Why I Refrain From Sharing Therapeutic Essential Oil Blends

Why I Refrain From Sharing Therapeutic Essential Oil Blends

I bet that title got your attention. There are a couple reasons why I do not list therapeutic essential oil blends/formulations in a blog. You could do a simple Google search such as “essential oils for allergies” and you will find many posts, memes, pins, etc, on how to “treat” your allergies. The issue here is multifaceted, the first being that many of the recommendations would not be effective. Another is the method of use (recommending oil in a capsule) is not the most effective or safe for allergies. Lastly, more often times than not basic safety is not covered when these blends are shared, possible contraindications listed or even safe diluting advice given.


So you may be thinking, if I know all of this information, why am I avoiding sharing good formulations for the general public? Up to this point, I have taken the path of education, talking about proper use, scientific facts, and touching a little bit on chemistry.


The main reason that I do not share therapeutic blends/formulations online is the fact that everyone is different. Sure, essential oils have basic therapeutic properties that cross the board for most everyone. BUT if my neighbor, you, or I had bronchitis and needed some help with a few days of suppositories, it is more than likely that we will all have a different formulation based on medical conditions, medications, age, weight, and basic constitution. The same would apply if I made an allergy inhaler, blend for a nebulizer, or steam tent. This would likely require three different blends based on many of these things with the addition of likes and dislikes where aromatics are concerned.


What Is A Contraindication?


Many essential oils come with what are called contraindications. These are specific instances when an oil should not be used because it might be harmful, for example, anyone with a history of seizures, asthma, blood clotting disorders, taking certain medications or are pregnant or nursing to name a few. There are certain oils not recommended for children for various reasons. Some oils increase the risk of skin irritation when applied topically (more so for those with sensitive skin), while other oils are phototoxic.


This slowly begins to paint a picture as to why sharing therapeutic blends can be an issue.


When Things Backfire


As an aromatherapy educator and someone who is present in social media, I have seen more essential oil “accidents” then I care to think about.


-A woman contacted me with chemical burns on her mouth and chin from the application of diluted cinnamon and clove to a cold sore. The burns lasted a couple weeks and were extremely painful and slow healing with continual cracking of the skin.


-I have had a panicked mom in the ER contact me as her daughter was covered in hives and patchy red sores/blisters from a one-time application of a blend to her chest for a cough.


-I have had a mom contact me panicked that her child was listless after a nap where a recommended blend from Pinterest was recommended for peaceful sleep.


There are many others, but I listed these three as they were the ones that were really upsetting to the individuals affected. Luckily, all three cases recovered nicely and are ok today.


Do I Give Advice?


Am I willing to give advice to others on social media or over the phone? I am willing, at times, to do so privately if I feel the situation warrants it, although I tend to stick to the facts surrounding safety in all things. Before I do this I ask proper questions such as: Do you have any medical condition I need to be aware of? Are you taking any medications? What is your overall health like? Do you have sensitivities? Do you have allergies? Depending on the possible recommendation I ask: Do you have any small children in the home? Do you own pets?


There is much to be considered.


Aromatherapists Responsibility


As a trained aromatherapist, I took an oath of “do no harm”. First and foremost, my thoughts are on keeping you safe. If you follow my FB page, you may have made note of something special that I add to posts when I share something that is written by others that contain a recommendation within, whether it is for an herb or sometimes, rarely an oil or oil blend. It reads something like this:

**Make note, as I do not know your medical history please do your own research before following the recommendations within.


At the very least, this is appropriate.


It is also the responsibility of the professional aromatherapist to understand that we are not to treat medical conditions. “Diagnose, prescribe, or treat” are things we should not and do not do. What we should do is look at the whole body, the whole person. We work to restore homeostasis by addressing the whole body, in all it fabulous layers and complexities.

This quote addresses this aspect quite nicely:

“To reach the individual we need an individual remedy. Each of us is a unique message. It is only the unique remedy that will suffice”.- Madame Marguerite Maury

Madame Marguerite Maury (1895-1968) was an Austrian born biochemist who became interested in what was to become aromatherapy. Look again at the years of her life…have we veered too far from her quote and lost the true art of aromatherapy? She was a very wise woman indeed.


