Are Allergies Possible With Essential Oils?

ImageA little over a year ago, I developed intense pain and stiffness in my right wrist. The joint turned bright red, and the tissue surrounding the joint swelled significantly. I couldn’t remember injuring it, but the pain was so severe that I went to get x-rays. Osteoporosis runs in my family, and I fit the profile of a “typical” osteoporosisite.

The doctor confirmed that I did not have a broken wrist. The redness and swelling were obvious, but he was befuddled and kept asking me, “Are you SURE you didn’t do anything to injure this wrist?” The inflammation was obvious, but the usual treatment for inflammation was a no-go for me because I have an allergy to some NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve, etc). He prescribed a wrist splint (that didn’t help) and told me he didn’t know why my joint was inflamed. I left his office feeling overwhelmed and gypped at the $200 price tag for the doctor to tell me what I could see with my own two eyes.

Desperate, I asked a friend of mine who was into natural alternatives if she knew of something I could apply to my wrist to help the pain and inflammation. We met at a Chick-filet, and she sold me a bottle of Young Living’s Wintergreen Essential Oil.

I was skeptical. How could an ingredient found in chewing gum and tea make my wrist feel better? But pain won the battle in my mind, and I dutifully dropped oil on my wrist and massaged it in the surrounding tissues, leaving the air around me smelling minty fresh, for sure!

To my surprise, the oil worked wonders. By the next day (and after several topical applications), the redness was reduced. I got pain relief and greater movement in the joint with each application of the oil. Eureka! Within a week my pain was gone.

Would it have gone away without the oil? Rewind to a few years earlier when I had a similar pain in my left hand, also requiring x-rays, also baffling the doctors, also leading to a wrist splint and a diagnosis of tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. That stretch of pain lasted a month.

One week…versus one month.

I was sold. I became a Young Living distributor not because I had any desire to sell products but because I wanted to purchase my oils at a lower price. I have since experienced health benefits from YL’s oils:

  • Peppermint — relieved nausea, bloating
  • Valor Blend — reduced neuropathy in fingers
  • Frankincense — provided anxiety relief
  • Purification Blend — acne, insect repellant
  • Thieves — boils

Essential oils are oils that are obtained through the distillation of plants or plant parts. They are sold in health food stores or through multi-level distributorships. There are two main brands used by people in my homeschooling circle of friends: Young Living and DoTERRA.

When I used Young Living Wintergreen to alleviate my pain, I knew nothing. All I knew about essential oils was that they worked for me when my doctor was unable to help. I did no research, and I conducted no internet searches on Young Living, Aura Cacia or any other EO company. I trusted my friends and jumped in with both feet. I joined a FaceBook group and eventually purchased a book about Young Living’s Essential Oils to assist me in determining which oil to use, when.

Despite all the good benefits to using the oils, there are certain aspects of my experiences with Young Living that are troubling. I am writing this blog post not to discourage or encourage the use of YL or any other essential oils, but to ask people to use common sense and caution.

The first concern I’ve had involves the nebulous concept of “detoxing”.  Many Young Living distributors claim (on the FaceBook pages and websites) that undesirable side effects are the result of the “detoxing” effect on the body’s cells. Yesterday I saw a post from a fellow YL oily friend wondering if anyone can be allergic to essential oils. This was the reply:

Detoxing can easily happen with the oils.

From what I’ve seen thus far, negative reactions people experience due to the oils is labeled “detoxing.” Of course we want to get the toxins out of our bodies, right? Since it’s a good thing to detox, we should push through the negative reactions (decreasing the amount we use, drinking lots of water, possibly fasting as well) until our bodies are able to eliminate the toxins and we reach healing on the other side. Gradually, I was told, the negative symptoms diminish as the body heals itself.

But a voice inside my head asks, “Isn’t that a convenient way to diminish the concerns of possible allergic reactions?”

A document I accessed on a FaceBook site created for distributors in my area summarizes the points raised by Dr. David Stewart in his book, Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple and states that it is not possible for a person to be allergic to an essential oil. Dr. Stewart, according to his website, has a PhD in geophysics. He has one semester of medical school at the University of North Carolina under his belt and has received 200 hours of training from Gary Young, founder of Young Living. He is a Natural Medicine Doctor, but his website does not specify where he obtained this medical degree.

According to this document summarizing Dr. Stewart’s book,

There has never been a documented instance of an anti-body response (i.e. sensitization) to an essential oil. Essential oil antibodies have never been found or detected in anyone. Unless sensitization occurs and antibodies are produced and stored in the body, there can be no allergic reaction. Therefore, we can state unequivocally that essential oils are not and cannot be allergens. Sometimes people do have allergy-like reactions but these are no allergenic in nature. They are detox reactions.

A google search brought up this newsletter article written by Dr. Stewart in which he writes the same information:

Because of the nature of distillation by heat, steam, and water, that true essential oils must undergo, they do not contain the necessary compounds to trigger allergies because these compounds do not pass through the distillation process. Hence, sensitivities to essential oils, in the sense of allergic reactions, are not possible. Allergic sensitivities are due to the body developing antibodies in response to certain nitrogenous molecules. No one has ever found antibodies in humans from essential oils. So if one has a reaction to an essential oil, it is something else. Not an allergy.

Oh, really? A reaction to an essential oil is “something else?”

