Side Effects and Precautions

        For the amount of information that is on the internet concerning aromatheapy and its
apparent use in stress reduction the amount of information (or pages) reporting side
effects or providing the reader with precautions is relatively low.
         But, it seems from the pages that do provide this sort of information, that the use
of aromaterapy, and specifically the use of essential oils, is not without risk.
         One of the most informative pages provides a ‘disclaimer’ that seems to make the
most sense regarding aromatherapy. It reads “[This symptoms chart does not make any]
specific claims for the effectiveness of any essential oil based on the claims made for it on
this website or elsewhere. All information contained in these documents was gathered
from testimonials of anecdotal experiences of people using the oils. There is no scientific
basis for assuming that they will be effective for others. Each individual is different. The
information contained at this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not
provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness or injured condition
of the body and the author, publisher, printer and distributors accept no responsibility for
such use. If you are allergy prone or sensitive to scents, tests the oils in small amounts.
The essential oils are not for internal use. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness or
injury should consult with a physician”
(http://www.organicessentialoils.com/members/comtek/).
         Some pages, that can be deemed most reasonable, provide precautions about the
use of specific essential oils. One page that provides a plethora of information furnishes
the reader with this ‘warning’ or precaution: “Essential oils are for external use only and
must never be used undiluted on your skin. Keep essential oils away from your eyes.
Always keep your essential oils out of the reach of children. If you are pregnant, or
suffering from high blood pressure, epilepsy or any medical condition, seek professional
advice before using essential oils.  (...) When using essential oils to benefit children, use
one quarter of the stated amount of oil. Some essential oils should not be used on very
young children especially, peppermint and eucalyptus”
(http://www.btinternet.com/~essentials/prod02.htm#Precautions).
         Clary Sage should not be used during pregnancy and used cautiously in
conjunction with HRT. One should not consume alcohol after the use of the oil such that
the combination can induce a narcotic effect which exaggerates drunkenness
(http://www.kevala.co.uk/aromatherapy/sage.htm). Clary sage has also been cited to
induce headaches if given in lager doses.
         The only side effect stated for the use of lemon is that it can cause irritation of the
skin if used undiluted. Also, like other citrus oils, lemon may cause skin blotchiness if one
applies it before going out in the sun. Some recommend skin patch test allergies before
using an essential oil.
         No specific precautions were available regarding the use of chamomile or lavender.
Chamomile is said to be very gentle and safe to use on children.
         Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy or by those with asmtha,
epilepsy, or with other health conditions.  Some oils can cause hypersensitivity in some
individuals.
         While it is clear that there are some side effects of using essential oils some pages
flat out deny that such effects exist. For example Suzie’s Stress Solving Site claims
“essential oils are concentrated fragrant components of plants and herbs that when used
properly provide no harmful side effects”
(http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2248/history.html).
         The soundest piece of advice gleaned from any aromatherapy page reads like this:
“check with your doctor regarding the safety of each ingredient before using any recipe
[oil]” (http://www.geocities.com/~aromaweb/sstress.html).

Back to Aromatherapy and Stress Reduction Page

 

 

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