Essential oils are now included in the health arsenals of a lot of moms nowadays. The therapeutic benefits of essential oils have always been promising, and parents who have used it have never been shy to share when it works. It has become a good and natural alternative when it comes to their health.
Myths about essential oils
With its proliferation, however, there are many exaggerated claims for these essential oils, which you can find in Facebook groups and even books. But how do you weed out the myths from the truth? Here are the most common myths about essential oils you may encounter.
Myth #1: All essential oils are safe to use because they are all-natural.
Essential oils are wonderful products of nature, but like anything in this world, they should be used with caution and care. While “natural,” they have already been “artificially” concentrated through the extraction process.
In an “Essential Oil Safety Masterclass I” attended with Robert Tisserand, the author of Essential Oil Safety and the founder of Tisserand Institute, the concentration of the essential oil that you have in a bottle is something you cannot find anywhere in nature. Essential oils are concentrated and incredibly potent. It should only be used in tiny amounts and safe dilutions, especially when topically applied to children and people with hypersensitive skin.
Myth #2: Essential oils will never go bad.
This is not true. A lot of essential oils, especially citrus oils, will go rancid in a year. The reason is the process called oxidation, where oxygen bonds with your oil’s carbon atoms, altering its composition. Essential oils in its altered molecular state may not be as effective.
One way to test is to compare a newly-opened orange essential oil to an orange oil that’s already a year old. You will notice that the ‘aged’ oil may have an odor that’s quite “off.” Oxidized oils can also cause skin irritation.
Myth #3: Essential oils will not cause skin irritation.
Many people claim that essential oils cannot cause allergies or skin irritation and blames detoxification when a person who used them suddenly have rashes. This has little to no truth in it. The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) says that dermal or skin reactions may occur when using essential oils. These include irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity/photosensitization. Several oils are highly irritating to the skin, such as lemongrass, oregano, cinnamon bark, and clove, to name a few.
Myth #4: Essential oils are just like their source – they offer vitamins and minerals.
Many people substitute their lemon with lemon oil in water, thinking it offers the same vitamins and minerals as the fruit. However, essential oils do not contain any of these nutrients. Essential oils are composed only of chemical components. For instance, lemon essential oil, d-limonene with different therapeutic benefits from that of vitamin C.
Myth #5: Only one company in the world sells therapeutic grade essential oils.
Sad to say, there is no international regulating body for the quality of essential oils in the market. So, it’s even more crucial to know your source and the practices they engage in. Check if the brand follows the guidelines set by organizations such as NAHA or Alliances of International Aromatherapists (AIA). Both promote the safe use of essential oils.
My benchmark is the reputation of the brand that I am using. I also joined several aromatherapy groups to check the different brands aromatherapists use. I also am inclined towards companies that issue a GC/MS report or a report that shows the diverse range of chemical constituents inside the essential oil. The bottom line is, find the company that resonates with you. Test their oil — do not hoard yet — and see if they work for you!
Myth #6: You have to have ALL essential oils.
Well, if you are a hoarder and you can afford it, why not? But a lot of essential oils can be a substitute for one another. For example, citrus oils that contain d-limonene have similar therapeutic actions. Linalool that can be found in Lavender can be found in Ho Wood and Rosewood, and so on. Study your essential oils so that you can maximize using them.
Essential oils are here to stay. If you plan to use it regularly to promote your family’s vital energy, it is crucial to know how you can use them in an effective yet safe manner.
Balot Del Rosario is a NAHA-registered, certified level 2 professional aromatherapist. She is also the author of the book, Lost but Found (available here), and the mom-of-two behind the blog Chronicles of The Happy APAS Mama (www.callmebalot.com).
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