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Aromatherapy's side effects

Aromatherapy can be a terrific way to soothe away a headache, calm an upset stomach, or even clear an unpleasant case of athlete’s foot. However, just as the treatment can provide many potential health benefits, aromatherapy’s side effects can have a negative influence. The important thing to be aware of is the fact that aromatherapy is not just a casual pastime; it should be treated with caution.

The potential toxicity of aromatherapy

Aromatherapy relies on a range of natural oils. But because these can contain toxins, there are many oils that simply shouldn’t be used due to their potentially toxic capacity. In this respect, aromatherapy’s side effects cannot be overstated, with certain toxic oils being capable of damaging vital organs, particularly your kidneys or liver, or your nervous system. According to some medical research, taking toxic oils orally should definitely be avoided, the worst culprits being the likes of camphor, sage, thyme, mugwart and eucalyptus.

Aside from the potentially toxic effects, some of the essential oils employed in aromatherapy produce side effects after any degree of direct sun exposure. The aromatherapist and author Julie Lawless, who wrote an in-depth analysis of the subject The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, lists angelica root, bergamot, lemon, orange and several other examples as possessing the capacity to promote sunburn.

Another side effect of aromatherapy oils is skin irritation. This can take the form of rashes, itching and burning. The degree of this irritation is directly related to how sensitive a subject’s skin is. Some oils can be used safely as long as they are sufficiently diluted, such as lemon or peppermint. If you are in any doubt, the aromatherapy oil should be used in low concentration.

Main causes of side effects

Aromatherapy’s side effects are down to the way that essential oils trigger cleansing. They force out toxins which have become lodged in the skin. This can lead to a skin rash, or a headache. The key to overcoming this is to ensure the oils are mixed in the recommended doses or dilutions prior to use. Keeping hydrated during the cleansing process is also important.

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