Essential Oils Make Me Sick (Literally)

Essential Oils work great for a lot of people...I'm not one of them. Here's my story about how essential oils make me sick (literally)

Some of you know that I have some chronic health problems that can make life, to put it frankly, quite miserable at times.

All the blood draws, uncomfortable procedures, and misdiagnoses have made me open to alternative treatments, such as using essential oils. I know many people who have had wonderful experiences with essential oils, and I was hopeful that might be the case for me.

Sadly, essential oils make me sick.

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, should I be saying how essential oils cured me of all my illnesses, and I’ve never felt better? Oh, how I wish that was my story with essential oils.

Let’s rewind a few years to the first time I was introduced to essential oils. I went to the “What Women Want” expo in Orem, Utah. We walked past an essential oil booth, and I stopped to talk to the lady. She went on about how much she loved essential oils, and she asked if I wanted to try some.

I’m always down with trying new things, so I said sure, and she dabbed a tiny, tiny bit of peppermint right behind my ear. I said goodbye, and went on my way (mainly to see if anyone was giving away anything for free.)

Well, only about five minutes later, I started feeling really, really hot. It wasn’t a “oh the air conditioning isn’t on” kind of hot, either. I felt like my entire body was sweating (though, in reality, it wasn’t.) There weren’t a lot of people around me at that point, and I started getting very light headed, and I got a terrible headache. At that point, I thought maybe I had just gotten sick suddenly.

Until the exact same thing happened about a year later. I was at the Build Your Blog Conference, and I was talking to another essential oil lady. This time, I went into detail about my health problems, and she asked if she could put a drop or two of an essential oil in my water, so I said sure.

And, without fail, within about five minutes, I started having the exact same symptoms as I did months before. I was sitting at the very back of the room with Forrest and Jack (there was literally no one within 20 feet of me) and just a few minutes before, I hadn’t felt hot, or sick, at all. I couldn’t even concentrate, and almost insisted that Forrest take me home.

After about 20 minutes, the symptoms started to wear off, but boy, I thought I was going to die.

Then I ran into another consultant somewhere, and she told me that I needed to try a specific kind. She had me rub some on my stomach. I thought, hey, it’s nowhere near my head or face, maybe it won’t effect me.

And it did, right as I was standing there visiting with the lady. She was convinced it was because I have lots of bad things in my body (um, rude!) and the essential oils were just going into overdrive trying to attack it. I didn’t really buy that.

After these few experiences, you would think I would just swear them off. But no, I didn’t really think they could possibly make me sick. Which is why, when I was asked to make a craft using essential oils for a particular company, I agreed and made this foaming hand soap.

I was given several essential oils to try and even had to sign up as a consultant (which I’m now trying to figure out how to not be a consultant) and use in the hand soap. And to much delight — the hand soap didn’t make me sick!

So, I decided to try the essential oils again on myself (without being in the soap) a few weeks after I submitted the article and…guess what? I had one of the worst reactions yet. I couldn’t even think straight and just laid on our bed for an hour or so, feeling like I was intoxicated (or what I imagine it would feel like to be intoxicated haha.)

So if you are here looking for that article because you saw it in some leadership magazine, I apologize you aren’t finding more posts about how I love essential oils. Because, I finally realized that they just don’t work for me (and as much as I love the hand soap and that it doesn’t make me sick, I wish that craft idea hadn’t been printed — it wasn’t until after I submitted it that I finally realized they made me sick).

And before you tell me I’m just using them wrong, let me tell you how I’ve used them

  • Only 1-2 drops at a time
  • I’ve used it on my stomach, I’ve rubbed them on my chest, I’ve put a few drops in my water, and I’ve put them on my feet. ALL with the same result
  • I’ve used them with a carrier oil
  • I’ve tried a few different brands
  • Most of the times I’ve tried them, it has been someone who would consider themselves an expert in essential oils. I would just have to assume they knew what they were doing.
  • The kinds I have used have been high quality, therapeutic grade

The only thing I haven’t really tried is using a diffuser. But, I’m not about to go buy something that expensive when there is a high likelihood it’s going to make me sick. The only time I haven’t had a reaction to an essential oil was when I made that DIY Foaming Hand Soap (which, I still love.)

Please, don’t be offended if you love essential oils. I’ve actually done a lot of reading about essential oils, and I believe they have some great benefits — some research being done even says so (I saw that some studies show that it helps treat MRSA – which is awesome.) I wish they worked for me, but they just don’t.

I wanted to write it this post in case anyone else finds themselves Googling “Essential oils make me sick” and want to know they aren’t the only person out there who didn’t have the best experience — not for the purpose of bashing essential oils. I imagine I just must have a heightened sensitivity to fragrances, but who knows — I never have had a problem with cologne or perfumes!

All I know is that I sure don’t like how I feel after I use essential oils. I think it’s also taught me that not every treatment, or method, of treating something works for everyone — our bodies are all different, and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” method. Alternative medicine can be a life-saver, but for me, I think I’ll stick to traditional medicine.


(this update was written nearly four years after this original post)

I recently got a DNA test done from I uploaded the RAW data to, and it gave me a ton of information about my genes. One of the most interesting things was that I was at an increased risk of having a chronic condition called Multiple chemical sensitivity, which, from the research I’ve done, people who are sensitive to essential oils often have. I just thought it was really interesting to see that the reactions I have may be due to something in my genetic makeup.


