We all enjoy pleasant scents. The air after a spring rain storm, the breeze off the ocean in the early morning mist, the forest musky aroma when the layers of leaves are disturbed, and best of all, the scent of fresh sheets taken from the clothesline on a summers day. Now those are pleasant scents to me. Flowers are good, but tend to lead to sneezing if overdone.
Today it is often hard to open windows and invite fresh air into our homes. We use air fresheners and essential oils to add scents to our homes. Essential Oils are often used in aromatherapy to help with relaxation, calming and quiet moments. Essentials Oils are liquids gotten by one of several methods from plants and citrus fruits. One company I found has over 240 Essential Oils for sale and the prices range from about $10 per pound to $4,600.00 per pound!
However, caution should be taken when handling Essential Oils. Recent research by Lina Hagvall from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has shown that lavender oil and geraniol oil (a part of Rose Oil) may become allergenic when it comes in contact with oxygen as well as certain skin enzymes.
Hagvall found that Lavender oil oxidizes in air. It reacts with the oxygen in the air forming hydro peroxides, which are strong allergens. Geraniol oil reacted with the skin enzymes as well as oxidizing in contact with the air, forming the same allergenic compound in both cases - geranial.
According to Hagvall, Geranial is also an irritant. Although the reaction in sufferers can look the same, allergens cause an immune response whereas irritants damage the surface of the skin causing inflammation. Neither feels good and the sensitivity created lasts for years and recurs upon contact with the offending oil.
So play it safe when using Essential Oils. Follow these few guidelines for enjoyable use of Essential Oils:
* Dilute Essential Oils before putting on the skin. Although some sources suggest that Essential oils can be added to the skin undiluted, because of the potential for skin irritation and contact allergic reaction, it is safer to always dilute.
* Pregnancy, asthma , sinus conditions and other health conditions are reasons to avoid or limit the use of Essential Oils.
* Candles, fireplaces and any open flames are not good companions for Essential Oils as they burn.
* Since many of the oils smell good enough to drink, but are not safe to ingest, please keep away from children.
Use in moderation, use with a touch of common sense and enjoy!