Just How Essential Are Essential Oils?
CBS out of Dallas, Texas ran a story a few months back that may be of great interest to residents of Plano and all over the state. While Texans have been treating ailments with natural remedies for decades, there is now concern over these essential oils being used on kids without the knowledge of a reputable pediatrician.
The use of essential oils to treat things like weight loss, coughs and even depression is trending right now, but Texan pediatricians warn about their use with kids. Even though these companies claim that their natural products are effective, there is very little research to support their use in juvenile medicine. The vast majority are completely safe, but some do need to be administered with caution to avoid contraindications, skin problems and accidental ingestion.
Medical professionals around the world have been taking the use of essential oils more seriously over the last few years. Some are used topically to fight infection from bacteria, while calming scents from plants like lavender are administered into the air with the help of essential oil diffusers to help relieve stress in cancer patients.
While there would seem to be little harm in allowing a child to breath in the scent of natural plants, the trouble arises when they are administered onto the skin or even orally. Many of these oils are very potent, and require mixing with a benign base to avoid damage to the skin. With the more sensitive skin of a child, the ratio may need to be changed to avoid burning. The same is true of those few that are taken orally. Keep in mind that being natural by-products of plants, there has been very little research into the side effects of essential oils. Couple that with the smaller size and lower body weight of a small child, and you could be giving them a medicine that is potentially doing more harm than good.
CBS Dallas reports that last year, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings to two of the top essential oil companies for making broad health claims about their products. This is dangerous business when dealing with desperate people who are trying to ease the pain or illness of their child. Experts warn that before considering an essential oil treatment for a child, you should first discuss it with their pediatrician. Be prepared for an initial negative response by providing them with whatever information you found that makes you believe it will be a good remedy for your kid.
In Plano, we are very supportive of the use of natural products to treat illness and disease, but with caution. It is always important to remember that the testing on these products pales in comparison to what major drug companies are forced to do, making moderation at first critical.