Multi-level marketing companies are promoting essential oils strong enough to strip oil from an engine as natural therapies, a qualified practitioner says.
Essential oils are often marketed as a natural solution for stress, sleep problems, and other ailments, Gillian Parkinson says.
But taking them orally in a highly concentrated form is dangerous, she says.
“One trend that is quite popular now, that is very concerning, is just adding a few drops or even one drop of essential oil to water and drinking them.
“Oil and water doesn’t mix so you’re not diluting it, for example you need to cold press 60 lemons to get one drop of essential oil out of them - so it’s highly concentrated and one of the most prominent chemicals in lemon and other citrus oils - such as orange, lime and tangerine - is it’s very high in a chemical called limonene, and they use limonene to clean oil off engines.”
She says taking essential oils this way could be damaging the gut, liver, kidneys and gallbladder.
“There are some companies that market this as OK, but they are companies that aren’t associated with the qualified community, they are independents that like to mass-market and get people to sell these essential oils on their behalf.
“And unfortunately, the material that these resellers are getting doesn’t come from the code of ethics and the best practise standards that the qualified community adhere to.”
She says the trend is “fairly new” and she has been watching it grow since 2012.
“It’s now at such a huge and fast rate that to me, it’s getting out of control.”
She recently saw a so called raw food Christmas cake being promoted which had dangerous levels of essential oils.
“Cinnamon, clover, rosemary and lavender - and these were quite a few drops too that are contraindicated to children, babies anyone that’s on medication.”
Essential oils can interfere with conventional medicines, she says
“They can speed up, slow down or dilute the effect of your medication there’s just not enough understanding about this.”
She says she saw another recipe with ten drops of peppermint oil.
“You need to gather one and a half kilos of tiny little peppermint leaves to get ten drops of essential peppermint essential oil - that is a huge amount - would you normally put that in a cake?
“The other thing is essential oils are not food supplements, they are not food additives, you shouldn’t be popping a capsule in the morning, they have absolutely no vitamin or mineral content at all.”
These oils accumulate in the body, she says.
“Each essential oil will either stay in your body for 24 hours, two to three days or a week depending on which essential oil you’re taking.
“If you are using them daily, three or four times a day, you’re building up those chemicals in your body.”