Using Essential Oils Safely – Knowledge is Everything


Using Essential Oils Safely -

This week I decided to compose an article containing some valuable information regarding the safe use of essential oils. If you are new to this practice I would highly recommend a thorough reading of the information. If you are familiar with aromatherapy I would still recommend taking a quick read through to brush up on your knowledge. A link to this article will be posted at the top of the website’s home page for your future reference.

Essential oils are compounds extracted from plant material. They are highly concentrated and can pose risks if not used correctly. When used with proper care, essential oils can enhance our overall physical and mental wellbeing. Millions of people use these oils every day without incident. There is a lot to know about using essential oils safely and this article provides general safety knowledge.

Whenever I want to double check essential oil facts and information I will most often refer to Robert Tisserand’s website. Who is Robert Tisserand?

Robert Tisserand was instrumental in bringing widespread professional and public recognition to the practice of aromatherapy. He is the author of the second edition of Essential Oil Safety; this book sets industry standards for the safe use of essential oils. He also founded the Tisserand Institute in London, setting new standards for vocational aromatherapy education. In addition to numerous other accomplishments he is also a worldwide speaker, educator and consultant on the science and benefits of essential oils and their effective and safe use.

Topical Use

It is not recommended to apply undiluted essential oils directly onto your skin. The most common adverse reaction to essential oils is a skin reaction, and in most cases it is because it has been applied without proper dilution.

Lavender and Tea Tree oil are often regarded as safe to apply without dilution. To be on the safe side, please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before applying undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. Experienced aromatherapy users and practitioners may make exceptions to this rule.

Some individuals may want to perform a skin patch test before using essential oils. There are differing opinions regarding the validity of a patch test as it is difficult to do accurately and results may not be easy to evaluate.

General Dilution Guidelines

Below are general guidelines for essential oil dilution rates that are commonly used in a variety of scenarios as recommended by Robert Tisserand.

  • Facial cosmetics 0.2-1.5%
  • Body massage 1.5-3.0 %
  • Bath and Body products 1-4%
  • Specific problems 4-10%
  • Pain, wounds 5-20%

For more information about dilution rates, please check out this very informative and easy to use chart from the Tisserand Institute. (It’s a free download!) 🙂


Do not put undiluted essential oils into your bath water and then step into it. To avoid the risk of skin irritation, always mix your essential oils with a carrier oil before adding to your water. It is also recommended that you mix the water with your hand before stepping in.


It is not recommended to drip essential oils into your ears. In some cases diluted essential oils may be placed on a cotton swab for partial insertion.


Do not put essential oils into your eyes as this is very dangerous and may cause extreme pain and damage.

Oral ingestion

Do not ingest essential oils unless you are under the care of a medical professional who is qualified to prescribe this procedure.

“Taking essential oils orally engages many areas of risk that other modes do not. Do not take essential oils either undiluted or in water, as there is a risk of mouth/stomach irritation.”

Robert Tisserand, Tisserand Institute

Inhalation and Diffusion

It is not recommended to directly and intensively inhale essential oils for more than 15-20 minutes. This refers to steam inhalation. This recommendation does not apply to inhalation from essential oils vaporized into the air using a diffuser. The recommended time for diffuser inhalation is 30-60 minutes on, then 30-60 minutes off.

Essential Oils and Flames

Essential oils should not be used near an open flame. Essential oils are flammable to varying degrees. Using an aromatherapy diffuser is considered safe. It is not recommended to use essential oils in a diffuser that uses a flame. Candles made with essential oils are safe.


Keep all essential oils out of reach of children. Essential oils are very potent; if your child has consumed any amount please seek medical attention.

Phototoxic Essential Oils

Some essential oils can cause inflammation, blistering, redness and/or burning when exposed to UVA rays. Click here to learn more about phototoxic essential oils. Some examples of phototoxic essential oils are:

  • Angelica Root
  • Bergamot Bitter Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon Lime
  • Mandarin Leaf

Hazardous Essential Oils

Some essential oils are more toxic and possess greater risk than other essential oils. For this reason they should only be used under the care and advice of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Some examples of these hazardous oils are:

  • Wormwood
  • Pennyroyal
  • Camphor
  • Wintergreen
  • Rue
  • Bitter Almond

For more information and a more detailed list of hazardous oils please see AromaWeb’s Hazardous Essential Oil List.

Essential Oils and your Cat

I am a cat owner and I have never used essential oils to treat any type of ailment for her. I am not sure that I would. I have always been careful to make sure there is adequate ventilation and have given her access to other areas in our home in case she does not like being in the room where I am diffusing oils.

“I certainly don’t advocate dousing your cat in large quantities of neat essential oils – ever. And cats are quite susceptible to toxicity from nutmeg oil and tea tree oil. But a small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat.”

Robert Tisserand, 2011

“Neat” or undiluted application is the use of essential oils applied to the skin without the use of a base or carrier oil.

