Too Much of a Good Thing: How to be Careful When Using Essential Oils for Health

Essential oils are liquids that come from different parts of a plant such as leaves, stems, roots, and flowers. They contain active ingredients that provide many benefits including relaxation, beauty, fighting disease, and even fighting infections. Essential oils can be used to treat feelings of anxiety and help with sleep problems. However, they must be used carefully because there is no quality control on the products and concentrated forms of essential oils can lead to negative effects if not diluted properly.

Some of the most popular essential oils include lavender oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil. All these essential oils have been shown to benefit health in ways such as treating acne or being an antibacterial agent against different types of bacteria in the environment.

Lavender oil, for example, is known to be calming and relaxing. It contains a chemical that helps produce more of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This can help people sleep better or fight feelings of anxiety. Tea tree oil has been shown to have antibacterial properties against a number of different bacteria including staphylococcus aureus which can cause infections in wounds caused by cuts and scrapes. Eucalyptus oil has been used as an expectorant helping people get rid of excess mucous out of their lungs so they can breathe easier. The menthol contained in peppermint oil acts as a mild numbing agent making it ideal for treating muscle aches and pains such as headache or backache.

While these oils are known to be beneficial, there is no quality control on essential oils. Anyone can claim their product contains an essential oil even if it does not. There are only a few methods of testing whether or not the ingredient in question actually contains that essential oil. This makes it important for consumers to do their homework before buying any of these products.

A second problem with using too much of these oils is how concentrated they are. The active ingredients in the oils are powerful and highly concentrated which means they need to be diluted properly before use. Even small amounts applied directly to the skin can produce negative results instead of the desired benefits such as burning when used topically or breathing problems when inhaled accidentally. Another way too much of a good thing can cause problems is when the oils are taken internally. Again, even small amounts can cause problems and some of them may not be safe to take in certain circumstances such as during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

It’s important to be careful about using essential oils for their benefits because there isn’t enough regulation on the products some may contain little or no actual ingredients that provide those health benefits. Even if they do contain those beneficial ingredients, it’s possible they might need to be diluted before use. Lastly, people should consult a doctor before taking any essential oil including those used topically or through inhalation because not all essential oils are safe to be used by anyone at any time especially if they have a medical condition that requires a specific treatment plan from a doctor.

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