Aromatherapy (Therapy)
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Aromatherapy (Therapy) Side Effects and Warnings

Written by sshowalter, FoundHealth.

Safety Issues

Essential oils can be toxic when taken internally, producing unpleasant and even fatal effects. Toxicity studies have not been performed for many essential oil products, and maximum safe dosages remain unknown. 1 Infants, children, seniors, and people with severe illnesses should not use essential oils internally except under the supervision of a physician; healthy adults should only use well established products (such as peppermint oil) for which safe dosages have been determined.

Inhaled or topical use of essential oils is much safer than oral use. However, allergic reactions to inhaled or topical plant fragrances are not uncommon. 2 Furthermore, when applied to the skin, some essential oils might also promote sunburning (photosensitization), raise the risk of skin cancer, or be absorbed sufficiently to cause toxic effects. 3 In addition, one report suggests that a combination of lavender oil and tea tree oil applied topically caused gynecomastia (breast enlargement) in three young boys. 4

References

  1. Lis-Balchin M. Possible health and safety problems in the use of novel plant essential oils and extracts in aromatherapy. J R Soc Health. 1999 Dec;119:240-243.
  2. Weiss RR, James WD. Allergic contact dermatitis from aromatherapy. Am J Contact Dermat. 8(4):250-1.
  3. Stevensen CJ. Aromatherapy in dermatology. Clin Dermatol. 16(6):689-94.
  4. Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 356(5):479-85.
  5. Lis-Balchin M. Possible health and safety problems in the use of novel plant essential oils and extracts in aromatherapy. J R Soc Health. 1999 Dec;119:240-243.
  6. Weiss RR, James WD. Allergic contact dermatitis from aromatherapy. Am J Contact Dermat. 8(4):250-1.
  7. Stevensen CJ. Aromatherapy in dermatology. Clin Dermatol. 16(6):689-94.
  8. Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 356(5):479-85.
 
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