Recently I had my daughter try one of the Young Living blends called Purification to treat her acne. It works well on my skin, and I thought we could try it with hers before venturing to the dermatologist. After applying the Purification, my daughter’s face broke out in wicked eczema. Now she had acne AND eczema. She stopped using the Purification…and lo and behold…the eczema went away.

Did the Purification bring toxins out of her cells, triggering her allergic response? Due to the timeline of events, we know that Purification was at least linked to the eczema, if not the cause. Could it have been the cause?

The fact is, essential oils are made up of multiple components that are slowly distilled out of plant parts. Purification, the oil that led to her eczema, contains a blend of five essential oils: citronella, lemongrass, lavandin, rosemary, melaleuca, and myrtle. The Essential Oils Desk Reference is a publication specifically written for and about Young Living essential oils. This reference says that the key constituents of citronella (one of the oils that make up the Purification blend) are:

Geraniol (18-30%)

Limonene (5-10%)

Trans-Methyl Isoeugenol (4-10%)

Geranyl Acetate (5-10%)

Borneol (3-8%)

Well, I found research that shows that the chemical geraniol, does, in fact, cause allergies — some severe — in some (but certainly not all) people:

The specific symptoms that can result can vary considerably amongst patients from a severe anaphylactic reaction to asthma, abdominal symptoms, eczema or headaches.

The key components of Lavandin (another oil in the Purification blend) are:

Linalyl acetate (28-35%)

Linalool (30-38%)

Camphor (5-12%)

Limonene + 1,8-Cineole (Eucalyptol) (2-8%)

Borneol (2-6%)

Terpinene-4-ol (2-7%)

Lavandulyl Acetate (1-5%)

Linalool, in particular, is a frequent culprit of eczema, behind nickel and cobalt.

In fact, every essential oil in the Purification blend has key components that contribute to allergic reactions in sensitive people who are prone to eczema:

Citronella has geraniol. Lemongrass has geraniol. Lavandin has linalool. Rosemary has camphor (contact dermatitis…i.e., eczema, has been reported.) . Melaleuca alternifolia itself has been linked to severe rashes, and Myrtle also has linalool.

But the worst thing I ever applied to my child is Young Living’s Wintergreen. My daughter has a severe allergy to salicylic acid, a product that is readily found in many skincare and shampoo products and is essentially liquid aspirin. When she used a shampoo that contained salicylic acid, she broke out in hives from head to toe, and her fingers swelled up so much that she looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. After a double dose of benadryl, the swelling went down, but the skin on her fingers peeled off as if she had been chemically burned. We have an epi-Pen in the medicine cabinet because this reaction was so severe. The doctor gave me a long list of medicines she must now avoid because of cross-reactions.

I make a point to read all labels of all products that will touch her skin. But somehow I didn’t worry about the essential oils. Because they are “therapudic-grade” and “all-natural.” So, I foolishly applied Wintergreen to my daughter’s neck…again, before I knew to check the ingredients. Wintergreen’s key component is methyl salicylate (90+%). One teaspoon of Wintergreen oil is the equivalent to 7000 mg of salicylate or 21.7 adult aspirin tablets!

Thank goodness the *only* allergic reaction she got to the wintergreen oil I rubbed on her neck was a burn. But I certainly would never allow her to ingest the oil.

The Desk Reference suggests several ways that people can use wintergreen oil, including diffusing it, applying it topically, and also diluting one part wintergreen oil with 2 parts vegetable oil to take as a dietary supplement. I can only imagine what might have happened if my severely allergic child had taken Wintergreen internally.

Yet the Desk Reference does not provide any cautions for people allergic to aspirin. It does say “Anticoagulant properties can be enhanced when used with Warfarin or aspirin.” But it does not say, as I found on this allergy site:

Methyl salicylate in topical analgesic preparations may cause irritant or allergic contact dermatitis and anaphylactic reactions.

To say that I feel like an idiot is an understatement. I also feel deceived and misled. My daughter could have had an anaphylactic reaction to Wintergreen.

I trusted my friends by virtue of their personal experiences with the Young Living products without investigating the oils and their key components themselves. Ultimately, the fault lies with me because I did not properly investigate the components of the oils themselves.  It does not matter that they are Young Living oils.  They could have been any brand of essential oils — they all distill down into the same key components.

The bottom line is this: essential oils are amazingly helpful and powerful, but they should be used with caution, regardless of the company name on the label. Sure, they are all-natural. All the components in Wintergreen and Purification oils are all-natural and have no additives…yet these natural substances DID induce an allergic reaction in my daughter. Those who will continue to insist that her reactions were not allergies give the impression that they might be more concerned with how Young Living oils are perceived by potential customers rather than by the truth. If necessary, I’d be willing to have my daughter’s blood tested for IgE reactions to methyl salicylate, just to have the company instruct its distributors (and its publications and printed and web materials) to disclose the danger of wintergreen to people who have a severe allergy to aspirin (although I’d doubt SHE would assent!)

Oh, and that “other” Essential Oil company I talked about earlier, DoTERRA? Their desk reference, Modern Essentials, DOES contain a caution about Wintergreen and allergies:

Some people are very allergic to methyl salicylate. Test a small area of skin first for allergies.

They also do not have it listed as a safe oil to take internally. (My Young Living friends will jump on this as a proof that DoTERRA oils aren’t as safe as Young Living’s. My response to that is that research I’ve read points to the danger of poisoning from ingesting methyl salicylate…which is 90+% of pure Wingergreen oil, regardless of the brand.  I’m fairly sure many of them successfully take Wintergreen internally in small amounts with no ill effects.  Doubtless they are not allergic to methyl salicylate.)

