Top 14 Critical Essential oil Precautions, their Storage, Use, and Oils to Avoid

Updated: May 8, 2021



Nature is mysterious!

She has her reasons for creating things the way they are.. Botanists, zoologists, geologists have barely scratched the realms of her reason.


Something natural, may not always be safe.


Thousands of plants/herbs are born with varying levels of natural toxicity.

One must exercise caution, especially when it comes to choosing and using Essential oils.


Consider these facts about Essential Oils:

1. Essential oils are produced by plants to secure themselves from natural dangers. Oil-rich plant parts like bark, seeds, leaves, flowers, are usually the ones, at receiving end of natural threats.

2. An Essential oil may have anything between 1 to 1000, different chemical compounds, with multiple biological activities.

3. Essential oil molecules are tiny but a single drop can contain about 40 million trillion molecules.


Imagine that! .... Even a single drop could be too much for the ‘meager’ 30 trillion cells in the human body.


It just takes one molecule of the correct essential oil to hit the limbic system(brain) and jumpstart the process of influencing the cells, bloodstream, and organs to deliver its benefits to the body and emotions.

Too many, simply freeze the system and sometimes lash back with a reaction.


4. Essential oils are highly concentrated:

a. It takes about 1.35 kgs lavender flowers to just make 15ml lavender essential oil

b. It takes about 2.42lac rose petals to make just 5 ml rose essential oil


So, one can imagine how much of a punch is packed in a single potent aromatic molecule. Even a perfectly safe essential oil can deal a toxic blow if:

· Used neat (non-diluted)

· Used daily or too frequently

· Used intermittently but in large doses.

· Used by vulnerable groups such as infants, children, pregnant women, or even the elderly.

· Used on delicate body parts such as eyes, ears.


The Top 13 Critical Essential Oil Precautions;

Their Storage, Usage, and Oils to Avoid:


1. Less is more with Essential oils:

Essential oils are highly concentrated and hence prone to causing irritation. It just takes a molecule of a drop to work its therapy. More can cause, allergies and rashes and unwanted reactions


2. Never use Essential oils undiluted.

Mix them with organic nourishing oils like Jojoba, Argan, Sweet almond, Virgin Coconut oils, etc.

The Essential oils will bond with the fats in the carrier oils, and thus get beneficially delayed in their absorption by the fats in the skin.

This reduces the risk of skin irritation.


3. Avoid using the same blends daily/a prolonged time.

This can also cause adverse reactions.

Luckily, many oils fall in homogenous groups with similar properties so one can keep switching within the same group.

4. Buy only therapeutic grade oils, watch out for adulteration.

Check labels that say ‘therapeutic grade’.

The manufacturing and selling of essential oils are not highly regulated so marketers slap labels that work for them.

A wiser choice would be to opt for reputed large players.

· Do not confuse fragrance oils (commonly called aroma oils) for essential oils. They are synthetic, often with a stronger scent, and will have zero therapeutic properties on skin or health.

· Check for ingredients, whether it is blended with vegetable oil or cheaper versions of the same essential oil or only 100% Pure essential oil

· Check for the distillation method used. Solvent extraction often produces oils of lower quality but is a cheap option for the company.

· Check for the region where the plants were cultivated. The region of origin will have a specific composition for each sub-species of plants, as the plants' defense system will differ from place to place.

· In the case of a blended oil bottle, do check the ratio of the blend. If it comprises of an expensive essential oil like Rose blended with a little cheaper one like Lavender, then check in what ratio are they blended. That could determine the right price.

· Cheap products could mean lower quality oils.


Following are the 4 grades of Essential oils:

Therapeutic Grade Oil

· Pure & Unadulterated

· Grade A essential oil

Natural/Food Grade Organic & Certified oils

· May have artificial chemicals

· Grade B essential oils

Perfume Grade Extended or altered oils

· Contain Chemicals & solvents

· Grade C oils

Floral Water

· Depending on the kind of organic raw materials, this can either be Grade A or of poor quality.

· Used in case of expensive oils like Rose Essential Oil


Check other factors that may not be mentioned on the label but can be considered as they impact the oil components:

· Storage, Rainfall, and Soil type

5. Consult a doctor before using any essential oil when you have a health condition

· A stimulating oil might be negative for epilepsy.

6. Do a patch test beforehand to check how the oil responds to your skin.

· For sensitive skin, the dilution rate has to be very low less than 0.5% for topical application. Meaning 0.5 ml essential oil to 100 ml carrier oil.


· Put a drop of diluted essential oil on the inside of your wrist, plaster it, and check for a reaction after two hours. If there is redness then apply almond oil and wash off immediately.


7. Storage Guidelines for Essential Oils

(Avoid degradation by oxygen, heat, and light)

· Store in a dark/amber glass bottle. Essential oils can eat through plastic.

