Essential oil treatments linked to seizures

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Posted 07 May 2021

Essential oils are volatile, aromatic compounds obtained from plants that some people believe are the “essence” of the plant source representing the plant’s “life force,” “spirit,” or soul. Although promoters claim they have medicinal value, commonly used essential oils can trigger convulsions. Indian researchers have reported the results of a four-year observational study of people who were exposed to essential oils of camphor, eucalyptus, or both:

  • 22 people were found to have a first seizure induced by an essential oil treatment; 16 of those essential oil treatments were topically applied, five were through inhalation, and one through ingestion
  • 33 had seizures provoked by essential oils; 26 of those essential oil treatments were topically applied, five were through inhalation, and two were through ingestion

The authors concluded: “Exposure to essential oils of eucalyptus and camphor is an under-recognized cause of the first and breakthrough seizure. Identifying the true causative factor will prevent unnecessary antiepileptic drug therapy and future recurrence.”

Reference: Matthew T. and others. Essential-oil-related seizures (EORS): A multi-center prospective study on essential oils and seizures in adults. Epilepsy Research, July 2021

Source: Consumer Health Digest #21-17, May 2 2021

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