First, let’s get this fact straight that there are NO AFNOR or ISO standards for “therapeutic grade” essential oils. Some might claim there is, but that is simply not true. As Rabbi Google the internet will show you will find that the term is trademarked by a MLM essential oil companies. There are numerous articles by chemists, trained and certified aroma therapists explaining and re-educating the masses. See also NAHA. FOR MORE SAFETY GUIDELINES AND TIP SEE OUR “GENERAL SAFETY” PAGE
The question as to whether or not our oils can be used internally, most always, comes from a MLM essential oil company customer, distributor or someone who has read their marketing materials. Again, the term, “therapeutic grade essential oil” is trademarked. I know, I was once an MLM distributor briefly before this millennia and I believed everything I was taught. After all, they have paid lawyers, chemists and marketing departments to back them up. However I have 12 years of experience in the perfumery business and even that has limits so some of their claims I knew were bogus which is why it was only brief time for me to be involved with that MLM company.
To give the MLM companies the benefit of the doubt, I would suspect that, originally, the term was used to distinguish their oils from those that were adulterated and made with chemicals. These types of food grade or fragrant grade oils are prevalent and are what a majority of manufacturers and those untrained in natural health use for candle, soap making, etc. I believe the MLM companies wanted to convey that their oils were pure and meant for restorative health purposes. I would further guess that it may be because governing authorities CENSOR what one can say in regards to NATURAL healing modalities. In fact, one may not use the words “healing, cure, or treat” in regards to an oil, herb, vitamin, mineral, etc…Thus, the word “therapeutic” became an adjective to denote that their oils were in a different class and pure. Additionally, hopefully, it was a safer term to use in order to avoid shutdowns by the AMA and FDA. When a customer complains of adverse reaction after using the MLM company oils they simply say “you are detoxing”.
However, with the essential oil industry growing by leaps and bounds and much competition with great opportunity to take control of the market (perhaps motivated by greed), I believe the term began to be used as a legal loophole of misinformation and advertising hype and became deceptive. The problem is that many people who came from the MLM background and not directly into being a trained aroma-therapist, wanted to denote that our oils, too, were pure, undefiled and were worthy of the of adjective “therapeutic.” How else were they going to convey that to the shopping customer when reading catalogs and websites?
MLM companies have recently in the last 15 years suggested that taking oils in gel capsules, but soon the capsule disappeared and now a drop or two in water can be ingested according to their marketing materials and resources. Do not get me started on the gel capsule source. This practice has proven to be completely unsafe.
A certified trained aroma-therapist study for approximately 3-6 years with the basic chemistry of oils required and without MLM or specific brand bias. Their certification requires considerably much more training than what an MLM distributor receives which is carefully orchestrated to build loyalty only to their brand. Usually, their primary goal is to use the power of relationships to sign up people which the momentum needs to ever be sustained. This is in contrast to the trained aromatherapist who is ever increasing knowledge, sourcing their own oils and truly KNOWS what is going into their bottled product.
And by the way why pay 12 people for the oils? Cost can be kept lowered by buying from a small quality company, a company that works directly with the distillers and growers to bring the oils directly to the customer without the middle man.
Many times you will notice that what is the MLM company’s wholesale price is actually what should be the real retail price. But when you are paying for an up-line their retail price is higher. And because they have that MLM company name their customers do believe they are paying same or higher cost, for higher quality and that is not true at all. The reality they are paying for the name only and not necessarily for high quality. This is just price gouging.
Example of price gouging is a 15 ml organic high quality Frankincense Boswellia sacra retails around $65-$75. MLM companies retail price for 15ml Frankincense Boswellia sacra anywhere from $99-$122 and says wholesale is $65-$85. One company says $55 for a 5ml when it should retail $34-$36. Something is not right here and on top of that you are required to buy $65-$100 a month every month depending on which company you chose to sign up with and as I always say let’s “build the Holy Temple not the Pharoah’s Pyramids”.
NOTE: If you do have a favorite MLM company oil just keep in mind you are paying higher prices for name only and not specifically for quality. If you are ok with that then keep using that brand you like and let us the certified Aromatherapists teach you how to properly use them.
Now lets back to Safety and digesting Essential oils.
While some essential oils might be claimed to be generally considered safe to ingest in very tiny small quantities, you should never ingest any essential oil without medical supervision. If you are not a doctor with a medical degree then you cannot tell someone to ingest any oil for any reason. Even though essential oils are used in foodstuff, packaged foods, and even mentioned in many popular recipes, you never know how your body will react. Please be smart, and consult your medical physician first. Essential oils can and do interact with medications and can thin the blood which could be dangerous for someone who has a bleeding disorder or those taking blood thinner medications. See our extensive list here
As a whole, a trained certified Arom-therapist would NEVER make such a blanket statement as to the internal use NO MATTER how pure, therapeutic or high quality a specific oil or brand is!
