Toxicity Myths: the Actual Risks of Essential Oil Use


Amongst the wide variety of aromatherapy books and periodicals available today, we find many recommendations regarding the safe, therapeutic use of essential oils. Such recommendations are often contradictory and seldom supported by either references, research or actual clinical experience. Because of this, it is important to explore the range of warnings and advice, addressing the validity of each. It is also important to study the underlying assumptions and reasoning underlying unresearched statements.

I have personally been involved in the both the practice and the business of aromatherapy since 1986, when I arrived in Australia. Having always approached the therapeutic use of essential oils from the ”radical” French “aromatic medicine” perspective, I have long noted the many incongruous and exaggerated statements regarding essential oil toxicity. Since that time, through my involvement with various government and industry bodies, I have focused on the topic of essential oil toxicity as necessary area of study. This, given the “poisons scheduling” of various essential oils by the Australian National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee.

Disparate Views Regarding Toxicity

There is such a diversity of opinion regarding essential oil toxicity because of philosophical differences amongst various people and organizations, a lack of knowledge amongst aromatherapy practitioners, and authors and the fear of public misuse.

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