The power of aromatherapy has always amazed me. My desire to know why and how increases with every new thing I learn.
Even though I’ve spent countless hours studying, reading, using and blending I still feel that there is so much more to learn about the therapeutic properties that essential oils have. I do find the physical healing powers of essential oils truly remarkable, however my main passion lies within the capabilities that they have to heal our mind and our emotions.
The reason that aromatherapy can be so powerful lies within the chemistry of the essential oil, for this reason we have to be aware of the contraindications that certain essential oils have – they are the ones that we shouldn’t necessarily be using.
However, by using aromatherapy safely we can harness all the wonderful benefits that essential oils possess. We can let their therapeutic properties benefit both our mind and body enabling us to support ourselves and our health.
The following lists of essential oils are not exhaustive, but cover all the oils that I will refer to in any of my posts or use in my products.
Remember never apply essential oils direct to the skin, always dilute them with a carrier oil.
Anyone vulnerable to epileptic seizures
Due to certain constituents found in some essential oils there are a few essential oils that should be avoided for anyone with a vulnerability to epileptic seizures. The reason being is that the constituents Camphor, Methyl salicylate, Pinocamphone , b -Pulegone have been found to cause convulsions.
Essential oils to avoid;
Hyssop, Sage, Tansy, Ho Leaf (ct camphor), Birch, Rosemary, Yarrow, Lavandin, and Spike Lavender
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and trying for pregnancy
Using essential oils during pregnancy should be done with a degree of caution and should only be carried out under the guidance of an Aromatherapist or medical professional with knowledge of essential oils. When using essential oils during pregnancy or breastfeeding the dilution rate should be no greater than 1%.
Essential oils to avoid:
Anise, Carrot seed, Cypress (blue), Dill seed, Fennel (bitter and sweet), Ho leaf, Hyssop, Lanyana, Lavender (Spanish, Myrhh, Myrtle, Oregano, Parsley leaf, Parsleyseed, Sage, Tansy and Yarrow
Essential oils that should be restricted;
Basil (lemon), Boswellia papyrifera (A specific variation of Frankincense), Champaca (orange) absolute, Lemon balm (Australian), Lemon leaf, Lemongrass, May change, Melissa, Myrtle, Nasturtium absolute, Tea tree (lemon-scented) Thyme (lemon), Verbena (lemon)
When using essential oils on or around children we need to take extra care. If ingested seek medical attention immediately.
There are differing opinions on the age of the child and whether or not to use essential oils. My approach is to use a lower dosage (1% of essential oil in 30ml carrier oil) only on children who are over 6 years of age.
Some essential oils can increase the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light, these oils are called photosensitisers. Furanocoumarins within the chemical makeup of certain essential oils can cause inflamed and painful skin upon exposure to UVA light. Furanocoumarins are generally found in citrus essential oils with furanocoumarin free (FCF) oils becoming available – Bergamot FCF is a perfect example.
Phototoxic essential oils;
Bergamot, Fig leaf absolute, Grapefruit, Lemon oil (expressed) Lime oil (expressed) Mandarin leaf oil, Orange oil (bitter, expressed), Rue oil, Angelica root oil, Cumin oil
Non-phototoxic citrus essential oil;
Bergamot (FCF), Lemon oil (distilled), Mandarin oil, Orange oil (Sweet), Tangerine oil
Asthma and allergies
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough research to determine whether certain essential oils should be avoided when suffering from asthma or allergies. In this instance the most sensible approach is to use a 1% dilution (the same as elderly and children), avoid direct inhalation and proceed with an element of caution.
Avoid eyes, ears and other orifices
If essential oil does contact these areas, immediately flush with carrier oil and wipe off excess. If irritation persists, seek medical advice.
Storing essential oils
Essential oils must be stored out of reach of children. To keep them at their optimum store them in a cool dark place (such as a refrigerator)
Guidelines suggest that due to the unpredictable effects that essential oils will have on the immune system, all essential oils should be avoided one week prior and one month following a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Where drugs are administered transdermally we recommend that you do not apply essential oils to this area as it may interact with the delivery of the drug.
Sedatives – Oils with ‘sedating’ qualities may interact with sedative drugs such as barbuturates, benzodiazepines and anaesthetics.
Liver or kidney – An individual suffering with hepatic or renal impairment will be more exposed to the toxic effects from overuse of essential oils.
Anticoagulant drugs – A person requiring blood thinning drugs should avoid essential oils with the component methyl salicylate as this is known to inhibit blood coagulation. These oils should also be avoided by people with clotting disorders, major surgery, childbirth, peptic ulcer or haemophilia.
Essential oils to avoid: Birch, Wintergreen
Aspirin sensitivity – a person with a sensitivity to aspirin should avoid essential oils with the component methyl salicylate.
Essential oils to avoid: Birch, Wintergreen
- Essential oils containing chamazulene, farnesene and alpha-bisabolol can inhibit CYP2D6 so could interact with antidepressants and other drugs metabolized by this enzyme.
Essential oils to avoid: Yarrow, Blue Tansy and German Chamomile, Lemongrass, May Chang, Honey Myrtle and Lemon Myrtle
Internal use of essential oils
I am not qualified in this area so would never advise on using essential oils internally.