Essential Oils to Use with Caution
As an essential oil user, one of your most important responsibilities is to be aware of the potential risks of using essential oils on certain people and at particular times.
Essential oils are beneficial to your health, but as concentrated plant essences they should be handles with care and used in small doses. If you have sensitive skin, check the contraindications before using oils, especially on children and people with skin conditions such as eczema. Allergy sufferers are generally more prone to intolerance, so do a skin patch test before using them on such people.
Times to avoid aromatherapy. Some oils are emmenagogues, affecting menstruation, or abortificants, and shouldn’t be used by pregnant women. It’s best to avoid oils when nursing, as traces may get into the blood and may be transmitted to the baby through the breast milk. If a person is ill, check contraindications first, as the last thing you want to do is worsen the condition by suing the wrong oil. Though generally safe, some oils should be used with care at certain times.
Problematic Constituents of Essential Oils
Some chemical constituents of oils can clause undesired effects, so always check the labels and look at the contraindications before using them.
- Aldehydes – These can irritate skin and lower blood pressure, so use in small doses only.
- Coumarins – These have a photosensitising effect and can cause skin pigmentation in bright and UV light.
- Ketones – Research suggests these are toxic in high doses can can provoke epileptic reactions. They are also abortificants.
- Lactones – Photo-toxic and skin sensitising, these can cause skin pigmentation.
- Oxides – These parts of the oil can irritate the skin if present in large quantities.
- Phenols – These constituents can adversely affect the liver if used in large doses and irritate nasal mucous membrane.