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  • I sit here breathing a sigh of relief. Thank you! I, too, have experienced strange reactions to essential oils. I tried some lavender many years ago and that literally made me heave. I then, a few years later tried some peppermint oil and I broke out into the worst itchy rash. But I can chew peppermint gum and be fine. And I've tried several other oils since with a lot of weird reactions. Recently I was given some oil that you're supposed to use to help you breathe when you're head is stuffy. Ironically, I couldn't breathe, I seriously was gasping for breath until I got in the shower and rinsed it all off! When I share my experiences with "distributors" they don't believe me. I'm glad I'm not the only one.... YES, I'm sticking with traditional medicine for all that ails me.
    • Thank you for commenting, Kerry! The main reason I wrote this post, was so that other people didn't feel like they were crazy. I have also had distributors think I'm just making things up, or, as I mentioned, that I just have too many "toxins" in m. I had that exact same experience with an essential oil that was supposed to make me breath better! Traditional medicine definitely works best for me! I was telling my husband, I take my acid reflux medicine and I feel better almost instantly, but when I rubbed some of the stuff on my chest that I was told would help, I couldn't breathe. So, thanks again for commenting :)
      • Yes if your body is use w chemical than u have to detoxify your body like From drugs that people uses like heroin cocaine and other stuff , when your body it's clean the oils it's fantastic , search about Tylenol do for us , that it's a really bad are used to use it every day two times a day not there anymore .
    • So I'm a dude. But, I have noticed certain type of essential oils make me feel like my blood sugar drops or something. e.g. lemongrass, patchouli, frankensense, myrrh, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus. Which gives me a similar feeling of being high, having a hot flash, and maybe even a little bit dizzy. I will also sometime get an incredible craving for sweets. I am not diabetic by the way. I had all the blood test to test for diabetes. I'm one of those people that can't get through a plate of spaghetti without falling asleep in my plate and becoming lethargic and drunk feeling. But, again I'm not diabetic the A1C and other tests all came out normal. Thanks for sharing your post. I am probably going to approach essential oils with a different mindset. Maybe simply acknowledging my symptoms will help me get past the weird feelings.
      • I am glad that I could be of help. I thought that I was all alone at first because it seemed like all I ever heard was people raving about how wonderful they were. It's definitely a good idea to do your research and stop using something that is giving you those adverse reactions.
    • I am lying in bed right now, feverish, teeth chattering, shivering, 78 degrees in here and I have thick winter socks and my bathrobe on, under a sheet, blanket, down comforter. I just diffused frankincense, arborvitae, grapefruit, lavender, peppermint. This happened last week too. I didn't think about it until I had to shut off my diffuser and head shivering to bed. Last week I woke up at 2:30 in the morning. Thought I had flu. Couldn't even get out of bed. And now the same exact thing, plus I just took a puff on my inhaler that I haven't used in years. In fact, I took it to bed with me, I'm scared I won't be able to breathe. I will probably never use it again. Wish I had insurance and wish someone was here.
      • Sherry again. I use DoTerra. Certified pure therapeutic grade. I'm slowly feeling better. It will most likely pass like last week. It took about 1 1/2 hours last week. My head feels like a hot balloon!!! And my eyes exactly like the flu. So strange. Please, everyone, use extreme caution. Radiation occurs naturally, doesn't make it good for you.
    • Hello, and thank you for writing this post. I had many of the same symtoms. I was misusing the oils sometimes combining up to 4 different essential oils a day. I felt like I was dying. I could not function normally or work for 2 weeks. The sicker I felt, the more I used. Never really understood what was happening to me. All my blood tests results were normal. It's one year later and I've had an ok year so far... considering the traumatic experience I had with my health due to these oils. Still, in the dark about why this happened. I haven't used them much in the past year. I only started again recently and I was starting to feel it again. And then it hit me??? Could it be the oils? I read the side effects and then fell upon your post. Immediately, I stopped using them. I felt like my old self again just after 24 hours. My question is... are these things still in my system? Poison control can't help me. Do you think that they did any permanent damage. It should be out of our system, no?
    • One of my yoga instructors has essential oil available for students. I have to stay far away as I get an instant headache and it will go to nausea if too strong. I had to ask one instruct or to not use a diffuser as even on the far side of the room I got sick! I do not have known allergies and have a poor sense of smell.
      • I’m the same way. Someone had some out in the metro last week and I thought I was going to vomit everywhere. I had to ask her to put it away. I felt bad, but can’t handle even the smell of essential oils.
    • Glad I found this site! I was the only one in a large group of people who went to see a speaker on DoTerra essential oils that seemed to get sick as a dog after sampling a drop on my skin. I had to leave the room. I was fine before going in, she let us each sample a drop of peppermint oil (which I rubbed on the back of my neck because I hear it helps migraines that way - I didn't have a migraine but I wanted to see if I felt anything). Maybe it was just too strong but after about 10 minutes, I was so sick to my stomach I had to leave the room. I nearly vomited. I washed it off as best I could and am feeling somewhat better now. I am a little sensitive to fragrances but nothing like this ever happened to me before. I googled nausea and peppermint oil only to see that it helps nausea. So glad to see there are others like me. Thank you for posting!
    • I am so relieved to finally find other people like me. I really thought I was the only person out here that have this issue. My problem revolves around lavender. Unfortunately I work with some inconsiderate women that believe I'm lying about this problem. I thank God to know I have other people who understand and have had the same reaction I have.
      • Funny. I was looking up if tangerine EO CAN cause nausea when I came across your post here. Looking back I've gotten sick maybe 10% of the time using various EOs and I only use them in the diffuser. I already know I have chemicals sensitivities that's why I got into these in the first place. I get vertigo from bug sprays and teeth whitners for all things. Good to know and keep in mind. Tea tree makes me sick. And as much as I love ylang ylang it has made me sick at times too. Not giving up yet. Just listening to my body for now.
  • WOW! I am thankful for this post. I will not take essential oils. I think having it in a diffuser will still make you sick. Because I had it in a diffuser and I got sick. I had to throw it out! I will not use essential oils. I am sticking to traditional medicine too!
    • I have had some recurrent throat infections that spread to my ears. I test negative for strep and no meds help the problem...only gargling with colloidal silver & alternating with ACV, seem to help me. Last night it just hit's every time I use peppermint oil in my diffuser! So thankful for this post & the comments! I could not figure out why this was happening to me & this is the only page I found to back up my suspicions!
      • Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad that you found this page then. I wanted people to be able to know that they aren't the only ones who have had a bad reaction. I hope you can feel better now!
    • Thank you....I'm so very happy I found your blog. I'm glad I Googled....Essential oils make me sick. I still want to try a reed diffuser with essential oils ......I'll make my own with just water mixed with a small amount of essential oil and hope it doesn't make me sick.
  • You're definitely not the only one. There are others who are sensitive to essential oils and even have to use caution with some prescriptions (creams) that contain essential oils.It's not legit for an essential oil distributor/rep/employee/consultant to *tell* you it's not the oil that's making you sick. They don't know that for sure.Some cosmetics and skin care lines also use essential oils, so use caution there as well.Make sure your health care provider knows about your experience so it can be charted in your file. It would be interesting to find out if it's hereditary for your kids too.Best wishes.
  • I was just searching around online and found your blog! I'm curious what brand of essential oils you have been using? I do know that if the oils you are using are not 100% pure therapeutic grade oils that they can make you sick. I'm very new to oils and I have had some luck with them BUT when I first started to use them I did feel sick/irritable/congested and I also had a strong aversion to some of the scents. The wellness counselor I had been consulting did mention that when you start using oils it is not unusual to feel sick or a little off for a few days. It means the oils are doing their job and ridding your body of toxins, sickness, disease, etc. She also mentioned that the scents you are most turned off by are usually the ones your body needs the most...I'm still apprehensive about all this oiling but I'm giving a good try as long as I can. Always interesting to read others experiences!
    • Hi Meghann! I've used doTERRA the most, and Eden's Garden a little bit. From what I've been told, doTERRA is supposed to be 100% pure therapeutic grade. I was told something similar to what your wellness counselor said, but I'm not 100% positive I believe it, just because the ones I've talked to really didn't have a strong basis for what they told me. However, even though I don't really feel they work for me, I did try some OnGuard on my son recently that seemed to help. I wish you luck trying them -- hopefully they work better for you than they did for me :)
