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Scientists find new evidence linking essential oils to seizures

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by InfiniteRubix, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. InfiniteRubix

    InfiniteRubix Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. InfiniteRubix

    InfiniteRubix Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. InfiniteRubix

    InfiniteRubix Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't partake. But some pwME do.
     
  4. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My basic viewpoint is if it's strong enough to have a positive effect on one's health, it's likely strong enough to also be able to have a negative effect for some people.
     
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  5. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Coincidently the British MEA very recently published an item about a young woman who had had ME as a child but has recovered. Her parents are still fundraising for ME, including donating a percentage of profit from their aromatherapy business. Whilst it is good to hear positive stories and heartening that the parents continue to support ME now she is recovered and studying at university, it was most unfortunate that the MEA presented a story of recovery juxtaposed with what could be seen as a promotion of aromatherapy products.

    Obviously this provoked a lot of controversy on their Facebook page. There was obviously concern that the MEA could be seen as promoting aromatherapy for ME, but also sadly a lot of negative comments and disbelief about someone reported as recovering from ME.

    (I don’t seem to be able to find either the webpage with the short article or the Facebook post linking to it again, so am not sure they are still on line.)
     
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  6. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wonder if these seizures would come under dissociative seizures (as treated with CBT by Chalder).
     
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  7. Starlight

    Starlight Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have used in the past ,in the early days of my sickness and found they caused a huge negative impact on my illness as did many household cleaners ,perfumes and any scented candle. I would not have them in the house now. Every symptom became ramped up very quickly in their presence. Thankfully I have never had a seizure .
     
  8. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My very first thought when I saw this as well. I'm assuming most would be, mostly depending on the attending physician and what their beliefs are. Damn the unhelpful illness beliefs really are pure projection, uh?
     
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  9. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just for future reference for anyone reading, this is a list of essential oils from wikipedia :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_essential_oils

    When I think of essential oils I think of ones that smell nice e.g. lavender. But apparently there are quite a few that are used in cooking, and some appear in mouthwashes or other personal hygiene products.

    The article in post #1 refers to eucalyptus and camphor. But I wonder if the other essential oils might have the same unwanted side-effects?
     
  10. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Which apparently are the common ingredients in Vicks and Tiger balm and similar stuff. So they are in pretty common usage, although unclear whether it's the burning that is the issue, or if the normal low-level vapors at room temperature can do the same.
     
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  11. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    No, the article is definitely talking about epileptic seizures.

    Its actually quite interesting. I suppose we already know that intense light and noise can trigger seizures, and there's absolutely no reason to think our senses of smell might operate in an entirely different way.
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If it has the power to do good, it has the power to do harm.
     
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  13. Ukmum

    Ukmum Established Member

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    It does also talk about non epileptic seizure patients experiences. My daughter started having non epileptic attacks and is probably coincidence but I did start using a diffuser with oils around the time they started. I will have to look back at the dates to be sure. I was trying the oils to help with her anxiety caused by chronic pain syndrome. They made her eyes sore so didn't get much use and seizures continued long after we stopped using the diffuser - interesting though.
     
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  14. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

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    As much as I think this explanation for seizures would be cool, the study design leaves me a bit dubious. They appear to have found a correlation between essential oils and epileptic seizure onset (and break through seizures in known epileptics). Firstly, in the abstract they don't tell us how many people presenting with epilepsy they sifted through to find the 55 patients. Maybe the use of eucalyptus or camphor products is really common in the trial areas, so many of the people turning up at the hospital would be able to recall recent exposure.

    But, supposing that there really was a correlation, it might be that the people in the trial areas routinely use eucalyptus and camphor products when they have a cold or the flu, with nasal congestion, breathing difficulties and aching muscles. In that case, the real trigger might be having a viral infection, or the fever that comes with an infection.

    (small edit to clarify)
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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  15. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The only way to clarify these issues would be to experimentally introduce the oils in an effort to induce seizures whilst comparing this to a control group scrupulously avoiding the oils. However would this be ethical?
     
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  16. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

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    That would be one way, and I expect it would be ethical if you were clear with the participants about what you were doing and the doses were within the range of normal use of household products.

    There are Material Data Safety Sheets that record known risks from products - so an easier way than doing an experiment is to look at the information that the MSDS's are based on. Typically there is information based on human exposures (acute and long term) and accidental and deliberate animal exposures. I found an MSDS for camphor that reported these consequences of exposure:
    It does look as though camphor and eucalyptus oil could cause seizures, although it probably takes high doses.

    You could look at the incidence of seizures in workers who produce camphor and eucalyptus oil products.

    Another way to bring some clarity would be to note how many patients came to the hospital with a first seizure and to record exposure to a range of possible causes, including flickering lights, sound and illness, with or without fever, as well as exposure to eucalyptus and camphor, and have a good look at the data. You would want to note the dose, as well as any other impacts on health. Perhaps that was done in this study, it just doesn't show in the abstract. (Edit - from the article linked in the second post, it does sound as if the study was more detailed than the abstract suggests.)

    Another issue is that if a person did in fact have a seizure as a result of exposure to an essential oil, does that mean they have epilepsy? Probably, once they have recovered, they never have another seizure again. There's a big difference between causing a reactive seizure or episode of seizures, and triggering ongoing epilepsy.

    Looking at the study abstract again, it just appears to be warning physicians that these substances can cause convulsions (as do many chemicals in big enough doses) and so the physicians should not immediately assume epilepsy if the patient has had some exposure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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  17. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ugh, I went to a pharmacy the other day, and they had an essential oil diffuser billowing lavender. I had to flee. I've told them before that I have chemical and fragrance sensitivities, as many people with fibromyalgia do, but they still use this vile machine.

    I know someone who has a terrible allergy to lavender. I wish businesses would stop using fragrance in their stores. Essential oils seem to have a health halo because some people really do benefit from them and enjoy the fragrance, but businesses shouldn't assume that everyone wants to be around essential oils.
     
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