Essential oils are highly concentrated substances, and they should be treated and used with respect and care. For the majority of people, these aromas are quite helpful and they provide relief, energy and healing. But some health conditions or ailments might actually be made worse by the use of essential oils.

Do your research before using essential oils, and by all means consult with a medical professional if you have any ongoing medical conditions.

Essential Oils and Homeopathic Remedies

Use of essential oils while undergoing homeopathic treatments is not recommended. It is believed that some properties of essential oils negate the healing properties of homeopathic remedies. Be sure to tell your homeopath if you are using essential oils.

Asthma or Respiratory Conditions and Essential Oil Use

People suffering from asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions should always consult with their doctor, naturopathic physician or other primary health professional before using essential oils. The intensity of essential oils may provoke an asthma attack or aggravate chronic conditions.

Epilepsy and Essential Oils

In order to avoid the remote chance of triggering an epileptic attack, avoid these essential oils: Rosemary, Fennel and Sage.

Essential Oils and Your Liver

The liver clears essential oils from the human body. Our liver is already working hard, so to ask it to clear excess essential oils from our system may cause it to work overtime. Liver damage can occur from repeated overdoses of essential oils.

If a liver condition exists, if you drink a lot of alcohol, have had cirrhosis or hepatitis of the liver, or have been exposed to environmental toxins, you should take it easy with the essential oils. Perhaps you should avoid them all together. It is recommended that you cut the suggest volume of essential oils by half, and use only the gentle oils. Be sure to eliminate all exposure to synthetic fragrances.

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Essential Oils to Avoid Completely or Use Rarely

Most essential oils are safe for home use and they can enhance mood, fight infections, encourage relaxation and alleviate some ailments. However, there are some oils which should be avoided completely, or used with utmost caution. Although not widely available, you should be familiar with them.

Essential Oils that may Burn or Irritate Your Skin

If applied undiluted, these oils may burn or irritate your skin: Birch, Clove, Ginger, Juniper, Peppermint, Black Pepper, Pimento, Thyme and Turpentine.

If used regularly at high concentrations, these oils may cause skin to become sensitive: Bay, Cardomon, Citronella, Clary Sage, Fennel, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Juniper, Lemon, Lovage, May Chang, Mimosa, Orange, Pine, Rose, Spearmint and Ylang Ylang.

For those with allergic skin conditions, skin that is sensitive to cosmetics or damaged skin, these oils may cause irritation: Aniseed, Benzoin, Camphor (rectified), Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Juniper, Black Pepper, Pimento, Peppermint, Sage, Savory, Spearmint and Thyme.

Do not use these oils on moles, freckles, sunburn, senile patches, warts, melanoma, premelanoma or other skin cancers: Citrus fruit oils and turpentine.

Essential Oils that are “Unsafe for General Use”

There are essential oils that are listed as “unsafe for general use” because of the risk of poison, skin irritation or sensitization: Bitter Almond, Boldo Leaf, Calamus, Brown & Yellow Camphor, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Costus, Croton, Elecampane, Bitter Fennel, Horseradish, Jaborandi Leaf, Mugwort, Mustard, Dwarf Pine, Rue, Sassafras, Brasilian Sassafras, Savine, Southernwood, Tansy, Thuja (cedarleaf), Thuja (western red or Washington), Wintergreen, Wormseed, Wormwood.

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Essential Oils Unsuitable for Home Use

Birch, expressed Bergamot (furocoumarin-free oil is safe), Cade, unrectified Camphor, Lemon Verbena, Opoponax, Peru Balsam/Tolu, Turpentine.

Essential Oils not to be Used Before Tanning Treatments or Strong Sunlight Exposure

Angelica Root, expressed Bergamot, Caraway, Cedarwood, Cumin, Ginger, Grapefruit, expressed Lime, Mandarin, expressed Orange, Patchouli, Rue and Verbena. These oils could cause unsightly splotching.

Caution Using Essential Oils in the Bath

Use no more than 1 or 2 drops of Aniseed, Benzoin, rectified Camphor, Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Juniper, Black Pepper, Pimento, Peppermint, Sage, Savory, Spearmint and Thyme.

Essential oils are one of nature’s resources for powerful and diverse healing. Essential oils must be taken seriously, as their misuse can have serious repercussions. Each oil has its own properties and uses, and when used with care these properties will have a positive effect on the human body.