· Store in a dark place. Exposed to light they can get destroyed

· Keep it in a cool place, preferably in the bottom of the fridge.

· Keep the lid tightly screwed on. Essential oils are volatile and can evaporate quickly.

· Never leave the bottle open for more than a few seconds as Essential oils will oxidize in the air and lose their therapeutic qualities.

· If the seal is missing in a bottle, dispose of it or replace the broken lid.

· Keep out of reach of pets or children.

· Keep out of reach of highly polished surfaces.

8. Flammability of Essential Oils

Many essential oils are flammable. Never keep the bottle close to a naked flame or near flammables or any source of ignition.

9. Shelf Life of Essential Oils

· When an essential oil is blended with a carrier oil, its shelf life is reduced and must be used within a few months. Stored right, a diluted blend can be used between 6 to 12 months.

· Carrier oils can also go rancid if not stored properly.

Eg Avocado oil has an extremely short shelf life.

· If there is a change in the scent or the texture, then it’s a sign that the oil has to be thrown out as it can cause irritation.


· Do not leave essential oils in the car in the summer.

·Essential Oils Shelf Life

(If non-refrigerated then 50% of the shelf life stated below)

1 year: Citrus oils, Neroli, Lemongrass, Frankincense, Tea tree

4 -8 years: Sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli

2 -3 years: Almost all other essential oils


10. Forbidden Essential oils:

Do not use these at all, they have a toxic constitution.

· Parsley herb oil (Petroselenium crispum)

· Pennyroyal oil (Mentha pulegium)

· Savin oil (Juniperus sabina)

· Tansy oil (Tanacetum vulgare)

· Wintergreen oil (Gaultheria procumbens)

· Wormwood oil (Artemisia absinthium)

11. Photo-toxic Essential Oils:

These photo-toxic essential oils can cause irritation or reactions when exposed to UVA rays. After using them, do not expose skin to the sun for up to 24 hours.

· Angelica root oil (Angelica archangelica)

· Bergamot oil expressed (Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia)

· Bitter Orange oil (Citrus aurantium)

· Cumin oil (Cuminum cyminum)

· Lemon oil cold pressed (Citrus limonum)

· Lime oil expressed (Citrus aurantifolia)

· Tagette oil (Tagetes minuta)


12. Do not use these oils when pregnant or nursing

(Source Tisserands Essential oil safety book)

· Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)

· Anise, Star (Illicium verum)

· Araucaria (Neocallitropsis pancheri)

· Artemisia (Artemisia vestita)

· Atractylis (Atractylylodes lancea)

· Basil (lemon)

· Birch sweet (Betula lenta)

· Black Seed (Nigella sativa)

· Buchu (Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenulata)

· Calamint (Calamintha nepeta)

· Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)

· Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)

· Chaste Tree (Vitex ugnus castus)

· Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum)

· Cypress, blue (Callitris intratopica)

· Dill Seed, Indian (Anethus sowa)

· Fennel, bitter and sweet (Foeniculum vulgare)

· Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

· Genipi (Artemisia genepi)

· Hibawood (Thujopsis dolobratta)

· Ho Leaf (Cinnamomum camphora)

· Hyssop (pinocamphone CT)

· Lanyana (Artemisia afra)

· Lavender, (Spanish) (Lavandula stoechas)

· Lemon Balm, Australian (Eucalyptus staigeriana)

· Lemongrass

· May Chang

· Melissa

· Mugwort (common, camphor/thujone CT)

· Mugwort (common, chrysanthenyl acetate CT)

· Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha),Myrtle (aniseed) ,Myrtle (honey), Myrtle (lemon)

· Oregano (Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, etc.)

· Parsley leaf

· Parsley seed

· Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

· Rue (Ruta graveolens)

· Sage, Dalmatian (Salvia officinalis)

· Sage, Spanish (Salvia lavandulaefolia)

· Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

· Tea Tree (lemon scented)

· Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)

· Thyme (lemon)

· Verbena (lemon)

· Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)

· Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

· Wormwood (all chemotypes)

· Yarrow (green)

· Zeodary


13. Do not use these oils too often as they are irritation-prone

· Bay Leaf oil (Pimenta racemosa)

· Cinnamon bark oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

· Clove oils (stem, leaf, bud) Syzygium aromaticum

· Litsea Cubeba aka May Chang oil (Litsea cubeba)

· Origanum oil (Origanum vulgar)

· Tagette oil (Tagetes minuta)

· Thyme white and red oil (Thymus vulgaris)

· Nutmeg

· Use no more than 3 or 4 drops of citrus oils


14.Do not use these Essential oils on Children

Aromatherapy is not advised for babies, infants, and young children, their underdeveloped delicate organs cannot deal with the intensity of these concentrated extracts.


