Are Health Care Professionals Sensitizing or Poisoning Our Children?

Are Health Care Professionals Sensitizing or Poisoning Our Children?

Essential oils can be lovely—but they can also be dangerous.

Someone recently told me that her chiropractor has been applying neat Lavender to her four-month-old child two times a week for some time now. Not long ago, the chiropractor suggested she buy and use Lemon oil in her own water. The chiropractor also suggested applying undiluted Lemongrass oil to her child because it might “loosen ligaments.” While this chiropractor provided a page from a multi-level product book as evidence, that same page also says, “Extreme skin irritant. Do not use on children under six.”

That chiropractor is setting her patients up for a lifetime of sensitization, if she hasn’t caused it already. Applying undiluted Lemongrass to a baby is bordering on child abuse, since the oil can have such adverse effects.

Undiluted oils are not recommended on young children due to the possibility of irritation, sensitization, or allergic reaction. By using undiluted Lavender oil over and over, the child may become sensitized to Lavender. This could lead to a lifetime of issues. Once allergic, any contact may cause rash-type symptoms or even more severe reactions, including breathing issues and shock.

Another mom recently reported that her four-and-a-half-month-old child was ill. She asked if essential oils could make a baby vomit. The chiropractor sold her oils and recommended she put a drop of Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, and a “blend” (containing known sensitizing oils) in the palm of her hand; she then massaged her baby four times a day on the feet, chest, and back. She also diffused the same blend all day. By nighttime, the baby had become violently ill. An ER visit proved fruitless since the doctors and nurses didn’t know about the essential oils. They deemed that the baby okay and sent the mother and child home. Luckily, this was a small, diluted amount, and hopefully the baby recovers just fine. But the stress this mom went through is needless and alarming.

What can we do about this?

I don’t fault either mother in these cases; they were following the instructions of respected and licensed health professionals. But how ethical are those professionals? And how much does this damage the respectability of chiropractic medicinea branch that has fought for a long time to be a serious and licensed health profession? To sell and promote essential oils in this way is dangerous and unethical.

What can we do about this new problem? Why are health professionals selling essential oils with no education other than product marketing? Why are they recommending such hazardous things? If we were to report them to their boards, would they lose their license? I would genuinely love to hear some answers.

I understand that many of them just haven’t been educated. However, the information has been available for such a long time. If they ever went to court due to injuries, it would probably be considered negligence. If using a known irritant or telling moms to use them on young children isn’t criminal, then I don’t know what is.

So what can we do? The answer: spread the word. Ask your health professionals where they received their training before buying their products and doing what they say. Ask them if they realize they are sensitizing themselves at the same time. Show them the safety pages here and the Injury Report. Keep yourself and your children safe. Do your research when it comes to essential oil sensitization.

Sweet Orange Exploration

Sweet Orange Exploration

Common name: Sweet Orange
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
(C. aurantium var. dulcis, C. aurantium var. sinensis)

Part of the Rutaceae family, Sweet Orange is derived from the peel of the sweet orange fruit. A byproduct of orange juice production, the peel is most often cold-expressed, but it can be steam-distilled as well. Big areas of production include Portugal, China, and the United States.

Looking at the biochemical class, Sweet Orange is a monoterpene because of its high limonene content. It’s very similar to Lemon. There’s up to 89% d-limonene* and a-pinene in Sweet Orange. It has a little bit of alcohol in the form of linalool, with a few other aldehydes (octanal, citronellal) and ketones.

The Sweet Orange fruit was used in traditional medicine. The essential oil was not, but we have found that Sweet Orange oil has some useful properties. These include: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, choleretic, fungicidal, nervous sedative, lymphatic stimulant, and tonic-digestive (stomachic, carminative).

In terms of skincare, it is useful with its antiseptic properties. Sweet Orange is said to aid chapped and fissured skin. It strengthens the epidermis and increases circulation. However, it can make any open wound burn. AVOID USE ON SENSITIVE OR DAMAGED SKIN.

Mentally, Sweet Orange energizes, yet harmonizes the physical and mental, gives courage, and counters worry. Tested at a low dose, it is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing in most people. (Older oxidized oils or those with high d-limonene increase the potential for sensitization.)

Diffused in the air, it makes the perfect, inexpensive, bright, clean environmental blend by itself—shown to be especially relaxing for children. It can also be diffused with other oils. In public places, it refreshes and provides a nice atmosphere. If you’re concerned about complaints, simply diffuse it with a bowl of fruit to create the perception that it’s coming from that. Everyone loves Orange!

Sweet Orange is perfect for kids’ rooms as well. They seem to like it, and it has been shown to decrease anxiety in school-age kids. See how orange essence helps reduce anxiety in school-age children with diabetes.

We recommend that you DO NOT use Sweet Orange in the bath. It should be used in the air only. Note: Sweet Orange has properties similar to Bitter Orange, but Sweet Orange is milder and useful for children.

According to Tony’s book, oranges are the most extensively produced citrus crop in the United States and Brazil, with Brazil leading the way. Despite the high limonene content of Sweet Orange, the characteristic smell of Orange is probably due to its oxygenated fractions. For many years, this weighed heavily towards aldehyde C10 (n-decanal), but recent thinking suggests that aldehyde C8 (n-octanal) may be more influential.  

In perfumery, Orange oils are often used in citrus blends, air fresheners, and in cheaper perfumes. Though they are also found in oriental top notes, along with tropical and fruity blends.

Sweet Orange oil can also be produced by distilling the fresh peel, or by distilling the oils separated during the juice-pressing process. (These are sometimes separated by centrifugation or other physical means.)

From Tony’s book: “Orange essence oil is the oily layer separating from the aqueous juice layer when oranges are pressed for juice (Gaffney 1996).[1]”

Watch as Sylla compares her Orange samples, including Orange essence and Blood Orange. You can also see what happens when Orange oil oxidizes.

We hope you enjoyed this segment on Sweet Orange! Let us know what you like and dislike about Sweet Orange and how you’ve used it.


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Trevor Stokes on Aromatherapy and Behavioral Disorders

Trevor Stokes on Aromatherapy and Behavioral Disorders

In 1997, Sylla teamed up with Trevor Stokes,  Ph.D, a psychologist who was also a massage client of hers. At the time, Trevor was a professor at the University of Florida. He also worked with children who had behavioral and emotional disorders. Together, the two of them produced a study that examined aromatherapy’s effect on children with behavioral and emotional disorders.

In this video, listen to Sylla and Trevor discuss what brought them to begin this study as well as the outcomes. Learn more about how they used essential oils to help kids get their homework done and stay in bed throughout the night.

Just so you know, this video was shot a few years ago, but the valuable information is still the same! You can also read a paper about the study in full below.

Download the paper Trevor and Sylla co-wrote called Psychosensory Aromatherapy Research Project.


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