Why do we suggest diluting? As a certified aromatherapist, essential oil safety is so important. Even an essential oil considered safe can cause harm if used neat or too often. The reasons are:
1. Certain essential oils are considered hot oils and can burn your skin if undiluted. Take oregano for example. If you have ever accidentally or unknowingly used oregano essential oil neat, you likely will never forget that sensation.
2. Some essential oils contain chemical components that are difficult for the liver and kidneys to process. We often forget that our liver and kidneys process essential oils and we do not want to overload them! It is best to dilute and use them as the precious medicine they are rather than neat and freely.
The only essential oils that I occasionally use neat for acute short term issues are: Lavender, Helichrysum, and Frankincense. If I get a cut, bruise, or a burn, I often reach for one of these three essential oils and apply one drop neat to the site of the injury.
Another note on the section, for acute short term issues it is appropriate to increase the percentage of essential oil in your blend up. That percentage greatly depends of the essential oil you are using. A general rule of thumb that is usually safe is 2% dilution for daily use, and 5-10% for occasional use.
3. You are less likely to develop a sensitivity if you dilute. Some people can use an essential oil neat for a lifetime with no issues, but some develop a sensitivity to it and are no longer able to use that oil. I don't know about you, but I would rather use an oil for a lifetime safely rather than a short period neat!
4. The sustainability aspect. The process of creating and essential oil, the life force of the plant, often takes alot of plant material. Diluting helps to protect these precious medicinal resources and reduces over-harvesting.
Overall, essential oils (as mentioned above) are precious medicines to be met with respect and gratitude. Overloading our systems with undiluted essential oils can cause harm to our bodies and planet Earth. When we care for the Earth, it cares for us!
About The Author: Alicia is a NAHA certified level 2 aromatherapist, herbalist, skin care guru, organic product formulator, avid gardener, writer, wife, and mother to two three children. She is an organic living advocate on a mission to spread the word about living a natural lifestyle.
You can purchase her organic aromatherapy goods at www.apothepurity.com