Most oils can be toxic to humans as well. A report of three cases documented gynecomastia in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical lavender and tea tree oils. The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK issued a rebuttal. The Australian Tea Tree Association, a group that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree oil producers, exporters and manufacturers issued a letter that questioned the study and called on the New England Journal of Medicine for a retraction. Another article published by a different research group also documented three cases of gynecomastia in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical lavender oil.
It’s important to choose the best essential oil, depending on the health concern or condition that you are trying to remedy. Each essential oil is made up of different compounds and possess different properties, so while some oils are great for relaxing your mind, easing muscle tension and promoting restful sleep, other oils are stimulating, energy boosting and support cognitive function.
Some oils, such as clary sage, geranium and thyme, help to balance out estrogen and progesterone levels in your body, which can improve conditions like infertility and PCOS, as well as PMS and menopause symptoms. A 2017 published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters indicates that geranium and rose have the ability to influence the salivary concentration of estrogen in women. This may be helpful for women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms that are caused by declining levels of estrogen secretion. (2)
Because a little bit of oil goes a very long way, a starter set of oils lasts months (if not longer) in our house. It’s a good thing the shelf life of oils is around 1-2 years. One of my favorite sets that includes seven basic oils and seven synergy blends is the “14 Essential Oil Set” from Plant Therapy. This set contains the majority of oils needed to make most of my homemade products, along with therapeutic synergies (blends of individual oils).
There is an immense amount of studies exploring the concerns that essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin when used in undiluted form. Therefore, they are normally diluted with a carrier oil for topical application, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Phototoxic reactions may occur with citrus peel oils such as lemon or lime. Also, many essential oils have chemical components that are sensitisers (meaning that they will, after a number of uses, cause reactions on the skin, and more so in the rest of the body). Chemical composition of essential oils could be affected by herbicides if the original plants are cultivated versus wild-harvested. Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals, with cats being particularly prone.
Essential oils may help to reduce toxicity by promoting the detoxification of your home and body. These days, we are all inhaling and ingesting a number of chemicals and environmental toxins that can be dangerous for our health. Some work as mild diuretics, thereby increasing urine production and improving detoxification. And some oils aid digestion and promote the detoxification of toxins that buildup in the body. (18)
Young children and the elderly may be more sensitive to essential oils. So you may need to dilute them more. And you should totally avoid some oils, like birch and wintergreen. In even small amounts, those may cause serious problems in kids 6 or younger because they contain a chemical called methyl salicylate. Don’t use essential oils on a baby unless your pediatrician says it’s OK.
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and drugs. Oils were used for aesthetic pleasure and in the beauty industry. It was a luxury item and a means of payment. It was believed the essential oils increased the shelf life of wine and improved the taste of food.