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Sacramento, CA, 95820

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Essential Oil Safety - A Few BASICS

Heart's Path Blog

Essential Oil Safety - A Few BASICS

Lisa Jenkins

We at Heart's Path Designs LOVE making products for your family and OURS with the goodness of real Essential Oils (EO's). What is an Essential Oil? From Wikipedia: “An Essential Oil is a hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants . . . EO's are generally extracted by distillation, often involving steam . . .”

They are potent substances from nature that can help calm, relax, invigorate, ease tension, tone, tighten, help rebuild and renew, and so much more!* Some have great antiviral/antifungal properties.* Others have great cell regeneration effects.* Although we are NOT allowed by labeling laws in the US to list the numerous qualities they may impart to our products directly on our labels, you may research each oil used for yourself to find the aromatherapy, skin, nerve, mood, and other benefits they may bring to you separately and in concert when used in our signature blends.

So – why talk about Essential Oil safety? Well, using any Essential Oil without first knowing a few things CAN have hazardous effects on your health (or the health of the person you are administering them to). A FEW topics you will want to be knowledgeable on for EO use are required dilution for use (varies by age and health conditions), recommended route of administration (sometimes more than one applies for a given oil), recommended age range for any use, and contra-indications for use at minimum. They can indeed pack a powerful punch . . . which can be just what you want in some cases but not what you want in others, and you're probably not going to know the difference if you don't research them properly. Many, many people have suffered health effects (sometimes life-long) from improper use of potent Essential Oils.

Wait, you say, you guys cover all of that when you make the products, right? The answer to that is yes and NO – We DO make sure that we use pure Essential Oils from extremely reliable suppliers – NEVER any off-brand oils (or any off-the-shelf oils from a retail store that may have been adulterated or expired). We DO research the concentrations for skin safety and other uses before putting them in our products and label them accordingly for use by adults HOWEVER you as the consumer will NEED to do a few things before using the products:

1) Make sure you have read our full website listing so that you know how to properly use the product AND know the basic contra-indications for use. A few examples of warnings you will find in our product listings: NEVER put a shower steamer in the bath, it's too concentrated with EO's and never use aromatherapy bath bombs on infants or small children. Keep out of reach of animals and small children (some of our products DO smell good enough to eat!).

2) RESEARCH EACH OIL FULLY for yourself and ask questions so that you know the concentration if it's not clearly listed. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE!! There is no substitute for this and if you find out later you were using it inappropriately, the damage is generally already done. There are oils that should not be used on children under 2 years old and others that should not be used on children under 10 years old – even VERY COMMON oils used in Aromatherapy and in many of our products. Please do NOT get an Aromatherapy bath bomb and put it in your child's bath without fully researching each oil in the blend and the concentration of the bomb. There are oils that should not be used by persons with high blood pressure. There are oils that should not be used by women who are pregnant (in fact, things like baths with any amount of an EO are generally not recommended in the first trimester and low concentrations of certain oils only after that). There are oils that can for SOME users “sensitize” them over time to become more sensitive to exposure. Should you experience discomfort with use please discontinue immediately and research. There are oils that are “phototoxic” meaning they can magnify the effect of sun exposure after the oil was used. Ones that can reduce milk supply for nursing mothers. There are oils that when diffused, may be harmful to cats or other pets in the home and may eventually lead to organ failure (not directly related to our products as we don't sell diffusers but worth mentioning for those who don't know it yet). Aaaand the list goes ON. . . . We DO NOT list all contra-indications for each oil in our listings or anywhere else, SO PLEASE learn your oils and their uses before you jump in and life will be good!

We aren't trying to scare you here, Essential Oils are a wonderful asset for so many reasons and I personally don't know what I would do without them. But like so many things in this world if you don't research it, it may be better just not to use it.

Soap is a wash-off product therefore even though the user needs to be aware of the oils and all pertinent information about them; the concentrations going into the body will be lower than with bath bombs, shower steamers, or even leave-on products like lotion bars.

You will find in your Essential Oil research that there are a LOT of widely differing opinions on some topics and that in some cases, even some trained Aromatherapists can't seem to agree on what may seem to be the basics. Even some basic routes of administration are recommended by some and deemed a complete no-no by others, and we get that this can be quite frustrating. Do not fret - research widely, find the tried and true manuals of the profession and read them, join groups for usage discussions and keep learning until you are comfortable with your own level of knowledge with Essential Oil use. We are listing a few beginner's resources here (which is why this post is titled “a Few Basics”) but please treat them as the very first phase of knowledge. One thing we really enjoyed when we first got into learning about EO's was coming across potential remedies and helpers that we didn't even know could be useful to us! It is our hope that this will be your experience as well.

In short, EO's are amazing and can contribute greatly to your health, physical, mental and many believe even spiritual. They must be regarded, though, with great respect and used with proper knowledge in order to attain all of the benefits without added risks.


National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy Page:

The Essential Oil Safety Book, 2nd Ed. by Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young

The Tisserand Institute's Safety Pages:

This short Q & A with Robert Tisserand covers a few key points on safety:

On Facebook, check out the “Using essential Oils Safely” group.

Image: Our “Psychedelic Swirl' soap with Silk & Sweet almond Oil (scented exclusively with real Lemongrass & Clary Sage Essential Oils) pictured with Lemongrass and Sage.

Image credit: Lisa Jenkins/Heart's Path Designs.

*Disclaimer: Of course, what Essential Oils ACTUALLY do for the mind, body and spirit when applied is somewhat up for debate, and of course, per applicable labeling regulations for soap and other products we make; we cannot make any medical claims. As always test thoroughly for yourself and continue with your own research!!