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Fun Fact Friday

Did you know that essential oils have a sweet spot?

I had always heard that less is more when it comes to essential oils.  I understood this as “if less works, why use more,” which is true, but there are so many variables that come into play.  I have been searching for the research article on helichrysum italicum I read when I had an aha moment.  I wish I could have found it, but I have no idea what I was actually researching at the time that caused me to come across this article.  What I read was that if using helichrysum (i), you only need 1.2% of your total formulation for helichrysum (i) to reach its sweet spot.  Of course, this was a specific chemical composition used during this particular study.  Meaning that you may meet the necessary component criteria with a little less or a little more depending on that specific batch.  The chart shown on this particular study showed that anything over 1.2% did not necessarily decrease the effectiveness but it certainly didn’t increase the therapeutic value.  This is great news!  This means that I can use a super small amount of something so expensive and still reap great benefits.

Peppermint is another one.  While Peppermint can be great for digestive issues, it can also cause the sphincter to become over relaxed when too much is used and actually cause acid reflux.  We really don’t want to add insult to the concerns we are trying to resolve.

Then there are other things like, Lavender and Tea Tree for example.  We have heard neat use is appropriate for these oils for decades.  Just recently we are being told, due to so many becoming sensitized, that it is best to dilute all oils.  Some claim 3% is the highest we should ever use when using essential oils.  Well, if I have a serious concern, I can guarantee I will be using more than 3%.  I may even use it these oils at 50% if the need is there.  If you don’t have the knowledge yourself regarding safety and medical interactions, please don’t just do it, consult with someone who has adequate training.  Some aromatherapists are great at managing the little things, some are better with the bigger things.  As an aromatherapist, there are things I will send off to someone more equipped to handle that situation.  Especially if I think they need more than topical or inhalation use.  If I am doing a massage blend, I will keep it below 3%.  If the oil is for the face I will keep it at or below 2%. To determine a safe dilution concentration it really depends on whether the product is a wash off product, where are you using it, who is using it (what is their medical history/conditions/medications/environment), and the safety of the oils used.

I shared Joy Bowles video this morning, she talks about someone using lavender at a high dose internally and suffering ataxia.  It is assumed this ataxia occurred from too much linalool.  There are so many oils that can cause adverse effects if they are not used in a low dose.  In this case it was effective for what they intended but caused adverse effect.  If you haven’t already watched it, here is the 5 minute video https://www.facebook.com/DrEJoyB/videos/288240101766218/

Personally, Ylang Ylang messes with me.  I assume it is because I already have low blood pressure.  The first time I opened Ylang Ylang, I loved it! It was the first floral I actually liked.  Today, I can’t even use in the smallest amounts over a normal 30-minute diffusion without getting a migraine headache.  I can use it topically in small amounts without any ill effect, but not every day.  This, once again, is all about the dose and the rate at which it is absorbed into my blood stream.

I have always said that with essential oils it can be so dangerous.  When we buy ibuprofen or any drug in a retail setting they give you instructions, and safety warnings.  I do not buy a bottle of concentrated ibuprofen and go home without instructions.  These things have been studied extensively to be created into a “safe” form and placed on the market.  Some essential oil companies are definitely better than other with giving precautions, but, not all.  We need to treat our essential oils with the same precautions we would medication.

In close, KNOW what you are doing when using these potent products.  If you have any reservation, please consult with a trained aromatherapist.

-Ruth