      • Hi, Sorry, I see this is a year old, but couldn't help responding. I am glad I ran across your blog. Sorry you have had such terrible reactions. I use essential oils, but am fairly new to it too and am curious if you have had a reaction to Young Living essential oils. It would be enlightening to me if you did, not that I want you to be a guinea pig for me, but if you ever run across Young living oils in the future and catch a whiff of it, please let us know if it did anything. I wonder if essential oils really are created equal and/or if its just that essential oils in general can be bad for some like they are for you. Thanks!
        • Hi Keala!The brands that I have used are doTERRA and Eden's Garden. I am very familiar with Young Living, as I know quite a few people that sell them, but I'd imagine they are about the same level as the ones I've used. I don't really know a lot about them though!
          • No actually they are not the same grade. Check out Young Livings Seed to Seal . Your body was detoxing. Headaches and flu like symptoms are a normal reactions to when you first start using essential oils. There are vita-flex points on the hands and feet to help you use them properly. They should be diluted as well when you use them. As long as they are GRAS you can ingest them.
          • Actually, some people really are allergic to essential oils. It has nothing to do with detoxing. They are pretty potent and some people are extra sensitive either to particular essential oils (eg. if a person is allergic to citrus, they would have a reaction to citrus essential oils) or to all of them depending on how sensitive their skin is.
        • I was surrounded by Young Living oils at church the last 2 weeks. I had to change seats 3 times and finally sat by the back door! HEADACHE!!!!! I sat to one woman for an hour and had a headache the rest of the day. A YL consultant is getting many at our church on the "bandwagon." She claims she uses them for her health.... her response when i finally had to tell her that i was having an allergic reaction to her oil/fragrance. She was rather indignant that she had never heard of such a thing. That is why i am "googling" this topic. another woman ( on sunday) told me that SHE too had a headache and thought something was coming out of the ventilating system. No.. it is just multi-level marketing stinking up the entire room.
    • Please stop. The argument that something 100% natural cannot or does not make one sick is not only misleading, but hazardous. Poison ivy, marijuana and wheat are also completely natural. They are also toxic and/or cause severe adverse reactions to some people. Essential Peppermint makes me very very ill. Regardless of the name brand. Deadly ill. So when people bring the **** to work and claim "it's natural" so it shouldn't harm you...... I really really, then, want to harm THEM.... please stop....
  • One thing all these oils sellers don't tell you is that these oils are strong medicine!!! They lie! One drop of peppermint oil is = to 98 glasses of peppermint tea! Why would anyone tell me to put 98 glasses in one glass of water?? Because they want to sell more oil! If you are going to use essential oils, make sure you have someone with some school and a licsince help you out! Don't listen to a distributer, they want you to take more cause that puts more money in their pockets! These can be very danerous, and they sould not be taking internal! And dilute them every time! They are lucky they havent killed anyone yet! Just because they are from a plant, they are still very strong, and condense like they are, they can be very toxic! Be careful and ask someone who went to school and is trained on useing them properly! And dont listen to a seller of oils for your imformation! Thats like asking a car dealer about his cars, you dont!
  • I, too, get sick from essential oils. I have only tried Doterra's Intune blend. Each time I tried to use it, I got chest tightness, felt light-headed, nauseous, and actually ended up throwing up once from it. I threw it in the garbage.
  • Hi there. I came across your page after feeling sick diffusing the last two nights for no more than 15 minutes. I have been using them for 2 months now and for some reason diffusing them the last two days, I immediately get a headache and feel like I want to vomit. I used an eucalyptus radiata last night that made me so sick. And tonight i diffused some clarity from young living and it has never bothered me before it sure does now! It's the same problem. I have a headache and not want to vomit.
    • I really feel that some people are allergic to them, and if so, it's just not worth trying again! It sounds like you may have developed a sensitivity to it :(
  • I googled this very subject today and found this post. I have felt horrible all day since using Elevation, a DoTerra essential oil. I loved the way it smelled, but it has rocked my world today. It's almost been 12 hours since I put it on my wrist and I can't shake this feeling. I don't know if it is just that particular oil or any of them. I'm afraid to try another one.
  • I use Young Living EO for a majority of common complaints. Headache, sore throat, indigestion, stuff like that. They work wonderful for me, but they are very very highly concentrated! One drop can be diluted with a carrier oil and work just fine! I can totally see how if you had any sort of an allergy it could manifest very quickly in to a bad thing! I just wanted to say, if you ever get an oil that is too strong (which it doesn't sound like you'll use too many more that you know you're allergic) but please please don't try to dilute with water! Always dilute with an oil, olive oil coconut oil whatever just not water. The water actually drives it in to the cells deeper! Sorry you had the bad reactions!
  • Just because something is natural it does not automatically mean it's good for you. They same goes for all those mineral cosmetics. I can't use them. They make me break out in a rash.
  • I too get sick from essential oils, some are worse than others, I get headaches, racing heart, feeling anxious, insomnia, my feeling is that it is the salicylates in the oils.
  • So glad I found your article. I have never tried essential oils or will I ever. We are having a situation at my place of employment. Three people are using essential oils. I breath it in and it doesn't take long my face gets very hot, I get a terrible headache, I can't concentrate my head feels like it's in a bubble. On special days I start off with a little cough which turns into running out of the office gasping for air. I am not the only one experiencing this. Once I'm away from the people that wear the oils within a half an hour I am fine again. They think It's me. This is been going on for 2 months now. I'm fine and my co-worker, that also experiences this, is fine the days that those that wear the oils are out for the day. We know it's the oils, but proving it is very frustrating. I've been with the same people for the last 10 yrs and not a problem until the oils came into play a few month ago. I'm now to the point that I need to start looking for other employment because I'm showing up to work and breathing. Very sad.
    • Wow! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this - it's wrong that you may have to find another place of employment simply because the others refuse to stop using essential oils at work. There needs to be some kind of policy in place! I think that sometimes people who use essential oils get so wrapped up in it, that they think they can do no harm. I can hardly go to expos or conferences (which I do a lot for blogging), because there are always essential oils there and I simply can't handle it.
      • I to have a sensitive nose to smells,but mine are to perfumes they can make me very sick,but I can do essential oils.I read some where that it is how your nose processes the chemicals.Google sensitivity to smells.
    • I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one. They had to send out memos at work because just a whiff of them makes me sick for hours. I have left work sick multiple times because of this and people still bring them in and wear them. I'm so scared that I could lose my job but they make me too sick to be productive. I get it that people like them but it makes me feel like I don't matter as a person because they can't just leave them at home. I feel trapped inside my house because everywhere I go people are wearing them and I instantly get sick. Even with fresh air I am sick for hours after an encounter. I wish people would believe me. I feel like they think I'm crazy.
  • I've experienced enough EO distributors to know that most don't really know anything about what they are selling, and that their companies feed them a lot of misinformation in order to push more sales. Also, phrases with "pure" and "therapeutic grade" are trademarked marketing phrases, not standards. There are no standards in EOs, unless tested by unaffiliated third party companies, which most are not. EOs could not only be too weak, but they can be too strong, and cause reactions like you stated.I'm terribly allergic to lavender. You wouldn't believe the number of people that have tried to inform me that its impossible to be allergic to lavender. Some have even tried to forcibly put it on me after I have refused it. There are people who are allergic to air, sun, and water, and there are people allergic to every essential oil compound. The fact is that 8-13% of people are allergic to lavender. Some are only mildly allergic, but many are probably still using it because their distributor told them their reaction was "just the oils working".I still use other essential oils, but in a cautious manner. I have a feeling the EO fad is going to fade, because everyone will get tired of the heavy sales tactics and constant bickering that goes on. The rate of allergics will probably increase as well with the constant exposure. I think using live herbs are a much better choice to using essential oils anyway.
    • Thanks so much for sharing! I've found that a lot of EO distributors really are misinformed in some ways (though there are some that are great.) I definitely think it's something that should be regulated more, because a lot of people use them in ways they shouldn't be.