Be proactive and do your research. The information about essential oils is out there, if you are willing to dig and investigate. But please, please, please don’t blindly trust one brand over another.  Yes, Wintergreen comes to my aid often when my autoimmune issues flare up in my joints.  It’s the first oil I use when I have a bad tension headache.  Now  that I’ve done my research, I understand WHY it works…it’s like aspirin!  That is a good thing…unless, of course, you are allergic.

Instead, put your trust in the Lord, and in his Holy Spirit to guide you in all wisdom and truth.

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all. 15 See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Always rejoice, 17 constantly pray, 18 in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not extinguish the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. (1 Thess 5, NET)

76 thoughts on “Are Allergies Possible With Essential Oils?

  1. I developed a terrible reaction after using YL Purification, Lavender and Stress Away. I was allergy tested for both YL and dT Lavender, but didn’t have an issue with dT Lavender, only YL. I have had to take a strong course of anti-antibiotics and use 2 different steroid creams. My doctor was very concerned when he saw the rash/eczema up my legs and my arms. They were close to turning into ulcers. The rash occurred on each site that I used these specific oils. I too, was told the oils are pure so there are no side-effects, and it is not possible to have a reaction to them. Even after I showed the people in my “team” the photos, they didn’t accept it and deleted the photos. I just wanted to warn them that people can react, so they need to be careful when they claim there are no side effects. I am shocked that even when faced with photographic proof, they still won’t admit it.

    1. I’m interested to hear how you were tested for the allergy to the oils as I am looking for a doctor who can test my daughter for allergies to the specific oils. But I don’t doubt your experience at all and am sorry you were harmed by oils!

    2. Thank you for posting this! I also have recently used lavender and I developed a really bad case of hives! The oil seemed to help with the itching for a bit then it would come back and I would scratch and apply more lavender and it seemed to have sped up my rash and quickly turned into hives. It looked terrible! I couldn’t stand it and my husband went ahead and told me that I needed to apply cortisone cream. I’m just thankful that I was the one who had the reaction and not my son!

  2. So glad I read this today. I appreciate anyone who encouages others to think for themselves. I had a teacher claim that cilantro and frank that a student was wearing, on her feet, under shoes and socks caused an allergic reaction. I thought it was ludicress, but want to reaearch it myslef befor dismissing the possibility. This gives me a good starting point. I sure love EOs. But surely not one thing works for every person on the planet!

    1. I went to an oils meeting. I have mild asthma. Whatever the host was diffusing caused a reaction and I couldn’t stop coughing. I’m sure it was the diffused oil as my coughing stopped as soon as I left and got fresh air. There is no magic oil!

  3. Thanks for being honest. I believe these oils can have side effects too. I used young living rose ointment on my son’s eczema and it became severe. He had never used steroid creams on it but I was told that the young living oil was detoxifying all the creams I had used on it. The rep didn’t know that I had never used creams before (this was his first bout of eczema). I ended up having to use steroids because it was raw and bleeding. I still use YL oils but not for skin issues. We no longer drink the oils either because my son who is 5 years old had gallbladder pain after drinking lemon, lavender and peppermint for allergies. I told a YL rep about it and she said to rub digeze on his stomach. Um…no. If someone has an adverse reaction to a medication whether natural or synthetic you stop the medication. Sheesh. The YL reps are all brainwashed. I ran into the same problem as Sarah that when I posted pics or messages about this they deleted my messages. This includes the one where peppermint wasn’t bringing down the fever that my 2.5 year old had. I had to use tylenol and motrin to bring it down. If I had continued with their recommendations she would have died. She ended up in the hospital with dehydration and pneumonia.

    1. Your son was running a fever from an underlying condition. Peppermint may/may not bring down a fever. You should’ve had tests done to find out what was wrong with him. Tylenol is dangerous and shouldn’t be used for bringing down fevers. You should be researching what is being said about the use of Tylenol in children… Very dangerous. I’m sorry the person made you believe peppermint could cure your child. A fever is an indication of an underlying problem and bringing down a fever only masks the problem.

    2. Meri Arthur: Thank you for sharing. I found this post while searching for reactions to Rose Ointment. My daughter has severe eczema, but we are able to keep it under control with diet and Organic Manuka Honey Cream. Being new to YL I thought I would try their Rose Ointment instead. My daughters skin became severely enflamed, hot to the touch, and raised, almost like a burn. We tried using it for a couple of days thinking that the side affects would wear off after a while, but they have not. We will go back to using our original cream, as it has had no negative affect on her. I was thinking that maybe she was reacting to something else, but now, after reading your post, I do believe it was because of the Rose Ointment. It doesn’t affect me at all, but I think with my daughter’s super sensitive, eczema prone skin, it’s just too much for her. Thank you again for sharing.

  4. I am in the middle of a severe reaction to Purification- rash and eczema in several places and spreading- will use a steroid cream to try to stop the reaction but may have to deal with one injection since it is spreading in multiple places. I didn’t use ANY other products on the skin where this is happening!

