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Essential Oil Hazard: Why Nature Is Not Always Safe

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I thought at first Diffusion of essential oils It seems to be completely safe. How harmful is it to enjoy scents like lavender, lemon and eucalyptus? The rise of brands such as DoTERRA And Young livingA beautiful diffuser that matches home decor and new trends Apply essential oils to the cloth face mask This wellness classic looks completely harmless.

Words and phrases such as “all natural” and “therapeutic” make it easier to attract scented oils. Often, “nature” is considered safe, Unsafe natural compounds and chemicals (I may provide Mercury (As an example) and many “good” substances that show no benefit in research (Echinacea) Not effective As many people think).

This concept also applies to essential oils. Yes, they are natural and plant-derived, but they are worth a closer look before oiling the diffuser.

The safety of essential oils depends largely on the person who uses them, but like other botanical products, these oils can cause skin irritation, respiratory symptoms and even hormone-related symptoms. ..

Essential oils and endocrine system

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Lavender is known as an endocrine disruptor.

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your Endocrine system It contains glands that secrete hormones that regulate metabolism, sleep, mood, appetite, sexual function, and growth. If these glands have too much or too little hormone, they can cause symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings, decreased libido, sleep disorders, burning, and fatigue.

Dr. Romy BlockEssential oils, board-certified endocrinologists and co-founders of Vous Vitamin, say they can act as endocrine disruptors. That is, it interferes with the natural production of hormones.

“These chemicals can lower or raise normal hormone levels in the body,” Dr. Block says.

Dr. Brock states that there is not enough evidence for all essential oils as endocrine disruptors and that they are associated with hormone-related health complications. Studies have shown that lavender oil is associated Early breast development in girls, For example. Lavender and tea tree oil are also considered Lead to the state In boys it is called prepubertal gynecomastia (abnormal growth of breast tissue).

Dr. Brock advises not to spread lavender and tea tree oils, especially due to potential complications of children and teens. Pregnant woman People with hormone-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, should consult their doctor before using essential oils locally or with a diffuser.

Essential oils and allergies

Woman sneezing in bed tissue

Like other botanical products, essential oils can cause allergies.

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Perhaps the most direct health effect of using essential oils is allergic symptoms. Allergic reactions to essential oils are due to the typical symptoms of itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. Topical use of essential oils can cause skin allergic symptoms such as redness, hives, itching and swelling of the skin.

Board-certified allergist and immunologist Dr. Sanjeev Jain Colombia allergyStates that allergic symptoms depend on the route of administration (inhalation and topical application), but it is not uncommon for people to experience both at the same time.

If you suspect that you have an allergic reaction to an essential oil, discontinue use of the product and consult an allergist or dermatologist for further evaluation.

“It’s very important to know which extracts are causing the reaction and which ones are safe to continue using,” he says. “It is important to properly evaluate these essential oils or extracts before continuing to use them, as they can be sensitized to multiple allergens at the same time.”

Unfortunately, allergies to essential oils require strict avoidance, says Dr. Jain. If you do not develop respiratory symptoms only if you are sensitive to contact, you may be able to use an essential oil diffuser. Handle with care so that the oil does not come in contact with your skin.

Which essential oil is safe?

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Some essential oils are known allergens and skin irritants.

Alina Bradford / CNET

At the time of this writing, there is not enough evidence about essential oils to make a clear list of “safe” and “unsafe”. Currently, most essential oils are considered safe to use properly, and various studies have reported the health benefits of different essential oils. However, it is not without its drawbacks.

For example 2019 study It shows that eucalyptus and ginger essential oils may support immune health. Matches what you find at the store.

Here are some examples of the advantages and disadvantages of essential oils. Lavender is known to help sleep and relax, but as mentioned above, it can act as an endocrine disruptor.

  • Eucalyptus is comfortable, but May cause seizures When ingested.
  • Chamomile helps to relax, but people who are allergic to ragweed, daisies, and other plants There may be a severe reaction..
  • Peppermint is loved for its cooling effect on the skin, but it is also known to cause skin rashes, burns and flushing. Side effects.

Again, it’s difficult to make a black and white list of essential oils to avoid. Because people can react differently to different oils: only individuals can know what to avoid. A simple internet search will return hundreds of mismatched lists, so it’s up to you to investigate the risks of the essential oils you use and use them safely.

How about pets?

Plants and pets

Some essential oils may not be safe for your pet.

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If you have a baby or a few fur babies, you may be wondering if essential oils are safe for your pet. Personally, I have an orange tabby cat that I love more than most people. I also love peppermint essential oils. Therefore, I thought that peppermint oil was not suitable for kittens.

by ASPCACats are particularly sensitive to essential oils, says co-founder Lambert Wang. Cat person.. “The safety of using essential oils varies from person to person and from cat to cat, but as a general rule of thumb, do not place your cat in a room where the oil is diffused,” he says.

For dogs American Kennel Club Essential oils can irritate dogs’ skin when applied topically, and can cause gastrointestinal upset when ingested.

Keep in mind that cats and dogs have a much stronger nose than humans, so a mild scent can really annoy your furry friends.

Keep the door open to keep your pet away from the diffusion area and do not apply essential oils directly to cats or dogs. Pay close attention to your pet when spreading essential oils. “If you notice any behavioral changes after using essential oils, stop using them immediately and visit your veterinarian.”

As always, the safety of a particular trend depends on you, your health and your tastes. Take into account allergic symptoms, sleep quality, pets and other family factors.

How to Use Essential Oils Safely

Essential oil diffuser vivivi

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If you want to enjoy essential oils, these tips can keep aromatherapy safe for you and your pet.

  • Talk to your doctor before use if you are pregnant or have a medical condition.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you want to use essential oils for your pet.
  • Stops the spread of essential oils that cause allergic symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or water.
  • Try a patch test before using the essential oils topically. To perform a patch test, place a diluted oil drop on a small portion of the skin. If you develop skin symptoms, rinse and do not use the oil on the skin.
  • Do not keep your pet in a room where the essential oil diffuser is working. You can keep the door open and move around freely.

read more: Terpenes, odorous compounds that are beneficial to health

The information contained in this article is for educational and informative purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about your medical condition or health goals.

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