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About Essential Oil Overdose

Updated on December 22, 2015

How is Essential Oil Overdose Possible?

Essential oils are naturally wonderful due to its ability to provide healing by boosting your immunity system, addressing certain health problems, and improve your ability to fight disease-causing viruses or bacteria. In addition to that, many are pleased with the lack of harmful side effects with the use of these natural oils. And yet, only a few are beginning to realize the possibility of suffering from overdose with the use of essential oils.

Within the essential oil are molecular substances that are responsible for creating a healing action. But when present in excessive amount, they can be too harsh on your skin or body to use. Hence, experts advise consulting with your aromatherapist about which essential oils are suited for your specific health condition to avoid being exposed to toxic substances that can endanger your health.

What are Danger Oils?

The presence of a particular substance that cause irritation and poisoning on your peristalsis reflex upon exposure to specific types of essential oils enable them to fall under the category of abortifacients. These are essential oils that are used minimally in various methods of application since they can be dangerous when present in extreme amounts.

Despite not coming in direct contact with these essential oils, being exposed to them can also prove fatal, especially in large doses. It is therefore important to equip yourself with knowledge about what oils are potentially toxic, particularly with the lack of treatment capacity for essential oil overdose. Here are some of the oils you must be particularly careful of:

  • wintergreen
  • bitter almond
  • camphor
  • arnica
  • nutmeg
  • parsley
  • turmeric
  • wormseed
  • tansy
  • mustard

Common Essential Oil Overdose

There are a few cases of reported overdose with a few essential oils. Therefore, it is important to create awareness with each type of essential oil overdose to equip yourself of the knowledge on how it is acquired in order to protect yourself against it.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has had several application in the field of aromatherapy due to its rich therapeutic properties. But when used in excessive dosage, there is a risk of suffering from over dosage. So, always keep this in mind and make sure you are using only the prescribed dosage of treating certain ailments. In addition, you also need to be careful with your method of using these oils such as oral ingestion, which must be avoided at all times. Anyone whose suffering from eucalyptus oil can exhibit the following symptoms: weak heartbeat, shallow and rapid breathing, difficulty swallowing, weak muscles, burning sensation in your mouth, seizures, drowsiness, and swelling on the affected area.

There are also certain precautionary measures when using eucalyptus oil. It is certainly not advised for pregnant women and children since the smell can be too strong for their sensitive skin, or it can induce labor in women. Despite the rarity of reports pointing to over dosage with eucalyptus oil, when it does happen it is usually a fatal condition.

Bergamot Oil

This type of oil, like eucalyptus, is also quite popular in aromatherapy. So it can be a bit shocking to learn that even bergamot oil can result to overdose. Your method of application and the amount of dosage are two crucial factors that can result to this condition. There are certain symptoms you need to keep your eye on since they can be a good indicator that someone has acquired bergamot oil overdose. Symptoms include paresthesias, blurred vision, tingling or burning sensation, and muscle cramping.

In any case any of the symptoms above are demonstrated by someone after using bergamot oil, seek for professional medical help right away. The sooner you are able to provide supportive care for the affected individuals, the better you are able to provide treatment and save someone’s life.

Birch Oil

The risk of developing birch oil overdose is highly possible even in small doses when you combine its use with the intake of aspirin medication. This is due to the fact that birch oil contains as its active ingredient a type of aspirin known as methyl salicylate. The presence of natural aspirin from the birch oil and the aspirin substances from your medication is potentially hazardous such that it could lead to overdose.

Peppermint Oil

The risk with using peppermint oil is no longer new. Experts have always warned people about the use of this type of oil such that one must limit the dosage of use since it can be a bit too strong. Plus, peppermint oil also contains menthol that is a harsh substance, especially in extreme doses. The presence of both substances can cause overdose and can lead to life-threatening conditions.

What To Do In Case of Essential Oil Overdose?

When you suspect that someone is suffering from an overdose with the use of certain essential oils, you need to know exactly what to do during this circumstance to be able to save someone’s life. Always begin by calling for expert medical assistance. While waiting for help to arrive, begin treatment by washing the specific area affected with overdose. Never try to induce someone to vomit unless clearly instructed by a professional.

When reporting the incident of overdose, provide as much information as needed that will help diagnose the condition and its severity. Once the person has received treatment for essential oil overdose, you will notice gradual improvement since the first sign of attack. In some cases, however, the effects of the overdose might be persistent for several days following the initial attack.

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Preventing Essential Oil Overdose

The phrase “prevention is better than cure” applies truthfully with essential oil overdose, since it can be potentially fatal. So before risking your life to such types of danger, you need to keep in mind the following preventive measures:

  • Make sure to properly follow instructions on the proper use of essential oils. For instance, you must not orally ingest essential oils unless specifically prescribed by an expert aromatherapist.
  • Always take note of proper dosage of using essential oils. Some people increase the dose of essential oil they use during treatment in the hopes of speeding up the process of healing. But these oils are sensitive substances that when present even in the slightest amount can turn into something toxic.
  • Even though you are using essential oils in low doses, your frequency of application can still affect its ability to result in an over dosage.  So, when your aromatherapist indicates that you must use a certain essential oil twice a day, you should stick with two times a day application.

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  • Lee Tea profile image

    Lee Tea 3 years ago from Erie, PA

    Excellent points. Thank you for writing on the safe and responsible use of essential oils. It is so necessary to speak up now with the flood of misinformation regarding unsafe practices and recipes online. Be well! Lee @ Lee's Teas