As essential oils grow in popularity everyone is talking about them. As with other things when people start talking things happen and myths pop up. Essential oils are no exception. Here are ten essential oil myths and the truth you want to know.
- Applying to the bottom of the feet. Thin skin on the body is penetrated by essential oils easily. The feet are the thickest part of the skin plus they sweat more than any other spot on your body thus limiting absorption. Other areas of the body are better suited to both absorption and aromatic use.
- The grade on your essential oil bottle. Brands make up grades of their own. There is no standardization of essential oil grades. Many of the grades labelled on essential oils are sometimes even trademarked so other brands can not be the same grade.
- Essential oils from conventionally grown plants are full of pesticides. Just no. An essential oil that has been properly distilled will have minimal pesticide and environmental contamination. The only exception being citrus essential oils as they are not typically produced by steam distillation.
- Essential oils do not go bad. Plants break down. Essential oils are from plants and can break down. When an essential oil oxidises it degrades and that affect its effectiveness on your body. Newer essential oils have a higher quality and are better for medicinal use. As an essential oil ages they can be downgraded for household use. Refrigeration can prolong the shelf life of essential oils.
- Essential oils are NOT equal to the whole plant. Essential oils are highly concentrated and retain many properties of the plant itself. For instance, one drop of peppermint essential oil in a cup of water is equivalent to roughly 28 cups of peppermint tea. The essential oil is much more than the whole plant. This is why essential oils should not be ingested and needs to be diluted properly to be used safely topically.
- Essential oils can contribute to antibiotic resistance. Essential oils are not a miracle, but there are plenty of studies pointing towards essential oils being useful in attacking some antibiotic resistant strains. Furthermore the weight of evidence shows that essential oils do not cause bacteria to develop resistance even if they are not all eliminated.
- Essential oils can not cause reactions. Essential oils, no matter how pure, may contain substances some people are sensitive too. Patch testing for essential oils on the body is a good idea, especially if you have a reaction to other forms of the plant.
- All essential oils are non toxic or all essential oils are highly toxic. Each essential oil is different and its application method and dosage may change how toxic a particular essential oil may be. For example, eucalyptus essential oil is generally non-toxic and safe when diluted properly, but taken internally it becomes very toxic.
- Eucalyptus is unsafe for children. Basic safety should be applied, never use undiluted and do not give a child Eucalyptus orally. If your child reacts poorly discontinue use. Essential oils in general, though, should not be used on children under 5 without first consulting with a qualified aromatherapist and in the case of Eucalyptus you should also consult with your family doctor first.
- Essential oils are ancient medicine. Historical evidence points toward infused oils were used for herbal medicine not essential oils mentioned as used in the bible. The ability to distil and separate essential oils has only been available for a few hundred years. Resins were often infused into aromatic oils.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!