Don’t try these at home – essential oils you should avoid

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Not all essential oils are suitable for home use

Not all essential oils are suitable for home use

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

Not all essential oils are beneficial. There are some essential oils you should avoid completely.

As I’ve said before, you should never use anything except 100% pure essential oils, and definitely not “fragrance oils”, for safety’s sake if for no other reason. Almost all essential oils will also need to be diluted with an appropriate carrier oil as well, which also reduces any chance of problems.

Of course, anything can cause an allergic reaction if you’re sensitive, so please be careful the first time you use any essential oil, especially if you already suffer from allergies of any kind.

There are some oils you should never use under any circumstances (most of these are used in manufacturing), and others that should be left to professionals. So just below this paragraph is a list of the ones you should never use. Further down is a list of the oils that should only be used by qualified aromatherapists.

For safety’s sake essential oils should never be taken internally, even though you may see this recommended elsewhere. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause permanent damage if used in this way, even if you think you have diluted them. Be safe and use them as intended, in massage blends and diffusers, and keep them out of the reach of children at all times.

NB: Some oils may be sold under different common names. Check the latin name. If you have any doubt, just don’t buy!

Essential oils that should never be used at home at all

Common Name Latin name
Almond, Bitter Prunus dulcis var. armara
Armoise Artemisia vulgaris
Arnica Arnica montana
Birch, Sweet Betula lenta
Boldo Peumus boldus
Broom, Spanish Spartium junceum
Calamus (Sweet Flag) Acorus calamus var. angustatus
Camphor, Brown and Yellow Cinnamomum camphora
Cassia Cinnamomum cassia
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium
Cinnamon bark Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Deertongue Carphephorus odoratissimus
Elecampane Inula helenium
Fennel, Bitter Foeniculum vulgare var. amara
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana
Jaborandi Pilocarpus jaborandi
Mustard Brassica nigra
Nettle, Stinging Urtica dioica
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans
Oregano, Common Origanum vulgare
Oregano, Spanish Origanum capitatus
Parsley herb Petroselinum sativum
Pennyroyal, American Hedeoma pulegioides
Pennyroyal, European Mentha pulegium
Pine, Dwarf Pinus inugo var pumillio
Rue Ruta graveolens
Sage Salvia officinalis
St John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum
Sassafras Sassafras albidum
Sassafras, Brazilian Ocotea pretiosa
Savine Juniperus sabina
Savory, Summer Satureja hortensis
Savory, Winter Satureja montaha
Southernwood Artemisia abrotanum
Tansy Tanacetum vulgare
Thuja Thuja spp
Tonka Dipteryx odorata
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Wormseed Chenopodium ambrosioides var anthelminticum
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium

Essential oils that should only be used on the instructions of a qualified aromatherapist

Common Name Latin name
Aniseed (Anise) Pimpinella anisum
Caraway Carum carvi
Garlic Allium sativum
Melilotus Melilotus officinalis
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus
Thyme, Red Thymus vulgaris

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