Are Essential Oils Safe? Can They Cause Migraines and Headaches?

Are Essential Oils Safe?Are Essential Oils safe? Is it possible that essential oils (EOs) can cause headaches or migraines? I first asked this question on my Mariposa Naturals blog in November of 2012. It became the most popular blog post on my website, even now, over 5 years later.

Essential Oils are Powerful

Essential oils have become immensely popular in recent years. And I personally have found them to be beneficial, at times. Essential oils are also highly concentrated and therefore very powerful. For example, it takes 10,000 roses to make 5 ml (= one teaspoon) of rose essential oil.
That concentrated power can be a problem. There are many of us in the world that are super-sensitive to chemicals, even natural ones. When I first wrote about my experience with EOs, I had no idea just how many people had encountered similar issues. Until I started getting comments to that blog post.

A Cautionary Tale

Before I continue, I want to tell you upfront that my purpose is absolutely NOT to bash Essential Oils. I have EOs and have found them to be very beneficial. As stated, they are also very potent. While they can be beneficial, their potency also requires a bit of caution when using them. Thus, I have written this post as a cautionary note for those considering the use of EOs.

How Some Are Harmed by EOs

I can’t say that I thought I was the only one bothered by essential oils, though I was surprised by how many people had similar issues. You can hop on over to the original post if you want to read them all. Often, people were not given proper instruction in the use of EOs oils. They were applying or diffusing full-strength oils. And those EOs were causing migraines, headaches, and other health issues. Others, like myself, have found that some EOs are a problem at any strength.

Many of these people have been told that essential oils cannot cause any harm. That the oils will cure their migraines. I have been told this by people who refused to listen to anything different. I have friends who sell EOs and they understand the power that they hold. Not all sales people do. In reading the comments, it seems that some sales people make claims about essential oils curing headaches and migraines. First, this is medical advice given by an unqualified person. Second, it is malpractice. Third, it is dangerous and wrong.

Common Sense Essential Oil Use

My intent is not to put down essential oils. Instead, I want to help people to understand just how powerful they can be. And I have some common sense tips:

For the person selling essential oils:

  • Educate yourself before you start selling these oils.
  • Recognize and acknowledge that they are not for everyone.
  • Educate your clients on the safe and proper use of essential oils.
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For the first time user of essential oils:

Following these tips can help to make your use of essential oils safe, for you, your family and friends, and your pets.

  • First and foremost, understand that EOs are not for everyone, and they may not be for you.
  • Educate yourself on the safe use of EOs.
  • If you’re buying EOs from someone who insists they are safe for everyone, run away. Find someone reputable to buy your oils from.
  • Use them sparingly, a little goes a long way.
  • Don’t use them around people who are sensitive to EOs.
  • Always, always, always dilute them. Here’s why: Dangers of Not Diluting Essential Oils
  • Always test your reaction with a small, diluted drop of an EO. If you’re not sure what type of adverse reaction you can expect, consider reading this article on adverse reactions to EOs.
  • Test your reaction with a small, diluted drop of an EO before you diffuse that oil. If possible, even before you spend money on a diffuser.
  • If you have pets and plan to diffuse oils, read this article: Are Essential Oils Harmful to Cats and Dogs?

Are Essential Oils Safe?

That’s a question for each of us to decide for themselves. We are all different and we all react differently. I know that I am very sensitive to fragrances and strong odors, so I am very cautious in my use of essential oils. If you decide they are safe for you, please keep in mind the suggestions above, especially when using them around other people or your pets.

Have you had a bad reaction to essential oils? Share your experience in the comments below, it just might help the next person to read this article.

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Barbara

Hi, I’m Barbara McNeely, author and publisher in San Antonio, Texas. I coach authors who have a personal story they want to share in a book. And I consult and guide authors through the process of self-publishing their books.
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