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Essential oils are best used on skin diffused with a carrier so it works as a time-release capsule that will go to the bloodstream slowly. If you feel the need to have a quicker effect consider using fresh raw herbs as a tincture or add quantities prescribed by a certified herbalist, nutritionist, or a certified medical naturopathic physician. When herbs are added to diet properly then that will not overload your body and liver. Never underestimate what raw herbs can do and a good healthy diet can do.. Essential oils is known to work best with a healthy diet and exercise.
Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. While your skin may not react to direct application of some essential oils, it does not mean that the application is not harmful and could cause sensitivity or have severe reactions. A good rule is to dilute an essential oil to be used topically following the 1-2% rule. That is at least 1-2% of your solution should be an essential oil, while the remaining 98-99% is a carrier oil. This formula does vary from one Aroma-therapist to another but are close in comparisons. If you feel the need to use a stronger ratio, please consult a Professional or a Certified Clinical Aroma-therapist.
Factors that influence the safety of essential oils include
1. Quality of essential oil being utilized: Adulterated essential oils increase the likelihood of adverse response and hence the need for pure, authentic, and organic if possible, genuine essential oils are of the utmost importance.
2. The chemical composition of the oil: Essential oils rich in aldehydes (e.g., citronellal, citral) and phenols (e.g., cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol) may cause skin reactions. Essential oils rich in these constituents should always be diluted prior to application to the skin. According to Schnaubelt, “diluting such oils so that the resulting solution becomes non-irritant, may require diluting them to concentrations much lower than in normal circumstances. Another option is to blend such irritant oils asymmetrically with other essential oils, which mitigate their irritant effects.”
3. Method of application: Essential oils may be applied on the skin (dermal application), inhaled, diffused or taken internally with supervision of a Certified Aromatherapist. Each of these methods have safety issues which need to be considered. The potential safety concerns with dermal application will be discussed below. With regard to inhalation, inhalation, from a safety standpoint, presents a very low level of risk to most people. Even in a relatively small closed room, and assuming 100% evaporation, the concentration of any essential oil (or component thereof) is unlikely to reach a dangerous level, either from aromatherapy massage or from essential oil vaporization.
Tisserand and Balacs point out that “the only likely risk would be from prolonged exposure (perhaps 1 hour or more) to relatively high levels of essential oil vapor could lead to headaches, vertigo, nausea and lethargy”. This meaning that oils do not have to be ingested to cause an adverse reaction. Another example is a poisonous gas does not need to be swallowed for it to enter the bloodstream to kill you. So be wise in how much you do inhale and for how long.
4. Dosage/dilution to be applied: Most aromatherapy oil based blends will be between 1 and 5 percent dilutions, which typically does not represent a safety concern. As one increases dilution, potential dermal (skin) reactions may take place depending on the individual essential oil, the area in which the oil is applied, and other factors related to the client’s own sensitivity levels. Any excessive usage of essential oils may cause irritation or other undesired effects due to their lipophilic nature.
5. The integrity of the skin: Damaged, diseased, or inflamed skin is often more permeable to essential oils and may be more sensitive to dermal reactions. It is potentially dangerous to put undiluted essential oils on to damaged, diseased or inflamed skin. Under these circumstances the skin condition may be worsened, and larger amounts of oil than normal will be absorbed. Sensitization reactions are also more likely to occur.
6. Age of client: Infants, toddlers, and young children are more sensitive to the potency of essential oils and safe dilutions include .5 – 2.5% depending on the condition. Also, some essential oils should simply be avoided for this population, e.g. Birch or Wintergreen, which are both rich in methyl salicylate and Peppermint. Elderly clients may have more skin sensitivities so a reduced concentration/dilution may be indicated.
Women and children should avoid essential oils unless first consulted by a medical professional or natrapath physician. You may sometimes see articles on this website which talk about using essential oils with children, and while many are generally considered safe, you should use your best judgment and research before exposing your child to any essential oil. Here at Aytz Chayim we do know oils can be beneficial to children over the age of 2, but again it is about being safe and using good judgment to receive the full benefits of essential oils at any age.
See PDF of Pregnancy Safety here at NAHA website
While essential oils can be used effectively on animals, it is generally wise to first consult with your veterinarian. Since the animal has no say in the matter, the least you can do is research. By using essential oils on animals, you can build up internal toxins and the animal which could lead to illness or death.
The quality and type of oil is paramount when researching essential oil treatments for animals. Dilute 4 times as much as you would for a human and watch carefully for side-effects and changes in mood. Avoid using essential oils on sensitive areas such as the mouth, genitals, nose, and eyes. Since cats are especially sensitive to smells and essential oils, it is recommended to abstain from using oils with them. Do not ever pour essential oils into a fish bowl
Essential oils are concentrated and should be used wisely and carefully like any medication essential oils can have side effects too.
FOR MORE SAFETY GUIDELINES AND TIPS SEE OUR “GENERAL SAFETY” PAGE
DISCLAIMER: All information appearing on this site is based on traditional aromatherapy and is provided for educational reference purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. If you are suffering from any disease you should seek the assistance of a qualified health care professional. Essential oils are powerful and should be treated and used with care and understanding.