Essential Oil Contraindications
Essential oils are one of the most powerful natural herbal tools. High quality, therapeutic-grade oils can be used to assist healing of almost any emotional or physical condition. But there are circumstances in which there could be essential oil contraindications to follow. Aromatherapy and essential oils should not be used for certain conditions and should be avoided.
Essential Oils and Underactive Thyroid
Many essential oils are good for the thyroid gland – myrtle and spearmint are known to boost thyroid function and support an underactive or hypothyroid condition. But it’s recommended that people who are hypothyroid avoid wintergreen essential oil.
Wintergreen is one of the best oils for pain relief. It is naturally high in salicylates, a type of chemical that acts as an anaesthetic to numb pain; however, salicylates may interfere with transport of one of the primary thyroid hormones, T4, through the bloodstream. Less T4 in the blood means less is available to the body’s systems, worsening the appearance of a hypothyroid condition.
Essential Oils and Epilepsy
Likewise, epileptics can benefit from essential oils – but there are certain oils they should avoid, that have been tenuously linked to seizures in those who already have epilepsy.
These essential oils include:
- Idaho tansy
Essential Oils and Pregnancy
Some experts say that pregnant women should not be exposed to essential oils. This is safe, reasonable advice, if a little overcautious. Essential oils are safe and may be used during pregnancy, if and only if:
- the oils used are known to be pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils;
- a woman is in good health, has cleansed fairly regularly or recently (so the oils will not trigger massive cleansing that can harm her baby);
- she is familiar with essential oils and their impact on her body and her health.
Unless these are the case, it may be a good idea to avoid most essential oils during pregnancy.
Essential Oils and Drug Interactions
Most essential oils do not cause drug interactions, but as new drugs become available, it is always a good idea to ask your doctor whether you should avoid using essential oils or herbal supplements while you are on medication.
One of the few known drug-essential oil interactions involves Coumarin, an anticoagulant (blood thinner). Those taking Coumarin are advised not to drink grapefruit juice, since eating grapefruit can increase uptake of the drug and presents a risk of overdosing. The same is true of grapefruit essential oil, which should be avoided by those using this drug. In general, however, essential oils are safe to use while taking medication.
As you can see, there are certain essential oils that should be avoided if used during pregnancy and if a person is epileptic, has a thyroid condition, or is taking particular prescription drugs. Follow these essential oils contraindications to avoid any negative effects. You can also consult a health care professional, like your family doctor, for safe usage of any essential oils.