  • Your blog is the only one I've come across that mentions people having real issues with the essential oils. Thanks for sharing, now I'm thinking that this might be part of the problems I've been having recently. I help in my daughters classroom at school and with the change in weather (winter-ish in Texas) quite a few of the kids are coming to school either with oils already applied or rollerball bottles of oil to apply. The last several days I've been lightheaded and had difficulty focusing at the end of my hour in the classroom. Usually after about 15-20 minutes outside the room I start to feel more normal. I may need to check with my daughter and see if she's been having difficulty focusing, since she's been bringing home more homework than normal. We might just be extremely sensitive to the aromatherapy aspect of the oils.
    • Thanks Abby. I wrote this post because I wanted others to feel like they weren't alone - because when I started having all these reactions, I felt like I was - there is seriously NO information online about this.
  • I didn't used to be allergic/sensitive to essential oils, but became so due to the overuse of them. What you don't hear much is that if you use the same essential oils repeatedly, you can develop a sensitivity to those oils. I used Young Living oils quite often, and now I can't be around any essential oils without feeling terrible immediately. I do believe that brand to be of high quality, as well as Edens Garden and doTERRA, but if you do use them, don't overuse any one oil and be sure to rotate them. Some people can't tolerate oils from the get-go because their body is too toxic, and the detoxing effects the oils have are too overwhelming (which is what I believe that one distributor was trying to say to you, Katie...I'm sure she didn't mean any offense. :) ); however, there are other reasons people can be averted to essential oils. These oils are amazing but they can also be dangerous and should be used with caution. If spilled, tea tree oil must be treated as a bio-hazardous material and must be disposed of in a sealed jar. I have seen cleaning recipes with essential oils that people have posted and cringe at how liberally/incorrectly they are encouraged to be used. Also, I am horrified to hear of how parents use essential oils inappropriately/too soon on their babies and children! Before incorporating essential oils into your life, I have heard it's best to take a couple of classes on them. Maybe see an aromatherapist. No doubt some well-meaning distributors could use some more education before becoming consultants. As for me, I doubt if I will ever be able to use essential oils again...but I hope this post has helped somebody. Thanks for sharing your experience, Katie!
  • I would just say that not all essential oils are created equal. Young living oils are the best. I've given up on doctors and medicine. I've been sick for 20 years and have had every drug in the book thrown at me and my symptoms. Until I started using youngliving essential oils, there were no solutions. But I never put anything on my body or in my body that I didn't thoroughly investigate. Pills can kill you too.
    • I agree with you - not all of them are created equally. I believe that not all medicine is good either. I have tried Young Living in the past, though the majority of the kinds I have tried were doTERRA and Eden's Garden.
      • Oops! Sorry. I should have read on first. So you did have a reaction to YL oils? That's good to know. Geez! Great. I will be more careful.
    • sorry but YL gives me a horrible headache just sitting near people wearing them! I commented above under another YL glowing report. Anyone can be allergic to anything and MANY are allergic to strong fragrance. A person's "aroma therapy" should take place in the privacy of their own home.
  • Thank you so much for this article. One of the employees at my company uses oils. Yesterday, she used a mixture which included peppermint oil. The odor filled the entire office. My eyes began to water, I got a headache, started itching, throat and sinus cavity was closing up and I was coughing. I went to the doctor and it was an allergic reaction. People around me that did not have a reaction thought I was just having a panic attack. The doctor said my sinus and throat were severally swollen. Gave me Benadryl and an antibiotic because I would probably get a sinus infection from the residual effect. I feel better knowing I am not the only one. Thanks again!
    • Thank you for sharing your experience! People don't seem to understand that there are people who are allergic and sensitive to them - I felt like I was the only one, which is why I wrote this article! I'm sorry to hear about your experience though. That's horrible!
      • Thank you Katie for writing this article. I have been studying Essential oil toxicity. Something that gets kicked under the rug in the interest of marketing. My focus is the aromatic benzene compounds in EO's. This is what helps give them their "Kick" just like the benzene compounds in spices and hot peppers. Some people can tolerate it while others can't. EO's drive me crazy sick, and I decided to investigate why.
  • I am so glad I came across this article. My problems aren't allergic but more of an intolerance. I went to a convention of an oil company and went to a class on pre and postnatal oil usage. The presenter said every oil is safe for use in pregnancy and even suggested ingesting oils. I used oils in every way possible because I was assured they were safe and would help me have a healthier baby. I ended up having two miscarriages and now my stomach is damaged. I can't put blame on the oils and the presenter (a salesperson, not an expert) but I can say none of my health problems were this bad until I started oils. Now I just use one drop at a time topically and I never ingest them anymore. I also diffuse them because them scent relaxes me. So while I can't say the oils caused my problems, I can say be careful who you get your advice from. Is it a licensed aromatherapist with college courses in science and the body or is it somebody trying to make money who has never had real scientific training?
    • I am so sorry to hear all the issues you've had! I was talking with a friend who has done a lot of research on essential oils, and she said every time she hears people telling others to ingest the oils, because it's not safe. I definitely think it's important to make sure you are getting your information from someone who is licensed. There are a lot of knowledgeable and skilled people out there, but the fact that anyone can be a consultant and give advice is a little scary!
  • I'm so glad I came across this blog. I have various health problems including fibromyalgia and was introduced to YLEO's about 8 months ago. I began using them in hopes they would help with my pain, sleep, immune issues, etc. I didn't have any sudden or initial reactions but within a few weeks, I started getting recurring throat infections, fever (which feels much higher than actual temp) and extreme fatigue. I felt this way for 6 months and every time I tried an EO, I seemed to get worse. No antibiotic helped either. I stopped using them for a while, and I got somewhat better. I used a few a couple of days ago, and now I'm getting the sore throat and "fever" again! Maybe I'm too "toxic" or maybe I just can't use the oils either!
    • It's interesting to hear others experiences and how they are so similar to mine! I just felt like there is no other posts out there that talked about bad experiences with essential oils, so I'm glad this post has been helpful to some!
  • Hi Katie,Here's another Katie who did Google 'essential oils make me sick' this morning and found your post here! I am finding that only DoTerra oils make me feel very sick! The Slim and Sassy was probably the worst reaction as it made me feel like I was on some sort of 'speed' (which I have never done but imagine it must feel that way) and messed with my moods. I woke at 3:30 with a headache after using the DT Lavender the day before and the same thing happens if I use it in my go-to remedy for great sleep-and Epsom Salt bath. I have NO problems with NOW brand or even Eden's Garden, so I am really thinking there is something not good in DT oils.
    • Hi Katie! You aren't the first one I've heard this from. I was actually talking to a friend who has researched essential oils a ton, and she has a lot of things to say about DT and how they market and sell their EO. She says she would never use them. I don't know a lot about it, but it does seem like when people have reactions, it's more often from DT.
  • One thing I can say is that if they're making you sick, it could very well be due to detox. If you have a bunch of health issues going on (i.e., lots of toxins in your body), then the oils are going to cause your body to detox pretty strongly. The best thing to do in that situation is to drink a lot of water and push through it. If you can do that, you'll feel a lot better "on the other side" of the detox. :)
    • This is a false notion handed down thru MLM. The reason people feel sick with EO's is because they are very potent and can in themselves induce toxicity. While derived from a natural source, EO's are anything but natural in these types of high concentrations. Nature simply does not provide it that way.
  • I usually love essential oils. Adding them is my favorite part of making bath bombs. However, today I decided to make peppermint bath bombs, a double batch too, and afterwards I noticed I felt tired and incredibly nauseated. I'm so glad I'm not keeping this batch for myself. It came out nicely but I can't stand being near it.
  • Thank you for writing this. It inspired me to write a post on my blog. (I link to yours.) I have yet to actually be sick from inhaling essential oils but I do get sick from eating oils in general so I have made a point of not consuming essential oils. I did want to mention that I have a problem with commercial citrus juice and I think its because they add flavor packs, which are flavor oils, which might be made in a similar way to citrus essential oils. Just a heads up in case you find yourself having an issue to commercial citrus juices and weren't sure why.
  • Thanks for the info. My first thought was oh my god why would that lady put peppermint directly on your skin that's a very strong oil. I'm glad you wrote about your experience because we are a society that tries first and asks questions later,people believe because oils are natural they are better for you but they forget you can have allergic reaction to natural items as well as synthetic. For me they work great but thank you for sharing maybe it will make people think first before trying.
    • I wanted to put a different opinion out there. I was amazed at how many people had experiences similar to my own,
    • I'm sorry you had a rough night. I hope you can feel comfort knowing you are not alone and essential oils don't benefit everyone the same.
