Children and Essential Oil Safety

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived”.-Helen Keller

Essential oil use is becoming increasingly popular. Every day we see companies opening across the country and on the internet. From small entrepreneurs, mlm (multi-level marketing) and larger companies, many say that they offer pure “therapeutic grade” essential oils, unlike any other company. However, there is no actual recognized grading system for essential oils. The term “therapeutic grade” was coined by a company (with others following suit) and has no meaning in the aromatic industry. Unless the company provides Gas Chromotography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) reports that analyze the oil’s components, there is no guarantee of its purity. The analysis not only breaks down the chemical constituents of an oil, it also will pick up any synthetic ingredients present within the oil. Essential oils are a complex mixture of 20-200 organic compounds. Most reliable companies have these readily available on their site. Many have them upon request. By gaining a few key terms, these reports can help guide you in making informative safe decisions.

Essential oil molecules are made up of chemical families and within the chemical families are the chemical components. As previously mentioned, GC/MS reports will show the breakdown of the chemical families and the constituents within these chemical families. There are chemical families and constituents that sends up red flags for children as well as elderly, those with sensitive skin and on medications or other health issues. Chemical families and components of concern that I call “red flagged” include Phenols (eugenol, thymol, and carvacrol), Aldehydes (neral and geranial), Ethers (methyl eugenol and methyl chavicol), Ketones (camphor, carvone, and menthone components) and Oxides (cineole). Essential oils are composed of several or more chemical families, but when these particular component categories (listed above) are dominant, it becomes a concern. However, as long as the suggested safety cautions are followed, these type of essential oils can be useful for certain individuals. Some of the essential oils that fall under these chemical families, and in this case, specifically Phenols include Clove bud (Eugenia Caryophyllata) and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and tulsi (Holy basil) (Ocimum sanctum ct eugenol).

For aromatherapists, the essential oil analysis report is important in regards to the essential oil components and for aromatherapy blending. Many aromatherapists blend essential oils based on the chemical constituents shown in the analysis reports. Purchasing essential oils from a reliable company/supplier, always look for those with an ethical reputation as well as research their stance on sustainability for the plants. There are also wa