  5. After cleaning my basement for mold, I ran YL Thieves in a diffuser in my basement for almost a week (admitted that was prob bad judgement on my part) Everyone except my husband broke out in hives. My husband has a “smokers” cough. This is the only thing I have changed so I am pretty sure it is the culprit. I have been researching the best ways to remove or clean a diffused oil out of the house, but that is tough since no one wants to admit there might be a reason to need to do that. I’d welcome suggestions. I am going to clean with a oil/grease dish detergent and shampoo the carpets with it as well. That is my best guess. I am still a believer that oils can help, but you can’t rule out that some people can’t handle them.

  6. Hi there. Just saw your link on Pinterest. Thank you so much for this insight! This is the first blog I’ve seen address allergies of/to EOs. It’s almost like users don’t want to acknowledge any problems in fear of criticism. After all your research, I’m was wondering what your thoughts are this: I am allergic to fresh cilantro….doTERRA’S Purify blend has cilantro in it. Would I be nutso to use it in my diffuser?

    (NOTE: I totally understand that you aren’t a doctor and can’t give medical advice, but I hope you’ll be open to sharing.)


    1. No! Essential oils are concentrated forms of the natural products. You will make yourself sick using a known allergen

  7. Since essential oils are made from the bark, leaves, and roots of plants, common sense would say that some components of the plant cilantro would be in the essential oil. If it were me, I wouldn’t risk it, depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. If cilantro makes your eyes water, then maybe you could smell the oil and see if your eyes water. If cilantro causes anaphalaxis, then I’d stay far away from any products containing it.

    1. Thank you. I can’t believe how conflicting information is online….most is from people who sell EOs so that makes it even more confusing. I appreciate your input.

  8. After reading some of the articles claiming that essential oils are non-allergenic I was scared and appalled. I suffer from anaphylaxis to lavender for the simple reason that one of my work collegues was over zealous with her use of “pure lavender essential oil” in the work place. I can no longer walk past a lavender bush without ending up in hospital. It is a relief to hear a real account of just how dangerous essential oils will be. I doubt that a “detox” as they call it is supposed to close your throat and make you unable to breathe.

    Thank you

    1. Hi, I am currently working with a woman in my workplace that diffuses and applies, as well as ingests EO Thieves. She has interested our boss onto the “benefits” of Thieves too and now they both swear to the benefits of this. She is a seller of YL oils and uses it regularly in our workplace. she is new to our team. She states that she is using the Thieves as a treatment to a neurological condition. My problem is that my face is burning all the time now and my throat burns with each breath that I intake. Upon complaints to my boss, he states that he is in a delicate position because she uses it for a medical condition. This treatment has not been prescribed by a physician so I don’t understand why he has a problem telling her to discontinue the use of it in the workplace. I have moved myself out of our main work room and am now alienated working by myself all day. Do you have any advice for me? At this point I’m attempting to find an allergen Dr to complete testing on me. I need help, I’m suffering so badly physically and it is now affecting me emotionally.

  9. My daughter had a horrible allergic reaction to YL Lavender. Within 2 min. of applying it to 2 bug bites, her skin turned bright red and swollen and she got a blotchy red rash around the area. She was bawling and saying “Odie” over and over. Very traumatic! Everyone said detox, but I know better. I got the same raised red welts after every allergy injection.

  10. Just for another point of view… I have several allergy sufferers in my family. We use Young Living oils daily. We diffuse, apply topically and even take them internally as recommended. We have never had an allergic reaction to any of the oils. My sister is severely allergic to cinnamon, but can use Thieves and even cinnamon bark oil with no issue. Hot oils can temporarily turn skin red and citrus oils in large quantities can burn and cause photo-sensitivity. I do know people who use traditional beauty products, deodorant/antiperspirants or eat unhealthy diets that have had what I would call a detox reaction, and eventually go on to use the same oils in the with no reaction. Common sense should always be used,and I would never apply a teaspoon of any oil at a time to a child and probably not to myself–a drop or two will do the job. Your experience is your own and I’m not discounting it, but there are two sides to every story.

    1. Hi Elissa. I appreciate your point of view. I specifically wrote this post because I found on my Young Living Rep’s facebook page an actual article that stated that it was “impossible” to be allergic to essential oils. My goal was to investigate that claim. Since I’ve written this post, my daughter has reacted to even more chemicals that are oil components (we are still trying to figure out which one). Her latest reaction resulted in two weeks of severe hives, swelling of her hands, and swelling of her airways. This reaction was not a detoxification nor was it a consequence of her diet, use of makeup (all natural mineral makeup). It was an immediate reaction to contact with a soap that contained “natural botanical oils.” If I had not given her an inhaler and Benedryl, it might have led to devastating consequences. The bottom line is: if you are severely allergic, use oils with caution. If you are allergic to aspirin, do not use Wintergreen.

  11. Hi there. I wish I had found this page a couple of months ago. I have signed up to YLO after having great success with peppermint oil, which has actually eliminated my need for the 3 meds I was taking for GERD.
    But then I decided to do the Petrochemical Detox using grapefruit oil, citrus blend and ledum. It’s a six week protocol. I started it 5 weeks ago, and did in fact lose 3 kilos in the first month. Then I developed what the doctor thought was eczema, though not where I was rubbing the oils. Anyway, three days after that, I broke out in a lot more of the ‘eczema’ and a hive-like rash.
    Yes, I am allergic to salicylates. No, I did not realise that essential oils would contain salicylates…. I have poisoned myself, and will probably be taking anti-histamines and rubbing steroid cream on all the places where the rash is (arms, legs, chest, neck) for the next week to counteract it. And, now I will probably have to stop using the peppermint, because the chemist explained that, as this is a ‘cumulative poison’ situation, now I will probably have a life-long reaction to any sals, even in low doses 😦
    I am SO disappointed, as I have been sharing my health benefits of the peppermint with other ladies at my gym, and one woman wants to sign up under me next week. Now I may have to cancel my own membership, because I may even just react now to burning the oils. i can’t believe I’ve messed up my body so much by thinking using all natural products would be safe. Should have done more research. Even though the rash should go, I have to be careful for a while.
    I’m hoping this might help others who think of doing the petrochemical protocol… I’m sure it is safe for those with no sensitivities, but forewarned is forearmed.