  • Take it from someone with aromatherapy training, essential oils can make you sick. I use them all of the time, but am very cautious using them on others. My husband is one who is quite allergic to many oils, and it's not a detox reaction…if you have allergies to the actual plant, remember it's the strong chemicals in the plant that comprise the essential oils. For him, his mild allergic reaction to lavender flowers is exacerbated when concentrated in an essential oil. When first working with people regarding aromatherapy, my approach is to begin with having them smell the oils to check for reaction- not jump right in with topical application (which should be diluted). I do believe that not all companies are equal either. I have allergies to many of the preservatives used at the farms, so I choose to use companies that own their farms and do their own distilling (Young Living, for example). Essential oils are fantastic natural remedies when you understand their power and how to safely use them. Many sold by popular companies today are not recommended for general use by many aromatherapy institutions- for instance, due to potential side effects of overdose, use caution when using wintergreen, myrrh, and tansy. Remember, overdose with many oils is dependent on the person, and could be as little as one drop.
    • Faith:I am not entirely sure. I think perhaps since there is a small amount in here, combined with a bunch of other products that diluted it, that may be why. Maybe because I washed it off with water right away. Who knows! I actually haven't made the soap in a long time. Some products that have essential oils in them still bother me (such as ones like poo-pouri!)
  • Essential oils have changed my life and not in a good way.So many people that I come into contact with use oils everyday and in every way possible.When I smell them,I get a terrible headache,my eyes burn,sore throat and pounding heart rate.I am afraid to go to certain events because I never know what I will be exposed to.They don't understand that When they diffuse,it stays on their clothes and hair or if they use it earlier in the day,it still bothers me.I just don't understand while it has to be used nonstop.My daughter has the same problem and has had to start using an inhaler.She has had tests after tests run and they can't figure out why the oils make her so sick.People use oils so they don't have to take medicine and we have to take medicine because of their oils.I really don't know what we are going to do.Thanks for posting.
  • I started using YL essential oils about a year ago and I started having tonsil problems on the right side soon after. I've been to my family doctor, a nurse practioner and two ear, nose and throat doctors and am still having problems. I did get better after taking two rounds of antibiotics last summer but still just am not back to normal. I am now wondering if it could be the essential oils causing my problems. I will stop using them altogether, maybe even get them out of my house totally and see what happens. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    • It sounds like it could be. Eliminating them all together or maybe even one at a time sounds like a good place to start. Good luck!
  • Totally here because I googled about eo making me sick! I have only used them a few times. I've had good success using some for headaches. I just used an oil blend earlier today to help balance hormones and hopefully help with menstrual cramps and it made me so sick!! (I used a carrier oil and rubbed it on my abdomen.) It was definitely the eo because of the timing of feeling ill and the more I got it off the better I felt. Thank you so much for writing this. It helps to know I'm not crazy or alone!
    • I am so glad you found my post! I felt so alone too, and was so surprised to find out that there are many people in our same boat!
  • I set up a diffuser on Sat. Had the worst sore throat of my life on Monday. Been sneezing, stuffed up and sick since. My son is the same, except more coughing. I'm feeling it is the oils, as I never get sick. My eyes are watering and red too.
  • Diffused oils last night and my nose stuffed up. Thx for the post. Hearing you have a lot of symptoms and health problems I'd like to recommend considering Lyme disease. It is called The Great Imitator because it can mimic lupus, MS, CFS, FM, ALS, Parkinson's etc. Don't rely on testing, it can be diagnosed by symptoms with a Lyme literate medical professional. Consider visiting for info and watching Under Our Skin documentary dr Phil used it on his show.
  • Hi, glad to see this post, I have good quality YL and do Terra oils and about a year ago started using them and felt awful. Started using them again a couple days ago in diffuser and again, I feel bad. Horrible brain fog and irritability. I researched and came up with phenols as a problem for some and also salicylates. I don't think we're that toxic that every oil makes us sick! Definitely an intolerance for me!
    • Definitely an intolerance for me as well. I try to eat healthy and exercise regularly, so to have people say that my body was just so toxic, and that is why I was having the intolerance, was really disheartening!
  • It sounds like an allergic reaction ( I have had asthma and allergies since birth) and for anyone to say you can't have an allergic reaction to ab essential oil is utter rubbish , you can have an allergic reaction to a plant and an essential oil is a concentrated distillation of plant oils. The whole idea that just because something is natural it won't make you ill really irritates me !! Hemlock , Belladonna and Arsenic all occur naturally but I wouldn't advise bathing or eating any of them and Camphor essential oil if ingested can cause seizures and death. I'm glad you got to the bottom of what was making you ill and I'm glad you've published this blog because people really do need to treat essential oils and herbs with a bit more care and respect.
    • It was comforting to know that I am not alone. The more I researched, the more I realized how common these reactions were! You are right. We need to be careful with what we are putting in and on our bodies, even if it is all natural.
  • I absolutely love using EO..I believe it's all in the brand u use when people have reactions..I have seen this multiple times..Since using do Terra ..I have yet to see a problem ..It was nice putting certified pure therapeutic grade oils Just in case someone may wanna try
  • Oh my god ! Reading this i am shocked ! Ive started to use different oils just for sleep and relaxation, so ill rub a few drops into my skin few times a day, last week i started feeling fatigued and very sleepy, my head feels like its about to burst and the headaches are terrible, i cant concentrate at all and eyes pressure, just overall feeling is like i am drugged out, i almost went to ER today thinking maybe my intracranial pressure is high because all that pressure in my head, then my BF saw me rubbing oil into my skin and mentioned if that could cause it, i read about oils and this article, now i realize that Ive been intoxicating myself ... At least i hope thats why i feel so strange ! Thank you :)
  • I know exactly what you are talking about. I have used essential oils on my kids for years. They feel relief immediately. However, just the tiny amount that was left on my hands always made me feel extremely anxious and disoriented. Very weird. I am glad to know that I am not crazy. A friend of mine told me that I might have "phenol sensitivity". I don't know. I just know that I will stick with thorough hand washing after I use it on my kiddos.
  • My guess as to why essential oils make us all react is because they are old and therefore rancid. Everything on shop shelves is old, including stuff on supermarket shelves, everywhere. When oils are rancid, they are toxic. I reckon that if the essential oils were fresh, they wouldn't make us sick, they might in fact make us feel all the so-claimed health benefits. But where can anyone get FRESH essential oils? The retail industry is all about money-making, and it's unfortunate that their claims for improved health is just a lot of rancid rubbish!
  • Thanks for sharing this! Every single person pushing this idea of ridding the body of toxins with essential oils is wrong. Period. If your body has toxins it cannot be rid of you need to see a liver or kidney specialist and be hospitalized. This entire detox fad makes me crazy- did anyone take middle school biology?So I am very glad to have someone with a following say out loud they don't believe the bunk a MLM rep tells you about an allergic or contraindicated reaction is "they are working" and "you have a lot of toxins". For the love of science, please keep questioning this line of reasoning!I have a huge conunudrum, I am a doterra rep because of a friend. I don't push oils on anyone but help them with computer things and order oils. But I am very pro traditional medicine and only like them because they remind me of the days I used to get massages and they relax me. So I don't mind using them and don't have reactions to them. I refuse to help them with any lingo that discusses EOs for any "health and wellness" applications, internal applications or to encourage people not to take their meds or see their real medical doctors. When I do talk about oils, it's the spa feeling or the use in cleaning mirrors or at most Epsom salt baths. But is it possible (1) to find individuals who are pro-science oil spa type users at all to connect with (rather than abandon the entire EO system and leave it to the misinformation wolves) and (2) to support DT knowing there are so many people promoting them for anti-scientific medical uses illegally. Do you or anyone else have any thoughts on these questions?
  • Interesting, I just set up my diffuser today.. I have had no issues just was a little curious to see if anyone has had bad experiences.I use myrhh, galangal, cinnamon, orange, and eucalyptus.... all for different things.
  • That's interesting. I've been having terrible reactions to essential oils, and I've tried Young Living, Do Terra, and Native Nutritionals which is now Rocky Mountain. Just yesterday, I tried a flower essence remedy with essential oils, and I just sprayed it once in the air and walked through it, thinking that wouldn't be a problem Wrong. A few hours later, I had wrenching gut pain - something that happens to me very consistently when using essential oils. Go figure. I did an internet search because I can't believe I would have such a strong reaction to something so many embrace, and I find your article. Now I don't feel so crazy. Thank you for posting.
