Essential oils are one of the things that have grown in popularity over the past years. They offer a wide range of benefits and that is why so many people use them. But have you ever thought about the side effects of essential oils? You might feel unconvinced now because you know that essential oils are natural, but being natural doesn’t mean that they are 100% safe. To help you get the most benefits of the essential oils and avoid their dangers, here are some guidelines to keep in mind before you start using essential oils on yourself, your family, or your pets.
1. Danger to Babies and Pregnant women: When dealing with babies, kids, pregnant women and breastfeeding women, oils should be heavily diluted. Rosemary and spike lavender should never be used on pregnant women, even diluted. Don’t use oils at all on babies under one year of age. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), recommends that pregnant women avoid the following essential oils:
• Wintergreen essential oil
• Sage essential oil
• Mugwort essential oil
• Tarragon essential oil
• Birch essential oil
• Hyssop essential oil
• Parsley essential oil (seed or leaf)
• Pennyroyal essential oil
2. Skin Irritation: Some oils can cause skin irritation in certain people, even when used properly. You should never use an undiluted essential oil on the skin as it can lead to problems that range from a mild irritation to a blistering rash and even permanent loss of skin pigmentation. Do a small spot test before applying oils to your skin, even when they’re diluted in a moisturizing carrier oil.
3. Danger to small Pets: Essential oils aren’t safe for pets. Unless you own a very large animal, like a horse, don’t try using essential oils on your pets. There have been numerous reports of animals harmed, even dying, from essential oils. Pennyroyal, for example, is often used by well-meaning pet owners to rid their animals of fleas, and while it’s very effective, it’s considered to be a toxin to an animal’s kidneys and liver.
4. Illness or Death When Swallowed: Really hardcore essential oil enthusiasts take oils orally. But this isn’t something you should try. Oils like pennyroyal and wintergreen can be fatal if swallowed. Some toxic oils can cause a miscarriage when swallowed. Others can become highly irritating when they’ve been kept on the shelf too long. Skip oral use unless you’re using oils under the supervision of a medical professional.