Essential oils are widely used for their pleasing aromas and energizing effects. But what many people don’t know is that essential oils can also be extremely risky, with certain types triggering seizures in some people. In this article, we’ll explore the risk of essential oil-induced seizures and provide some cautionary tales from those who have experienced them firsthand. We’ll also discuss the measures you can take to reduce the risk of seizure when using essential oils. By understanding the risks and taking appropriate precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils without putting yourself at risk.
What essential oils have been linked to triggering seizures?
The essential oils known to be linked to triggering seizures are eucalyptus, fennel, rosemary, sage, and camphor. People with epilepsy or seizure disorders should be especially cautious when using or inhaling these essential oils, as they can increase the risk of seizures.
Are there any natural remedies that can help reduce the risk of seizures triggered by essential oils?
Yes, there are some natural remedies that may help reduce the risk of seizures triggered by essential oils. Avoiding scents that are known triggers is the best way to reduce the risk of seizures. Additionally, using essential oils with calming scents such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang can help to reduce stress, which can lessen the likelihood of seizures.
Are there any lifestyle changes that can be made to help prevent seizures caused by essential oils?
Yes, there are certain lifestyle changes that may help to reduce the risk of seizures caused by essential oils. Avoiding overexposure to essential oils, especially those known to be triggers, is key. Additionally, limiting the use of essential oils to only the recommended doses, avoiding ingestion of the oils, and keeping the oils away from children and pets can all help to reduce the risk of seizures.
Are there any research studies that have investigated the effects of essential oils on seizure activity?
Yes, there have been several research studies that have investigated the effects of essential oils on seizure activity. Studies have found that certain essential oils, such as rosemary and lavender, can trigger seizures in epileptic patients. Other essential oils, such as chamomile, peppermint, and jasmine, have been found to decrease seizure activity. Further research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms behind these effects.
What kind of side effects can be experienced from using essential oils that trigger seizures?
Essential oils that trigger seizures can cause a range of side effects, including dizziness, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, and confusion. In rare cases, seizures themselves can be triggered by inhaling or applying certain essential oils.
Tyler A. Many essential oils EOs have anticonvulsant activity and might benefit people with epilepsy. Lemongrass, lavender, clove, dill, and other EOs containing constituents such as asarone, carvone, citral, eugenol, or linalool are good candidates for evaluation as antiepileptic drugs. On the other hand, some EOs have convulsant effects and may trigger seizures in both epileptic and healthy individuals. Internal use of EOs like sage, hyssop, rosemary, camphor, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, cedar, thuja, and fennel can cause epileptic seizures because they contain thujone, 1,8-cineole, camphor, or pinocamphone, which have been identified as convulsive agents. While more research is needed to confirm their mechanisms of action, it appears that the convulsant or anticonvulsant properties of essential oils are largely due to 1 their ability to modulate the GABAergic system of neurotransmission and 2 their capacity to alter ionic currents through ion channels. This review presents a systematic analysis of the current research on EOs and epilepsy, including human case studies, animal models, and in vitro studies. Although surgery is another method of controlling epilepsy, it is used selectively in patients whose seizures originate from a single, localizable site. Other treatments for epilepsy are still in developmental stages 1 . Despite these limitations, AEDs are likely to remain the primary treatment for epileptic patients because of their ease of use and wide availability. A large amount of evidence suggests that natural medicines may be one potential source of new antiepileptic drugs 2 . Essential oils EOs are one particular class of natural medicines obtained by distillation of plant material to obtain a volatile, hydrophobic extract. EOs have been used as anticonvulsants in traditional medicine in many cultures worldwide, especially in the Middle East, India, China, and Brazil. It is no surprise that much of the research on EOs and their antiepileptic effects has been produced by institutions in these regions. Even today, some herbal remedies are often more accessible than synthetic drugs for individuals in developing communities located in these parts of the world 3 . EOs have been documented for anxiolytic, sedative, neuroprotective, and anticonvulsive properties by academic research groups worldwide 4 7 . Despite a large amount of primary research describing the antiepileptic potential of many EOs, no prior review article has summarized these findings exclusively in the context of epilepsy and seizures to our knowledge. Compounds found in EOs have been shown to interact with and exert pharmacological action on central nervous system targets involved in epilepsy. Structures involved in neurotransmitter release and metabolism such as NMDA, , , glycine, and acetylcholine receptors, as well as the acetylcholinesterase and GABA transaminase enzymes are modulated by certain EO compounds 8 14 . Other EO compounds influence neuronal excitability and action potential dynamics by modulating voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels 15 , 16 . EOs and their constituent compounds have unique chemical properties that make them good candidates for drug design. Since the plant enzymes that produce terpenes are stereoselective, many EOs contain only one enantiomer of a compound. This can be advantageous in cases where one enantiomer has pronounced effects while the other is inactive or affects a different target. Another key property of EOs in the context of epilepsy is their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier BBB. Virtually all compounds found in EOs meet these criteria. Publications documenting the activity of methanolic or aqueous extracts but not EOs were excluded, as were articles describing the activity of EOs in the context of diseases other than epilepsy. Of the research articles identified in the initial search, fifty-eight were excluded. Of these fifty-eight, thirty-three did not contain information about essential oils in the context of epilepsy or seizures and were excluded for being irrelevant to the subject at hand. Eight were excluded because they were published in a language other than English, and sixteen others were excluded because they were review articles, commentaries, or other publications which are not considered original research. A total of sixty-four articles meeting the inclusion criteria were systematically reviewed and classified into two categories depending on whether the research documented positive or negative outcomes. Two main types of animal models emerged in this review models of acute seizure and models of chronic epilepsy. Animal models of chronic epilepsy aim to simulate spontaneous seizure, neurological insult that results from seizure, and lasting changes in the epileptic brain. Animal models of acute seizure aim to simulate the hyperexcitation of neural circuitry that causes convulsions and neurological lesion.