Here's the rub- essential oils are SERIOUS SUBSTANCES. I mean, they are the Holy Grail of herbs. I've always considered lavender essential oil to be a near MAGICAL liquid, good for everything from pain to anger to sleeplessness. It is on of the safest oils, and I use it frequently.
By frequently, let me tell you that I go through ONE OUNCE of oil about every 8 months. That means for dozens of baths, headache remedies, bee stings, pimples, and cranky kids, I still only use 1/8 ounce of its loveliness every month.
(For reference, as you read, I also use peppermint, orange, geranium, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils. I use about 1/4 ounce of each of these oils PER YEAR.)
|"I’ve always regarded nature as the clothing of God." ~Alan Hovhaness|
Did you know it takes 22 pounds of lavender to create 1 ounce of lavender essential oil?
Essential oils are precious substances. They require HUGE amounts of plant matter to produce. They shouldn't be used like other herbal remedies. That is, they shouldn't be used as a tonic (daily) unless you are combating a deep-seated condition.
Which brings me to the other rub. Essential oils are NOT the proper way to get herbs through your digestive tract. They are not designed for internal use. They are designed to be INHALANTS. In fact, very few essential oils should even touch your SKIN undiluted, let alone be ingested.
Here is a very important paragraph from The International Federation of Aromatherapists Code of Ethics -
"No aromatherapist shall use essential oils for internal ingestion or internal application nor shall any aromatherapist advocate or promote such use of essential oils unless the practicing aromatherapist has medical, naturopathic, herbalist, or similar qualifications and holds an insurance policy which specifically covers the internal application of essential oils. (IFA code of ethics. Simply Essential, No. 11 December 1993)."
One of my favorite herbalists, Susun Weed, is very much against the use of essential oils. I was quite surprised when I learned this a few years ago. I was downright indignant! And I'll never give up my Lavender Oil Addiction.... Anyway, she has this to say about it:
"When extracted from the plants, volatile oils are called essential oils. An essential oil is a highly concentrated, drug-like substance which can cause severe side effects if used incorrectly.... Out of respect for the plants and the many tons of them it takes to produce a little essential oil, I rarely use essential oils. Also, I prefer the safety and pleasure of using the plants themselves with their effective and amazing volatile oils."
Here are some things to think about:
Essential oils are lazy herbalism. The herbalist's training tells her she should consult THREE published sources before using an herb or oil for any given condition. Sure, it's easy to listen to an MLM consultant's directions about which oils to use for what, but it's a poor substitute for educating oneself on herbs and their many actions.
Many herbs are used in many forms. Surprisingly, some herbs are more effective when used in tincture or tea or homeopathic form. Not stronger, that is, but more effective. This is just another way that essential oils are lazy herbalism. You actually have to study actual, real books to find this information. So not cool in the digital age, right? Sorry. But you'll never get the results of a tincture or tea with an essential oil.
Essential oils shouldn't be used "neat." With a very few exceptions, essential oils shouldn't be used "neat." "Neat" means undiluted. If your source is telling you to apply undiluted oils to your skin, you are listening to the wrong person. NO reputable source of information on essential oils should be telling you to apply them neat. Essential oils should ALWAYS be diluted in another oil, or in water before applying to skin. A few oils like lavender and tea tree are safe, for certain purposes, to apply neat. In emergency situations a few other oils might be applied neat.
I'd like to talk your ear off and shove my beliefs down your throat on this subject, so if you are interested to hear more, check back tomorrow. (And no, I won't disappear for 10 months as I have lately been prone to do in the blog world!)
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."