The most dangerous thing about essential oils is the misconception that if something is "natural," it is safe. This is simply not true. There are many toxins found in nature. Essential oils can be effective remedies for a variety of ills but they should always be used with caution.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant oils. They are most often used for aromatherapy and massage purposes. When used as aromatherapy, essential oils are diffused into the air with an oil burner and breathed in to create relaxation and other health benefits. Essential oils are also mixed with massage lotions and other oils to be used for massage.

Inappropriate Usage

Most essential oils must be diluted for topical use. Failure to dilute oil properly can result in a chemical-like burn. Do not use a higher concentration of oil than recommended. The phrase "too much of a good thing" can definitely be applied to the use of essential oils.

The overuse of essential oils can be dangerous. Even when using the oils for aromatherapy, the inhalation of too high a dose of essential oils can result in headaches and nausea.

Dangers to Pets

According to Natural News, tee tree oil may be toxic to pets even when used topically. It has been associated with nausea, vomiting, weakness and tremors in dogs.

Cats are especially vulnerable to the toxins in essential oils. A cat's liver is not capable of processing these toxins and the use of some essential oils could result in liver failure.

Birds are intolerant of heavy scents. The diffusion of essential oils into the air around a bird may cause respiratory failure.

Contact a veterinarian before using essential oils on any animal.

Skin Irritation

Some people have skin allergies to certain oils. To test for skin allergies, dilute a drop of essential oil into a teaspoon of vegetable and rub on a small inconspicuous patch of skin. If redness, itching or irritation occurs discontinue use.

Some oils are not intended for skin contact. Follow labeling directions carefully.

Other Dangers

Most essential oils are not manufactured for internal use. Do not ingest essential oils unless directed to do so by a health care professional. These oils are highly concentrated and can be toxic if eaten.

Skin absorbs essential oils, so women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should not use essential oils even externally. Use of these oils as an aromatherapy treatment during pregnancy should be discussed with the doctor providing prenatal care.