Well, right now, the problem isn’t that your children will grow up to be cowboys. The real issue is that they’ll be doctors and lawyers with severe sensitization to essential oils. The doctors can treat others from the same generation, while the lawyers can start a class action lawsuit suing the sales reps and companies promoting dangerous use. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? And why haven’t you heard about this issue before? It is well documented in the industry that certain oils cannot be used on the skin without risk. Additionally, one can develop an allergy from the overuse of any essential oil. It is an allergic reaction created by overuse. See these references on sensitization here and here; see here for more safe use info, including an Injury Report.
Unfortunately, so many well-meaning moms go onto the Internet and find blogs that instruct them to apply all sorts of undiluted aromatic formulas to their kids. This can be 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, yet they’re giving harmful advice about essential oils to anyone who reads their posts.
Do Your Research
I know now what drives moms to take advice on medicating their children without seeing if it’s safe. It is possible that they were looking for alternative ways to help children, and oils can help in some cases. But essential oils are potent. Just because they’re “pure and natural” doesn’t mean they can’t be harmful. It is dose-dependent, as the links above state. If you were to put 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!” This 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 a quick reference on safety.
What will this do to the next generation? Besides hurting the children instead of helping them, this practice also strips aromatherapy of its healing properties. By repeatedly applying undiluted essential oils to your children, or allowing medical professionals like chiropractors to do so, will you create 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 their effects.
Why is this happening?
So, where does the 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 their products by making every kind of claim possible. In reality, diluted oils are more efficacious and way more cost-effective, which is the point of using natural products. By saying the oils are “natural and pure” and can be used undiluted daily, these companies are selling tons of oils while actually increasing sensitization in their customers.
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?
I think you are a moron. People go to the internet because medical doctors refuse to help their children. They are desterapte for help on a very sick child. If you are truely concerned with mother’s helpign their children in regards to essential oils.. maybe you should tell people how to use them effectively and safely instead of being an uneducated twat who clearly knows nothing about having a sick child. Where is your proof .. where are your studies?
Hi Jak, thanks for your response. I regret you misunderstood my reason for posting. If people can go on internet for medical help for their children with oils they can go Google sensitization or safe use of oils as well. But since you cannot spell I will help you. Here http://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Undiluted-are-we-in-denial.pdf
is a paper dealing with safety in using essential oils. Plainly if you can read you will see it is not wise to use undiluted oils on children or adults to prevent irritation and sensitization, and certain oils are hazardous for use no matter what company they come from. So it is well known that overuse of undiluted essential oils over time can cause an allergic reaction which can lead to shock and death.
Furthermore Tisserand has many times explained herehttp://roberttisserand.com/2014/05/essential-oil-dilution-important/ and more precisely in his book http://tinyurl.com/pxqk2qf the allergic process. So if my job is to tell people how to use correctly then I say get some expert advice before you read things on the internet to do to your child. And you, Jak, need to get spell check. Sylla
I’m curious, how many people have died from overuse of undiluted essential oils? You said it’s well known that overuse on diluted essential oils overtime can cause an allergic reaction which can lead to shock and death. Please provide the statistical death rate please? And where you got that information. Thank you
Sorry for the typo, I meant to say you said undiluted not on diluted. I was in a hurry and using the microphone feature on my phone. Thanks!
Me too! It is well known which oils are sensitizers!
Check with poison control for exact up to date figures as we don’t know. The IFRA/RIFM orgs have made this info on sensitization available for over 50 yrs. so it is week known what oils are known sensitizers and that sensitization can range from irritation to anaphylaxis.
Thank you! As a mother who does believe in safe use of essential oils, always diluted and only with much safety research and only when needed, I greatly appreciate this article. It is a sad thing to see so many being advised to use unsafe applications on themselves and their children by people who have no medical background on the effects it could have. No dilution rates, no question of age, pregnancy, immunity disorders, etc. They are taking a wonderful effctive MEDICINE and using it like candy! Just bc something is pure and natural doesn’t mean it is not potent or even dangerous in some situations. I do see one flaw in your article, not information but rather tone. Im afraid this MUCH NEEDED message will be overshadowed by your insult to the mothers who are using them. I, as do many of the misguided mommas you talked about, believe essential oils to be a safer alternative to many man made meds. They are looking for ways to help their child in the best healthiest way possible instead of filling their bodies with chemicals, pain meds, allergy meds, unnecessary antibiotics (not saying they are always unnecessary but rather when prescribed when issue could be fixed alternatively!!) Etc. The comment about moms just trying to change their children’s behavior which is a whole other topic all together, I’m afraid, will just make your audience angry instead of receptive to the valuable wisdom you a giving them.
Thanks Lair for your feedback. I changed the wording so hopefully will be better tone! thanks for heads up.
THANK YOU! Parents are being misled about the use of essential oils and their children are the victims.
They want to avoid chemicals – yet essential oils are very powerful chemicals. Perhaps if the labels listed the chemical names for the various constituents, instead of just the name of the plant – this would make them think twice.
Essential oils are missing the necessary information which would allow a parent to know how to use it safely for a medical purpose: where is the active ingredient, the uses, the WARNINGS, directions including dosages and when to ask a doctor first, and of course, side effects! All missing from essential oils because they have not been tested and evaluated for use as drugs.
Would any parent buy tylenol or benedryl or aspirin in a plain unmarked bottle with no information then just give it to their child based on a neighbor’s advice? Probably not. But every day they do the exact same thing with essential oils.
We all are learning just how hazardous the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics can be; from the life threatening risk of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria to the many life changing side effects from killing off the gutt bacteria.