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  13. Hello – I’m doing some research right now for a customer who is asking about Salicylates & EOs. So far, I’ve told her to avoid wintergreen (all the research I’ve found so far say it can be lethal if swallowed!!!), peppermint, spearmint. Just found out Lavender is part of the mint family & has Salicylates in it. Where else do you find information?

    I’m looking for these oils specifically: bergamot, roman chamomile, tea tree, eucalyptus (I’m guessing its a no-no), frankincense, oregano, clove & thyme.

    I’d be interested if you’ve researched any of these and if so what you have found? I’m off to do more research!

  14. I suggest looking at one of the oil companion guides for the manufacturer. It will list the chemical make-up of the oil. That’s what I used to find out that Wintergreen has such a high percentage of methyl salicylate.

  15. I have several co-workers who wear the necklaces with oils in them. I can no longer walk into our coat room in the morning without coughing and becoming sick to my stomach. The thieves they wear has made several other co-workers sick, also. Please be courteous in your use of these oils.

    1. I’d like to see people who wear perfume/cologne, use air fresheners/candles in the work place be considerate. I’ve had many a headache/nausea from these chemicals. Let’s not add the possibility of cancer from the carcinogenic chemicals in them!!!

  16. I was just wondering what you think about only DIFFUSING wintergreen around someone with an aspirin sensitivity? Not using topically or orally…?

    1. I am not a medical professional. My daughter has a severe reaction to topical salicylic acid (aspirin), and I have not diffused Wintergreen. I have, however, frequently used Wintergreen topically on myself and been around her (and then washed my hands). I don’t know that i would risk it!

  17. I want to thank you for this post. I have been sick with a cold all week and was using the oils for it. I used purification on my neck for a sore throat and thieves on my feet. I now have small blisters between two fingers and a severe rash on my neck. I still believe in the oils, but I do believe that there are some people who will have a reaction to them. I am a YL rep and I will not feel bad for sharing this info with anyone. I can’t believe people would lie about something so serious. Thanks again.

    1. I think for the most part people aren’t lying — they are just uninformed. Any substance can cause an allergic reaction. In fact, I’d be willing to make an educated guess that a pure essential oil could be worse for a person than one that has been diluted — if the person was allergic to the chemical components of the oil, as my daughter is allergic to salicylic acid.

  18. I suffer from allergy reaction to salicylic, although symptoms are like allergy its actually an intolerance & often not immidiate (unlike an allergy) while the end reaction is the same as an allergy, my symptoms are often confusion plus hives & extreme puffing & swelling of face & especially mouth & lips & tongue, I’ve also collapsed several times & had a type of fit, I now carry an epipen but confusion & disorientation has stopped me using.

    I use small amounts of lemon grass in cooking but when I recently touched leaf, itching followed at once & then several hours later swelling started, very scary. More recently turmeric supplement which for others a great supplement, fine first day, day 2, I was so ill swelling, itching, headaches, very weak dizzy & ill. Those of us who are intolerant to salicylic, essential oils, herbs & spices, trees & leaves & many veg can make us very ill

  19. Coleenlogie, I believe it’s our immune system, that’s at fault, rather than that essential oil or peppermint, herb, veg etc.

    My way is to try & build up my immune system. I do also take antihistamines because otherwise I’m always ill especially in winter with flu type symptoms. I eat organic (pesticides, more salicylic)

    High dose vitamin C & B, D3 & Calcium, starting place ))

  20. I am so glad to have found this website. I discovered essential oils last fall through a Young Living distributor. I immediately fell in love and taught myself how to make homemade products with essential oils. Room sprays, lip balm, and cleaning products have all been made with these the oils of personal choice. (My entire living space has been consumed with EOs!) Both my husband and I use them to fend off and soothe pain, sickness and germs. They have worked wonders and I truly believe that for many, they continue to be very helpful for emotional and physical well-being. However, the past six months have been brutal to my immune system. I have developed a raspy voice that required three visits to the ENT, three full rounds of antibiotics for sinus infections and a full round of updated allergy testing by my allergist. The testing revealed that I am allergic to many of the grasses and trees that I can see outside of my window in Upstate NY! After many different doctor visits, my allergist asked if there were any new factors that were introduced in my life that might be at the root of what was compromising my health. After I shared with him that I have introduced essential oils to my life last November, he shared that because this was the only newly introduced factor, it would only make sense to eliminate these oils for a trial period. While I knew that this is something that I probably should have already known or initiated on my own, I wasn’t willing to give them up…that’s how much I love them and believe in their power to heal. It’s only been two weeks since going “cold turkey”, but my voice is started to get stronger. My allergist asked that I continue to live an oil-free life until July, the date of my next allergist visit. I can only move forward and follow doctor’s orders. I know that we may never have definite answers to what was ailing me, but for now, I am placing stock in the notion that the content of these oils were simply acting as allergens. I will stay off the oils, but I will always remain a fan.

