Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Only Lavender and Tea Tree are safe to put directly on the skin?

Tea tree works best in combination with other antifungal oils and as these require dilution it will be normal to drop some tea tree and other oils into a little carrier like a cream or jojoba before application to the feet.  other antifungal oils to try are 

Eucalyptus Citriodora, Geranium, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Lemongrass, Patchouli, Spikenard, and Palmarosa

 Tea tree is one oil that is not absorbed readily into the skin. If you are treating a surface fungal infection then the addition of a carrier to assist absorption into the skin doesnt make sense.

On sensitisation generally I guess its worth reflecting here why the lamiaceae developed essential oils at all. Look at peppermint (menthol) and thyme (thymol). Brush your hands through the leaves and you get a nice smelling dusting of essential oil. Not so much as to irritate our skin but if you are a snail or a fungus then its death. Rubbing concentrated peppermint oil or thyme oil onto the skin is therefore probably not a good idea! remember the snails! 


Lavender (esters) as a mountain plant by contrast developed its own non toxic essential oil primarily to attract insects to its remote location and the oil is concentrated in the flowers not the leaves. lavender is therefore prone to periodic snail attack when its grown at lower altitudes but safe enough for our skin in small amounts but dilution is the sensible norm to follow even with lavender.

Bergamot is phototoxic and a potential skin sensitiser. The principal ingredient in eau de cologne it is sprayed on and as the alcohol evaporates so the bergamot is in direct contact with the skin but the effect of the spray is to spread the bergamot over the skin. 

 Why did the rutaceae develop essential oils? To keep the bugs off until the seed and fruit is sufficiently developed to be consumed. So if the lamiaceae and rutaceae developed essential oil as a pesticide (and that is much of essential oil use to us, the psycho-therapeutic properties apart,), would you drop an undiluted pesticide onto your skin? whether pure? whether natural? 

It is worth bearing in mind that essential oils should be diluted when applied to the skin for external use.  Oils used like this as well as being carried into the body volatise.  Essential oil that is that is taken internally has no such escape.  Therefore our safety cautions found with our tough external skin apply 100 fold when we are talking about our sensitive internal skin.
If you nontheless do feel tempted to put orange or lemon oil in a glass of water then bear in mind that limonene is an industrial degreasing agent.  So take care on the dose unless you want that desired effect!


Successful topical treatment of warts


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