Most essential oils are non-toxic and are not dangerous when used properly. This means that it is safe to use small amounts of diluted essential oils as long as they are used according to the instructions and under the guidance of a responsible aromatherapist. However, there are a few essential oils that can be toxic even when used in small amounts, and some oils can be toxic if used for long periods of time.
There are also some people who are more susceptible to harm from essential oils than the general population, such as infants, young children, pregnant women, people with epilepsy, and the elderly, so care should be taken when using essential oils. We have already mentioned this in our discussion of the various types of body types, so we will not repeat it here.
Essential oils that are highly toxic are not used in the general treatment and are not readily available. However, there are a few oils that are on the “edge of danger”, which are toxic, but are readily available and should be used with care.
Some of these oils are mentioned in this book, especially the dangerous ones that are imported from France without any warning. This is because most aromatherapists in France are qualified as medical practitioners and have to complete a general medical training course before they can be trained in the use of essential oils, so they are well aware of the dangers of these oils.
It is important to be very careful with these oils and to be very aware of their effects on the body, which can lead to death if they are inadvertently misused. Homeopaths and allopaths sometimes use trace amounts of toxic plants, but this does not mean that laypeople and aromatherapists without a medical background can use these oils on their own.
So far, there are several other essential oils that may be toxic, and we still don’t know much about the effects of their toxicity. Perhaps new research and clinical trials will reveal that they are in fact very safe essential oils, as was the case in earlier studies.
Essential oils that are dangerous but readily available are: camphor, wormwood (often labeled with the French name: Amorth), peppermint, cedarwood, cypress, wintergreen, and absinthe. These are some of the essential oils that are best not tried lightly.
Most books say that sage is a safe essential oil, but my personal observations and the evidence presented by other therapists indicate that it is a dangerous oil. I think switching to happy sage would be the safe choice.
There are several chemical types of thyme essential oils that are toxic, so I usually use only very low concentrations of thyme essential oils. If I am going to use it on children, I usually forgo thyme and use other safer oils or choose aromatic thyme with sedum alcohol.
Bitter almond essential oil is highly dangerous because it contains cyanocinqing compounds (almond oil, used as a massage base, is a very safe sweet almond oil). Most of the almond essences that add to the taste of food are either chemically removed from cyanide or synthesized by artificial methods.
The essential oil of fennel often sold under the French name “Arneis”, can produce very serious symptoms if used for a long time. It can damage the nervous and circulatory systems and is as addictive as drugs and narcotics.
Therefore, it is best to avoid long-term use of the same essential oil to avoid the accumulation of residual essential oil molecules in the body, which can poison the body. Even the safest of essential oils can be used for a long time and the body will still lose its response to it. Therefore, it is best to change the type of essential oil you use frequently or to stop using it every once in a while.
Highly toxic essential oils can often damage the kidneys or liver, and the same effect can be seen with prolonged use of oils that are on the “danger edge”.
This is because these organs filter toxic substances from the body, so toxins of all kinds can easily accumulate in these organs.
I must emphasize that essential oil toxicity is not unique to the oral use of essential oils.
Whether inhaled or applied to the skin, essential oils are quickly absorbed by the body into the bloodstream. This is the therapeutic principle of aromatherapy, but it also implies that toxic essential oils can enter the body quickly in the same way.