Essential oils Forbidden for all children

· Birch (sweet) Betula lenta


Essential Oils not advised for pre-pubertal children

· ChasteTree Vitex agnus castus

· Lavender

· Tea tree


Essential Oils not for children under 10

· Eucalyptus Eucalyptus camaldulensis

· Eucalyptus globulus

· Eucalyptus maidenii

· Eucalyptus plenissima

· Eucalyptus kochii

· Eucalyptus polybractea

· Eucalyptus radiata

· Eucalyptus Australiana

· Eucalyptus phellandra

· Eucalyptus smithii

· Rosemary (1,8-cineole chemotype)

· Rosmarinus officinalis

· Wintergreen Gaultheria fragrantissima Gaultheria procumbens

· Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, and wintergreen should not be used around young children or babies. These herbs contain menthol and 1,8-cineole. These compounds can slow breathing (or even stop it 1completely) in very young children or those with respiratory problems.


Essential Oils not for kids under 6

· Cajuput Melaleuca cajuputi

· Melaleuca Leucadendron

· Cardamon Elettaria cardamomum

· Niaouli(cineole chemotype)

· Melaleuca quinquinervia

· Cornmint Mentha arvensis

· Mentha canadensis

· Galangal(lesser)Alpiniaofficinarum

· Languas officinarum

· Ho Leaf/Ravintsara

· Cinnamomum camphora(cineole chemotype)

· Laurel Leaf/Bay Laurel Laurus nobilis

· Marjoram (Spanish)

· Thymus mastichina

· Myrtle(red)Myrtus communis

· Peppermint Mentha x Piperita

· Rambiazana Helichrysum gymnocephalum

· Sage(Greek),

· Salvia fruiticosa

· Salvia triloba Sage(White)

· Sage(White)Salvia apiana

· Sanna Hedychium spicatum

· Saro Cinnamosma fragrans


Essential Oils not for kids under 5

· Fennel(bitter)

· Fennel (sweet) Foeniculum vulgare

· Myrtle(aniseed) Backhousiaanisata

· Anise/Aniseed Pimpinella anisum

· Anise (Star) Illicium verum


Essential Oils not for kids under 2

· Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis (pinocamphone chemotype)

· Lemon Leaf/Lemon Petitgrain

· Citrus x limon, Citrus limonum

· Lemongrass Cymbopogon flexuosus

· Andropogon flexuosus

· Cymbopogon citratus

· Andropogon citratus

· Massoia Cryptocarya massoy

· Cryptocaria massoia

· Massoia aromatica

· MayChang Litsea cubeba

· Litsea citrate

· Laura cubeba

· Melissa/Lemon BalmMelissa officinalis

· Myrtle(honey)Melaleuca teretifolia

· Myrtle(lemon)/Sweet Verbena Backhousiacitriodora

· Oakmoss Evernia prunastri

· Opopanax Commiphoraguidottii

· Oregano Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum, Origanum hirtum,

· Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus,

· Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata

● Peru Balsam Myroxylon balsamum,

· Myroxylon pereira,Myroxylon peruiferum, Myrospermum pereirae, Toluifera pereirae

· Saffron Crocus sativus

· Sage (Wild Mountain) Hemizygia petiolate

· Savory Satureia hortensis,

· Satureia montana

· Styrax Liquidambar orientalis,

· Liquidambar styraciflua

· Tea Leaf/Black Tea Camellia sinensis,

· Thea Sinensis

· Tea Tree(lemon-scented)

· Leptospermum petersonii

· Leptospermum citratum,

· Leptospermum liversidgei

· Treemoss Pseudevernia furfuracea

· Tuberose Polianthes tuberosa

· Turpentine Pinus yacahuite, Pinuscaribaea, Pinuscontorta,Pinus elliottii, Pinus halepensis,

· Pinus insularis, Pinus kesiya, Pinus merkusii, Pinus palustris,

· Pinus pinaster, Pinus radiata, Pinus roxburghii,

· Pinus tabulaeformis, Pinus teocote, Pinus yunnanensis

· Verbena (Lemon)Aloysia triphylla,

· Aloysia citriodora,Lippa citriodora,

· Lippa triphylla

· Ylang-Ylang Cananga odorata

● Basil(lemon) Ocimum x citriodorum

● Benzoin Styrax benzoin

· Black Seed Nigella sativa

· Styrax paralleloneurus

· Styrax tonkinensis

· Cassia Cinnamomum cassia

· Cinnamomum aromaticum

· Clove Bud,Clove Leaf

· Clove Stem Syzygium aromaticum

· Eugenia caryophyllata

· Eugenia aromatica

· Garlic Allium sativum

· GingerLilyHedychium coronarium

Bear these precautions in mind and make your Essential Oil journey fruitful!





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