  21. My roommate has been using essentials oils through young living, It makes the whole house smells like a mentholated cough drop. Shortly after she started using the oils my eyes were watery and scratchy and felt like I had trouble breathing, I’ve been to my primary care doctor three times and ent doctor three times with terrible congestion that I can’t get rid of. The only thing different in my environment are these oils. She uses them in diffusers and on her person. The smell gets in the a/c unit and is all over the house. She can’t understand that I could and probably am allergic to them. She thinks that because I am a cigarette smoker that I could be allergic to these oils that are so “natural and pure”.

  22. Hi there. I came across your page because I have a TERRIBLE allergic reaction to YL Purification. I used it to treat a few blemishes and now I have 3 huge rashes on my forehead. One of them is now red blotchy and has tiny what looks to be whiteheads. Curious to see how your daughters rash healed and how long it took. I was prescribed a steriod cream.

    1. Purification contains lemongrass and lemongrass is a hot oil and can cause a reaction in ANYONE because it should be diluted.

  23. i had everything that you say the oils give you and the oils took it away. i think your wrong and its detox the reason the other company has it is cause there is additives in there and so they have to have this disclaimer. i had a rash ezema all over my body and oils from yl took it away

  24. I have been using YL oils for over a year. I love all I’ve tried, until yesterday when I put Estrogen into water and Dragon Time on my neck and abdomen. I also was wearing Motivation. Within 10 minutes my throat was swollen, scratchy. My palms were itchy and I couldn’t breathe well. I took a shower due to all-Over body itching. When I got out, my chest and neck were covered with hives and my neck and face were swollen and burgundy in color. I took Benadryl and headed to the ER. In the 15 minutes it took to get to the er, my entire body was burgundy, massively swollen, the small hives had become a large hive blister covering all of my body. My hear rate was over 150, my body itched and burned at the same time. I was given a steroid shot, epinepherine and more Benadryl. I am very fearful to discover what caused the reaction, but until I know, I will be touching no oils! The Dr said this wasn’t the first reaction he had see to essential oils. I wish I had done more research, but I hope others can learn from my mistake.

  25. i am so happy I found this article! I work with a YL distributor, and have severe allergic reactions to her oils. In the last year, I have had to do 7 rounds of steroid eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis. Every time I say something to her about it, she gets very defensive and says I’m not allergic to the oils because they’re organic. I know I’m allergic to it because when I’m not there, my eyes are fine. I have talked to my boss about it and he does nothing. I will, unfortunately, be giving my notice this week, because I have developed abrasions on my eyes that aren’t healing. I’m devastated because I absolutely love my job. And the only reason I have stayed this long is because I don’t want to leave. But I have no choice, my eyes are more important.

  26. I just wanted to say that I loved this post. I am a doTERRA dustributer, but know there are other equally great oils companies out there. It all comes down to the research you are willing to put forth for your own health. Above all, having respondible mentors makes a huge difference. Your team must be proud of you!!!

  27. I’m so glad I found this website. I have been using YL EOs for six months. I love the products. My daughter uses them and applies Thieves to her boys’ feet before school. They haven’t had a sniffle since. I know others who have experienced great help and relief from the oils, including parents with Autistic children and one mother who has a daughter who seizures on a daily basis. Both couples have seen amazing changes in their children since introducing YL EOs to them. All that said, just before I began using the oils I had a super bad cold. It was one of the worst colds I’ve had in my life. It took about a month for it to go away, but it did. And that’s about the time I began to use the oils. The reason I was drawn to them is I suffer from insomnia and I was looking for relief. I’ve been diffusing oils at night by my bedside, as well as during the day most days, as I work from home. I’ve also had a wicked cough and severe postnasal drip for six months. My husband and I can’t remember the last time we had any sleep because as soon as I lie down at night my cough is non stop. I sometimes feel like I’m drowning when trying to catch my breath because of all the junk in the back of my throat. I cough during the day too, but it’s not nearly as bad as it is during the night. All this time we’ve assumed it was a chronic cough that developed as a result of my extremely bad cold six months ago. But a few days ago my husband pointed out that not only did this cough begin about the same time as my cold was winding down, it also began at the same time I began using the oils in my diffuser, as well as on my body. I don’t ingest them. I’m going to eliminate them for a period of time to see if my cough improves. I did ask my upline (I am a distributor to take advantage of wholesale prices, but I don’t sell them) if I could be allergic. Of course, she said no because the oils don’t have proteins. I will report back in a few weeks to let you know if eliminating the oils will eliminate my almost violent chronic cough. It does seem the oils could be the reason as the timing is right. But I’ve also read that after suffering a serious cold, flu or illness you can also develop a chronic cough. I want to follow up so others who may find this discussion in the future will read about the result after eliminating the oils.

    1. I should have mentioned that I’ve never suffered from allergies in my life. I have never experienced a severe chronic cough until the past six months. . So I have no long term history of problems.

