Essential oils are often used as at-home health remedies. Tea tree oil is an excellent example of something that is often prescribed by homeopathic doctors to treat a variety of skin conditions. But if you're going to be buying your essential oils online, there are some things that you need to be cautious about. Here's what you need to know.
1. There Are Different "Grades" of Essential Oil
Some essential oils are for aromatherapy. Others can actually be consumed, such as clove oil. But a food grade oil is very different from the type of oil that you should be putting in candles or soaps. Pay attention to the usage that is listed on the label. If the label says that it is not for skin contact or consumption, do not use it that way, even if the type of oil could theoretically be used that way.
2. Some Essential Oils Can Be Toxic
Some people have the mistaken belief that an "essential" oil is like an "essential" vitamin -- something that is intended for general human health. But an essential oil is really just a distillation of any type of plant, including toxic ones. Thyme, tea tree, and lavender oils can all become toxic if they are used in large amounts. Children and pets can be particularly susceptible to this. Lavender is particularly toxic if it is absorbed through skin or eaten; it's only meant for aromatherapy.
3. Essential Oils May Be Diluted
An essential oil can be diluted with another oil, which can make it less effective. If the price of your essential oil is very low, it's likely that it's not pure. 100% essential oils should usually be used in order to be most effective and to prevent cross-contamination. As an example, jasmine oil could actually have multiple flowers in it, which you would learn if you read the label. If a label is listed as a 'fragrance" oil, it may have nearly anything in it.
4. Essential Oils Should Be Sold In Dark, Small Glasses
Essential oils easily break down when subjected to light and heat. Most essential oils should be sold in dark-tinted, small glass bottles. If they are sold in plastic bottles or light-colored bottles, they are more likely to not be actual essential oils.
Of course, you should never try to treat an illness at home if it becomes serious. Always consult your doctor before starting at home treatments to make sure that it won't interfere with any medical treatments you are receiving. In general, many essential oils are sold over-the-counter because they are relatively harmless -- but you still need to pay attention to the type of oil and its grading.