For further information regarding essential oils and pets, the book Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell is recommended.

“Kristen Leigh Bell is the most recognized expert in the safe utilization of aromatherapy with animals and her book is the resource that I have the most confidence in when researching safe practices for animals.”

Wendy Robbins, AromaWeb, 2002

Adverse Reactions

If you are experiencing an unexpected or dangerous reaction to essential oils, you may want to read the information provided by Robert Tisserand called First Aid Guidelines and/or seek medical attention.


Please note, if you are pregnant, have asthma, epilepsy, skin conditions or taking prescribed medications it is recommended that you seek the advice of a medical practitioner before using essential oils.


I hope you have found this information helpful. I know this article was maybe a little different from the norm, however I really felt sharing it was important and worthwhile. With this knowledge you can safely enjoy your essential oils even more as you can now feel more confident about what you are doing. Please remember that this post will be made available at the top of this website in the menu area for your reference in the future.

Check out Robert Tisserand’s second edition of Essential Oil Safety! Available at Amazon.

I love my essential oils and I find them so beneficial for my everyday health and wellness. I do appreciate the time you spent reading this week’s post. I wish you all great happiness and health. Have an awesome day.

Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)


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Is it Safe to Ingest Essential Oils? – Yes, but be smart about it!

You Have Probably Ingested Them Already!

Is it safe to ingest essential oils? Have you ever done it? If you think you have never ingested EOs, you are likely mistaken. I have learned that many of the foods we eat contain these oils, just check out the ingredient list on some of your favorite foods. Of course, the amount of EOs added to our foods for flavor are minuscule. Nevertheless, I believe, it is safe to say that most people have consumed EOs, whether you knew it or not.

Doctors in Europe, India and Asia prescribe the ingestion of Essential Oils to manage health issues and they have been doing this for thousands of years. It also said that people in the United States and North America tend to shy away from this practice because essential oils are less well-known.

So, is it safe to start ingesting them? The answer seems to be yes and no.

Picture of a colorful question mark.

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First and Foremost

The key thing to remember is that EOs are EXTREMELY POTENT CONCENTRATED PLANT ENERGY. Take a look at the following information to see how much of the original plant it takes to produce only one pound of the EO.

  •  1500 lemons to yield one pound of lemon EO
  •  256 pounds of peppermint leaf to make one pound of peppermint EO
  •  10,000 pounds of rose petals yields one pound of rose EO
  •  250 pounds of lavender yields one pound of lavender EO
  •  6,000 pounds of melissa plant (commonly known as lemon balm) yields one pound of melissa EO

This is pretty amazing isn’t it? As you can see, it takes an enormous amount of the original plant to produce small quantities of essential oil.

Yes, Some People Ingest Essential Oils

Yes, it seems some people do consume essential oils. Examples of edible oils may include orange, ginger, chamomile, lemon, cocoa and turmeric, just to name a few.

Some things to consider if you decide to do so. Make sure you choose the purest, most organic and steam distilled oils. It is best if the bottle states it is meant for food consumption. Lots of oils produced are not intended for oral consumption. They may contain other ingredients that would not hurt you if used in a diffuser or topically applied but may be harmful if taken internally.

So, again, yes, it seems that we can use EOs in our food. From what I have figured out, it is very difficult to measure such a small amount of oil with our common household measuring devices. If we measure improperly (use too much), we run the risk of injury due to the high potency. Also, one should be sure the oils they intend to use are deemed “food grade”.

During my research it was quite clear to me that there are differing opinions whether we should consume EOs. I saw articles that were 100% against it. There were articles that were totally for it and have no problem with it. I even saw Cook Books related to Essential Oils.

Some Oils Should Never Be Ingested

A sign that says CAUTION.

It does make sense to me that some Essential Oils could be taken internally if they could be properly measured and contained no impurities. There are some EOs that should NOT be ingested. As I was researching, I came across a few examples of oils that would fall into that category. They are:

  • Birch
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
  • White Fir
  • Wintergreen

This list is not conclusive in any way. Always do your homework and find out what is safe and what is not.

In Conclusion

It was quite interesting studying this topic. I sure noticed varying opinions regarding the safety of ingesting EOs. Another thing to consider is how the government regulates and approves the use of essential oils for humans. I live in Canada and as far as can tell, our government has approved the marketing of essential oils for aromatherapy and topical application.

Well, it seems that EOs can be used internally. It does make sense that they could be, after all, they are plant material. If you do plan to cook with EOs then please take good care when doing so. Follow the suggestions above and/or do some investigating of your own.

If you plan to take an EO as an internal medicine, it would be a very good idea to check with a certified medical professional.

I will be completely honest with you, I have never cooked with or taken an essential oil internally. I do love using EOs in my diffuser and occasionally topically. I believe the western world is slowly becoming more aware of the usages of EOs and how they can certainly benefit us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to leave a comment if you like. I enjoy learning and would love to hear what you have to say.

Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.
If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.
It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.
Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing. Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.

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