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Herb + Essential Oil Safety

More and more people are turning to natural health products because they want to avoid synthetic chemicals and reconnect with Nature. This is awesome! Plants have been a part of human lives since the very beginning. Our bodies have evolved alongside them, and as such, have a much better understanding of how to use them. Herbal therapy works holistically, where “side effects” of target treatment tend to be more beneficial. This makes it less likely that herbs and essential oils will have a negative effect on the body when used properly.

It is important to understand that while herbs and essential oils are often safe, some can have negative side effects when misused, abused, or used in an inappropriate way.

The following conditions require unique care and always warrant a consultation with a qualified healthcare practitioner before the use of any new product:

• Children, babies and elderly
• Persons taking medications (pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals)
• Pregnancy and nursing
• Chronic disease or compromised organs (skin, liver, kidneys, lungs,etc.)
• Mental disease
• Infection
• Open wounds
• Sensitive skin
• Allergy prone individuals
• Serious injury and/or surgery and recovery
• Other conditions that compromise health

*We have NOT attempted to include contraindications for all of the above mentioned situations.

We happily disclose all of our ingredients and expect our customers to make informed decisions with their healthcare providers.



Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of the volatile components of plants. Because they so strong, they can offer great benefits, but should never be used internally or undiluted on the skin unless directed by a trained medical professional. Essential oils are invaluable in aromatherapy and skin care, but some should only be used under the care of a clinical aromatherapist, particularly ones containing phenols, aldehydes, ketones and methyl salicylates. Following is an incomplete list of some essential oils we do not use for this reason:






All of our essential oils are 100% pure, unadulterated, therapeutic quality. We source our oils from a reputable company whose owners have worked in the essential oil industry for multiple decades. Many of their clients are hospitals and clinical aromatherapists.


The skin often responds much better to natural therapies than synthetic chemicals. That being said, anyone can be allergic to anything. We recommend testing new products on a small area of skin.

Some factors may increase the risk of sensitivity:

Powerful Ingredients, Potency and Prolonged Use

We have avoided use of the most irritating oils in all of our products. Our body care and aromatherapy products contain between 1-3% essential oils, which is the recommended therapeutic dilution. Prolonged use of any product on the market can increase the risk of sensitization and generally just isn’t as effective. We suggest varying the products used and avoiding consistent daily use for more than 2 months at a time. Switch it up!

Sensitive Skin

Young, elderly, ill and allergy-prone people as well as those with very sensitive skin should use more awareness with topical preparations. Increased dermal permeability enhances potency. Do not apply products to eyes, genitals or open wounds unless instructed to do so. Be in tune with your skin!


Citrus essential oils (lemon, orange, mandarin) and some others (angelica) that contain furocoumarins may cause sensitivity to sunlight when skin is exposed within up to 3-12 hours after application. Our bergamot undergoes a process of distillation to remove furocoumarins to reduce the risk of photosensitivity. Play it safe!


Before much research had been done, essential oils were used sensibly during pregnancy with no record of negative responses. There is varying information about which essential oils are safe during pregnancy, while nursing and with children. In most cases, negative reactions are a result of misinformation and overuse of essential oils. Please read publications from the authors listed below if you would like to learn more about essential oil safety during pregnancy.

The main concerns during pregnancy are emmenogogic, neurotoxic or hepatotoxic essential oils. It is important to consider context: the health of the pregnancy, route of application and dosage are all significant. Avoid internal use. Don’t use excessive amounts. A healthy pregnancy can be supported by aromatherapy with the right oils at the right potency. If there is a threat of miscarriage, it is best to avoid essential oils entirely, unless under the care of a trained aromatherapist. When in doubt, consult an expert.

Conflicting recommendations among reputable sources are present with essential oil use during pregnancy. Additionally, some aromatherapists advise against the use of any essential oils with children under two while others use them successfully. Our children’s products have a lower concentration of essential oils.

We have done our best to educate our customers under the “Uses” tab of each product. Contraindications are listed, and key oils identified. We expect our customers to make educated decisions about their own health.

To learn more about the safe and effective use of essential oils, we recommend the following authors to get you started:

Joie Power, PhD

Shirley Price

Denise Tiran

Robert Tisserand

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy is a wonderful resource.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether a product is right for you, please consult your healthcare provider.

For questions pertaining to Earth Roots Apothecary products, please e-mail info@earthrootsherbal.com