Not all ready-made aromatherapy products labeled with the word aromatherapy are pure and natural. Products that contain artificial ingredients do not provide true aromatherapy benefits. At worst, they provide no benefit or be harmful. At best, they provide only a fraction of the benefit that natural products supply. Buyers seeking true aromatherapy products must look at the ingredient label to ensure that the product does not contain fragrance oils or unpure (chemical) components. A general rule-of-thumb is to be wary of products that do not list their ingredients and those that do not boast of having pure essential oils (look for products that contain pure essential oils on their ingredient list and avoid those that have words like fragrance). A note, however, is that some sellers of good-quality aromatherapy blends do not list their ingredients because they are worried that others may copy their creation. By asking the seller more about the blend, and listening to how they respond, you should have a better idea about the quality of the blend being sold. Good suppliers should be happy to provide you with a list of the ingredients. They understand that some individuals must avoid particular oils due to health problems.
Can aromatherapy cure my major illness or psychological problem?
If you expect that aromatherapy alone will cure a major illness or permanently “cure” “stress,” you will likely be in for a disappointment. But if you develop a realistic mindset and expect that aromatherapy may help with a physical condition, may help with symptoms, may effect your mood, or help alleviate or temporarily eliminate stress or other psychological factors, you should be delighted with the overall results that you experience by incorporating aromatherapy into your lifestyle.
Holistic aromatherapy is a complementary alternative health modality. Aromatherapy is not intended to replace standard medical care, but is meant to complement it. In some cases, under the guidance of a qualified practitioner, aromatherapy can offer an alternative choice to taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
Aromatherapy can offer practical benefit for a variety of common ailments or symptoms such as assisting with cuts, wounds, bruises, inflammation, arthritis, muscle stiffness, indigestion, acne, skincare, hair care, hygiene, PMS, menstruation, and for providing mental and emotional assistance with such issues as stress, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, fear and enhancing concentration.
Aromatherapy does have valid and extraordinary uses. It can improve one’s lifestyle tremendously, especially if you take the time to become educated about each essential oil, its chemistry, safety and applications. But, as with anything in life, sensibility comes into play. Do not fall prey to any claims that aromatherapy can cure major illnesses or can cause miracles to happen. Aromatherapy can be play a beneficial role in assisting with illnesses, but it should not be depended upon as a cure.
How to Buy Essential Oils
Tips that can help you select vendors of pure, high quality essential oils:
When shopping for essential oils, watch out for words such as “fragrance oil,” “nature identical oil,” or “perfume oil.” These words indicate that what you see is not a pure, single essential oil.
Watch out for vendors that sell each of their “essential oils” for the same price. This doesn’t guarantee that the oils are not pure or of good quality, but it really does scream of concern. Generally speaking, Neroli, Jasmine and Rose, for instance, should cost a lot more than Geranium and Ylang Ylang and anyone reputable in selling essential oils should realise that and should be aware that selling all oils for the same price is a red flag to knowledgeable consumers. A good quality Patchouli usually costs more than Eucalyptus. The basic, common citrus oils including Sweet Orange oils are some of the least expensive oils.
Avoid buying oils from retailers/suppliers that don’t provide the essential oil’s botanical (Latin name), country of origin or method of extraction. For instance, there are multiple varieties of Bay, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, and so on. Each offers different therapeutic properties.
Organic oils are typically superior to non-organic oils.
Be cautious about purchasing oils from traveling vendors that set up shop at street fairs, farmer’s markets, craft shows, festivals or other limited-time events. Some traveling vendors at these events may know their customers have no recourse against them after the event is over.
Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. There are instances when experienced aromatherapy users and practitioners make exceptions to this precaution, but only once significant essential oil knowledge is gained should you ever attempt to apply an undiluted oil on the skin. Lavender and tea tree are listed by a large number of aromatherapy sources as being oils that can be used undiluted. Undiluted use of lavender and tea tree, however, should be discouraged as severe sensitivity still could occur in some individuals. Again, the safest rule of thumb is to never use any essential oil undiluted.
Some oils can cause sensitization or allergic reactions in some individuals. When using a new oil topically for the first time, do a skin patch test on a small area of skin — it’s easy.
Some essential oils are phototoxic and can cause irritation, inflammation, blistering, redness and/or burning when exposed to UVA rays. For more information, learn about phototoxicity and phototoxic essential oils.
Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy or by those with asthma, epilepsy, or with other health conditions. Be sure to research/review the safety precautions associated with each essential oil that you use.
Less Is More
When using essential oils, use the smallest amount of essential oilthat will get the job done. If 1-2 drops are called for, for example, don’t use more than that. Essential oils are very concentrated. (As a sidenote, some companies or their representatives may suggest that you use as much as you want — it’s in their best interest that you go through your oils faster so you then need to reorder more frequently. Generally speaking, it takes a lot of plant material (i.e. flower petals, leaves, needles, bark, wood, root, etc.) to obtain the botanical’s essential oil by steam distillation. It’s wasteful to use more essential oil than is needed for your particular application.)
Not all essential oils are suitable for use in aromatherapy. Wormwood, pennyroyal, onion, camphor, horseradish, wintergreen, rue, bitter almond and sassafras are examples of some of the essential oils that should only be used by qualified aromatherapy practitioners, if ever at all.
Never let children use essential oils without the presence of an adult knowledgeable about their use. Most essential oils smell wonderful and many essential oils such as citrus oils can smell like they are “yummy” and safe to drink. ALWAYS keep your essential oils away from children. Treat the oils like medicines that are poison in unknowing hands.
Essential oils should not be taken internally without guidance by a qualified practitioner or until you have gained adequate knowledge and understanding of the risks and safe internal applications and dosages.Even though essential oils are cold pressed or steam distilled from a range of citrus and common spices like Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruits, Allspice, Basil, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Ginger, Rosemary and a number of other botanicals that are routinely ingested without the need for precautionary usage info, essential oils are highly concentrated and should not be ingested without thorough understanding of appropriate usage and risks for each oil. For more information, read Internal Use of Essential Oils.
Essential oils are flammable. Keep them out of the way of fire hazards.