  • I have had my diffuser set up for a few days now. Running it and making the house good and all! But of course today I not only started my cycle but also started feeling flu like.. I'm not sure if this is a coincidence since I work with customer service everyday. However I pretty good at making sure I sanitize my hands every so often and don't touch mysel . But I've had some heeby jeeby feeling, and went to bed a little bit ago and woke up having to go to the bathroom while also feeling hot and sweatyish. I tried to look around and see what the Internet would say about feeling bad using a diffuser bug not much comes up except this blog. Have I overdosed, am I detoxing something ? I'm not sure if I should be alarmed and go to the doctor or its even something that's a coincidence !
  • Thanks for writing this! I tried an essential oil blend two years ago when I had the flu, and I ended up with asthma. I was getting better until I used the oils. (And they were young living oils--good quality!) Just recently, I used two drops of lavender oil, also high quality, and immediately felt my heart pound and race. While they may work for some people, I'm definitely planning to stay away from them!
  • Thank you so much for posting your experiences. It was so nice to see when I was googling Essential Oils are making me sick. I too have had such a terrible experience. At first they really seemed to help me but then all of a sudden I was feeling hot and feverish over my entire body like it was on fire, chest really tight, very dizzy and weak feeling. Sent me into a full panic. It lasted for quite a while along with this I got welts and rashes on my neck, face, and wrists. Scared me to death. Didn't know what was wrong with me. Took a while to figure it out and now I know for sure that is what it was. I too love the oils, they have helped me in the past but now I don't even want to diffuse them as they still go in your system. Just trying to get my body to settle down. It takes a while and in the meantime I feel shaky tired and awful.
  • Hi my wife has just started using Essential oils and her body all most feels like she's going to have a heart attack why is this possible when every thing used is a natural herd
  • I just found this article from google after putting in that I was getting dizzy and feeling funmy and shaky after diffusing young living oils for the first time. I have been diffusing Aura Cacia brand and NOW brand oils for months with no ill effects whatsoever. In fact they made me feel really good. So I just received the Young Living oils and I was so excited to diffuse them, as I was sitting there reading about all the young living oils and smelling the oils being diffused I stated feeling really funny. and then it kept getting worse. I turned off the diffuser and I actually had to go outside and breathe in some fresh air. I still feel really strange.. Coincidence or not? I don't think so! And the Young Living oils were so expensive as I got the starter kit. Live and learn I guess. Oh and I certainly don't believe that hogwash about your body needing detoxed and that's why we are feeling that way. That's just not true! Oils should make you feel good not horrible. I will trust my instincts and stay away from YL Oils!
  • Hi there,I am sooooo glad that I came across your post. As I lay here I am going through the most traumatic detox of oils. I have been passing out, throwing up, pain in my heart area, tingling sensation down one side (first time that happened my family thought I was having a stroke) so yup that was just an awesome experience NOT!!! I too have diluted them and diffused them but some component in the oils just make me that ill that I seriously thought yep I'm going to die here. For someone that hasn't been sick their whole life and then this. I am happy that it works for some I really am I just know I will never never be going near essential oils ever again!! P.S. I introduced them to a friend before I got ill obviously and she now has the same symptoms. I don't care if anyone believes me or not as only I know what happened with my body when I used oils. Hoping it won't be long until my body is back to normal!!!
  • I recently started to use essential oils for the pail for polymyalgia. The topical use of a mix of lavender, myrrh and frankense with coconut oil definitely took my nighttime pain away and allowed me to get the deepest sleep i've had in years. However, the following day I feel so drugged! I'm exhausted and just feel "out if it". The nights I did not use it, I felt fine the next day. Has anyone else had this drugged feeling? Will not be using them again
  • So glad to read this! I get massive migraines from EOs. So many people don't believe me or tell me I'm detoxing, it's infuriating! I have friends who diffuse or use it on themselves, and it's difficult for me to get them to understand how much they are physically hurting me. I tried a soap put out by one of the companies and had the same problem. I don't have problems with other strong scents either, just the EOs.
  • Wow! I'm really surprised by all the people that have had a negative reaction to EO's. You can add me to the list. I got a diffuser to "help" me with some health problems. Every time I used it in my bedroom at night I would wake up sick as a dog with flu like symptoms. Terrible headache, dizziness, freezing, sometimes I threw up. I was in bed all day that's how bad it was. The worst of it only lasted a day & then I started to feel better the next day. I finally put 2 & 2 together & that's when I did a search & found your blog. This has happened 4 times in the last 2 months. Glad I finally made the connection.
  • I literally have trouble breathing if I'm around someone who uses them. And I work with a woman who must literally bathe in it. It makes me nauseated, dizzy, and my sinuses swell up. It's miserable. Use them at home if you have to, but please don't subject innocent humans to that stench. Yes, it is a stench. It's sickening.
    • I also can't breathe around people using essential oils or perfumes. I used to be able to wear perfume until I was pregnant with my daughter at age 35... now I can't stand ANY fragrances: Plug-ins, perfumes, scented candles, essential oils, cleaners, etc. I used to be a "hugger"... now I don't hug most of my friends for fear of their lingering scent on my clothes giving me a headache. I feel less of an outcast or anti-social knowing I'm not alone. Hopefully people will start using all products less or in moderation. Best wishes to all of you!
  • So glad I stumbled across this article! I had a horrible reaction to some oils today and was really confused and looking for answers. A friend of mine had a body rub for headaches which I put on the forehead and the back of my neck. Within a few minutes I started getting insanely hot. I felt like my cheeks were on fire. My chest broke out in red splotches. My stomach felt weird, I felt dizzy and light headed. I had never felt like this in my life! Luckily the worst of it didn't last too long, but was still not feeling 100% a while later. It's so comforting to know that this has happened to others!
  • My question is...what brand of essential oils are being used? I can tell by the comments no one is under the care of a Clinical Aromatherapist, more like a 'distributor' salesperson.There is something terribly wrong, I was so shocked to read the discomfort felt by so many. Essential oils are not a one oil fits all and there are many things that factor in, one being the individuals health history and medications which can cause a contraindication. It is careless for anyone to take an essential oil 'neat' and apply it to another person, especially a stranger, very unprofessional. It is just plain wrong to advise the application of undiluted essential oils as ok or to advise drinking them in water - which is even more careless. Goes to show the difference between a professional and someone without education and training just looking for a down line or to get into your wallet. I am so sorry for anyone who has had these bad experiences.
  • Thank you for this blog, my husband has become a distributor of one of the oils....and started ingesting them every day. I was a little worried but it did make him feel so much better. After doing that for about two months he all of a sudden is sicker than a dog. Freezing all the time and just out of sorts. I blame it on the oils he is ingesting. He has stopped all diffusing and ingesting and I will let you know in a few days how he is doing.
  • Aw, I'm so sorry you've experienced these terrible reactions to essential oils. Thankfully, I've been able to use them without many problems but I did experience nausea after inhaling one blend. I'm sensitive to many chemicals so I use extreme caution with essential oils, knowing that they are extremely powerful.I signed up with a major essential oil distributor but I decided NOT to sell the oils since I didn't know enough about them. This company, which will remain nameless, did not educate its distributors AT ALL. I was nervous about inadvertently giving someone bad information.Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
  • Hi Katie,Wow! Very interesting. I have been using an essential oil called "BREATHE". When I first started using it a couple of months ago I really enjoyed the refreshing smell and breath of fresh air feeling that it gave me. I have now linked it to my breathing issues. About a month ago, my husband had to rush me to the ER because I felt like I could not get a full breath in. Like pass out not able to get a full breath. The ER dr there diagnosed me as has chronic airway disease. Well, that was a shock to me. They put me on an inhaler for 2 pumps twice a day or "as needed". I started out just using it as needed, then it seem to be every other day, then every day and then I was doing it twice a day, everyday. I didn't even think to mention the essential oil that I was using. It's all natural so why would I ~ right?! NOT~ I have come to realization that I will not be using this essential oil~ ever again. Maybe it is something in my chemical makeup as well~ whatever it is ~ I do not care. Staying away from those things. Thank you for your article and honesty. Nice to know that you are not all alone. Take care!!
  • A lady I know uses/sells YLEO , and several people I know can't stand to be around her.. the smell of the oils she uses is so strong you can't stand anywhere near her...I wish people that use them would be considerate of other people and tone it down in public
