General Precautions

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Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and should be treated with care. A working knowledge of how to use these oils is necessary in order that you are able to get the most benefit from them without causing any harm. Here are a few guidelines to ensure safe and effective use of essential oils:

  • Use only 100% pure natural essential oils from plants.
  • Keep oils tightly closed and out of the reach of children.
  • Never consume undiluted oils. Use only oils approved for food use.
  • Don't use undiluted oils on the skin, dilute with vegetable oil. There are a very few exceptions to this rule, for example non-irritating oils like Lavender or Tea Tree oils undiluted on burns, insect bites, pimples and other minor skin eruptions - so long as you do not have sensitive skin.
  • It is always better to do a small skin test first.
  • Skin test essential oil for sensitivity. Many people who are sensitive or allergic to say synthetic fragrances will not be sensitive to natural oils. Do a patch test with a 2% dilution (with a pure vegetable oil) in the crook of the arm, 12 hours will be ample time to check for a reaction. If redness or irritation occurs try a weaker dilution (1%) or try alternative oil.
  • Keep oils away from eyes and mucous membranes.
  • If redness, burning, itching or irritation occurs, stop using oil immediately.

Avoid using any of the following oils during pregnancy:
Anise, Bitter Almond, Basil, Bay, Birch, Cedar Leaf, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Geranium, Hyssop, Lavandin, Spike Lavender, Sweet Fennel, Juniperberry, Marjoram, Myrrh, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Tagetes, Thyme, and Wintergreen.

The following oils can be especially irritating to the skin and should be tested before use:
Allspice, Bay, Bitter Almond, Basil, Birch, Cajeput, Cassia, Cedar Leaf, Cinnamon Leaf, Clove Bud, Sweet Fennel, Fir Needle, Lemon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Pine, Tagetes, Tea Tree, Thyme and Wintergreen.

Angelica, Bergamot and all citrus oils can make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light and should be used with care. Do not go into the sun with these oils on your skin.

Epilepsy sufferers should avoid these oils:
Cedar Leaf, Hyssop, Lavandin, Sage, Spike Lavender, Sweet Fennel, and Rosemary.

People with high blood pressure should avoid:
Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.

Potentially toxic oils:
The following list have limited uses externally, others are primarily used for perfumery, but great care should be taken with them: ref. The Essential Oil Safety Data Manual, by Robert Tisserand.

- Bitter almond (Prunus amygdalus var. amara)
- Inula (Inula graveolens)
- Khella (Ammi visnaga)
- Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)
- Pennyroyal (Mentha pelugium)
- Sassafras (Albidum)
- Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
- Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Very toxic essential oils:
(We recommend not using the following oils at all). - Ajowan (Ptychotis ajowan, Carum ajowan)
- Arnica (Arnica montana)
- Bolda (Peumus boldus)
- Buchu (Barosma betulina)
- Calamus (Acorus calamus)
- Cascarilla (Croton eluteria)
- Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
- Camphor, brown and yellow (Cinnamonum camphora)
- Deer tongue (Carphephorus odoratissimus)
- Horseradish (Cochlearia armoracia, Armoracia rusticana)
- Jaborandi (Pilocarpus jaborandi)
- Mustard (Brassica nigra)
- Narcissus (Narcissus poeticus)
- Nutmeg (Myristica fragans)
- Parsley (Petroselinum sativum, Carum sativum)
- Rue (Ruta graveolens)
- Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
- Spanish broom (Spartium junceum)
- Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Tonka (Dipteryx odorata)
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
- Wormseed (Chenopodium ambrosiodes, C. anthelminticum)
- Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

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