I have come across many people using coconut oil for themselves or their animal companions. Most people are not aware that refined coconut oil is actually toxic. In actual fact a client recently attended an aromatherapy product information evening and intereestingly was recommended by the consultant to use refined coconut oil as a base oil.
So, what is the difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil?
Refined Coconut Oil
This process requires the meat (the kernal) of the coconut to be either sundried, smoked, kiln dried or a combination of either three processes. The oil is then extracted from the dried coconut meat. During the drying process bacteria can contaminate the coconut meat. So a process of purification of the coconut meat is necessary.
During the purification process a solvent called hexane is used. Hexane is a known petroleum product and most hexane contamination incidents occur at petrol stations either by inhalation or skin contact.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Also called extra virgin or virgin coconut oil and uses fresh coconut meat cold pressed without the use of any chemicals. This process does not involve heat or chemicals and therefore keeps the scent of the coconut within the oil.
When choosing a base oil along with aromatherapy essential oils I always ensure that a cold pressed extraction is used, that the product is organic, wild crafted and oils that have been through gas chromatography report (GCR) testing. GCR testing outlines an gives assurity of the purity of the essential oils. Just so that you are sure that the essential oils chosen have not been mixed with synthetic oils or vegetable oils have been added to the product.
As essential oils have such a powerful effect on body chemistry it is important that you have an understanding of the correct dosages to use and correct use. If you are also taking or a human or animal family member is taking allopathic medications then please consult with a qualified practicioner to ensure that saftey can be ensured. Another eiminder is to keep essential oils away from cats and always consult with aqualified practicioner for the use around feline companions as cats can not metabolise aromatherapy esential oils. Burning candles in an enclosed space is often something that I see without the knowledge that it is toxic for cats.