This is Part One of a two-part series. Here are five examples with direct quotes (excuse grammar) from our new Injury Report, scheduled to come out in February 2015. These are short quotes from the report. This is not the report nor are these quotes our words. You will be able to see the details of each entry we’ve received when the report comes out. 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. We want to help put an end to dangerous and unsafe practices. Most if not all of these cases improved once those affected discontinued use of the oil(s).
Here is a list of the 10 Worst Adverse Effects we’ve received this past year. 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.”
Most qualified aromatherapists will not acknowledge the “detox” claim to be true. Dr. Robert Pappas has busted this myth on this page. Read it 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. But it is our mission to spread this information so that we 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. Now 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. By overusing oils now, we deprive ourselves of being able to use them in the future. Remember the saying, “Less IS more.”
6. Oral use: Due to ingesting a “lot of” oils—multiple drops multiple times a day—of Lemon and Grapefruit in water, one person now has been diagnosed with stomach problems, chronic digestive upset, and is looking at possible gallbladder removal.
How sad it is to read these stories. People are looking for alternative health care, possibly to save money or avoid surgery. Then they make things worse themselves or their families, simply because they didn’t know better.
Knowledge is power. Never forget that it is in your hands.
We discussed aromatic honey in our internal use blog, but we wanted to expand on that and share more variations.
This includes honey, jams, and chocolate!
You can take honey with a drop of Peppermint by the tablespoon. Or you can make a larger batch with more Peppermint, to be used sparingly.
For the larger option, keep the mixture in a closed container once you’ve added the Peppermint (or other essential oil—depending on the purpose). Blend the honey and essential oil with a ratio of 1 drop essential oil per ounce of honey. Any container will work!
Stick a toothpick or tiny spoon in the honey and suck on the end of it, or add the honey to tea or hot water when you’re stuffed up or feeling queasy.
Alternatively, you can use essential oils for different purposes like:
- Rose for an uplifting mix
- Lavender and Sweet Marjoram for a sleepy-time mix
- Rosemary, Spearmint, or Lime added to a blend, or used alone for a zingy, wake-up mix.
For anti-infectious honey to help you combat colds or illnesses, choose Tea Tree (although it doesn’t have the most pleasant taste). You can also combine the “big gun” essential oils for more germ-fighting ability.
Those include Clove, Cinnamon, Thyme, and others. Be aware that these oils are also the most potentially irritant oils, and they require caution. I suggest adding in tiny amounts to avoid burning your mouth. These should only be used for fighting off infection—no long-term use!
Essential Oils in Jam
I felt inspired when my new, wonderful friend Leslie (“La Grande Jam Dame”) gifted me homemade blackberry jam with a hint of lemon. She was perfecting her culinary skills and wanted to share!
After the jam had cooled, she added an awesome touch with a couple drops of Lemon essential oil. It was such a nice, subtle lemon taste in blackberry—the best combination!
NOTE: This jam is made to be savored and eaten sparingly.
And because this is our focus, here’s a little safety information about using essential oils in recipes:
Putting two drops of essential oil in a large batch of jam is perfectly safe according to the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) designation for Lemon oil. This means Lemon oil has been deemed safe as a food additive, to enhance flavor in minute amounts, like in this recipe.
All essential oils are considered GRAS, and it’s not an FDA approval. It’s just a list of flavorings and seasonings that are allowed in minute amounts in processed food. This does NOT mean that essential oils, extracts, etc. have nutrients or that they’re missing from our diet any more than salt or castoreum, which are also on the list.
See more info on GRAS designations here.
Now, back to the topic at hand: Once I was inspired by the jam, I had to try creating my own honey flavoring. I already had some local, raw, raspberry-infused honey. Then I added 2 drops of Cardamon essential oil and 4 drops of Pink Grapefruit oil to 6 oz of this honey. After that, I stirred and tasted it, and WOW, what a treat!
It was an unusually tasty combo. I spread the mix on a hot croissant or nice bread with some fine cheese—preferably with cranberries! Once spread, reheat gently, then get a napkin and enjoy!
This is safe because it’s a small percentage of oil in honey—1 drop per ounce—and it’s made with safe, non-irritant oils. Remember, it’s an occasional treat.
Leslie provided me with this recipe (below). I thought I’d share it with all of you. It will be my next creative holiday project.
Have a CHERRY CHRISTMAS, y’all!
More yummy resources from our colleagues:
- Nature’s Gift shares “white chocolate peppermint bark!” Yum!