Are Essential Oils Dangerous?

I’ve recently been feeling confused about the safety of essential oils. In one camp is a couple of well-known brand names that were originated locally. Both are multi-level marketing (MLM) companies and they sell their products at parties and boutiques, enthusiastically promoting the health benefits of essential oils, including ingesting certain oils for maximum benefits. In the other camp are certified aromatherapists from around the world who, when asked about ingesting oils, are horrified that anyone would consider such a thing and recommend that ALL oils be diluted before applying them to the skin, and NEVER taken internally.

So I’m confused! Who is right? The brand name oils can’t possibly be that much different from the pure, therapeutic-grade oils of other companies! They all use basically the same plants and the same processes, so what’s the difference? It’s enough to make me crazy thinking about it!

I finally came across this research article that is science-based. In it, the author basically states that common sense should prevail. If you wouldn’t eat the plant, don’t ingest the oil. If it burns (cinnamon, oregano, eucalyptus, etc.), dilute it. Anything ingested in large quantities is dangerous (we’ve all heard the story of the woman who died from drinking too much water to win a radio contest). People who have died or been hospitalized for ingesting essential oils have either deliberately or accidentally (such as children) ingested a whole bottle of the stuff. Still, though, certified aromatherapists are adamantly against ingesting ANY oil or using any of them “neat,” citing liver damage, etc.

So, having put my mind at ease on that matter, I feel a lot more comfortable recommending to my clients how to use essential oils. Be cautious, yet sensible.

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