Questions about essential oils

Questions and answers on the use of essential oils

      Rain, wind, and cold - the wet and cold months are typical for colds with a runny nose, cough, and hoarseness. Many consumers expect relief from the expectorant effect of essential oils from eucalyptus, peppermint, and camphor. These are ingredients of cold baths, solutions for inhaling, and rubbing in the chest. However, caution should be exercised when using cold or relaxation preparations in children. The same applies to fragrance or aromatic oils that are released into the air through fragrance lamps. Infants and toddlers, in particular, can be sensitive to the smallest amounts of essential oils. Numerous cases of poisoning have become known. In the following, frequently asked questions and answers on the topic of "essential oils" are going to mention.

Essential oils


What are essential oils?

Essential oils consist of differently composed mixtures of liquid, volatile, and fat-soluble plant constituents or synthetic aromas with a characteristic odor. Unlike fatty oils, essential oils evaporate entirely. The combinations consist of a large number of chemical compounds, most of which are terpenes.

How do they work?

Essential oils are absorbed into the body when inhaled through the mucous membranes, when rubbed in through the skin and ingested via the gastrointestinal tract. This way, they get into the bloodstream and the various organs. Also, essential oils reach the olfactory nerves through the nose. This is where electrochemical signals are generated, which are passed on to the brain as information. Since the brain controls the production of various hormones and affects the immune system, essential oils can affect well-being. The substances are excreted unchanged via the kidneys, sometimes via the lungs with the air we breathe.

What are the essential oils used for?

Essential oils benefits

The areas of application are diverse. Essential oils can have a delicious and digestive effect on the inside. They are used in cold preparations such as bath oils or cold baths and to promote blood circulation in sports ointments. Because of their aromatic smell, they are added to cosmetic products as fragrances and can improve the indoor air as fragrance oils. Essential oils have also become increasingly important in the wellness area.

      Well-being and healing effects are associated with essential oils. For colds and flu infections, the use of preparations with essential oils is often perceived as beneficial and symptom-relieving. Essential oils are usually heavily diluted in medicinal products and cosmetic products, but undiluted oils are also available.

What should be considered when using essential oils in babies and toddlers?

      Undiluted essential oils are not suitable for infants and young children!

Even the smallest amounts (e.g., a few drops) that get into the mouth or nose can lead to life-threatening cramps in the larynx and respiratory arrest in infants and young children. Other undesirable effects include skin and mucous membrane irritation, vomiting, movement disorders, or even seizures.

Therefore, only use preparations that are specifically designed for use in infants and young children. If in doubt, get advice from a specialist doctor or pharmacist. Powerfully effective essential oils such as camphor must not be included. Follow the prescribed dilution instructions. Do not use the preparations on the face. Because of the skin irritant effect, do not apply directly to children's skin. Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children.

Are there essential oils that children are particularly sensitive to?

    In children under three years of age, special care should be taken when using camphor, eucalyptus, thyme, and peppermint oil (menthol). These essential oils are considered to be particularly problematic.

Are poisoning cases known?

    Cases of poisoning with essential oils are known. In children, the reason is often the accidental intake of inhalants or fragrance oils. Inhalers are usually given in the mouth for swallowing because parents confuse them with oral preparations in the form of drops. Due to the general popularity in the wellness area and the widespread distribution of the essential oils, there are numerous poisoning options.

What should you do in the event of misuse or signs of poisoning?

      If a child shows acute symptoms such as shortness of breath, cramps, or changes in consciousness, the emergency doctor or the emergency services must be informed immediately. As a first measure, rinsing with water after accidental contact with the skin and inadvertently drinking liquid (tea, water, or juice) can be recommended for dilution. Then a poison information center should be asked for advice. Home surveillance can be possible depending on the type and amount of essential oil ingested, and a visit to the doctor may be unnecessary. Only after ingesting camphor, after drinking tea, water, or juice for dilution, just a child's clinic is immediately visited, which in this particular case monitors the child for a short time.

Are there risk assessments for the different essential oils?

     Tea tree oil is not approved as a medicinal product and has not been tested for its effectiveness and health risks. Undiluted and highly concentrated tea tree oil is commercially available as a cosmetic agent. The press advertises a healing effect for acne, eczema, skin infections, wounds, and warts, but also various infectious diseases. However, tea tree oil can trigger allergies and should not be offered undiluted ..the concentration of tea tree oil in cosmetic products should be limited to a maximum of 1%. Also, products containing tea tree oil should be protected by opaque packaging and antioxidants added.

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