Although essential oils are generally considered to be safe to use they are very powerful, highly concentrated substances which should be treated with a certain amount of respect. It is important to take note of the following safety guidelines before proceeding:
- Do not use any oil that you are not familiar with.
- The following oils should not be used during pregnancy or when breast feeding: Thyme, Sage, Wintergreen, Basil, Clove, Marjoram, Cinnamon, Fennel, Jasmine, Juniper, Rosemary, Aniseed, Peppermint, Clary Sage, Oregano, Nutmeg, Bay, Hops, Valerian, Tarragon, Cedarwood.
- The following should be avoided during the first 3 months of pregnancy:Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender and Rose.
- If there is history of previous miscarriage do not massage.
- The following oils may cause slight skin irritation: Basil, Rosemary, Fennel, Verbena and Lemon Grass.
The only essential oils which can be used undiluted on the skin are Lavender and Tea Tree but care should be taken as some people have a sensitivity to these oils.
- The following oils should NOT be applied to the skin before sunbathing or using a sun-bed:Bergamot, Orange, Lemon or other citrus oils.
- If you or anyone you are considering treating, suffer from epilepsy, great care should be taken as certain oils could aggravate the condition. The following oils should NOT be used:Fennel, Hyssop, Sage, and Rosemary.
- Do NOT take essential oils internally, although herbal teas can be used in moderation.
- Keep oils away from children and if any essential oils gets in the eye, rinse immediately with water.
- If you are taking homeopathic remedies, check that the essential oil will not interfere with their effectiveness.
- If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies you should do a skin patch test before using a particular oil. First wash and dry the forearm, then add a few drops of the blended oil to the gauze of a large plaster. The plaster should be place on the forearm and left for 24 hours. The plaster should then be removed and if the area appears irritated or red do not use that particular blend. This test does not guarantee that there will not be an adverse reaction but it will give a good indication.
- If you dislike the smell of a particular oil, this is a good indication that the oil is not right for you and a suitable alternative should be used.
- Do not use stream inhalations if you suffer from asthma.