Guest post by Lea of Learning About EOs
There are many strong statements floating around in aromatherapy circles, and it can be hard for the untrained eye to distinguish the myths from the truth. This post aims to bust some myths and help you see through them…
Myth #1 – Only some essential oils are “pure”
Some multi-level-marketing companies claim to have pure oils. Heck, I haven’t seen any company out there who doesn’t claim theirs are pure! However, some companies will have you believe they have the only pure oils – and this simply isn’t true.
You can have a bottle of “100% Pure Tea Tree Oil” and it can be 90% vegetable oil and 10% Tea Tree essential oil. Although most companies do not dilute their essential oils in this manner, it proves that the term “pure” is not a label that carries much weight.
Myth #2 – XYZ oil is “therapeutic grade”
OMGeranium! There are actually therapeutic grade essential oils!!
Seriously, though. When a company is quick to tell you their essential oils are “therapeutic grade” they make you feel as if there is something special about that company.
The fact is, all essential oils are therapeutic grade.
That’s right! Simply by definition, therapeutic is defined as “of or pertaining to the treating or curing of disease,” or “to treat medically.” Another definition is “serving or performed to maintain health.”
There is no board of advisers who give any official certification for therapeutic grade essential oils. Any “certified” oils are certified by the company only…which is very clever marketing. Don’t fall for it.
Myth #3 – EO bottles with a “for external use only” label must be avoided
Sorry to break it to you, but it’s actually the companies that are concerned for your safety that are the ones printing this label. They realize the serious consequences that can arise from misuse.
Most essential oils are not intended for internal use unless under medical supervision. When you do use them internally, they are generally taken 1-3 drops mixed with a fat and placed in a capsule to protect your mucous membranes from coming in direct contact with a concentrated substance.
Myth #4 – Essential oils are “natural” and therefore not harmful
Uh huh. Say that to the mother who’s child died from ingesting a bottle of Wintergreen. There actually are reported deaths from accidental overdose from essential oils, as well as phototoxicity, burns, ulcers, and other negative reactions.
Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated substances. One drop is, on average, 100 times more potent than the herbal counterpart. Just because you can drink several cups of Peppermint tea a day does not make it safe to put drops of Peppermint essential oil in your water every day.
Essential oils do not contain the exact same components that their herb counterpart contains. For example, I was sitting in on an all-day lecture by Robert Tisserand a few days ago, and he pointed out this: the Basil plant contains estragole, which is something we want to stay away from due to it latching on to DNA and staying there – but it also contains two or more constituents that counteract the negative effects of estragole.
Once the plant is steam distilled, the constituents that make it safe are no longer available in the essential oil, making the essential oil more risky to use than the herb. That said, there are various types of Basil essential oils, and some have more estragole than others.
Robert Tisserand’s new book, Essential Oil Safety, is full of this kind of fascinating information.
Myth #5 – Essential oils only need to be diluted if you have sensitive skin
Again, essential oils are highly concentrated substances, and concentrated substances are rarely used “as is.” Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you should dilute essential oils before applying them topically. Although sensitive skin might react right away to an undiluted oil, sensitization can still occur over time, and is irreversible.
The best rule of thumb for children is 1 drop of essential oil per 1 teaspoon carrier oil (such as coconut, almond, etc.). The average adult can use 2 drops essential oil per 1 teaspoon carrier oil.
Read: Properly Diluting Essential Oils for thorough dilution guidelines.
Come back tomorrow for 5 more “mythstakes” about essential oils!
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Have you explored using essential oils in your home? What would you like to learn about them?
Lea Harris is a Certified Aromatherapist who blogs at LearningAboutEOs.com. Get her FREE ebook, “Using Essential Oils Safely” by subscribing to the newsletter.