I thought I’d written about this before yet I can’t find my post about this anywhere (not here, or on JOLI’s other blog or via our newsletters) so I’m going to write it again.
When I first began my chemical free skin care journey, back in the days when I was learning about working with essential oils, herbs and botanicals, one of the first questions that came up for me was ‘are essential oils safe?’
The question arose from the list of eo’s I was given with a number of them having warnings about use during pregnancy, epilepsy and high or low blood pressure. Peppermint and lavender were on the list and I asked the essential oil expert why they are deemed unsafe. Especially considering people drink peppermint tea and use lavender scented room sprays. If peppermint and lavender aren’t safe why are there no warnings on those products – i.e. do not use or consume while pregnant?
The expert advised me that the fear stems from back when apothecaries were using those ingredients as strong medicinals to treat particular ailments. Back then people were given very, very strong doses of medicines derived from plants such as basil, peppermint, raspberry, lavender, clary sage, eucalyptus etc. These doses were at potent levels and given to the patient to cure what ails them.
Some plant extracts can have adverse effects on the human body such as being a uterine stimulant, which is something those who are pregnant would want to avoid so as not to inadvertently start contractions. Clary sage is one of them.
However, the way we use those ingredients now in herbal teas, air freshers, body products etc – the essential oils are diluted at considerably lower doses than what ye’ol apothecaries were using, and usually not ingested or applied directly to skin. The only safe essential oil for direct contact with skin is lavender, all other essential oils should be diluted in carrier oil.
Essentially the experts say that essential oils are not harmful and that we don’t need to fear peppermint eo, for example, because smelling it will not induce labour / miscarriage.
For example peppermint eo has a safe dilution factor of around 2% (max) which is 7-8 drops in 20ml carrier oil or base product. JOLI use peppermint essential oil in Luscious Body Butter at a considerably lower percentage than the safe dilution factor, therefore using Luscious Body Butter while pregnant is unlikely to send a woman into early labour. Still, it goes without saying, if you prefer to stay clear of peppermint scented products while pregnant you, then say clear to ease your concerns.
If you have any questions JOLI are always happy to help.