A recent news release from Vanderbilt University reports,
“The Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) housed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reported the number of essential oil exposures doubled between 2011 and 2015 and 80 percent of cases involved children.”
“Several essential oils such as camphor, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, thyme, tea tree, and wintergreen oils are highly toxic. All of the oils produce oral and throat irritation, nausea, and vomiting when ingested. Most essential oils either produce central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, which results in agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and seizures or CNS depression, which results in lethargy and coma. Other toxic effects include painless chemical burns, hypotension, acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute liver failure, severe metabolic acidosis, and cerebral edema depending on which essential oil is in question.”
Toxicity of essential oils
According to the poison control website,
- Eucalyptus is used for its soothing effects when inhaled, for example during a cold or cough. If swallowed, eucalyptus oil can cause seizures.
- Sage oil has been used as a scent, seasoning, and remedy. Swallowing more than a very small amount has caused seizures in children.
- Nutmeg can cause hallucination and comas.
- Camphor can cause seizures. Camphor can also be toxic if applied to the skin in high doses.
- Pennyroyal oil, a type of peppermint oil is very poisonous to the liver.
Poison control recommends that all essential oils are locked up to help avoid ingestion by children.