Aromatherapy is an all-natural remedy using essential oils distilled from plants. But merely because it's all-natural does not mean it has no potentially hazardous bad effects. Although they're proven to have beneficial effects to both the body and mind, volatile oils, identical to any medications, should be used with care.
Essential oils are very concentrated and volatile. Improper use may cause burns, allergic reactions, headache, or nausea. To avoid complications, preventive directions should be closely followed and certain safety guidelines should be followed.
• Essential oils are contraindicated in asthma, heart conditions, hypertension, cancer, epilepsy, and frequent allergic reactions.
• Essential oils should not be used in pregnancy due to the potential toxicity to the mother and fetus and the risk of triggering spontaneous abortion.
• Essential oils use should be avoided on babies and children less than 5 years of age. They should be used on children older than 5 years with caution.
• Essential oils must always be diluted according to the instructions before applying to the skin or using for inhalation.
• Toxicity and contraindications of all oil should be well understood. Before using an essential oil a simple patch test must be done to ensure it will not irritate the skin.
• The essential oils should be kept away from eyes and mucus membrane.
• They should be used with care on patients undergoing chemotherapy or feeling very ill. The smell of the oil may induce nausea, vomiting or negative emotions in subsequent context.
• High doses (10-20 ml) of some of essential oils may cause non-lethal toxicity. These include wintergreen, sage, aniseed, thyme, lemongrass, fennel, clove, cinnamon, camphor, and cedar wood.
• Certain oils are more commonly associated with allergic reactions including basil, fennel, lemongrass, rosemary, and verbena oils.
Therefore essential oil should be used with extra care and precautionary measures. It is advisable to exercise caution and consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using aromatherapy for medical use.