Good morning Emma,
I just finished reading the Jacqueline Fairbrass School of Complementary Therapies newsletter, and what a treat it was! A quick question regarding oils though (I got the impression that you are the one who knows about these things.) I have quite a number of oils that were purchased over the last few years and I’m not sure how long I should keep them. Actually, I don’t even know exactly how old many of them are.
Can essential oils be harmful if they are too old? Are there aromatherapy rules?
Any suggestions would be welcome.
There are many different ideas around about keeping essential oils. Some of the citrus ones are suggested last no longer than 6 months!
On the other hand, some of the heavier oils like Patchouli actually improve with age.
So, there are no hard and fast Aromatherapy Rules
When it comes to the life expectancy of your precious essentials oils.
What to do?
I suggest you open the bottles and smell the oils. If they are still smelling good, then they should be fine to use. If they have faded a little, they will still be okay, but just not as effective. If the aroma is not quite right, I suggest you throw them out and get something new.
The main reason for the time rules in Aromatherapy is that the ‘therapeutic’ actions of the oils may not be as effective if the essential oil is old. So, we say here at SchoolofCT ‘if in doubt, throw it out.’ Just like milk and fish!
FYI I have some oils that I’ve had for years and they still smell wonderful and have a fabulous therapeutic effect. Just keep your oils carefully. Always in dark bottles, away from the light, pets and kids and preferably somewhere cool.
An old biscuit tin works wonders!
Hope that helps, and thanks for writing to us.
Emma Fairbrass, Certified Traditional Holistic Aromatherapist