Essential Oils – Can They Harm You?

A Naturopath’s first principle is to do no harm, which is paramount when you are dealing with people and their health.  There is a HUGE misconception in this country that because something is natural it can’t do any harm.  Well, arsenic is natural and it kills you.  This is extreme I know, but I just wanted to point out that natural can be dangerous.  Today, my aim is not to go on a massive rant about misinformation that could be dangerous and do harm, but to educate so you know why. 

Essential oils are completely magical.  I use them myself at home and with most, if not all of my clients.  I use them to help my immune system, relax, feel good, as well as for aches and pains on the rare occasion that I get them.  I make them for my family for coughs and cold, back pain, and even shingles when that cropped up!  I have made blends for all sorts of things with clients from whiplash pain to sleep to liver support.  They are great to use in pregnancy, when breastfeeding, with babies and children when you don’t want to or can’t use medications (when appropriate). But always in a safe and correct way.

Recently I have become more aware of blanket advice being given on social media about essential oil use and telling you how to take them internally which has made me a bit concerned and also, I’m not going to lie, angry.  Qualified, registered with an appropriate governing body Aromatherapists have worked hard to get their qualifications.  They have been taught the science of the body and the oils, as well as about interactions and when the oils should not be used.  They know which are safe during pregnancy/breastfeeding and with babies. They know about therapeutic dosing and correct dosing in pregnancy and with babies/children. They also know NEVER to prescribe them internally.  No one, I repeat NO ONE who has insurance as an Aromatherapist is covered to prescribe essential oils internally in the UK.  The way we are taught is for external use – topical application to the skin and through inhalation.  If you are taught in France, you are taught differently and to prescribe internally.  But even if you have that training, no insurance company in the UK covers you to do it here.

Essential oils are so wonderful and this isn’t to scaremonger you off them or to not use them.  It’s to make sure that whoever is telling you to use them is correctly qualified.  They have checked for medications and conditions that might be contraindication as there could be damage done by the oils if you are using a stronger therapeutic dose.  If you are ever in doubt just ask where the person trained or who their insurance is with. 

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