The Actual Risks of Essential Oil Use

How little we know of something that is so commonly available! Essential oils are really very potent substances and should be used very carefully in most cases. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realise how little we know about a substance we might be applying on a daily basis! -

Essential Oils and Toxicity Issues

As with most medicinal drugs, whether of a “synthetic” or a “natural” origin, the compounds present in essential oils have the potential to create serious, even fatal toxic effects, if ingested in overly large quantities.

There are numerous cases reported in toxicological literature regarding both serious (non-fatal) and fatal outcomes of essential oil ingestion in both children and adults.

These cases are generally due to accidental ingestion by young children, attempts at creating abortions in past years and the use of essential oils for suicide attempts. There are more rare cases of toxic effects due to overly large doses of specific essential oils being “self-prescribed”, “prescribed” to children by parents or prescribed to clients by ill-informed therapists.

Given the rapid and almost complete absorption of essential oils ingested orally, this route of administration has the highest potential for toxic effects.

First aid measures for ingestion of significant amounts of particularly toxic essential oils (such as more than 2mL of high-cineole Eucalyptus oils in young children) is straightforward: take the child to the nearest hospital emergency room or at least call or a Poisons Information Centre for instructions. The vast majority of accidental essential oil ingestion in children results in few, if any symptoms and resolve safely with no medical intervention.(6)

It is often difficult to determine just how much of an essential oil (or any product) a young child has ingested. If toxic symptoms do begin to develop, gastric lavage, hemodialysis and other supportive medical measures may well be necessary. To attempt to either dilute the stomach contents by giving burnt toast (or activated charcoal), milk or other foods or to try to induce vomiting is not recommended. Either approach, if vomiting occurs, has the potential to allow these volatile compounds to enter the lungs, potentially creating aspiration pneumonia. (7)

Click Toxicity Myths The Actual Risks of Essential Oil Use to read the full article.

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