  28. I have anaphylactic disorder of my allergy system. When I have anaphylaxis I do not trigger any antibody response at all. Those of us with immunological based allergies called direct allergies will not produce antibodies to it. Ask any allergist who is trained as an actual Doctor,instead of someone paid by Mr. Young. I actually had a severe drop in my book today at church because someone wore a necklace to church with essential oils in it. This is not an area of medicine to write off as a detox program…..this I a discipline in medicine that saves lives. YL is known for attempting to cover this up and to attempt to say they take the histamine out. First off… any chemist will tell you that that is impossible. Second allergies are not about histamine alone. There are hundreds of chemical mediators to the mast cell that you’d have to address to do that. The fact is is that these are triggers… Very strong and very pure triggers. And that’s the truth that YL doesn’t want to admit it. They play with fire….and someone will die from this one day.

  29. I found your post because I 100% know that Stress Away is causing me to develop an itchy rash. I used to apply it to the back of my neck each morning but stopped that once a rash formed in that exact spot. I then started applying a drop to my chest each morning instead….again itchy rash. I love my oils, but it’s ridiculous for anyone to claim that no one can be allergic.

  30. I have no idea what I am allergic to. I get so many reactions from “perfumed” products that I haven’t been able to pinpoint the culprit(s). (By perfumed I include those containing essential oils)
    I now avoid anything and everything containing them.
    But now I am trying to give up smoking (again) & find vaping juice has essential oils…. After a week I have gone back to tobacco as my throat is nearly swollen shut.
    I would like to get to the bottom of my problem with essential oils – surely I can’t be allergic to all of them? But where do I start?

  31. I recently placed a large order through YL and received several blends. Prior to this order I had only Thieves and was diffusing this fairly often. During the last couple days, I feel as if I am having horrible seasonal allergies and I am confident that it is one of the oils or a particular oil that is in some of the blends. I am so disappointed because I love them and spent a ton a money on my recent purchase. It was Inner Child that seemed to bring it on, because I was diffusing it the morning the allergies began, I felt better while being gone during the day, and then it came back strong once I got home and began diffusing it once again. However, I have also been diffusing Thieves and using the Stress Away roll-on. I am hoping I can pinpoint what is causing this because it is miserable and I do not want to give up all the oils!

  32. Thank you for this! I can tell you did your research. I love YL, and use it a lot. The only one I haven’t used is Thieves because the smell bothers me. Well, I’ve been sick with the flu for over 3 days, so someone said to put Thieves down my back and it would help pull out toxins. I did. I woke up the next day COVERED in hives. All over my back. They’re still there. My whole back is bumpy, itchy, and uncomfortable. I’m about to start another batch of benadryl. I emailed my friend and she told me that the hives were are result of detoxing! I just didn’t believe it. My son is very allergic to various things, and his allergies manifest in hives. I knew well enough to know that I’m allergic to Thieves, and your blog helped me to feel better about my conclusion.

    Thanks again!

    1. Did you dilute the thieves oil before applying to your back? Thieves contains 2 hot oils so it should always be diluted.

  33. Hi I have been using oils for over a year. They have been a big help. I recently had a small surgery and reacted to the anaesthetic . Since then I am getting rashes from the oils. I also did not realize the importance of diluting oils so I have used them full strength. Does any one know if I stop most of them for a few months or use them sparingly if this will go away?

  34. I wasn’t feeling well so my daughter who was just at an essential oils party and purchased a starter kit and diffuser made me a cup of tea and added lemon. dandelion, cinnamon, peppermint, and thieves and I don’t know what else but the next evening I itched excessively on my feet and spread all over my body hands also. I also awoke with a horrible taste in my mouth and very bad heartburn. after 2 days I still can,t get rid of all these symptoms. I’ve been applying anti itch creams and wondering if I should go to the doctor to see if there is anything they can do to give me relief. I’m certain this is an allergic reaction to ingesting the oils but can’t find anything online about ingesting only topical reactions.

    1. Haha maybe you could try another snake oil blend to heal the effects of the first one! These oils are the biggest ripoff around outside of buying jewelry.

      1. I use oils but NEVER internally and I also never use them undiluted – the reps will show all kinds of recipes and mixtures but they can be very dangerous

  35. Thank you so much for posting this, we all need to get the word out that using these oils can actually be toxic. I worked many years around plants at florists and nurseries and allergies are VERY common if you’re around any scented plant. I got a sore throat from just one days use of diffusing oils, I only diffused for an hour, and it was only lemon, lavender, and stress away blend. Anything with a scent can cause a reaction, just as any plant rubbed onto the skin can as well. We are all different, and these oils will affect us differently as well. It is not good for everyone, and they should NEVER be ingested.

  36. Please do not post false information regarding other companies unless you have Fact and proof of testing results etc. Opinions of bloggers etc are only that – opinions.

    1. I wrote about my own experience. I used my Young Living book to determine the chemical constituents of the Young Living oils. Wintergreen contains salicylates which can be life threatening to those with aspirin allergies. That is not false information. My daughter has a list of foods to avoid, including mints, because of their salicylate content. Why would I have her injest a concentrated amount of something she’s allergic to? Would you give your peanut allergic child a concentrated amount of peanut oil? Of course not. It’s the same principle. All essential oils, regardless of manufacturer, contain elements of the plants from which they were made. If you happen to be allergic to those plant parts, it’s logical you’d be allergic to the oil made from those parts. I’m not pro or against any company. Just asking people to educate themselves.

  37. I had facial flushing today. It has happened to me once before, a niacin flush. I have been using myrtle eo, two drops in water for a while now. However, today this happened and I am wondering if that is the culprit? Anyone else had this happen to them?

