Scientists have discovered new evidence that links essential oils to seizures. Out of 350 seizure cases, 15.7% may be due to inhalation, ingestion, or application of essential oils, according to Indian neurologists. Although everyday use of oils is safe, neurologists believe that some essential oils have convulsant properties that have been causing seizures for centuries.
According to a published journal on March 26, seizures are associated with oils containing camphor and eucalyptus. The patients who stopped using the oils did not experience seizures during follow-ups.
A professor of neurology at St. John’s medical college hospital in Birmingham, Thomas Mathew, told The Academic Times that he and his colleagues noted a rise in seizures from patients who used essential oils. As a result, Thomas and his colleagues developed and conducted more formal research on eucalyptus and camphor oils.
Research on essential oils
Researchers conducted research that involved asking non-epileptic patients who experienced seizures for the first time and patients who underwent a breakthrough seizure about using the oils. A breakthrough seizure happens to people who have not experienced epileptic seizures for a while.
When Mathew was conducting the research, he noted that the patients who used various balms, toothpaste, tablets, and items containing eucalyptus and camphor oils had seizure experiences. These products are popular in India for treating headaches, backaches, and the common cold.
The oils are readily available in over-the-counter products for treating minor ailments. According to Statista, the global essential oils market reached $17 billion in 2017 and is estimated to reach $27 billion by 2022, with Europe in the lead. Out of 55 patients who had essential oils-related seizures, 40% had never experienced the attacks before.
As a result, the researchers concluded the seizures were essential oils induced. 60% of the patients had a history of seizures, and the researchers considered the attacks to be essential oil provoked.
After the researchers advised the patients to stop using these oils, a more significant number of patients stopped experiencing seizures. Researchers did a follow-up for 1-3 years to monitor the seizures’ recurrence. 100% of the non-epileptic patients treated with anti-seizure medication for 2-4 weeks after their first exposure stopped experiencing them. Additionally, 94% of epileptic patients remained seizure-free during follow-ups.
The study also included a 29-year old man who had inhaled steam from a mixture of eucalyptus oil and water to treat a cold. Five minutes after inhalation, the man lost consciousness and experienced seizures.
After avoiding the essential oil exposure, the man stopped experiencing seizures for two years during the study. Mathew suggested that physicians should enquire about essential oils exposure to their patients.