What Can Be Done


Let’s take a brief look at what I consider to be beginner’s blends. These are very basic blends that do not carry with them cautions or contraindications. Essential oils that when used are safe for everyone. I do share these at times. These do not address specific ailments. As a professional, if I can assist in helping to get essential oil enthusiasts feet wet using the oils in a safe manner, I have done a great service to our community as a whole. Everyone starts at the beginning. This is very different than a more complex blend that is specific to the individual. Two different uses, if you will. These very basic beginner’s blends may not affect everyone in the same way but do help to see which oils complement each other, as well as the basic use of the oil. The more therapeutic use of essential oils needs to be recommended after a one on one consultation with an experienced aromatherapist.


Take A Step Back


There are plenty of responsible aromatherapists with years and years of experience out there that have written blogs, books, and more that do list recipes/formulations for potential ailments. I own and recommend many of these books to my readers/clients. Every professional in the field works from their own level of education and experience, no two of us are alike, and I see this as a beautiful thing. I have a deep respect for everyone and their views, this is what makes us unique.


I have a large following of friends, family, and acquaintances that reach out to me to make sure what they are doing is appropriate. There are, however, much more out there who are not utilizing proper information, as there is so much of it out there it can be difficult to determine what is factual and what is misguided opinion.


What You Should Look For


The best that you can do as a home user is to do your own research. If you are reading blogs they should have plenty of resources and references for you to dig deeper. If you come across an article giving recommendations with no references to speak of, I would keep looking.


Other Things To Consider


Is the publication recent?

Is the author respected “in the field”? In the field is an important piece as many health guru’s have moved over to the essential oil industry without the proper education to back them or their recommendations up.




This is my take on sharing them more therapeutic essential oil recipes/formulations, and why up until now have decided not to do so. If you are in need of recommendations of where to look for quality, accurate information, take a look at my “Aromatherapy Resources” section above.

To your health! <3



Like so many practices in life I encourage you to become educated on the proper use of essential oils. When using them, please do so cautiously, understanding that there is often misinformation on the internet.  You can be assured that I support only educated and proven resources. While essential oils should not be feared they should be respected and used properly to ensure the safety of the individuals using them.


Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.






**NEW** Podcast #2-Essential Oil Chemistry- Functional Groups

**NEW** Podcast #2-Essential Oil Chemistry- Functional Groups

Welcome to my first official podcast covering the basics of essential oil chemistry and the functional groups…..or plainly stated “Functional Group Chemistry“.  This podcast is intended as a stepping stone to the bigger picture of essential oil chemistry, but is a great stepping point.

The information in this podcast is based off of the book “The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils by E. Joy Bowles and the teaching or Mark Webb B.Sc out of Australia. Look for future podcasts/trainings in the area of chemistry.


Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

Leslie Bio

**BRAND NEW** Lifeholistically Podcast Network

**BRAND NEW** Lifeholistically Podcast Network

I am SUPER EXCITED to announce my new podcast, “Lifeholistically Podcast Network”. I will be offering you FREE weekly content covering ALL topics surrounding natural health. Aromatherapy, herbs, homeopathy, food, mind-body balance, meditation, yoga, and much more!

This first podcast is short and sweet, I just wanted to share a little bit about myself for those that do not already know me. I hope you tune in below and listen, and come back when new content is published.



Before you go, take a look around my website. I have a lot of free content, a brand new training program for aromatherapists, and safety items under the top menu bar above.

My new book is about to be published as well, entitled “Essential oils safe use for the home”. It is an exciting, busy time in my world!

Tune in next week!

Aromatic blessings,


Leslie Bio




The Golden Rule-A Reflection of the Aromatherapy Community *Updated

The Golden Rule-A Reflection of the Aromatherapy Community *Updated

In case you are not familiar with the golden rule, it states, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”, or another version is “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” This rule is imperative in life; it is one that I have taught my boys since they were able to understand what I was saying (I still preach it today, because, well…kids).


