Photo by Kalle Gustafsson via Creative Commons.
Remember this song by Waylon Jennings: “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Don’t let ’em pick guitars or drive them old trucks. Let ’em be doctors and lawyers and such.”
Well, right now, the problem isn’t your children growing up to be cowboys. The real issue is that they will be doctors and lawyers with severe sensitization to essential oils. And the doctors can treat the others from the same generation, and lawyers can get a class action lawsuit suing the sales reps and companies promoting dangerous use to the moms who did this to their children. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Then why haven’t you heard about this issue before? It is well documented in the industry that certain oils are not to be used on the skin without risk. In addition one can develop an allergy from overuse of any essential oil. It is an allergic reaction set up by overuse. See here and here for references on sensitization; and here for more safe use info including an Injury Report first summary with details of cases in the download.
Unfortunately, so many well-meaning moms go onto the internet and find blogs that instruct them to apply all sorts of aromatic undiluted formulas to kids for everything from the sniffles to ADD, ADHD, and more. The scary part is, these blog writers and groups often have no training or safety data information, and yet they’re giving harmful advice about essential oils to anyone who reads.
I know now what drives moms to take advice and medicate children without seeing if it is safe. It is possible they were told to do so because they were looking for alternative ways to help children, and oils can help in some cases. Essential oils are potent and even “pure and natural” can harm; it is dose dependant as the links above state. If you were to keep putting undiluted essential oils on your children’s feet (like many mommy blogs instruct), besides lifelong sensitization, your children can develop an aversion to smells like peppermint and clove. One mom reported her child said “No more feet, mommy!” which made her stop. Please listen and stop hurting your own child on a sale rep’s advice. Before doing something recommended, ask is it safe, look at the sites above or send me an email! Here is a condensed page for quick reference on safety.
And what will this do to our next generation? Besides hurting the children instead of helping them, this practice also strips aromatherapy of its healing properties. By putting undiluted essential oils repeatedly on your children, or allowing medical professionals like chiropractors to do so, is there being creating a generation of children who are overly sensitized to essential oils as gentle as lavender? As an aromatherapy expert who has repeatedly seen the healing power of these oils, it’s tragic to me that so many will not be able to benefit from its effects.
So, where does this push to use undiluted oils for every type of ailment come from? You might be dismayed to know that it comes from essential oil companies who hope to sell products by making claims of every kind. In reality diluted oils are more efficacious and way more cost effective in home use, which is the point of using natural products. By saying the oils are “natural and pure” and can be used undiluted daily for health effects, these companies are selling tons of oils while actually increasing sensitization in their customers.
And as someone who has put so much time and effort into practicing safe, healing aromatherapy, this makes me very sad.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?