There is a big discussion about eventual danger/toxicity of essential oil actually. As a health shop owner, author and lecturer on aromatherapy I have already heard a lot of rubbish on this question.
Just some weeks ago someone asked me about the danger of some essential oils. Another "Teacher" told that person that essential oils were extremely dangerous, children could die from Eucalyptus and anyway, the European community would soon forbid the free trade of essential oils...
Let me reply by saying this: I use essential oils since the end of the seventies when I lived in the Provence, France. I use them very intensively now since almost 15 years in my shop and through the lectures and courses I give. I must have initiated more than thousand people here in my country to aromatherapy. I have three little boys (6-9 and 11 years old), I give them essential oils if neccesary, even orally on some honey.
I have never heard of extreme reactions, death or severely hurd people trough the use of essential oils! When reading or hearing some authors you would believe that thousands of uninformed people suffered or died from inproper or exagerated use of essential oils. As for my country, I'm sure I would have heard it. Anyway, I hear since years in my health shop about the fear of many companies that many herb products would be banned from our shops, because of their possible danger. It appears to be the result of lobbywork from Pharmaceutical Industries, seeing their drugs being replaced more and more by herbs... For those people, nothing would be more beneficial as a real case (for instance the death of somebody through the use of essential oils), they would jump on it, the newspapers and the television would talk about it and ask for measures from the government...
Well, nothing off this happened the last decade! Only the case of a docter making a coctail of chemical drugs (as amphetamines) and adding so called "Chinese herbs", in order to sell it as a "natural product" came in the news after some people died or had very serious kidney problems. Although these "coctails" were only sold in regular pharmacys on presciption, never in health shops, questions arose in the media about those health shops selling dangerous "Chinese herbs"!
Yes, I wittnesed misuse of essential oils, people advising to use Thyme essential oil (thymus vulgaris ct thymol) straight into the nose for sinusitis..., people having earache using lemon (Citrus limon, peel) straight into the ears... They suffered pain from this misuse but only for a certain time. I don't mean by saying this that some essential oils could not be dangerous, but we need real scientific knowledge on this matter, no rumours!
I recently discovered the work of Martin Watt. Here are some facts he uses (I presume mostly about the U.K.):
To date no significant statistics have been published by the National Poisons Unit. Surveys of worldwide literature relating to human toxicity over many years have only uncoverd a handful of deaths resulting from the INGESTION off essential oils. There are a number of cases of minor stomach upsets from exess consumption and a few cases where severe illness has resulted including liver function disorders, but in some cases where recovery has occured, liver and other organ functions have returned to normal.
From an article from Martin Watt.
Researched and Published by
Martin Watt, Cert PHyt. Medical Herbalist(UK)
A Complete Reference Book of Aromatic Plant Extracts, Clinical Index & Taxonomical Index,
Index of Biological Activities of Phytochemicals
by Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, contributing editors Galina Lisin, Martin Watt & David Moyler
USA: Phone & Fax: (813)265-2222
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