I feel that my community, the one that I have dedicated much of the last decade to, can sometimes miss the mark. Those that are super passionate like myself, can at times forget about the way they come across to people online and in social media. I feel confident when I say that if we were in a public setting, things would often not happen the way we “read” them on Facebook. If there is a true “issue”, take it to a private discussion.


I implore everyone to take step back and think how they can better themselves, specific situations, and interactions with one another.


Our industry as a whole, is about helping others, the compassionate healers, and our fellow colleagues should not be an exception to the rule. We SHOULD be thinking about how we can lift each other up, as we all have the same goals, right?


I am all for constructive conversations in Facebook Aromatherapy groups. I often participate in them. I am always conscious in how I may be coming across to others as they are not sitting with me at tea time to see my face, hear my passion, and know my truth. It is important to have this discernment. I do not go out of my way to “prove someone else is wrong”, but rather offer my point of view. Aromatherapy is not always black and white, we do not need to fight our points tooth and nail until threads close down or commenting is turned off and feelings are hurt.


There are plenty of great Facebook groups out there that essential oil enthusiasts can come to get information from. As a qualified aromatherapist, it is important that we understand what we can and can not say, begin to take a look at what we “give away”, and how specific choices may not always be lifting the profession up along the way. At times these things are overlooked, and it tends to ruffles feathers. We do have an option, we can look the other way, or we can leave the group. I understand and share in the frustration at times, but as adults, we have the right to make those choices, and not break the golden rule along the way. Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.


Another thing to keep in mind is how quickly the industry is blooming, and how many come to us, not only for accurate information, but compassion and care. I know we can do better!


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” -Helen Keller


Let’s all work to do better, and be better going forward. It is not our way or the highway.



What is an Adverse Reaction to an Essential Oil?

What is an Adverse Reaction to an Essential Oil?

Would you know what to do if you or your child had an adverse reaction to an essential oil or oil blend? Do you know what an adverse reaction looks like? I will be covering a few of those here in hopes to make you more aware of what that might look like, and what to do if it happens.

First and foremost, this article is not written to scare or instill fear, but to make you more knowledgeable. I want to empower you to use them properly and know what to look for in the rare case there is a reaction. It is important to note, if you are following basic safety instructions, the likelihood of an adverse reaction is greatly reduced.

Skin Reactions

The first thing to look out for when using essential oils topically is skin reactions.

– Skin irritation, which is a direct result of contact with the skin and is localized to where the oil was applied. Once the material is removed, healing occurs. Removal is best done with a carrier oil such as almond, jojoba, or milk. Healing may not occur immediately, but you should see improvement after proper removal.

-Skin sensitization is a more serious reaction that is systemic (affecting the entire body or organism), involving the immune system called sensitization. According to Dorene Petersen of ACHS, “Sensitization occurs once the offending substance has penetrated the skin, been picked up by proteins in the skin, and mediated by the IgE response that produces histamine and other irritants.” (1) This is an allergic reaction that begins at the site of application but quickly spreads to the whole body. If the immune system response is activated, you likely will not be able to use the oil, or constituent in the oil again (the constituent can occur in multiple oils). If this happens to you please seek medical attention immediately. Save the bottle of oils for the medical staff, to help them to understand what they are dealing with. (Poison Control (800) 222-1222/24 hours a day)

 Phototoxic reactions can occur from a specific list of oils. This can occur when certain essential oil constituents on the skin react when exposed to the sun (ultraviolet light). This can result in general redness and burning of the skin, permanent changes in melanin, and chemical burns. These oils can be used on the skin, but utilize caution by not going out into the sun for 12-24 hours after exposure. If you follow this simple safety precaution, you will never have to deal with this type of reaction. **It is important to note that this applies to the area of skin where the oil was applied, not your body as a whole.

Here is a list of oils that should be used topically with caution, and their maximum use levels according to IFRA standards (2):

Angelica Root Angelica archangelica 0.8%
Bergamot Citrus bergamia 0.4%
Bitter Orange (Cold/Expeller Pressed) Citrus aurantium 1.25%
Cumin Cuminum cyminum 0.4%
Grapefruit (expressed) Citrus paradisi 4.0%
Lemon (Cold/Expeller Pressed) Citrus limon 2.0%
Lime (Cold/Expeller Pressed) Citrus aurantifolia 0.7%
Mandarin Leaf Citrus reticulate 0.17%
Rue Ruta graveolens 0.15%
Taget Tagetes minuta 0.01%

*If you have a phototoxic reaction such as a chemical burn, seek out the care of a medical professional to reduce permanent effects.