  • I can relate ~ Being new to essential oils, it took me 2 months to figure out that my bad dizzy spells were oil related. To get in a more creative mindset in my recording studio I would first sprinkle 'NOW' brand peppermint, grapefruit and sometimes eucalyptus on some fabric and on the radiator. About 15 minutes later I'd been noticing the effects of being 'high' (and not in a good way), walking in a Z pattern across the floor holding on to the wall. Luckily I didn't have to drive anywhere. I was considering making a doctor's appointment until it hit me ~ maybe it's these oils ~ A google search brought me to your blog today. I will know for sure in a day or two as I just threw away the bottles. Fingers crossed. Also, people should def not use these oils in their cars. Seriously, there should be a 'Don't Oil And Drive' warning on every bottle. Thanks!
  • I wanted to add that I, too, Googled "essential oils made me sick" and found this terrific article and comment section. Right now, I'm lying in bed trying to recover my old, very healthy self after diffusing oils for the past month or so throughout my home. I was in so much pain after diffusing, I almost couldn't walk. I am severely allergic to lily flowers and get bad migraines from being near them. I didn't think lemongrass, orange or lavender oils would also be a problem since they are touted as being "natural" cures. I was very wrong. I really put everything together tonight and this article/comments made my symptoms crystal clear. I felt dizzy, nauseous, had foggy thinking, hot flashes and severe joint pain. Please listen to your body and understand that you can most certainly have sensitivities to these oils - even when diffused and inhaled. I hope I'm better in a few days time once I stop the diffusing. Thank you to all who took the time to add to this comment section. It really helped calm and inform me.
  • Thank u for opening my eyes to the fact that they can have an adverse effect on some ppl. Know they help myself and son w a few diff things, but recently recommened a frnd w ibs to give peppermint oil a try and he said it made him dizzy and that worried me. So of course I did what we all shouldnt and turned to google lol, but glad I did thank u
  • My DT rep dropped off my first bottle of OnGuard and a sample of Breathe for a family member. While explaining where and how much to apply she applied two drops of each (undiluted) to my neck. After being overwhelmed by the menthol smell for an hour I took a shower and became very nauseated, throwing up. Also was hyper stimulated feeling. Lasted about 4-5 hours. So scary. I have since learned NEVER to apply oils undiluted. Tempted to try OnGuard with a carrier oil bc my LO is starting preschool this fall, but I don't want to feel that way again. Since it was an unusual reaction (this is the only post online where I could find similar stories), I think I will stay away from it permanently. Thanks for your story!
  • Tried diffusing for the first time tonight. I used cedarwood oil. Within a half hour, my throat started feeling like I had a cold. I instantly thought it could be the diffuser, but left it on for another half hour. Now I'm sitting here feeling nauseous and light-headed. I did turn it off, and I'm hoping to feel better soon. I should have Googled this first. I was just trying it because the diffuser was free and I already had the oil (from making a homemade deodorant which, I can't recall if I reacted to or not). I figured it'd make the house smell nice, which it does, but at what cost? Cedarwood oil (I later read) is supposed to HELP your respiratory system, meanwhile it feels like I'm dying! WHAT?!!
  • Thank you for this post. I was a visitor for three weeks in a home of a distributor of YL products, I liked the aromas, Thieves was used freely, as was a diffuser. I had sinus head aches while there, getting worse every day, then one night I awoke gasping for air, and had to leave the house. Now I find I am sensitive to not only YL scents, There are other scents that leave me "airless" that never bothered before. Needless to say, I am bitter about the intro to YL
  • Came looking for information after trying 4 Thieves and getting a migraine. Wondered it was possible to cause an allergic reaction. See here I am not alone. I diffused it with the cold diffuser and applied some tiny drops as flus are raging here at the moment. Very wary now and much more aware. Too true those that sell them (particularly MLMs) speak of them them as a panacea for all ills. I'm sure when they work they are wonderful but allergic reactions are another story. We are all different and what suits one doesnt suit another/ Interestingly I am also allergic to ginseng which bring about migraines as do Chinese herbs. I have had only good results with Bushflower Essences I must add.
  • Please please please tell me if anyone else out there has had the same effects I have. For about a decade I have used EO on and off ( definitely not the two most expensive brands) with no negative results. Last November my ten year old daughter and I decided to make bath bombs with EO as guts for her girl cousins. Word got out and my daughter had customers lined up for her handcrafted bath bombs. She has a genuine business now. At that exact same time, I started experiencing weird sinus pain mostly on my right side through my nose and up past my eye. Definitely NOT a migraine. It occurred every single day no matter where I was, what I had eaten, blah blah blah. It wasn't insanely painful though really uncomfortable but they were consistent, bizzare and annoying. I have since had an CAT scan and two visits to two different ear, nose and throat doctors who haven't found a thing. My neurologist called the "headaches" fifth nerve headaches and said there's no true cause of pain. The only two things that changed in my life last November when these started where my DAILY use of EO and the fact that I realized EO in a diffuser give me headaches. The diffuser thing has been tested and proven. That's when my husband learned about VOCs. These "headaches" are not true headaches in the sense most people speak of but are instead painful feelings in my right sinus areas generating up my right eye. My only question is has anyone else heard of EO or VOCs in EO causing fifth nerve pain????
  • I've been getting flu like symptoms and such a bad tickle in my throat it makes me cough until I'm sick. I struggle to breathe and get a tight chest. Burning hot face and achy joints. 2 weeks ago I had a brainwave that it might be my oil diffuser so I've turned it off and been fine. To test I switched it on last night and BAM! Same symptoms and feel terrible still this morning. Time to throw out the diffuser. Thanks for the post, I've never thought about essential oils causing sickness. Glad to find the cause.
  • I'm a natural perfumer. I use the best of the best in fresh perfume ingredients and have quite a bit of experience with plants. I personally like natural perfume because I prefer the scent, but I have synthetics in my personal perfume arsenal as well. Part of education of body chemistry is that different people react different ways to different chemicals, whether natural or synthetic. So, any one person can definitely be allergic to anything. It's very important to educate that natural doesn't always mean safe. People who use essential oils, resins, etc. should do very carefully and by testing a small amount before applying more. These oils contain massive amounts of plant materials, they are very potent and should be approached with care.
  • Hi I purchased my diffuser last week, the oils I purchased were the Tisserand ones. The first day I used it I put in a few drops of each, lavender, orange, lemon and ylang ylang. Within a few minutes of it being on, my eyes felt a bit sore (that feeling of when you get shampoo in them, not as severe but similar). I ignored it but it continued even until I left the house. My son who’s only 3 was also in the room and I noticed that evening, he became quite ill, coughing, temperature and being sick all over. I immediately thought it could be the diffuser, I consulted with a friend who recommended me the oils and diffuser but she dismissed the connection and said that EO don’t cause this. Again I used it the next day, more carful about only using a couple of drops of the lavender, but the eye irritation started again. My son was still coughing....6 days later of using the diffuser even in a different room, I feel like my throat is sore and my eyes sting and my poor son is so full of cold! I don’t know if it is the diffuser but my eyes only sting when it’s on so I’m going to have to not use it...I just wish I didn’t spend so much money on it. Has anyone else felt the same???
  • I recently started using witch hazel and tea tree oil as a toner for my face to help my acne, and while it has helped my acne go away, I’ve noticed the last few nights after I lay down to go to sleep that I get really nauseous and I think that the toner might be why. I’m not injesting it, just spraying it with my mouth and eyes shut tight, but it’s the only thing I can think of that’s making me sick. It’s a bummer cause it actually is helping my skin! I think I’m going to discontinue use to see if it is the issue.
  • I am HIGHLY allergic to Essential Oils. first few times I was fine. Last time was a week ago and ended up in the ER for abdominal pain, severe nausea, and said I had pancreatitis was starting. The doc 3 days ago ran all new tests saying it may be intestinal infection, c-diff, not sure it was even my pancreas, waiting on results. My kidney is killing me today, was in ER 3 days ago but nothing on scan of course, so thought I would diffuse lavender to help me sleep. AND again, all the going to vomit feelings, abdominal issues, complete sick feeling is back bad. I am sitting here with door open in 48 degree weather waiting for all this to pass and will be telling my doctor tomorrow and doing a FDA side effect online form. No one should be so sick to go to the hospital, all because of diffusing oils, that say help with certain things and are said to be the best.
  • Katie, thanks for the article. I found you by googling "Essential oils make me sick" after someone telling me the nonsense about how "You can't be allergic to something without proteins." Sure. (Insert eyeroll)The most interesting bit was your update about the DNA, though. I, too, have always been pretty sickly. And I am also very sensitive to fragrance. You might have convinced me to go ahead and do the DNA thing through ancestry. It weirds me out to think of some one having my genetic code in a file somewhere, but it would certainly be enlightening!