  38. I had a bad reaction to Stress Away Roll-On from Young Living! My husband said it looked like a bad reaction to poison oak. I treated like I would poison oak, Washing down with Tech-nu and using Benadryl and it is slowly clearing up!

  39. Thank you very much for this informative article. I’m googling headache associated with y.l. stress away and found your post. I appreciate your candor. I just ventured into oils but have always known reactions were possible even if “rare”. I now have some more research to do in my quest for health and wellness for me and my family.

  40. For me it has been brain power. I loved it and felt great about using it — brighter and more alert. But soon, I developed a burning rash that just didn’t go away. I tried changing the places I put it but still had the rash. I was told it was detoxing but that is really ridiculous. I had to use cortisone cream to make it go away. There are many natural oils that are toxic and can kill or burn. Brain Power’s ingredients are “Santalum paniculatum† (Royal Hawaiian™ sandalwood) wood oil, Cedrus atlantica† (Cedarwood) bark oil, Boswellia carterii† (Frankincense) oil, Melissa officinalis† leaf oil, Callitris intratropica† (Blue cypress) wood oil, Lavandula angustifolia† (Lavender) oil, Helichrysum italicum† flower oil.” I have used most of them individually without issue but the combination seems particularly toxic for me. Btw, I have no allergies. They now say “Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after applying product.”

  41. We have an 8 year old who has sensitivities to salicylates too, we have been struggling to find info on saliciylates and essential oils and we have been so reserved using oils on her as we dont know what will happen. It wont stop us trying to find the most natural solutions for her though we are extra careful. Thank you so much for this post.

  42. I bought some wintergreen from a Young Living Distributor and loved the smell of it so much I started researching online as to where else I could use it. In my research I saw that people with aspirin allergies should not use it. My husband is HIGHLY allergic to aspirin. I contacted the distributor and told her what I found and asked her if she was aware of this. Of course she gave me the run around and I kept asking her to please do some research herself and PLEASE contact the company as to train their distributors in this as well as put a caution with the oil. She called me back a few days later and said she had contacted the company but who know’s if they have ever done anything about it to this day. Unfortunately it will probably taking someone dying and a law suit before there will be warning labels.

  43. I do vendor shows at various events and now have to request that the YL vendor not defuse any blend or be placed very far from me. Purification makes my tongue swell and I can’t breathe well and have used an inhaler for several months. The YL vendor thinks I’m faking it and gets very defensive with me.

    My allergist confirmed that the EO’s are the cause. Many have tree elements which my scratch test showed a 6 positive reaction. My next step is to see if there are other varieties I need to avoid.

    Would love to see blend EO’s banned.

  44. LOVE LOVE LOVE your article!!! Thank you! I use essential oils and have cautioned friends who “sell” oils to be mindful of what they tell others because some of what they are sharing is DANGEROUS! And their response is “that’s what “so and so” above them in the MLM chain has told them to share”. Essential oils have many wonderful benefits but before you apply anything in or on your body, you should research first (and not research on pinterest boards!).

  45. The truth is, some natural stuff can kill you.
    Ask oneself, why do I want to believe this item/procedure is a panacea?
    Beware the lure of xenophilia.

  46. Hi , I found your website in searching for allergic reaction to essential oils. My grandmother gave me some thieves cough drops. I took one the night she gave them to me, a few hours later, I was broke out in hives, welts all over my arm, legs and back. We had been working on remodeling our bathroom tearing out sheetrock so I attributed it to maybe touching or getting something on me. Two days later I sucked on one again, it did the same thing,I broke out in hives, welts, scratched myself to death. I tried to think back to what I had done or touched. Then it hit me. Twice now while taking those cough drops I’ve broken out in hives. I thought this can’t be, young living oils are completely natural. So I Google information and ran across your article only to realize that I believe you can have an allergic reaction to the essential oils even though they are considered completely natural. I will not use the thieves cough drops again and probably won’t use any essential oils again. I’m sure for some they’re great but after the reactions I’ve had from the cough drops I think I’ll steer clear essential oils.

  47. Thanks for your comment! I think many people assume that “natural” chemicals are synonymous with “safe.” But that’s a logical fallacy. If all “natural” substances were “safe,” we would not have a need for allergy medications, and my nephews would be able to safely eat peanuts without the need for an EpiPen.

    A couple of days ago, I diffused an oil I had not diffused before and ended up coughing and congested. I have asthma; the oil aggravated it, so it goes onto my ‘do not use’ list.

    Use common sense and of course consult your doctor if you have questions about the safety of any “natural” product!

    (By the way, my local health food store won’t even carry Wintergreen oil anymore because of safety concerns.)

  48. Thank you for this information!
    My stomach kept continually getting worse over weeks and I couldn’t figure out why. I could eat less and less foods. Then one day I realized, that the toothpaste I switched to was the cause, which contains 2 essential oils. As soon as I stopped using it, I started getting better.
    It actually boggles my mind, that such a small amount of something, could wreak such havoc on my body.

  49. Thank you, I have been using oils for about a year now. I have a Salicylate intolerance, a 4 month old who also has possible intolerance. I always stayed away from oils, until I was introduced to young living. I find that some oils help my sinus/Allergy symptoms others make them worse. I have been rethinking what I should be using and researching into Salicylates and essential oils.
    Also my husband thinks difuse in oils or using them on or around our baby may contribute to his issues.

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