Diffusing Essential Oils

Essential oil diffusers disperse essential oil into the air in tiny droplets. Robert Tisserand recommends diffusing times of 30-60 minutes, or 30 minutes on and 60 minutes off (3). In order to explain possible reasons for this, let’s talk a little bit about our sense of smell, or our olfactory system. Our sense of smell goes through five stages, those are: detect, transmit, perceive, analyze, and store. These stages cycle incredibly fast. Dorene Petersen of the American College of Healthcare Sciences states that: “The reception area of our olfactory system is called the olfactory epithelium. The olfactory epithelium is the size of a small postage stamp in each nostril, and is packed with an impressive 40 million sensory neurons, capable of detecting .0000000013 of an ounce of a scent in a single breath of air” (4). Our olfactory system is incredibly efficient, obtaining the therapeutic benefits of these amazing oils happens quickly. To receive maximum benefit and not waste your precious oils, follow the diffusing times recommended above.

So, what can happen if we diffuse in a small space for too long with no ventilation? The most common reaction would be headaches and nausea. In the more aggressive aromatics (High levels of 1,8 cineole, menthol, camphor, cinnemaldehyde, etc), CNS (central nervous system) reactions such as decreased heart rate, impaired concentration, insomnia, seizures, and abnormal dream state are possible (5). These reactions are more common in pediatric cases. You would be able to notice these reactions in yourself quite easily, but think about your small children? The CNS reactions are not commonplace with all families of essential oils so it is important to recognize that if you follow the diffusion recommendations, this will likely never be something you have to worry about.

*For more information on safe diffusing, please refer to Essential Oil Safety 2e by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.




Internal Use

At times online and in social media, internal use is recommended quite casually without much respect for their true power. In my opinion, if you are not trained on the internal use of oils (Aromatic Medicine) or are being helped by someone who is, this is a risky thing to do. Why would I say this? Often times the methods that are being shared are not AT ALL the way that they should be used. Let me explain…

The liver is not equipped to handle this amount of aromatics. You may have heard in certain circles that essential oils are pure and this is perfectly safe. Essential oils are still chemicals. The liver’s job is to recognize foreign substances such as these and remove them as quickly as possible. A good analogy here is water in a glass. Begin pouring water in, once the glass has hit maximum capacity the water overflows. The liver is no different.

Oral dosing can interfere with medication or aggravate other medical conditions. You may hear something like “our oils are pure therapeutic grade and are safe for internal use” or “certain oils are GRAS” (generally recognized as safe for consumption), but this applies to consuming in food (food additives), not in water.

Internal usage does have its time and place, but you MUST know what you are doing…or at the very least, consult with someone who has been properly trained.

Interference with Medications

Some oils are contraindicated for use when taking certain medications. These oils can be problematic for those taking diabetes medication, heart medication, cancer medication, and medications via patches just to name a few.

If you are sharing the benefits of oils to others, are you aware of the specific contraindications? If so, are you asking your neighbor or friend what kinds of medications they are taking? The majority (not all) of these warnings are more of a concern when taking the oils internally, but if you are unaware, this can really be a concern.

When I say interference, I mean either inhibiting or enhancing the effects of the drug, which can be a very serious issue.


As you can see, there are quite a few things to look out for where adverse reactions are concerned. Look for my new book to be released early this fall, entitled “Essential Oil Safety for the Home User”. This book will cover these things and more in great detail empowering you to use essential oils safely for you and your family.



(1) Peterson, D. (2012) Aroma 101

(2) IFRA standards. Retrieved from http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/standards-library/s/phototoxicity#.V9VaSpMrJn4,

(3) (4) (5) Tisserand, R., Young, R. (2014) Essential Oil Safety (2nd Ed)





Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.





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