All active and powerful substances, even natural ones such as essential oils, can become toxic if they are administered incorrectly, too often, or in too large of a dose. Never increase the dose without consulting a doctor first, and before each use, be sure to take the following precautions.
- Allergy test: before using an essential oil, apply 1 to 2 drops of the oil to the crease of your elbow. Wait 20 minutes to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction.
- Children under 6 and pregnant women should never use essential oils without getting the go-ahead from a doctor.
- You should also take special precautions if you suffer from epilepsy, asthma, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, stomach ulcers, or allergies, or if you are currently taking a blood thinner or have had hormone-sensitive cancer.
- Always wash your hands after massaging with essential oils or applying them to your skin.
- Never inject essential oils into your veins or muscles.
- Only use premium essential oils (100% pure and natural) made by reputable brands.
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children.
- Never insert pure essential oils into your nose, ear canal, or genitals. Never put essential oil in your eyes. Eyes are aqueous and essential oils are not soluble in water.
- In the event of accidental ingestion or irritated skin, ingest or apply a fatty oil to dilute the essential oil (olive, sunflower), then contact a poison control center.
Essential oils are quickly absorbed by the skin. Some essential oils irritate the skin more than others; we therefore recommend, as a precautionary measure, that you dilute these oils with a vegetable oil. Rich in fatty acids, vegetable oils strengthen the acid mantle and prevent dry skin. When chosen correctly, vegetable oils can even contribute to the effectiveness of essential oils.
Always choose a virgin and organic vegetable oil
- Adult: 3 to 4 drops of EO, 3 to 4 times per day
- Children aged 6 to 12: One-half of an adult dose - 1 to 2 drops, 3 to 4 times per day
- Pregnant women and children under 6 years should always consult a doctor before use.
Areas of application
To treat the nervous system (stress, fear, anxiety, insomnia, etc.), the 4 reflex points are:
- The hands
- The soles of the foot
- The spinal column
- The solar plexus
Never apply photosensitizing oils (e.g. citrus fruits such as lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, and grapefruit) before spending time in the sun or tanning at a salon. These oils can burn or leave permanent brown spots on your skin. What’s more, these oils should never be applied to sensitive areas such as the eyes or the mucous membranes.
Some essential oils can be applied under the tongue, with the guidance of a medical professional, for specific, targeted healthcare concerns.
Essential oils should never be swallowed directly.
We recommend diluting essential oils intended for oral administration by placing a few drops on a neutral substance such as a teaspoon of vegetable oil, some honey or yogurt, a neutral pill, or a lump of cane sugar. In addition to preventing poisoning, these neutral substances weaken the taste of essential oils.
Oral/buccal administration releases the biochemical and energetic properties of an essential oil within a few seconds.
- Adult: 1 to 2 drops of EO, 3 to 4 times per day
- Children aged 6 to 12: 1 drop, 3 to 4 times per day
- Pregnant women and children under 6 should never take essential oils orally unless authorized by a doctor.
Breathe your way to wellbeing
As essential oils are composed of volatile molecules, this method of administration is most commonly linked to the world of aromatherapy.
With nasal administration, the fragrances and associations of essential oils are sent to the limbic system, which is home to our emotions and our emotional memory.
Not all essential oils can be diffused, and not all essential oils are suitable for everyone in a given setting. It is therefore important that you discuss the best way to use each essential oil with your retailer.
Olfactotherapy can be performed in 4 ways:
Use a roll-on bottle to apply the essential oil or synergy of essential oils to the insides of your wrists then gently rub your wrists together. Cup your hands together and place them over your nose. Take 3 long, deep breaths. Repeat as needed.
The heat of your body is used to release the volatile molecules in the essential oils on your wrists. Cupping your hands allows you to trap and inhale the fragrance. The fragrances are captured by olfactory neuroreceptors and sent for identification and comparison to nearby areas in the brain where memory, emotions, and behaviors are stored.
Aromasticks are pocket-sized inhalers which can hold a few drops of essential oil. Insert the tip of the stick into your nostril and inhale deeply. You’ll immediately start to feel the effects of the essential oil.
Inhaling from the bottle
Place the bottle of essential oil or essential oil synergy 2 cm from your nostrils and inhale gently. Close your eyes. Take 3 – 5 deep breaths. Repeat as needed.
Besides the three methods described above, diffusion with an ultrasonic or dry (air pump) diffuser remains the most popular way to administer essential oils into the atmosphere. For a 10 to 20 m² room, 4 to 6 drops of essential oil will suffice, while 10 drops are ideal for a 50 m² living room. Atmospheric diffusion lets you infuse your space with the aroma of your choice.
Some essential oils are not recommended or unsuitable for diffusion. They can emit an unpleasant smell or irritate mucous membranes (e.g. Ceylon cinnamon, oregano, clove, mountain savory, thymus vulgaris, wintergreen). Other essential oils are toxic (e.g. hyssop, sage). Finally, the smell of some essential oils can be inappropriate when diffused alone (e.g. basil, coriander, carrot, cypress, cumin, immortelle, chamomile).
- Essential oils should be diffused for a maximum of 10-15 minutes per hour.
- Never diffuse an essential oil in a child’s bedroom while the child is inside.
Precautions for use
- Always seek the advice of a health care professional before increasing doses and take all the necessary precautions for each use.
- If you perform a massage with essential oil, be sure to wash your hands afterwards.
- In the event of accidental exposure to the eye(s), rinse the eye(s) under cold tap water for 2 minutes then place a compress soaked in vegetable oil (olive, hazelnut, apricot kernel, etc.) over the eye(s) for around ten minutes. In the event of accidental contact with sensitive mucous membranes (genitals, ear canal, nose), follow the same procedure as above.
- Never exceed the recommended dose (drops), frequency, intake, or duration of use. Essential oils are effective at their recommended doses; increasing these doses does not make them more effective and may cause unwanted side effects.
- Patients with allergies and ultra-sensitive skin should first perform an allergy test by applying a few drops of the essential oil or synergy to the crease of their elbow. If you are allergic, you will notice a reaction on your skin within ten minutes and can therefore rule out the possibility of using the oil in your treatments.
- In the event of an allergy, intolerance, or skin irritation, apply a few drops of calendula oil to the affected area 3 to 4 times per day for 2 to 3 days.
- Should you accidentally ingest a large quantity of essential oil, contact your local poison control center immediately.
It is vital that you listen to your body to understand your condition as well as your treatments. Scientific aromatherapy is not a cure-all and may not be suitable for everyone. Always consult with a healthcare professional prior to incorporating essential oils into your healthcare regimen.
Tolerance and toxicity
If you have an adverse reaction to an essential oil, stop using it immediately. Your skin may be allergic to an aromatic molecule or become irritated by the caustic nature of the essential oil, or your digestive tract (if ingested) may not tolerate the distilled parts of the plants.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children can use essential oils but must take special precautions. Always consult a professional before getting started.
Storing essential oils
Essential oils are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet light, which modifies their biochemical structure. They should always be stored in brown, green, or blue glass bottles. Essential oils are also highly volatile and will gradually lose their potency if their bottles are not sealed airtight. Remember to always reseal bottles after use to preserve the molecular richness (and therefore the potency) of your essential oils. Following these simple rules, your essential oils will last for 5 years and your essences will keep for 3 years.