Just because the bottle is not labeled as an antibiotic – if it kills microbes – it is an antibiotic and the very same risks are there when self-medicating as they are from taking a prescription medication that kills microbes. This is why in France, essential oils are prescribed by medical doctors when used for this type of purpose – because the patient needs to me monitored by a medical doctor when using EOs as antibiotics.
They are not risk free, they are not side-effect free; they are chemicals; they are medicine; and in fact, they are illegal drugs when a salesperson sells them as such.
If parents want to treat their child with natural medicine, they need to either consult with a licensed Naturopathic Doctor or get a proper foundation in the practice of aromatherapy.
Because a child in liver failure from ingesting essential oils is not going to be any better off than a child in liver failure from taking too much OTC pain medication.
Jak was charming! Thanks for this piece Sylla!
Thanks Lauren!! 🙂
I didn’t read the article before you changed it but as a mom, I felt very upset as we all make mistakes and I made an uninformed decision to use oils on my kids without doing my own research. Big mistake. I am trying to correct that now. I only used small amounts (most of the time diluted anyways) but worry now about it. If a reaction wasn’t immediate, could the damage still be there? Also, I think I reacted to Lavender topically. It was undiluted at first then diluted later. Small red bumps. If that is a sign of sensitivity, does that mean it should be avoided aromatically too? I love putting it on my pillow with vertiver to help with sleep (diluted). Thanks!
It is the over use of undiluted that causes the problem. If you mostly used diluted it should not be a problem. But anytime you have a redness or irritation discontinue use. If you continue to react may be best not to apply topically but using on your pillow is fine for sleep!
I agree with the gist of this article. I think people use oils way too much sometimes and I do wonder about the effects on children. I have a few oils that we use frequently, like for stomach aches, my thyroid and sleep and I put all those in rollers very diluted. I find they are still just as effective that way. But, I do wonder do you feel the same way about diffusing? Wold diffusing frequently cause sensitivity?
Thanks for your comments. And the danger is undiluted use on skin that sets up the sensitization, so your diluted rollers are fine. Although there has been one case with spice oils it is not the usual case to be sensitized via diffusion; the oils great with the skin to cause sensitization. So diffusing is much safer and a preventative.
no though it has happened it is extremely rare for an adverse reaction to diffusion. It is mostly from undiluted use of any oil or from the known sensitizers like cinnamon bark.
Do you have a list of sources for all of the claims made above? I would love to see this same article written with APA formatting so that I can look at each sections’ sources and make an informed opinion for myself.
What, a list of sources for what exactly? Safe use? look at the the green links for reference sources.
I’m one of those injuries.
Please share. It would be appreciated!!
are you sensitized because of over use of neat oils? Sorry to hear that if so, can you share what happened?
Thank you for this wonderful article Sylla. I think people so often are mislead by certain companies to believe that oils are safer than they are. They absolutely can be used safely but undiluted oils on babies? No. Just no. My daughter is almost four and I can say with confidence that the very few times I have used oils on or around her we’re done safely. I’ve never used over a 1% dilution with her and I only use them in rare cases. These uninformed people are told to use oils every single day in every way imaginable. It’s all for profit and it’s dangerous. I hope folks start coming to their senses soon and research safe usage. I worry about the children most of all.
Thanks Colleen. It is all for profit and a total shame on the companies for teaching this crap all for the sake of selling more oils. These parents will realize too late what they have done to their own kids, when if they had a brain and could do critical thinking they would find out it is not a good idea. Yes oils are wonderful but there is a safe way to use, and it is NOT undiluted, especially on babies and animals.
Curious where you are getting your oils? See aromatic science.com for great research on essential oils. It would be a shame to keep people from the wonderful benefits by the fear tactic used in these type of articles.
we have our own sources from many years of being in the business. Aromatic Science is a site using pub med articles taken out of context to sell oils. I have studied oils for 40 years so know my field well and it is well known that some oils can cause sensitization and irritation, most especially when used undiluted. This article is NOT to keep people from enjoying the wonderful benefits, just to show you may want a little education from other sources besides your company if you want to keep yourself and family healthy. Putting oils on babies is NOT a good way to do that.
Well, that is definitely not accurate, from what I can see. I just checked out aromatic science, and I see no mention of selling oils at all. It just appears to be a database of research from various sources (including pub med). It’s pretty cool actually because they’ve sifted through a ton of literature. I’m unclear why you don’t like this site. Seems like a great resource for people studying essential oils.
Because it is totally a funder by doTerra site, and some articles are great but not taken out of context, using cell death in petri dish to extrapolate to human body.
Thank you, Sylla, for preaching the Truth about oils, whether anyone believes it or not. Yes, sad….
Thanks for your article. I was patch tested in July 2016- essential oils, all other fragrances and tea tree oils are on my list of allergies. I was an avid EO user for the last few years. I mostly used diluted but then unfortunately followed alternative advice and I have eczema. I advise everyone-especially those prone to eczema- be careful…..be mindful. I have 2 boys but thankfully I wasn’t misusing on them. Scary.
So sad- essential oils were a big part of my life. It’s been an adjustment without them. But I’m so glad to have a definite diagnosis and be extra careful the advice I follow.
I seem to be allergic to all essential oils right now… stemming from a close encounter with a bug bomb & bed bugs earlier this year. I have been doing liver detoxes every couple of months and it helps a tiny bit each time, but it is frustrating since essential oils are how I normally avoid chemicals and help myself when I have any sort of problem. Generally, I would dilute or use very little (learned from my cows – since using the same amount on a 1000 lb animal that I used on myself seemed to do the job just as well…ergo, I must not need much to be effective.) I was just wondering if you might have any other suggestions on how I might deal with this problem…
If you have been over exposed in the past you may not be able to use them now, depending on the oil, but you could try single oils highly diluted again after a break. If you are sensitized you should avoid the ones that cause issues or similar oils that may share constituents. Hope this helps!