If It Can Melt Styrofoam, Why Are You Drinking It?

Some time ago I joined a Facebook group for essential oil users. The first post I read talked about how citrus essential oils (lemon in particular) can actually melt Styrofoam. In another post, someone claimed that it’s perfectly safe to add a couple drops of lemon essential oil into a glass of drinking water because it “maintains optimal health,” or words to that effect. Yet another poster asked if she could get her child to consume Thieves® essential oil by putting it in ice cream. I resisted making a comment because I am only in that group to lurk, in other words, get fodder for stories about unsafe aromatherapy practices.

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NEATness Doesn’t Always Count

There’s a certain four-letter word in aromatherapy: NEAT. It’s not an acronym. It simply means applying essential oils to the skin undiluted. When I first got started with essential oils, I didn’t know that they should be diluted in a carrier oil before application. So typical of me to read the instructions after the fact.

In this article we’re going to talk about the risks involved with applying essential oils NEAT to the skin.

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What’s So Essential About These Oils, Anyway?

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If you’re reading this, you’re probably new to the world of essential oils. Why are they essential?

Essential oils are derived from certain species of plants. These plants have their own built-in defense mechanisms against predators and environmental threats. Plant species have chemical constituents specific to the type of plant and its environment. You could say that these chemicals are “essential” to the survival of the plant.

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