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Essential Oils

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Essential Oils, Volatile Oils, Aromatherapy

  • Definitions
  1. Scented liquid ("essence") extracted from plants, and diffused into the air as part of Aromatherapy
  • Efficacy
  1. May be effective for a variety of painful conditions based on limited evidence
  • Precautions
  1. Essential Oils are very concentrated solutions
  2. Avoid ingesting Essential Oils
  3. When using topically, dilute solution and apply only a small amount to unbroken skin
  • Adverse Effects
  1. Inhaled (Aromatherapy)
    1. Unlikely to be harmful in the short-term
  2. Topicals (esp. if applied to open wounds, or if not diluted)
    1. Systemic absorption (e.g. Gynecomastia may occur in boys exposed to lavender)
    2. Contact Dermatitis
    3. Photosensitivity (e.g. citrus)
  3. Oral
    1. Avoid ingestion!
    2. Keep out of reach of children and pets
      1. Adverse effects vary by essential oil
      2. Life threatening effects may occur with some agents (e.g. ingested Tea Tree Oil may cause coma in children)
  • References
  1. (2018) Presc Lett 25(10):59