ESSENTIAL RULES ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS USE

While we may be familiar with the use of herbs for making teas and other food items, whereby the whole herb can be used, one must be aware that, unlike fresh herbs, Essential oils are extremely concentrated substances that can be harmful if mishandled or used inappropriately. Listed below are safety precautions that must be observed when using Essential oils:
1: DO NOT TAKE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY
There are some rare circumstances when Essential oils may be prescribed by a medical doctor, but never swallow any Essential oils on the advice of a layman.
2: BABIES, SMALL CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY ARE MORE SENSITIVE TO ESSENTIAL OILS AND MAY BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THEIR USE
When Essential oils are used on babies and children, their body weight must be taken into consideration and dosages must be adjusted accordingly. For older children, a few drops of a skin-safe Essential oil – such as Lavender or Chamomile – in the bath, or massaged gently on the skin may be enjoyed. Do not use Peppermint or Eucalyptus Essential oils near a baby’s nostrils, as this could cause respiratory problems.
3: BE CAREFUL WHEN USING ESSENTIAL OILS DURING PREGNANCY
Always seek the advice of your health care professional. Some Essential oils are known to be safe after the first trimester of a pregnancy. These include Lemon, Lavender, Mandarin, Chamomile, Neroli, Bergamot and Grapefruit.
4: DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY ON SKIN
Undiluted Essential oils, often referred to as neat oils can be harmful to the skin. Never put undiluted Essential oils directly on your skin. Lavender and Tea Tree Essential oils, when diluted with a carrier oil are generally safe to use. Thyme and oregano herbs are great additions to many food dishes, but their Essential oils are well-known skin irritants. When you are using an Essential oils for the first time, always do a skin patch test. Using a 2% dilution and a 1% dilution is considered safe for topical application
in adults and children respectively. You can achieve a 2% dilution by adding 12 drops of Essential oils to 1 fl. Oz (30ml) bottle.
5: PHOTO-TOXICITY IN ESSENTIAL OILS
There are a few Essential oils that can cause your skin to become more sensitive to the sun; these are known to be photo-toxic. Photo-toxicity will be much stronger directly after the application of the Essential oil blend to the skin and will gradually decrease over the next eight to twelve hours after use. The most common Essential oils that can cause photo-toxicity are verbena and angelica. Citrus Essential oils – Bergamot, Orange, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit – can also be photo-toxic, so avoid their use when you know you’ll be exposed to the sun immediately after application.
6: NEVER TOUCH YOUR EYES AFTER HANDLING ESSENTIAL OILS
If an accident occurs and your eyes come in contact with an Essential oil, do not rub them. Saturate a cotton tissue with vegetable oil or milk and gently wipe over the affected area. You may also wash your eyes with lukewarm tap water for fifteen minutes by cupping your hands and the water into your eyes.
FEW IMPORTANT THINGS ABOUT STORING ESSENTIAL OILS
• Exposure to heat and light can degrade some Essential oils over time Store all Essential oils in a cool, dark and dry place, such as a closet. One exception to this is citrus Essential oils – Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit and Lime – they are more vulnerable to losing their scent than most other Essential oils, so store them in the refrigerator.
• Do not store Essential oils in plastic Some Essential oils are able to dissolve plastic, therefore storing them in plastic containers, even temporarily, could contaminate the Essential oils.

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