Featured In Our Winter 2015 Issue: Using Essential Oils Safely
By ELT! Senior Expert Contributor Jillian Kinsman-Barrett
Read the featured article from our ELT! Magazine Winter 2015 Issue, and get the down low of Essential Oils - our senior expert contributor Jillian Kinsman-Barrett shares everything you need to know to get the best benefits and avoid the dangers of the natural healer and refresher.
The general use of essential oils has really exploded over the past five years. Just doing a simple Google search will produce hundreds if not thousands of links to articles, blogs and social media posts in regards to curing just about anything with the use of essential oils. Diffusers and nebulizers are the new trend that has replaced aroma reed sticks to help make your home smell all pretty. It seems as if EVERYONE is diffusing essential oils these days.
Even my four year old son’s preschool started diffusing essential oils this past week in the classrooms with hopes to keep the kids calm, focused and germs at bay. You also don’t have to look too hard to find several multi-level marketing companies, with their independent sales reps, selling their products and teaching classes to help you discover the many ways you can use their product.
Every year, I attend well over 15+ Health and Wellness Events and Pregnancy-Baby Expos, for my company OrganicReverence, and I cannot tell you how often I hear someone tell me, so and so told me it is perfectly safe to ingest essential oils and to just put a few drops into a glass of water. I’ve even had pregnant women tell me that someone suggested for them to ingest Lavender essential oil during their pregnancy for relaxation. Then I’ve had people say things like, I read something on Pinterest about making a tea out of it, or how to cook with essential oils.
Another story I heard that nearly gave me a heart attack was, I gave my 8 year old daughter a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a glass of water for a tummy ache, because I saw it on Pinterest that peppermint oil is great for indigestion, and then my daughter started screaming that her mouth was on fire! Well, some of you while reading this may remember an old science lesson, which is that oil and water don’t mix?!
One of my new favorite phrases, which I picked up from a Facebook post: “Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils!” I’d love to give credit to the creator of that one, but I cannot find that post again, however that powerful phrase stuck with me. Why? Because we know that oil and water don’t mix. We know there must be a vehicle to disperse that oil. And with the case of orally using essential oils or adding them to a bath, you must use the proper dispersant vehicle (vegetable oil, honey or other dispersing agent) to protect your mucous membranes, depending on what you are using it for. Without having the proper vehicle those essential oils can potentially wreak havoc on all your delicate mucous membranes and/or other skin tissues; if not the first time, possibly over time.
Now listen carefully, I’m not saying that you cannot orally ingest- or make suppositories and other medical compounds out of essential oils. What I am saying is, it would be wise to understand how to do it correctly, the pros and cons of doing so and to understand if you are going to achieve a therapeutic outcome, or a toxic outcome as a result of doing it incorrectly. These are in fact plant chemicals, which do have a medicinal nature and they should be treated as such and respected rather than, ohhh a few drops of peppermint essential oil in water is just like a peppermint candy, because it is not! Now surely some essential oils like lavender and lemon are quite a bit safer than others, when properly used.
Also understanding the potential drug interactions that could come from oils like: peppermint, wintergreen, grapefruit, citral containing products and blue chamomile are also important to note for some individuals. There are a few proper safety guidelines to follow and I personally would not be getting my advice on how to orally use essential oils from a random post on social media or from someone who may or may not have ever been properly informed about the potential dangers involved, especially with specific conditions. I would seek the guidance of a certified/licensed professional so that I knew all the potential risks, contraindications and/or potential drug interactions that could be involved.
Essential Oils & Your Newborn...
However, it is not just the oral use of essential oils that are being misused; it is also the topical use; whether it is improperly diluted or just not the safest oil to be used on a little one. Another couple things I often hear are, just rub a few drops of undiluted lavender oil on the bottoms of babies feet!!!! Or, I just use a few drops of peppermint oil along my little one’s spine to bring down a fever. Yikes!! Please, please never do that to you little one! Their skin is still developing and their delicate little skin tissues just cannot handle that sort of use. Please refer to the section on how to dilute oils properly for dermal use on my website; along with other age specific dermal safety concerns on common essential oils used such as with peppermint, rosemary and certain eucalyptus varieties, ect. (Link located at the bottom of the page).
Should You Be Relying On Social Media For Answers?
Now, with this ever increasing interest of using essential oils to better one’s health, it seems like so many people are turning to the internet for a quick answer, rather than a book, and that there needs to be reliable essential oil safety readily available on the Internet. I get it. I’m a busy parent, much like yourself. We are all just trying to do the best for our families. In my house from the minute we get up, it is go, go, go and at the end of the day, my husband and I swap times with my son so we can squeeze in a workout (that is if he is in town), make a healthy meal and spend some quality time with each other. Whew…just writing that makes me tired!
On top of that, who has the time to flip through a 1000 page book on essential oil safety when trying to remedy a situation, right? Ha! It is certainly a lot easier to just post a question on Facebook and get an immediate answer. But then who to trust? There is so much conflicting information on the Internet! Everybody has an opinion or a friend that is selling something from some MLM company. Or there are those who spread the advice of someone who are misguided themselves.
I’ve also seen some posts that have distorted the facts slightly to which the science might have advised to be used with caution or with restrictions, however was listed as it should be avoided altogether. I am thinking that with some of these types of posts, the author may have purposefully mis-categorized them because of their potential misuse of the oil, which unfortunately also leads to more confusion. I really don’t know, but that would be my best guess. I belong to about 20+ different mom groups. Half of them I was added to for my advise on aromatherapy questions. Some days I get no tags and other days I’m inundated with questions. I just do not have the time to answer every single question that comes up!
That being said, I completely understand where this information is much needed; yet it may be so confusing! For this reason, I decided to compile a list of general safety guidelines from a few professional organizations and leading experts in the field of aromatherapy, plant chemistry and pharmacology including; the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA); The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapist (IFPA), The Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) and a few authors of aromatherapy science based books, such as Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young’s book Essential Oil Safety; Kurt Schnaubelt; as well as several other industry experts. I will post what the book/science/expert states, some of this may even be confusing, especially in regards to the many different botanical varieties of a plant or basic definitions. If I post something in my opinion or for further explanation, I will post it in a different color. I will be adding more to this essential oil safety document over the next few months. Please be patient as I gather the information, in all of my extensive free time, and post it to my website for you to have as a resource to reference at any time you need. Print it out if you like. This basic document could save valuable time and energy not only for me, but for you as well. Share it with your friends and family if you wish…it is free! Namaste!
Get your free Complete Safety Guide To Essential Oils Here!
Studying the art and science of aromatherapy with Health Mastery Systems and The West School of Herbal and Aromatic Studies, Jillian has focused her studies on safer remedies for use during pregnancy, labor, postpartum and for babies and children. To Learn More, Visit: www.OrganicReverence.com