Essential oils safety, handling and selection

Updated: Apr 8

Essential oil Safety

Essential oils can be very beneficial when used properly

  • Oils must be diluted with carrier oil such as almond (sweet), jojoba, macadamia nut, or sesame oil before being applied on the skin, in order to prevent skin irritation. Immediately apply additional carrier oil to the area if there is any irritation. Also, using cornstarch can be helpful.

  • Be careful not to put the oils into your eyes and if it should occur flush with cool water.

  • Care must be taken with essential and carrier oils when pregnant. Most of the oils have a stimulating effect on the uterus, which can be very helpful at the appropriate time to facilitate childbirth.

  • Small dosages (2-3 drops) of the following essential oils are known to be safe during pregnancy: Bergamot, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavandin, lavender, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, orange, patchouli, petitgrain, sandalwood, tangelo, tangerine, tea tree and temple orange. Sesame oil can bemused as a carrier oil.

  • Women nursing should exercise caution when using the essential oils as the effects of the oils will be readily passed on to the infant.

  • Do not consume alcohol, except for the small glass wine.

  • Oils might interfere with medication as oils might interfere with the medicine.

  • When using phototoxic oils and other oils the can irritate the skin be careful to avoid the sun for at least four hours, sunbathing, sauna/steam room, or a hot bath, in order to prevent possible skin irritation.

  • Discontinue use if your skin is sensitive or regularly have skin irritation from using oil.

  • Always use glass dropper when measuring essential oils.

  • Keep bottles tightly closed to prevent evaporation and oxidation.

  • Always store essential oils out of the sight and reach of children.

Essential & Carrier oils

Essential oils are extracted from grasses, flowers, petals, seeds, fruit, rinds, buds, resins, bark, wood, twigs, stems, leaves, roots, and rhizomes. These oils are responsible for the fragrance emitted by plants. Colors vary and are insoluble in water at room temperature, and have a weary consistency, except for resins, some florals, as well as other essential oils like patchouli, sandalwood, amirs, and elemi which tend to be heavier in viscosity.

The whole plant of the peppermint and lemongrass has oil, whereas essential oil is extracted only from the flowers of jasmine, ylang-ylang, and helichrysum.


Some essential oils are extracted from the dried plant materials like allspice and clove buds; others are from fresh materials like neroli flowers, lit sea, cubes berries, and the leaves of the Eucalyptus citriodora tree.

The quality of the essential oils varies and depends on several factors including where the plant is grown (altitude, moisture, climate), soil conditions, season and time of day(day or night). Although the Ylang-ylang tree bears flowers year rough but contains the highest percentage of oil during May and June. Rose pedals are picked early mornings before the sun rises while Jasmine flowers are picked at dusk before they are a day old.


When exposed to air essential oils will evaporate as they are highly volatile. Carrier oils are very different than essential oils and are also known as vegetal oil. Carrier oils are extracted from nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetable and made up of fatty acids(oily/greasy texture). Carrier oils are used for massage, skin and hair care with the addition of the essential oils. Carrier oils are not volatile, not stable, and have a shorter shelf life.


Extraction Method




To determine the purity of your essential and carrier oils before you make a purchase its best to know the extraction methods used.


Steam Distillation

The best processed for extracting high quality oils is through steam distillation where the steam from boiling water is used to extract the essential oil from the plant material. The steam rises and then pass though a cold coil which thereafter turns into a liquid.


Carbon Dioxide(Co2)Extraction

The most modern of the extraction method is co2 which uses high pressure and lower temperatures than steam distillation. There are two types of oils are used called Select and total and the difference between the two is the amount of pressure used.


The plants are placed in a gas chamber where compressed CO2 is released. The temperature is set to 105-140F there after the gasses pass through the plant material which draws out its components. The Select process contains components similar to the steam distillation process. The total oil tends to be thicker in consistency and some semisolid. The CO2 process and equipment is more expensive however they produce a superior oil quality and composition.


Cold Pressed Citrus Oil

Citrus fruit requires a different process of extraction in which the citrus peel is used in a cold press process. The peel is placed through a centrifuge process to separate out the essential oil.



Maceration

Flowers such as rose, jasmine, and other plant materials are soaked in hot fatty oil until the cells rupture and the oils absorbs the aromatic essence contained in flowers.


Solvent Extraction

Plant material is bathed in solvents such as hexane and other toxic chemical which extract the oils. Vegitable, carrier oils and concentrates are extracted in this manner. Solvent method of extraction is less expensive than the cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, steam distilled and CO2 methods and produce more product. However. toxins remain in the oil, which is undesirable for aromatherapeutic purposes.


Cold-Pressed &Expeller-Pressed Extraction of Vegetal oils

Seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables are pressed with out the use of high heat to preserve the components in the oil. This method produce high quality oils.


Selecting Quality

A high percentage of essential oils are adulterated which increases profits but has no concern for the customer. A form of adulteration would be adding a cheaper oil to a more expensive one to stretch it. Other forms are adding synthetic chemicals, solvents and fractionalized components. The more hands the oil pass through before it reaches the consumer the more likely for the oil to be adulterated which in the industry is called "making soup".



Synthetic, chemical or petroleum solvents should never be used as they do not contain the beneficial properties of the pure plant oils.These compounds can be very irritating for the nervous system and the entire body.


The best quality oils are produced from plants that grow in the wild away from pollutants and without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or any unnatural substances. It is most important to look for carrier oils that are cold pressed or expeller pressed and essential oils that have been steam distilled, CO2 extracted or in the case of citrus oils, cold pressed.


Be sure to check out our store for the best quality essential oils.


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