basil, Lemon Verbena, and Rosemary.
GASTRIC PROBLEMS : Avoid Cinnamon, Clove, Garlic, Oregano and Parsley Seed.
CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE/URINARY PROBLEMS: Avoid Juniper Berry, Eucalyptus, Parsley Seed, and Black Pepper.
ESTROGEN PATCH WEARER: Avoid Geranium and Vitex.
SUN EXPOSURE: Before going into the sun or using tanning beds, avoid Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, and Orange. We would suggest a minimum time frame of 5 hours from use to exposure.
SKIN IRRITANTS: Use a maximum of 3 drops when using the following oils in a bath: Basil, Lemon, Lemon Grass, Nutmeg, Peppermint, and Thyme.
CARDIAC FIBRILATION: Do not use Peppermint and Rosemary.
ASTHMA: Some essential oils can help but proceed with caution. Asthmatics should avoid direct inhalation of essential oils, as this could trigger an attack.
This is educational information and any opinions expressed here-in do not replace professional medical advice. If you are ill, see a suitably qualified medical practitioner.
ALWAYS keep essential oils out of the reach of children. Preferably in a locked cupboard or locked carry case. (Then always keep the keys out of children's reach!! - They can be cunning little devils!). If a child does accidentally ingest any essential oil do not induce vomiting, let them drink one glass of cold water and seek immediate and urgent medical advice. Remember to give the details of the material swallowed and the quantity.
Prevention is better than cure...NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN ACCESS TO ESSENTIAL OILS !!
Never apply undiluted essential oil onto your skin. This means you must add them to a base product first. As a general rule of thumb and unless told explicitly otherwise don't exceed concentrations of more than 2% essential oil in a body product (for an adult).
This formula may help:
1ml of essential oil is roughly equivalent to 20 drops
2ml of essential oil or 40 drops is roughly equivalent to 2% in 100ml of carrier oil (e.g. Sweet Almond oil)
Therefore 1ml or 20 drops is roughly equivalent to 2% in 50ml of carrier oil (e.g. Sweet Almond oil)
Do not take essential oils orally. If you are not a qualified aromatherapist ingesting essential oil is just asking for trouble, so DON'T DO IT!!
Avoid essential oils coming into contact with eyes. If oil does make contact with the eye, irrigate immediately with plenty of clean water and seek medical advice.
N.B.: Wash your hand thoroughly after using essential oils, as contaminated hands, is the easiest accidental way to transfer essential oil into the eye and surrounding areas.
Essential oils are FLAMMABLE! Do not put them on or near a naked flame. If you use an oil vaporiser, NEVER leave it unattended. Ensure any spillage's are mopped up appropriately and then disposed of correctly.
Essential oils will damage polished, painted and or plastic surfaces. Use with care.
Aromatherapy oils and essential oils are not medicines. If you suspect you may have a medical condition, you should always seek the appropriate advice from your GP.