Recent reports pertaining to the dangers of essential oils and their usage have been surfacing. These oils which were once seen as a holistic alternative to achieving overall well-being, are now being touted as harmful, toxic, and poisonous. So, what exactly is the truth?
As with all products used to promote good health and vitality, essential oils can serve as a positive, natural approach to combating some mild medical conditions. However, as with everything in life, essential oils should be used sensibly and reasonably.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are derived from concentrated extracts of plants. Whilst different producers engage in different methods when producing their oils, all oils originate from flowers, fruits, herbs, shrubs, vines grass, and trees. There is variation however when regarding the part of the plant that each oil is sourced from. For example, some oils like cinnamon come from the bark, orange oil, the rinds, and peppermint, the leaves. Coupled with the potential benefits offered by these liquid extracts, is their concentrated aroma, which is due to the high level of the initial active ingredient.
Over the years, the ways in which people choose to use the oils have varied. Cosmetic manufacturers have used them in the creation of creams, bath gels, shampoos, and a wealth of other products. Whilst natural medicine practitioners like aromatherapists defuse the oils into the air. They believe that the action of breathing in the oils allows them to enter the lungs and bloodstream, where some of the helpful compounds will benefit the body. The act of adding the oils to a carrier oil and massaging them into the skin is also believed to be a functional way of delivering the active compounds to the body.
Take Care When Using Essential Oils
Due to the high concentration of the compounds found in the oils, it is imperative that anyone using them takes care in the application. Simply because essential oils derived from natural products it should not be assumed that they carry no side effects. In fact, some side effects associated with the use of the oils have been found to be dangerous:
Whilst harmless to most people when inhaled, people who suffer from asthma may react negatively when they breathe in the fumes.
There are a range of essential oils known for aiding to dispel headaches, however, inhaling the oil’s strong aromas actually leads to headaches in others.
Burning, Irritation, and Inflammation
Essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied directly onto the skin. Undiluted oils can cause serious damage like blisters to the skin, especially when worn in direct sunlight. Oils have also been reported to cause rash and hives. Never use essential oils on damaged or inflamed skin.
Life-threatening complications can arise if oils are ever accidentally ingested. Anyone who accidentally ingests these oils should seek medical attention right away.
Suffering to Loved Ones and Pets
It is also important to remember that when sharing a home with family, friends or animals, all may not react positively to the essential oil that you are using. For example, babies and very young children should not come into contact with the essential oils birch or wintergreen as they contain the chemical methyl salicylate, which can prove highly toxic. Also, it is not advised to use certain oils around pregnant women. Oil diffusers have also been reported for their negative effects on house pets.
As an essential oil user, the bonus is on the individual to find out what oils can be used in which way and around whom. The natural essence of each oil can be extremely beneficial when used correctly. From sinus problems to headaches, from joint stiffness to restful sleep, essential oils have the potential to aid in countless ways bringing relief and relaxation to the user. In most cases essential oils are safe, but it is important to carry out research thereby avoiding the possibility of side effects.