Essential Oil Safety


The authors of are not medical doctors. The advice and recipes given are not meant to replace real medical treatment. If you decide to use any essential oil treatment, please seek guidance from your physician.

Nursing Women and Children

Women and children should avoid essential oils unless first consulted by a medical

professional. You may sometimes see articles on this website which talk about using essential oils with children, and while many are generally considered safe, you should use your best judgement before exposing your child to any essential oil.

Phototoxic Essential Oils

Some essential oils are phototoxic, which means once they are exposed to UV rays or sunlight, they become toxic (usually to the skin). They contain furanoids which act as UV light amplification prisms and will burn skin tissue.

The following Essential oils are considered phototoxic:

  • Grapefruit (cold pressed)
  • Angelica root
  • Anise
  • Bergamot (except bergaptene-free)
  • Cassia
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Lime (cold pressed)
  • Lovage
  • Mandarin (possibly)
  • Petitgrain
  • Orange (except “folded orange”)
  • Rue
  • Tagetes
  • Tangerine (cold pressed)
  • Verbena
  • Yuzu

Ingesting Essential Oils

While some essential oils are generally considered safe to ingest in very small quantities, you should never ingest any essential oil without medical supervision. Even though essential oils are used in foodstuffs, packaged foods, and even mentioned in many popular recipes, you never know how your body will react. Please be smart, and consult your physician.

Applying Essential Oils to Skin

Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. While your skin may not react to direct application of some essential oils, it does not mean that the application is not harmful. Please dilute any essential oil to be used topically following the 1-2% rule. That is at least 1-2% of your solution should be essential oil, while the remaining 98-99% is a carrier oil. If you feel the need to use a stronger ratio, please consult a professional.

Essential Oils to Avoid (Toxic)

The following oils should NEVER be ingested. If they are used for any reason, please exercise extreme caution and first consult with a professional.

  • Bitter Almond
  • Boldo Leaf
  • Calamus
  • Camphor (Yellow)
  • Cassia
  • Horseradish
  • Jaborandi Leaf
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Sassafras
  • Savin
  • Southernwood
  • Tansy
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormseed
  • Wormwood

Essential Oils & Animals

While essential oils can be used effectively on animals, it is generally wise to first consult with your veterinarian. Since the animal has no say in the matter, the least you can do is research. By using essential oils on animals, you can build up internal toxins and the animal which could lead to illness or death.

The quality and type of oil is paramount when researching essential oil treatments for animals. Dilute 4 times as much as you would for a human and watch carefully for side-effects and changes in mood. Avoid using essential oils on sensitive areas such as the mouth, genitals, nose, and eyes.

Since cats are especially sensitive to essential oils, it is recommended to abstain from using oils with them. Never use essential oils with fish.

Proper Dilution

Always properly dilute essential oils when used topically. A 1% concentration is recommended for older people, and also children. 2% is generally considered acceptable and safe for healthy adults. For animals you should always dilute at four times the recommended strength for adults. If you prefer a stronger blend, please consult with a medical professional first.

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