This is Part One of a two-part series. Here are five examples with direct quotes (please excuse the grammar) from our 2014 Injury Report. These are short quotes from the report. This is not the report nor are these quotes our words. Most, if not all, of these cases are due to bad advice and misinformation. This is why we believe that education is the key to safety.

We love our essential oils and our fellow humans, so we want to help put an end to dangerous and unsafe practices. Most of these cases improved once those affected discontinued use of the oil(s).

Here is a list of the 10 Worst Adverse Effects we received in 2014. We’ve included a summary with direct quotes from the testimonials.

10. Undiluted oils applied to a small sore. “Blend/frankincense” was used and the next day, her skin turned red, bubbled up, and peeled. When she voiced her concerns, she was told it was “detox, that there’s no way to be allergic or have a bad reaction to the oil since they are natural.”

However, qualified aromatherapists know that the “detox” claim is not true. Dr. Robert Pappas talks about this myth here.

9. Undiluted oils on wrist. Someone used two drops of Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang on their wrists several times a day for about 10 days. Their wrists started itching, broke out in red blotches that turned into blisters, which spread to an area of approximately 3 cm x 4 cm. After a month with no oils and jojoba, it cleared up. “Lesson learned: Always dilute your oils and never use neat oil application to the skin.”

8. Undiluted oil on mouth sores. “Between 25-35 drops of essential oil on canker sores in mouth on tongue after being told it was safe. This resulted in a trip to ER because of racing heart, panicking, gagging, dry heaving, extremely hot, fever, dizzy and sick and high blood pressure … I thought I was going to die.” 

It is so heartbreaking to read these sometimes. That is why it is so important to spread this information so that we can hopefully prevent adverse reactions and don’t have any deaths due to misuse.

7. Undiluted long-term use leads to sensitization. One person had been using essential oils since 1997. By 2005, she started having small reactions. Finally, by 2014, this person found help in understanding sensitization and the safe use of essential oils. Unfortunately, because of the years of previous misuse, she can only use oils in low dilutions (if at all) and has turned to hydrosols & flower essences. “Now have A LOT of sensitivities and allergies to a wide range of fragrances and EOs.”

Though we can become sensitized to a single oil, we can also become sensitized to many single oils and blends because they share common chemical constituents. By overusing oils now, we deprive ourselves of being able to use them in the future. Remember the saying, “Less IS more.”

Read more about sensitization.

6. Undiluted EOs in ear. Someone’s ear canal was damaged when a Registered Nurse, who also owns a spa, dropped undiluted Thyme essential oil into it. “I was sick with an ear infection and she said “I’m going to put oil in your ear. I assumed it to be sweet oil like mom did . . . I was totally shocked that she would do this . . . I would have never used neat essential oil in my ear canal.”

Never drop essential oils into anyone’s ears and always confirm what “product” someone is using. Please remember that just because someone is a medical or spa professional, does not mean they are properly trained to use essential oils.

It is so sad to see stories like these. People are looking for alternative health care, possibly to save money or avoid surgery. Unfortunately they sometimes end up making things worse for themselves or their families, simply because they didn’t know better.

Knowledge is power. Never forget that it is in your hands. 

Read Part Two here.

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