    • I hope that it will help you! I definitely found it to be interesting to me. And now when people tell me that I can't have a reaction to EOs or fragrances, I can say, "Well my DNA says otherwise. HA!"
      • Bev, Yes, I have fairly regular blood work done, so my liver is good. Thanks for that tip, though! I didn't know that was a possibility. I am sure someone reading that will find it very helpful.
  • We are together to share our adverse reaction stories out to public because many of us were not told: how EOs go to our body, adverse reactions and safety use. We are also supposed to be under the supervision of trained and certified aromatherapists/doctors when using essential oils.Most representatives from two MLM companies I know are without qualifications in giving out information on EOs. We have seen so many misleading information on FB pages and websites. I am in a support group on FB page called the Dark Side of Essential Oils. We are together to learn and educate ourselves, mainly on our adverse reaction stories and safety guidelines.Without knowledge of safety use and the guidance of two upliners without qualifications, I used a couple of EOs. I used FCO to dilute with a drop of lavender or lime topically on my skin daily x 2 months. A drop of each lemon, grapefruit or peppermint on my 2 litres of water almost daily for two months) approximately 28 times x 28 cups of peppermint, grapefruit or lemon. This added up to 764 cups of "tea" I drank for two months. Deep Blue Rub cream was to release my lower back pain.To my realisation without education and proper use, my 9th week in April 2017 became very serious. My adverse reactions started: contraindication, respiratory problem - 6-week asthma coughing, rash armpits, redness lower-back, stomach and arms, and left-ring finger rash. Medical professionals had stopped me from using all EOs with prescriptions - steroid cream and asthma inhaler.This took months to heal.I eventually started to study more about essential oils with adverse reactions before joining the support group.I lost friends. This took me with a lot of time to reunite my friends who are not involved. I let go of my friends who are still involved. This was the hardest part. I am now allergic to any lavender product; other products with different brands are okay with cautious.We are also fully aware from some of our members with fears of making report due to their family members and friends who are very involved with these companies.I have made adverse reactions report with Aromatherapy United (FDA) and then Tisserland Institute. I feel people with adverse reactions reported to both organisations are encouraged, we can be better informed and educated with others. Yet, both organisations stay anonymous and confidential if anyone reports her/his adverse reactions.Wow, what a journey!
  • I have chronically ill for almost 30 yrs-permanently disabled for 9yrs. Last year, maybe October, I bought a pretty jar of oil, with the long sticks, to scent my bedroom. It started out good, but I started to get weird symptoms- light headed, nausea, burning nasal, neck pain... I would wake up every morning, around 5am, thinking I was going to die. I haven’t left my house for months. I even went to the ER last month. I finally googled & found this page. I immediately removed this oil from my room & pray that I start to feel better.
  • Thank you. I like diffusing oils, and to get a discount I ended up joining as a consultant, but I just tried one of the "vitality" types of oil from this company and I have the exact same experience. Apparently concentrated oil is totally bad for me while aerated is not.
  • Hi thanks for this threat I felt crazy I have used EOS for years I am a distributor there's always been some I didn't love but I kept it to myself . I use the 100 % I have educated myself but there's a few I thought bothered my throat. I was super excited I had the sneezes today I wanted to try my new blend for allergies shortly after taking I felt my ears and nose draining it was getting more intense I thought great it's working about an hour after that my throat felt very constricted . But I just kept drinking water ( it was a beadlet) then I had a asthma attack which I haven't had since I was a child. I don't even have a rescue inhaler after listening to me struggle to breathe a good 10 minutes my daughter brought me hers which I know is not good but I was seriously considering calling 911. Now it's been a good ten hours since I took one gel my throat still Burns and feels constructive. I have been scouring the internet for people with similar problems.
  • THANK YOU for being so honest. I’ve never had a bad reaction until this week. I just assumed it was a stomach bug? But I realized about an hour after I had oils rubbed on my back and wrists (a new oil that actually made me want to throw up from the smell!) I was in the bathroom. Three days in a row. I avoided oils following that wonderful experience. I don’t know what happened but the smell was pretty terrible in my opinion and the consultant said the more you hate the smell, the more your body needs it. 😫🤢I wish it was a bit less painful of a reaction if that’s the case.
  • I have problems with even the diffuser and one time I used lavender straight. Not a good reaction. My main problem is my liver. That’s where everything especially fragrances and so it’s what I breathe in goes to be filtered. I did take Havoni and so am now cleared of Hep C, but I have many symptoms left over from Hep C to deal with. I have much more energy though. Thanks for this article.
  • My coworkers all love the stuff. some of it's okay, but most of it gives me a headache. One of my coworkers wife swears by them. If I try to say it's bothering me or "I'm allergic," I get like this 15 minute long explaination about how essential oils are all natural. Okay.. but I can't tell you how many plants make my skin break out, and they are all natural (and in my backyard). Some are great (I love eucaluptus) but most of this stuff... OMG, I'm over it.
  • Essential oils make me sick too. Can't be anywhere near them. They irritate my skin, eyes, and lungs. My reaction to EO's is the same as petroleum based air fresheners. The common denominator being aromatic benzene compounds.
  • I have been reading comments here and observed many mention they were surprised they became sick on something that is "natural." While essential oils are derived from a natural source, they are highly concentrated beyond anything nature has to offer. So its by their concentration essential oils do not meet my personal definition of natural. If you are into natural living, never exceed 1x the concentration nature provided, and keep in mind not all things provided by nature are safe. In the end there is no substitute for clean air.
  • So happy to have found this article. I just started questioning the EO yesterday after having a similar reaction to the previous times I have used EO. In general, EO is fine for me - I have added lavender eo to baths, added sweet orange with no problems. Can even use these in soaps and body products. However I bought a Five Defense oil and per the recommendation of oil people would reach for it when I feel that I have been around people who are ill or if I felt some slight illness trying to come on. Put one drop into a carrier oil and rubbed it on the bottom of my feet before bed...that night woke with fever and body aches and headache. It has happened more than once. I feel like I have the flu. At first I thought that the oils must have revved my immune system and hence the fever, but not sure about that anymore. Two nights ago I did the oil on my feet and then last night I thought I would try some of this oil in my bath and I feel even worse today than yesterday. Now that I have read this it feels like it could be a toxicity from the EO blend. Trying to figure out how to start feeling better.
  • I noticed something different about my walk. It was difficult getting up from` a chair and getting out of a car. I was diagnosed a year later and i have to find a better solution and was introduced to try the help of herbal formula. I am now 59 tho and am fully cured from Parkinson's disease. contact Total Cure Herbal Foundation on: Totalcureherbalfoundation gmailcom i had to use the remedies for 15 weeks usage which really help on my condition. Ava
    • There is No cure for Parkinson's disease. Please be careful with your comment. I have two relatives who have Parkinson's disease and one of them tried all kinds of herbal therapy but none of it helped him. In fact his Parkinson's disease just got worse because he wouldn't go see a real Dr. He finally did and he is now on the correct medications and is doing much better. Please be careful with what you say because like I said there is NO herbal formula cure for Parkinson's disease
    • I just read another article saying they are 59 and fully cured from ephysema by using Total Cure Herbal Foundation. Is 59 the magic year or is it all jus lying bull pucky?? I just find it kind of funny that I find two articles claiming to be 59 and completely cured from two different diseases and that has been known for years to Not having a cure.
  • Hi Katie, First let me say that I LOVE Doterra essential oils! They have been wonderful for me in so many ways! I rarely take medicine for osteoporosis/osteoarthritis pain any longer. I sleep well, panic attacks and anxiety gone. HBP no longer. Now I’m going to address my weight 😊. With that being said, I have loads of allergies. Many things I can use from a roller bottle on my feet that I cannot diffuse or put close to my face. I have to keep those things in perspective and realize I am mainly topical, some internal, and limited with diffusing. ☺️❤️☺️❤️ PS been using 3 years.
  • I'm so glad I found this article. Thank you! I too have terrible reactions to all of the oils I have tried and yes I have tried all different ways as well. I have gotten terrible headaches, dizziness, stomach sickness, watery eyes, and skin irritations after trying the oils. I really wanted to love essential oils but it just isn't possible for me. I just wish these companies would admit that not everyone can use these oils but they won't because there are a few who are getting very wealthy selling these oils. Money is more important than someones health i guess.
  • jose ava and their comment about Total Cure Herbal Foundation is a huge Scam!! Do Not fall for it!! I researched it and Yes Big Scam!!

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