Nature’s Blessing or Curse:
Are Essential Oils Safe?
With millions of people turning to essential oils these days, many are asking, “Are essential oils safe?” The answer to the question depends upon the person using them, how they are using them and what purpose they are using them for. The rest of the equation lies within the quality and quantity of the oil in question.
The essential oils that are potent versions of nature’s bounty can be very safe and effective. The use of them can eliminate the need for chemical-laden prescriptions while providing a solution to pain and underlying problems. Essential oils can be your ticket to a healthy life, both mentally and physically. But it all hinges on…you.
The oils you chose, the oils you use and how you use them make all the difference in the world when it comes to determining if essential oils are helpful or harmful. In order to use them wisely, there are some things that you must know and rules you must abide by.
You have probably heard that all essential oils are safe to use. And, on the flip side, you have no doubt heard that they are dangerous. The truth of the matter is that both facts are true and…both are false.
One huge factor in answering the question if essential oils are safe is what you are using them for. If you are currently taking a prescription, you need to check for contraindications if you are going to use essential oil therapy. Grapefruit essential oil actually blocks a certain enzyme in the intestinal wall that prevents a number of drugs from absorbing into the system. What this does is it allows the body to pass the drugs from the gut without being absorbed before entering the system. That means the drug gets into the blood in a level that is too powerful which can be toxic and fatal. The amount of oil you are using, the quality and the frequency all play a part in the equation. If you are actually ingesting a potent version of the oil, you will be much more likely to be affected than if you are mixing it in a citrus blend for aromatherapy purposes.
On the same hand, the benefits of grapefruit essential oil are many. Do you feel a cold may be on the horizon? Then, if you aren’t taking any prescriptions that will interact negatively with it, by all means, get some in your system. You can bathe in it, breath it or take it orally. Grapefruit essential oil is packed full of anti-oxidants and also has antimicrobial and antiviral qualities so you very well may be able to fight off most any illness coming your way.
Wintergreen and birch essential oils are known for thinning the blood. This is a great thing if your blood is too thick. But, if you are having issues that are to the contrary, you could be in trouble. A hemophiliac certainly should not use these two.
There is also the scenario that you may use an essential oil for a medical issue that is so serious it warrants more drastic measures. This situation is actually a matter of choice as long as you realize what you are dealing with. In other words, if you know that your indigestion is, or very well might be, cancer, you may make an educated decision to go with frankincense or another essential oil that is embraced for cancer-fighting qualities. But, if you are unknowingly treating the symptoms with essential oil and not seeking a diagnosis, that is when the situation can be dangerous.
If you are pregnant or nursing, there are essential oils that you should not use. That goes for baths soaks, massage, inhalation, and of course, ingestion. Some oils that are on this list are: wintergreen, fennel, tansy and clary sage. It is imperative that you read up on what essential oils are and are not considered safe during pregnancy and while nursing.
The quality of oil you use means everything when asking if essential oils are safe to use. Choosing a high-quality, potent essential oil is generally recommended. But, as mentioned earlier, if it is an essential oil that can cause contraindications, it will raise the risk. If you are needing a powerful essential oil, however, and go with a cheaper one that is full of fillers and has undergone undesirable changing during processing or has been over-processed, you may not see any results at all. If you are trying to wage war on a bronchial issue and use a poor eucalyptus essential oil, you could end up with a worse case of respiratory problems that if you had not used any oil at all.
It goes without saying that the amount of oil you use should be taken into consideration. A nice warm soak in a cinnamon and vanilla essential oil blend is absolutely heavenly. But if you pour in a bottle of cinnamon oil, you may regret it. Cinnamon oil can be quite potent and can irritate the skin if used in such vast amounts.
Common sense, research and being aware of your own body are key factors in using essential oils. The question in point remains. Are essential oils safe? The answer to the question is in your own hands…literally!